Decks unsafe from rotting. 

Unsafe rotting decks, identified by Peter weddell, owner/operator of Qld Home Buyers Inspection service and Queensland Building Inspection Service, QBIS.

Dangers of unsafe decks from rotting

Deck & dangers, extensive rot making this deck and its stairs unsafe!

What is a deck?

A timber platform for relaxing or entertaining guests on that is exposed to the weather.

Generally built without a roof or pergola. Refer to photo above.

Potential dangers with exposed decks:

Decks can collapse and cause serious injury or in cases, fatalities. Reasons for can be any of the following or combination.

  • Constant exposure to weather causing rotting of the timber structure and/or rusting of steel.
  • Undersize supports.
  • Poor construction.
  • Insufficient clearances between timber and soil.
  • Termite damage.
  • Rusting securings, supports, brackets, nails/bolts.
  • Lack of appropriate bracing, this is dependent on the height of the structure.
  • Lack of appropriate securings.
  • Rot to timber or rust to bases of vertical supports of the structure.

If in doubt, have the structure checked by a competent building inspector for advice. 

Does a deck require Council approval?

Requiring Council approval is usually dependent on the size of the deck and other factors, this may vary from different Councils.

Check with your local Council they will help advise you on their requirements.

What to consider before building a deck

  • Its location on the property and its size.
  • Slope of the land around the deck.
  • Does it require Council approval?
  • Will it require railings for safety?
  • Should I construct a roof above the deck?
  • How close to the ground can it be built?
  • I want it built on the same level as the house floor, can I achieve this?
  • Is it going to add value to the property?
  • What buildings on the property may it affect?

What do you want to achieve from a deck?

Entertain large groups of people.

Somewhere to relax, read a book or have a coffee

Take advantage of a rural, city, pool or landscape view.

Aspect and size must be first considerations.

Regular checks & maintain the following:

  • Securings of railings and their supports.
  • Timber for deterioration, in particular softwood (even if it is treated).
  • Soil accumulation around timber or steel supports.

Unsafe rotting decks

Decks can be a money pit, how to help avoid this.

  • Construct a roof above with a decent eave overhang for protection.
  • Fit lattice panels, shade-cloth or pull down awnings to help stop driving rain.
  • Use quality exterior paint.

Rotting deck hazards around Brisbane. Related links with information that may assist you.

Qld Govt. Do i need approval on building a deck

QBCC Deck Inspection Guide

QBCC Fact sheets Publications

For independent Building Inspections Brisbane in all suburbs, Qld Home Buyers Inspection Service.