What I'm Seeing Now


Tippie Toes


Go up a stair case.  Do you feel more or less comfortable going up while on your whole foot or tip toes?
Go down a stair case.  Do you feel more or less comfortable going down while on your whole foot or heel?

Suspiciously, this deck installer thinks these deck stairs look and feel more comfortable on their TIPPIE TOES!

This reduces the structural integrity of these stair stringers DRAMATICALLY.  

Look carefully at the photo to the left.  That upper stringer is cracking. 

And peek at how well the lower stringer is attached to this landing!

And the quality of the nail job where the nails are not even penetrating into what they are intended to and are splitting the wood.

Splitting wood is not strong wood.

The stringers all over the deck were nailed like this.


Unfortunately the other two stringers have even less surface resting on the landing.

Don't bring anything heavy up these stairs.  That includes two heavy people helping each other up the staircase!

Additionally, due to the excellent nailing job, the whole landing has moved.

The stair stringer above is at least resting (mostly) flush on the landing below it, but the entirety of the stringer is not on top of the landing!

Any more shifting, which is more likely than not, and it could shift off.

Deck construction really lacks in this area.

As I read home inspector posts nationwide, it seems to me, deck construction lacks pretty much everywhere!

My recommendation:  DECKS MUST BE PROPERLY CONSTRUCTED TO BEGIN WITH BECAUSE OVER TIME THEY MOVE, GET WEAKER, AND THE WOOD SHRINKS AND WARPS IF IT IS NOT WELL PROTECTED FROM THE SUN!  A deck that is nailed and those nails are relied on to be structural is not a safe deck.  It is not a professional deck.  When you see one it must be evaluated professionally and corrected.  A ballerina on her tippie toes is very elegant and pretty.  But not so for a stair stringer, however pretty the paint job!



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 68 commentsJay Markanich • June 29 2012 03:46AM
Tippie Toes
DECK STAIRS SHOULD BE SOLID AND NOT RESTING ON THEIR TIPPIE TOES! Go up a stair case. Do you feel more or less comfortable going up while on your whole foot or tip toes? Go down a stair case. Do you feel more or less comfortable going down… more
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