It's the old college try, putting up a gazebo, with its many elements. But sometimes a college cheer applies when one of these gets put up: Lean to the left, Lean to the right, A leaning gazebo, Is best upright!
A gazebo is a structure that requires a fair degree of professional carpentry experience. There are a lot of angles! Things need to be fitted properly, connected properly, supported properly and safe. If those elements are not all done well, a gazebo can be a dangerous attraction! I say attraction because I love them, and think they are attractive. If I had one, it would be used! I'd even wire it for Internet connection and spend some computer/TV time there!
I'm going to bet that this little unit was not built professionally.
There are many reasons I think this:
1. It's leaning! And that is probably because as things are connected one to the other, if one section is not attached properly it will have an effect on the other connected elements. Whether the problem is gravity, wind or connection, the leaning exists!
2. There is no guardrail to speak of. That little strip in the middle of the screen is no protection against falling! And a rail similar to what is on the deck should surround the gazebo so children and animals cannot get through the screen.
3. There is a cantilever. To the right, the cantilever is where a section of the floor is sticking out beyond the exterior beam. A gazebo should have all its eight points supported and founded. And in this case, the floor joists for this hut are 2x6"s! Even though they are 16" apart, such a cantilever is NOT recommended. Those are very undersized joists.
Not very large, this gazebo is only 8' from side to side. That's an okay size, but usually they are a bit larger, like 12'. That makes them more accommodating to a table and sitting chairs. But this is a very nice little spot as behind the house there is a common area and bicycle path. So it's a comfy, private space. There's a classy ceiling fan and a screen door, so the mosquitoes and heat won't get to you so much!
It's the old college try!
But all in all, this is not a very safe place. And once things lean, they usually continue to move in that direction.
My recommendation: a gazebo is not a project an amateur should tackle, even with plans downloaded from the Internet! And given my concerns, I am willing to bet there is no permit for this installation. The county would not let those three concerns above slide in favor of the beauty of the spot!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560