Why Balcony Deck Inspection Is Important

Balconies, decks, and other exterior elevated elements must be inspected regularly. Failure to comply with this law can put building occupants and tenants at risk of injury or property damage.

Balcony Deck Inspection

Water damage to a balcony can lead to corrosion of steel connectors and even wood rot. This is especially common in areas prone to high humidity. Moisture can also cause the deterioration of support beams. Keep reading the article below to learn more about California Balcony Inspection Law.

Many balconies and decks have been the site of deadly accidents, including those resulting from structural failure or collapse. This is why laws have been put in place to prioritize balcony safety, especially for occupants of multifamily dwellings.

A professional inspector will conduct a thorough inspection of the balcony, including the supporting structure, decking, railings, and any other features that may be present on the unit’s patio or deck. The inspector will check for any signs of moisture damage, mildew, mold, rot, or insect infestation. In addition, the inspector will check the integrity of the balcony’s concrete beams and columns. A balcony that is not properly inspected can quickly deteriorate, leading to dangerous conditions like loose or unstable railings or a deck collapse.

The inspector will also examine the condition of the guardrails. Those found to be weak or unstable should be repaired immediately. A professional inspector will also look for signs of corrosion, particularly if the balcony is located in a salt air environment, such as alongside the sea or in high-rise buildings. Corrosion can cause metal connectors and fasteners to rust, which can weaken the surrounding wood. The inspector will also look for any loose or wobbly railings, as well as any cracked or missing safety glass panels.

While severe damage can often be spotted on the surface of a balcony, many problems are not so readily apparent. For example, many critical structural connections are concealed behind stucco assemblies, making them difficult to identify. This can lead to the accumulation of moisture in these areas, causing dry rot or even mold and fungus growth. This, in turn, can erode the support beams of the balcony.

The professional inspection will be done by a licensed engineer, architect, or contractor. The inspection will include a list of the inspected elements, any defects, and recommendations for repairs or replacement. A report will be provided to the building owner and a copy will be provided to the occupants of the building. If the inspection reveals serious problems, such as a structural problem or a lack of safety glass, the building owner will need to take corrective actions.

Water damage

When a balcony deck gets damaged, water seepage can cause serious issues. It may damage and weaken the structure of the building, leading to expensive repairs and potential health problems from mould growth. In some cases, it can even cause the collapse of a balcony. For this reason, it is vital to check for any signs of water ingress and take corrective measures quickly.

Waterproofing materials prevent water from reaching the underlying deck and causing serious damage. They are particularly important in regions with frequent rainfall. A qualified commercial building inspection engineer can recommend the best waterproofing system for a property’s deck and balcony. They will also evaluate the structure’s demand for waterproofing, such as its position and level of exposure to moisture.

A good waterproofing system will include flashing, which provides a physical barrier between the ledger board and the main structure of the building. It will also prevent rot and insect damage to wooden components. In addition, the waterproofing material should be compatible with the balcony’s construction materials and climatic conditions.

An inspector should also look for corrosion of metal connectors and fasteners. These may corrode due to the weather and constant contact with moisture. The inspector should also check for the condition of railings and stairs to ensure their structural integrity. Loose connections and loose balusters can pose a safety threat and should be replaced as soon as possible.

Regular maintenance and inspections are the best ways to avoid costly repairs and keep your balcony safe for years to come. Besides cleaning and repairing any obvious signs of wear, you should regularly look for mildew and mold growth, loose or corroded nails, rotting boards, and any other issues that could compromise your safety.

In some states, there are laws requiring apartment owners to inspect balconies, catwalks, walkways and other exterior elevated elements (EEE). These are called Balcony Repair Inspection Laws, and they require buildings to have formal inspections every six years. These laws also mandate that the building’s owner must notify tenants about the results of the inspection. If the balcony needs repairs, the building owner must obtain a permit to do so and complete the necessary work within 180 days. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in a safety lien against the building and daily penalties for the property owner.


Mold and mildew can latch onto any porous material, and they thrive in environments where moisture is plentiful. These ugly microorganisms can cause deck rot, which is dangerous for people walking on it, especially when they slip and fall. Regular cleaning with a mildew cleaner can help you keep your balcony safe. However, you should always wear protective clothing, such as safety goggles, rubber gloves, an air mask, and a long-sleeved shirt, to avoid skin and respiratory irritation from the chemicals in your cleaning solution.

You should also look underneath the balcony to see if the joists and fasteners are in good condition. If they are rusting, it is a sign that they need to be replaced. Also, check the railings to ensure they meet the minimum height and spacing requirements. This will prevent people from falling through the gaps.

Wood rot is another important issue to look out for. It is usually hard to detect, but you can perform a simple test. When you press on the floorboard, it should bend slowly and not break apart in chunks. If the board splinters when you press on it, this is a sign of rot and needs to be fixed immediately.

When inspecting a balcony deck, you should take note of any cracks and the size of those cracks. A small crack may not be a concern, but if it’s getting larger over time, then you should replace it right away. This will prevent further damage to the structure and will make the balcony safer to walk on.

It’s a good idea to have a city and home inspector conduct a thorough inspection of your balcony. The city inspector will review the design and build of the deck to make sure it meets zoning requirements. The home inspector will check the deck’s base and footing sizes, joist hangers, and hardware connections. They will also look for signs of rot and water damage.

After the Berkeley balcony collapse, California passed a law requiring all balconies and other exterior elevated elements to be inspected. This includes all load-bearing components that are more than six feet above ground level. The law stipulates that the inspection must be conducted by a certified professional.

Pest infestation

A balcony deck must be inspected regularly to ensure it is pest-free. A pest infestation can cause a great deal of damage and even be dangerous. To prevent this from happening, make sure you clean your deck on a daily basis and sweep it to remove any leaves or other debris that could attract pests. It’s also a good idea to plant herbs and shrubs around your deck that repel pests, such as lavender and eucalyptus. It’s also important to keep the area surrounding your deck dry, as wood-boring and wood-eating insects love moist wood. This can be done by sweeping it daily, removing any plants or other items that can gather moisture, and treating and sanding all wooden surfaces on a regular basis.

Another important thing to look out for when inspecting a balcony is any signs of termite infestation. These can be easily spotted, as they leave small holes in the wood of the balcony and home. To check whether a balcony is infested with termites, pry a piece of wood from the balcony and see if it splinters or breaks in chunks. If it does, it may be rotting and should be replaced.

It’s also important to inspect balconies for signs of structural failure. Any cracks should be repaired immediately to prevent further deterioration of the structure. If you’re unsure of how to repair a crack, you should consult with a professional.

A rotting and unstable balcony can be dangerous, especially if it’s located at a height that exceeds a safe falling distance. This can lead to injuries or even death. To reduce the risk of accidents, all balconies should be securely fastened to their support structures. This can be done by using stainless steel connectors and fasteners, which are better suited to the elements.

A professional inspector can use several methods to inspect a balcony deck, including visual inspections and a specialized form of non-destructive testing called endoscopic testing. This involves a camera inserted through a hole in the underside of the balcony to evaluate concealed wood components. This technique is cost-effective and leaves minimal mess behind, making it a great option for homeowners and landlords alike.