Steven L. Smith, Bellingham, WA Home Inspector (King of the House)


Flashing the Deck or Landing

Time and time again, working here in Bellingham as a home inspector, I find improperly installed or, more often than not, decks installed without proper flashings at the wall.  The problem is simple enough, where that horizontal landing attaches to the house, moisture collects thanks to our "liquid sunshine" here in the Pacific Northwest. So, given a few years, it is just a matter of time until rot forms at that transition point and, often, the rot will spread back into the wall.

Here is a photo of a deck that is of particular concern.

Bellingham wa home inspector, no deck flashing

This is a traditional stucco finish, installed over wood framing. Based on the amount of damage that is readily apparent, we have no idea how much hidden moisture damage might be present inside the wall.

When a home inspector sees any obvious deficiency, involving potential moisture intrusion, the best recommendation is to state that a competent contractor should further review and repair or replace components and materials as might be required. Based on the look of this problem, I would not feel comfortable having my clients walking around on the deck. Sometimes, when materials are removed, framing and anchors might be terribly compromised and that can lead to danger. At times, when everything is visible, the inspector and the contractor wonder what was even holding the thing together.

Steven L. Smith

If you enjoy nostalgia and music of yesteryear, click on Elvis' gold record to visit This Day In History. To explore The Stories Behind The Music blog posts click on the electric guitar. 







Comment balloon 10 commentsSteven L. Smith • December 22 2012 12:30PM


Steven  My county does not have a building code so you can imagine the problems.  Joist hangers are commonly missing from decks.  Scary stuff...  My clients depend on me to provide information and my home inspector ROCKS!  In 10+ years he has recommended 3 buyers walk...and that's why we hire him, because he tells it like it is; the Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

Merry Christmas

Posted by John G. Johnston, An Exclusive Buyer's Agent ~ Westcliffe, CO (John G. Johnston & Associates, LLC) almost 7 years ago

I think that some of these porches should be constructed without being attached to the building. However, building codes in some areas may not allow it.

Posted by Sussie Sutton, UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers. (UTR Texas Realtors) almost 7 years ago

John, I did not know there were any places left that used no codes at all....interesting.

Sussie, there are times that a free-standing deck might be better but it all gets down to design and application

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Certainly not much support there.  The people may have thought the bounce was "normal" as they approached the door!

Mason, try to stay up late and see the big guy...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

In Arkansas we have so little "real" stucco that we'd see little of this.  Rot would be readily seeable.

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 7 years ago

This issue comes up ALL the time.  What is the best way to remedy this problem after the fact without spending a ton of money?

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) almost 7 years ago


Unless there is rot of significance, the repair should not be that expensive. A decent contractor can usually lift some deck boards, remove some siding and fix things up for a reasonable fee with a metal L flashing.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Steven, in this example with the stucco broken, I can see where it could really be bad. A little flashing could save a lot of heart ache and expense.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 7 years ago

Steve, That would be a bad sign. Question what is proper flashing of a deck (think dirty : ) 

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Great information and I will be passing it on thank you !!! 

Posted by Dave Sullivan, Michigan Realtor with an investor viewpoint (Real Estate One) almost 7 years ago