New deck with splitting/cracks in the vertical post

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Old 06-02-13, 06:31 AM
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New deck with splitting/cracks in the vertical post

Dear all,

We just bought the house from US bank in Mar, 2013, they replaced the old deck towards the end of 2012 before they put the house on market.
Now I see splits/cracks along every vertical post (see attached pictures), I am afraid their contractor did not use the pressure treated wood or they used very bad quality material, but since they said they did not live in the house before and thus did not provide any disclosures during the sale.
Is this a concern? what should I do? Your suggestion is appreciated very much.
Thanks
 
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Old 06-02-13, 07:16 AM
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It's called checking and has no effect on the strength of the deck.
Caused from uneven drying.
All 4 X 4's, 6 X 6/s and 8's check.
 
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Old 06-02-13, 09:54 AM
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In addition, they stained it waaayyy to early for the sale. The PT needs to dry out a lot before stain or paint is applied. If they had waited, the check would have been there and would have been stained right along with the remainder of the deck.
 
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Old 06-02-13, 10:15 AM
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I think I'm a little more concerned than the others...just because of the post in the background. That looks more like a split than a check...to me.

Who put what looks like metal strapping around the other 2 posts in the pic?

I guess more importantly is how deep are the splits/checks and are they identical on each side of the posts?

Did the deck get permitted and inspected?
 
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Old 06-02-13, 01:27 PM
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Thanks for the reply

Out of 8 posts, almost 6 got those splits/checks. Looks like those 2 posts are blocked more from sun shine by trees (they are on the north-west corner of the house); I also noticed that the sides which face south or west side got more obvious splits/checks, the depth should be less than one inch. most splits are from almost bottom to the very top of the post.

By the way, I bought some metal straps from home depot to wrap around the post, hoping that will help to stop the cracks becoming worse, not sure whether I should have done that or not.

Thanks and appreciate your suggestion.
 
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Old 06-02-13, 02:47 PM
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I wouldn't be overly concerned with the cracks unless they are deep. I built my front porch 19 [?] yrs ago and used sawmill oak 4x4 posts. One of them cracked real bad so I drilled it and used a bolt with fender washers to tighten it up. If I remember correctly the crack/fix happened in the 1st yr and it looks the same now as it did back then.

I'd probably caulk the cracks, apply a coat of solid stain, inspect them every now and again ..... and probably forget all about in a year or so.
 
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Old 06-02-13, 03:50 PM
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With the explanation and the slightly larger view pic...I wouldn't worry either if they are all similar. As said...if they are just surface and don't mirror on both sides...not a problem.

Since they are up off the ground on the concrete piers (please tell me they aren't embedded in the 'crete?) it seems that at least that part looks good. I never really liked those 2nd story decks. Too much chance of 20 people starting to line dance and bringing the whole thing down if it's not overbuilt.

Permitted and inspected?
 
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Old 06-02-13, 05:03 PM
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Posts Should Not Sit Directly on Concrete

I agree with the replies below --- the checking does not significantly impair the structural integrity of the posts. There is, however, another area of concern. The posts sit directly on the concrete piers that support them. Over time the bottom of the posts will deteriorate (relative to the rest of the post) with constant exposure to moisture. They should have been installed with aluminum standoffs that keep the post at least 3/4" obove the concrete. Putting them in is easy, just jack the deck, cut the post and slip in the standoff

Also, confirm what the posts are made of. Unless they are treated lumber or an exotic like ironwood (ipe), replace them. I know that many professions are comforable with softwoods like cedar or redwood, but given the height of the deck I believe using them is a risk. Given the higher cost of ipe and redwood I'd guess the material is either treated lumber of white cedar. If it is just douglas fir I'd be very concerned.
 
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Old 06-02-13, 07:32 PM
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Yankee3, welcome to the forums! Difficult to see from the pix, but we, too are concerned about whether the posts are embedded in the concrete. If sitting on top, they should be in post bases. HOWEVER, aluminum is never used with pressure treated wood. It must be galvanized and tolerant to ACQ, as well as the fasteners.
 
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Old 06-02-13, 08:35 PM
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I looked at 2 of my neighbours' deck (we all have the tall deck situation), they don't have such cracks on their posts.
So I am thinking the bank just want to make money by choosing the least expensive contractor who roughly build the deck (not sure whether they even got permit before building)... Somebody suggest me to call the city to find out whether the deck was given permit before built, I am not sure whether I should do that, what will happen if there was no permit? Will that cause me trouble? If bank said that they did not live here before and thus not giving any disclosure, does that mean even if they did something illegal (i.e. if they did not go to get the permit), they will just be off the hook?
 
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Old 06-02-13, 10:13 PM
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I'm not sure if rules are different for Canadian banks, but down here in the U.S. I believe most building code people require that any work done on a property that a bank owns has to be performed to code, with a permit, just as if the property was privately owned. The fact that such was probably not done is certainly not your fault, and you should not be required to pay for the cost of any corrective work that may be required. Get the permit people out for an inspection, and request a copy of their inspection report listing the deficiencies that the bank allowed to be incorporated into the work. Your building department can be your best ally in this scenario, as their requirements must be met for the property to be owned/occupied.

Unless you signed an "as is, where is" clause as part of the property purchase, the bank should be required to pay for any and all corrective work to the deck, provided it was done without a proper building permit. If it was mine, that would include replacement columns, with proper stand-offs at the bases. A cordial letter to the bank (with a copy to your attorney), explaining all of the details, should be sent ASAP.
 
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Old 06-03-13, 09:58 PM
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'As is ' is a standard clause in the bank owned property, such as mine.

"Property is sold in its present "As Is" condition with no warranties, repairs, or inspections completed by the Seller,......"

But if the bank did not even get the permit or inspection in the first place, they already violated the legal requirement before the sale, and thus the above clause should NOT be meaningful or legal. Am I right? Anyway, I plan to contact the city to find out more.
Thanks for your comment.
 
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Old 05-27-14, 04:54 PM
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cracks in vertical support beams of new deck

Hello,
Last summer we had a new composite deck installed. I noticed this spring that the vertical PT support posts have several 'cracks' . From reading the thread, it sounds fairly common. My question is whether there is anything I should be doing to stop the cracks from worsening? Should I be staining them?

Thanks
Matt
 
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Old 05-27-14, 05:23 PM
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Mattm6, welcome to the forums! There's not much you can do about it, and they will only open cracks so far, but weather can cause them to contract some in different seasons. Filling the "checks" as they are called would be futile. I would poke stain in the cracks to match what you have on the deck, to make it blend in better.
 
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