buying home, rotten deck...


Old 11-27-06, 02:36 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 29
buying home, rotten deck...

This is kind of a long story so Iíll keep it brief on details initially but fill them in at the end.

We are buying a home with a rotten deck. No flashing was installed over the ledger and there is visible but slight rot on the inside of the ledger. The home is in Colorado Springs which is extremely arid if that matters. There is a risk the rim joist could be rotten but we canít know that unless we tear down the deck. We canít tear apart the deck to see if we need to ask the sellers to repair a rim joist because we donít own the home, and we certainly canít ask the sellers to pay to investigate if there is a hidden problem. So what Iím looking to understand is the worst case scenario. What would the approximate cost be to replace a rim joist that is rotten? That deck spans about 30ft along the side of the home and it is split level. Does this mean two different rim joists?

More details. The sellers are offering us $5000 off the price of the home in lieu of a complete deck repair. We donít really like the design of the existing deck so this works well to allow us to have the deck we want. They also are putting a new roof on the home. We had originally asked for a roofer to ďtune upĒ the roof and write a couple year warranty on it. We fully expected the roofer to say ďThereís nothing wrong with the roofĒ and that was it. But the sellers are making an insurance claim to replace the entire roof. I spoke to the rooferís today and the work is estimated around $5,500. So thatís a serious bonus that we have to consider with this deck situation.

So the bottom line of my post here is what to expect financially if the rim joists are damaged and need replacement. Iíve been trying to reach contractors all day but havenít had much success and we have to sign the line soon. Iím not scared of this situation, but I do want to know what Iím getting into.


PS Ė I do plan on rebuilding the deck myself, but thatís the next step after I know the structure of the home is fine, or adequately repaired.

PPS - I didn't know where best to put this Decks or Framing so I'm posting it twice. For reference here is the other thread on the same topic:
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Old 11-27-06, 03:03 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 6,126
buying home, rotten deck...

Did you have a pre-purchase home inspection that found this "can of worms"? If so, he should have made a recomendation that an engineer look at the deck problem and the solution could become a part of the purchase settlement agrrements.

If not, contact and engineer, immediately to determine the scope of the problem (rotting, mold, etc.) that you would face after purchasing. He could provide an estimate of repairing/correcting all items.

Rotten rim joists are in direct contact with sills, joists and studs - enough said?

The fact that there is no flashing (despite your climate that can get a lot of snow), opens up many potential problems.

Check to see if there was a permit taken out for the construction of the improperly built deck. The fact that this has been brought out will require the present owners to disclose this problem if the deal falls through. This is on your side when it comes to a deal and correction.

Talk to someone other than a contractor that just wants a job. You want a home without future problems and need to know what they could be and what may have to be done.

Old 11-27-06, 03:31 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 29
The inspector noted the deck had some rot but we didn't find more about it until after agreeing on repair items. Which makes this a touchy scenario from a contractual perspective.

We asked for all rotten members of the deck to be replaced. Sellers agreed with the understanding it would be around $1000 based on a carpenter's estimate the agent selected. The carpenter started ripping out the bad members and found everything has enough rot that he can't continue with the original plan. He then quoted $5000 to replace everything that is rotten, but nothing more. So sellers are offering $5k off price and let us deal with the deck how we want. We could decline because we havent' signed anything yet, but we did verbally agree after talking to a bunch of people about it. the only catch is we don't have a clue what our reaslistic worst case scenario is. I found a ton of websites describing this exact scenario including a Home Depot book on building decks. They say it's a pain to deal with but anything that hints at price seems to be reasonable to me when i consider all things.

You are right.. there's a chance this could be a nightmare and I need to consider that. What I also need to consider is that any home could have a hidden problem that could be a nightmare and the sellers may not even know. I don't believe the sellers have any clue this deck wasn't built properly in the first place. So what I'm trying to consider is if we let this fall apart and look for another home.. we might find the same problem anyway since from my searching it seems a lot of decks dont' have flashing put over the ledger.

I see what you're saying though. It could be more than just the rim joist. Hmm... now is when paranoia sets in. How far do I assume this problem could have gone? When there's no way to know without first being the owner of the home.

If it's a couple of grand I wouldn't worry about it much.. if it's more than that I might start getting grumpy.

In the end.. I dont' know what to do. I appreciate your thoughts, but also acknolwedge that no home is flawless.


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