Deck From Hell

When the home inspector walked into the Concord backyard, he couldn’t believe his eyes – the steps leading up to the backyard composite deck were totally disintegrated.

Early composite decking made its debut in the 1990s. The original composite decking was made from a combination of recycled plastic milk jugs and old shipping pallets.

It was an environmental solution to using wood in deck construction, but the sun’s UV rays proved to be a formidable opponent.

A decade later, manufacturers figured out the ‘recipe’ for new composite products that looked like fresh cut Cedar or Brazilian Walnut, but never turned grey… and that’s when composite decking sales took off.

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Glass in the House

When ordinary window plate glass is broken, it breaks into angular shards which are very sharp, and can seriously injury someone – not good.

When tempered safety glass is struck, it breaks into small pebble-like pieces (see photo), without sharp edges – a good thing.

Safety glass is now required in specified locations in houses including all door glass, most large windows which have their bottom edge less than 18 inches above the floor or ground, windows near doors, stairs and floors, and glass in showers and bathtub enclosures.

If you’re buying an older house, The House Whispererinspectors know where safety glass can make a difference in the house.

There is no requirement to retrofit these locations, but a greater margin of safety would be achieved by upgrading and installing safety glazing in these areas.

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Closet Trouble

The home inspector opened a bedroom closet door in an older Hayward house and turned on the light switch.

The ceiling light fixture was missing its protective glass globe and two incandescent light bulbs were within inches of the stored clothes – too close for comfort.

The inspector Googled – ‘light bulb temperature’ – and the article said a 60 watt light bulb can have a surface temperature of 260 degrees.

If the closet light was left on all day, it’s possible for a fire to start.

Closet light fixture clearances require that all incandescent light bulbs be fully enclosed (glass globe) and that the incandescent light fixture be installed at least 12″ from stored items.

Seeing exposed light bulbs in bedroom closets or missing glass globes is fairly common in older houses. Today’s building requirements call for recessed lighting in closet ceilings.

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