Friday, August 19, 2011

From InterNachi: Evaluating Problems with Fasteners

By Nick Gromicko and Kenton Shepard 

The term "fasteners" typically refers to nails, screws, bolts, and sometimes anchors. Fasteners may directly join together two pieces of material, or the material may be held together by connectors that are, in turn, held in place by fasteners.  A good deal of the difficulty in evaluating fasteners is the fact that most home inspectors inspect existing structures, as opposed to homes under construction, so, by the time the inspector sees a fastener, there’s usually not much visible except its head. Certain problems affecting fasteners, such as corrosion, may be visible, but other problems may be apparent only to inspectors who understand their properties and those of the materials they join.  In addition to becoming aware of visible issues, inspectors should understand some of the basics about fasteners that will help them spot less obvious problems.

Proper fasteners for treated lumber

Building a deck? It's not as simple as going to the hardware store and buying a box of regular nails anymore. If you're using ACQ or AC2 treated lumber, the use of bright or uncoated fasteners can have disastrous consequences.

The copper used in the aforementioned wood treatments corrodes standard fasteners—how fast the corrosion occurs is not a given, but there is no question as to whether the treatment is corrosive.

To illustrate this, consider the following pictures. Click on each image to enlarge!