In the last six years there have been over 179 deck failures resulting in 1,122 injuries and 33 deaths. Those are incredible statistics. It’s May, Deck Safety Month, and we at Archadeck Outdoor Living encourage those homeowners with decks over 10 years to have a thorough deck safety inspection (the average decks lasts 10 years).
“Many of us have delayed home repairs and improvement until they are absolutely essential,” says Rob Haislip, vice president of Archadeck. “Even then, sometimes homeowners don’t have enough information to decide when something is optional or truly a safety hazard that could result in an injury.” That’s why Archadeck offers deck safety inspections to those looking to see if they are in need of a deck repair or replacement. Our deck safety professionals will look at all parts of the deck and make recommendations regarding its safety so you can feel comfortable spending time on your structure with friends and family. It’s important to BE SAFER, an acronym we came up with to make deck safety easy to remember:
B- Boards. Look at the condition of your deck boards. While most wood will show some minor cracks and splits over time, boards should be good and not rotting or damaged.
E- Every Connection. Decks should be built using a variety of fasteners and metal hardware connectors. Check every connection on the deck to make certain that they are not corroded or compromised. Look for nails backing out, red rust and other sings of corrosion that can weaken the integrity of the deck.
S- Structure. If visible, look at the posts, beams and joists that provide the structural framework of the deck. Is there any noticeable sagging between supports?
A- Attachment. The attachment of the deck to the house is where most deck failures occur. Ensure that the deck is properly attached to the house with bolts (no nails!) and is properly flashed for water protection.
F- Foundation/Footings: The foundation/footings support the weight, also known as the load, on a deck and the columns that bear on them. A footing that is sinking may cause a noticeable sag in an area or a column to separate from a beam.
E- Exits. Check the areas where people exit from the deck, usually stairs. Check the condition of the material used on the stair stringers, stair treads and risers. Do the stairs require a handrail? Is there adequate lighting to safely use the exits at night?
R- Rails. Look at the condition of the rail posts and sections of railing to make sure that they aren’t loose or wobbly. Verify that the pickets/balusters are fastened securely and spaced no more than four inches apart.
If you think your deck is in need of a safety inspection, please call your local Archadeck office and ask them to come and evaluate your existing structure.