Spring is almost here. Let the outdoor living season begin!
Warmer days and milder evenings are just around the corner. The official first day of spring is less than two short weeks away, and with it will come the opening of the outdoor living season. To many homeowners, the backyard deck is the epicenter of outdoor living. It is the base from which many outdoor recreational activities stem, and the refuge to which we retreat for relaxation when outdoors. With this in mind, have you considered how safe your backyard deck really is?
Classic pressure-treated backyard deck in Lexington, SC.
It’s important to ensure your deck is structurally sound in order to take advantage of all the ways it can benefit your home and allow you to safely enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, especially with Spring so close at hand! Archadeck of Central SC takes deck safety very seriously. As the area’s premier outdoor structure designer and builder we realize the value of a well-built deck and well-maintained deck and have seen the results from the opposite. Here in the US within a six-year period, there were an estimated 179 deck failures resulting in 1,122 injuries and 33 deaths. These grim statistics may come as a surprise to many homeowners, but deck safety is no accident. If you are one of the 40 million homeowners in the United States still using a deck that is over 20 years old, it is time to take a step back and assess the general safety of your deck. According to The North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA), deck failures that result in injury are increasing at an alarming rate. Most of the reason for this is the number of decks still standing that are over 20 years old and in dire need of replacement.
Just a few weeks ago, a video showing a deck collapse in Indiana went viral on YouTube. It is true this video depicts a worst-case scenario of what can occur when a deck is poorly constructed or not properly maintained. Since few specifics — other than the injuries resulting from the collapse — have been determined, we cannot point out specifically what went awry in this particular circumstance. However, deck failures happen more often than you may think, and that is the reason regular inspections and maintenance are so crucial to ensuring your deck is structurally sound and safe. Below is the video from the Indiana deck collapse:
Here at Archadeck of Central SC, we offer homeowners a thorough deck safety inspection for a modest fee. We can also provide free consultation on what would be involved with replacing your deck with an updated design that meets or exceeds all building code requirements and complements your outdoor living objectives. Here is a list of the critical areas our deck safety inspection covers:
We check the deck boards as part of our inspection.
We check the decking boards – over time most wood decks will show some cracks and splits, and the main concern with the decking boards is splintering and rotting. A deck that is not safe to walk on is a safety hazard.
- We check the connections – a properly constructed deck is built with fasteners and other metal hardware connectors to make your deck stable from the bottom up. We check the fasteners to see if they are in good working order, or are in need of replacement. We also check to ensure the fasteners are properly installed and that there is a sufficient number to meet codes.
- We check the structure – we check the posts, beams, and joists, if visible, for inconsistencies We determine if there is any noticeable sagging between any of the supports. We check to ensure span load requirements are met.
We check the structure, as a whole, including beams and joists, as part of our deck safety inspection.
- We check the attachment to your home – the area where the deck attaches to your home is called the house band, and this is where most deck failures can occur. We inspect this portion of the deck to make sure all screws and bolts are present; nails should never be the only fasteners used in the house band. Upon inspection, we also make sure the area is flashed properly to aid in protection from water at this important connection site.
- We check the foundation and footings with a visual inspection – foundations and footings are important because they support the weight of the deck. A sinking footing can cause a dangerous separation of a column from a beam and must be addressed immediately.
- We check the exits – we check the stairs that are used as exits from your deck, making sure they are in good working order and structurally sound. It is very possible to have a deck that is sound only to have a rotting staircase that could endanger you and your guests upon entry or exit.
We check all exits and stairs as part of our deck safety inspection.
- We check the rails– we always make sure the railing is secure and that the pickets and balusters are fastened properly. Keep in mind current codes dictate that rails should be spaced no more than four inches apart. A deck with a non-conforming railing is a danger because small children and even pets can fall through the railing and get hurt.
In addition to our menu of re-decking and custom deck designs, we also offer an eco-friendly deck cleaning and maintenance service through Renew Crew of Central SC to help keep your deck looking great and functioning at optimum performance. This is just another way we are improving outdoor living quality for homeowners in Columbia, SC, for the better!
The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu
Contact Archadeck of Central SC to schedule your deck safety inspection today. Calling on the expertise of one of our deck experts will give you peace of mind in knowing you can enjoy your deck this season without worry! (803) 603-2160