It’s an important time, right at the start of our summer outdoor living season, to consider the safety of our deck’s structure, especially if you have an aging deck. It’s just as critical as changing the batteries in your smoke and CO detectors with the time change twice yearly.
Millions of homes in the U.S. have decks, and many of those are aged structures, which could be in need of immediate repair or replacement. To call attention to the hazards of unsafe decks, the North American Deck and Railing Association has declared May as Deck Safety Month®. Is your Charlotte area deck safe?
At Archadeck of Charlotte, we have been designing and building decks for over 30 years, and we know the perils of unsafe decks. We read about them, and even see them on TV each year across the country. In 2015, one family had 24 members injured in a deck collapse at their private vacation residence in Emerald Isle NC. It is likely this family had not even considered the safety of their deck. Often times, we just expect our outdoor living structures to hold up, and persist year after year. Fact is, many of our aged wood decks are unsafe.
New wood deck in Monroe NC by Archadeck of Charlotte
With regard to a proper deck inspection, Archadeck uses the acronym, BE SAFER, but what does it mean?
B = BOARDS
All deck boards should be thoroughly scrutinized for cracks, splintering, or rot to determine if they should be replaced.
E = EVERY CONNECTION
All fasteners and connections should be checked for loosening, breakage, and to ensure that the correct hardware was used when the deck was constructed. This includes metal bracing, screws, and bolts.
S = STRUCTURE
Structurally speaking, it is important to look at visible support beams to determine if there is sagging between supports. If your deck sags, it is unsafe.
A = ATTACHMENT
The attachment of the deck to the home is where most deck failures occur! The deck must be flush-connected to the home, using the proper bolts and screws – NEVER nails.
F = FOOTINGS
Footings that hold deck support posts and columns must not be cracked or sinking in order for a deck to remain safe.
E = EXITS
All areas of exit from the deck, or from one part of the deck to the next, must be checked for structural integrity. This includes deck stair stringers, risers, and treads.
R = RAILINGS
Safe deck railings will not move away from the structure. Pickets must all be attached and placed no more than 4" apart. Railings that do not have these things intact are unsafe and should be repaired or replaced.
Are you ready to discuss replacing your aging deck in the Charlotte area? Give us a call for a free design consultation at (704) 850-6104 and a Design Consultant will contact you promptly.