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Is Your Deck Safe?

Cody & Tara McCarthy

The House Addicts team is committed to creating an unparalleled real estate experience for each and every client we serve, leaving everyone saying "WO...

The House Addicts team is committed to creating an unparalleled real estate experience for each and every client we serve, leaving everyone saying "WO...

Sep 27 4 minutes read

Unfortunately, decks don’t sound alarms when they're having issues, but thankfully, unsafe decks are easy to spot. Make sure that your family & friends are safe on your deck! 👌

Your deck is constructed upon a foundation. If the material appears to be in perfect condition, make sure you carefully review the framing for potential deterioration. The only effective method of checking the deck’s framing is to review the ledger board, joists, beams and posts.

Is your deck framing level and secure?

Your deck framing should be level and secure. Here is what to look for:

  • Loose or missing nails, screws, or anchors where the structure is attached to the building
  • Ledger board is tight against the house
  • Carriage bolts properly connect the ledger board 
  • Missing, damaged or loose support beams and planking
  • Split or rotting wood
  • Handrails and guardrails
  • No deterioration is present 

If any structural component isn’t level or is displaced, deteriorated or appears unstable, make sure to get your deck inspected by a professional immediately!

Cause of Collapse: Old & Rotten

Many decks were built before code requirements were in place to protect homeowners. Some of these decks may have deck-to-house attachments using only nails. Others have become weakened through the years, and the owners don’t realize how close to collapse they may be.

Don't risk it! If your deck is older and hasn’t been inspected recently, it might be a good idea to do so!

How Many People Can I Invite to My Party?

Have you ever wondered how many people you can safely scrunch onto your deck? Decks can withhold a lot of weight, but they still have a weight-breaking threshold.

Common building practice stipulates that each square foot of decking surface should support a minimum of 40 lbs. Don’t forget to account for the weight the deck already supports... like your tables, chairs, grill, coolers ect.

Keeping Up With Maintenance

Here are some common inspection issues:

  • Improperly secured to the home (only nails, no bolts)
  • Deteriorated posts (cracked, leaning, falling off of footers)
  • Improperly secured posts (using only the deck’s weight to keep posts in place, no bolts or nails securing the post to the frame)
  • Missing joist hangers or missing nails for joist hangers
  • Deteriorated decking boards (cupping, cracked, rotted, decayed)
  • Over-spanned joists (joists extended too far without proper support/beams)
  • Deck structure separating from house

How to Prolong the Life of Your Deck

Protecting your investment, one stroke at a time.

  • Power Wash. Clean deck = good deck. 
  • Stain = Name of the Game. Staining your wood deck helps to minimize weathering of the decking boards.
  • Nails = Pops. Exposure to the elements could cause nails and screws to protrude from the surface…creating safety hazards.
  • Clear the Deck! When you’re not using your deck as frequently, move planters, chairs, tables, and anything else from your deck to avoid discoloration.
  • Shape the Landscape. Trim nearby bushes and trees, which need to be at least 12” from the deck to prevent mold growth, moss, and rotting

Enjoy your deck this summer but keep eyes wide open for common issues, and stay up to date with general maintenance!

If you need an inspector, let us get you in touch with the best!

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