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Time to use the deck! Are you safe?

Stop!!! If you are purchasing or own an older home and it has a deck, you want to make sure you have it inspected right away.

Deck Safety

As we approach the spring and summer seasons and people plan more outdoor activities, the use of decks increases. This makes it a great time to give your deck an inspection. There are many areas and components of a deck that a certified home inspector will inspect during a home inspection. Decks are often one of the most ignored and poorly maintained areas of a home. Most decks are made of wood, which requires routine staining and maintenance to repair any weathered, warped, or loose boards. About 90% of the homes I inspect with a deck have defects, such as loose handrails, warped deck joists, loose joist hangers, loose balusters, improper flashing, rotted wood, or a host of other issues. It is important to get your deck or the deck of any home you are thinking of purchasing inspected annually to make sure it is safe for use. Here are some interesting findings:

  • More decks collapse in the summer than in the rest of the year combined.

  • Almost every deck collapse occurred while the decks were occupied or under a heavy snow load.

  • About 90% of deck collapses occurred as a result of the separation of the house and the deck ledger board, allowing the deck to swing away from the house.

  • Many injuries are the result of rail failure.

  • Deck stairs often lack graspable handrails.

The North American Deck and Railing Association provides a great checklist of some things to consider with your deck.

Chances are your deck has one or more of these defects. These are safety hazards that could lead to injury or death.

Loose Joist Hanger

Damaged Joist Hanger

Missing Rail Baluster

Undersized Joist Bracket

Separating Handrail

Split Rail Baluster

Rusted Nails in Joist Hanger

Separating Deck Joist

Improperly Notched Deck Post

Loose Rail Baluster

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