What is the first spot you envision on a sunny afternoon spent grilling with family and friends, or the refuge for relaxation after a long afternoon of swimming in the backyard pool? The backyard deck of course! Decks are American’s favorite outdoor living space, the epicentre of backyard recreation and are a staple of outdoor living. With this in mind, 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 lifestyle; and especially with the arrival of the outdoor living season so close at hand!
Here at Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio we take deck safety very seriously. As the area’s premier outdoor structure builder, and as a NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) certified remodeler, we know the value of a well-built deck, well-maintained deck and have seen the pitfalls of the opposite. In a six-year period there were an estimated 179 deck failures which resulted in 1,122 injuries and 33 deaths here in the US. 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 that are 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 NADRA, The North American Deck and Railing Association, 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 are over 20 years old and in dire need of retirement
In looking at the BIG picture of deck safety, deck failures can also be attributed to shoddy workmanship or creating a deck that will not hold the capacity in which it will be subjected. We feel that in these cases, deck failures are very preventable occurrences and not accidents at all. A good example of placing your safety on the line is hiring a cut-rate builder to construct your deck. If you choose this route to save a few bucks, you are taking a chance that really isn’t worth the savings you gained. If a deck is built by a reputable experienced builder, it will be built correctly meeting or exceeding building codes, and give you peace of mind in knowing your deck is safe and structurally sound from the ground up.
You may have seen the horrific video recently making headlines in regards to the unfortunate deck collapse that happened in our neighboring state of Indiana just a few months ago.If not, we have added a link to the video via YouTube above. It is true this is a worst case scenario example of what can occur when a deck is either poorly constructed or is not properly maintained. Since few specifics, other than the injuries that resulted from the collapse have been determind, 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 is so crucial in keeping your deck safe and sound.
We want to ensure you or a member of your family doesn’t become a casualty as a result of an unsafe deck.
Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio offers a thorough deck safety inspection for a modest fee. We can also provide a 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. When it comes to keeping you and your family safe from a deck disaster, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure. Here is just a few of the critical areas our deck safety inspection covers:
- We check the decking boards – over time most wood decks will show some cracks and splits, 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. Check the fasteners to make sure they are in good working order, or are in need of replacement. We also check to ensure the fasteners are properly installed and there are a sufficient number to meet codes. You would be surprised at the calls we get from homeowners whose deck is missing pieces of vital hardware that were never properly installed when the deck was initially built.
- We check the structure – check the posts, beams and joists if visible for inconsistencies. Check to see if there is any noticeable sagging between any of the supports. We check to ensure span load requirements are met. The contributing factor in most sagging decks is from a lack of meeting these requirements.
- 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. 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 also make sure the area is flashed properly to aid in water protection from 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 – check the stairs that are used for exits from your deck, make 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 and exit to your deck.
- We check the rails– always make sure the railing is secure and that the pickets and balusters are fastened properly. Keep in mind current codes dictates that rails should be spaced no more than four inches apart, a deck with non-conforming railing is a danger because small children and even pets can sometimes fall through the railing and get hurt.
Keep in mind, that even if an older deck is deemed “safe” structurally, unless it is has been properly maintained on a regular basis the boards and railing can splinter and crack causing painful injuries to bare feet and hands while the deck is in use. In addition to our menu of re-decking and custom deck designs we also offer a deck cleaning and maintenance program tailor-made to keep your deck looking and functioning at optimum performance. This is just another way Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio is improving the outdoor living quality of homeowners in the Dayton and Cincinnati areas for the better!
Contact Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio to schedule your deck safety inspection today. Instilling 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 at (513) 897 – 2040 or (937) 848-7040. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Let this be the year that Archadeck makes your outdoor living dreams come true.”
Please visit our deck photo galleries located on our website, including our composite and PVC deck photo gallery and our hardwood deck photo gallery for more inspiring new deck and redecking ideas.