When I think of safety at home my mind automatically wanders to basement mold or unsafe electrical outlets. I rarely sit back and think ‘Is my deck safe?’ I’m sure many people are just like me when they assume their decks are safe because they feel secure when they walk them. However, just like roofs and gas furnaces, decks should be regularly checked for safety too.
I recently read the follow excerpt from an article in PlasticNews. According to NADRA (North American Deck and Railing Association) it is estimated that only half of the existing 40 million decks are code compliant, and that some 20 million decks in North America are more than 20 years old and could have some safety issues because of advances that have been made in technologies, and the need to modify them to meet new building code regulations in communities.
It’s no surprise that safe building practices have enhanced over the past two decades. Also, changes to local building codes have occurred to ensure professional contractors are installing safe and sturdy decks for families to enjoy for many years. One of the most notable enhancements is the way the deck substructure attaches to the house. You should be exceptionally cautious of weak points if your deck is attached with nails only, instead of a more secure hanger-style attachment.
The good news is there are many tools available to make certain you have a deck safety. With the help of sites like NADRA.org and bhg.com (Better Homes and Gardens) there are checklists and safety information supplied to begin the research process. If a safety concern is identified, it is best to call a licensed contractor or home inspector, ideally someone with a structural engineering experience, for a proper evaluation.
Link to Better Homes and Gardens “Deck Safety Checklist”: http://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/deck/building/deck-safety-tips/#page=11
Link to NADRA.org “Consumer Checklist”: http://www.nadra.org/DSM_checklist2008.pdf