There’s nothing better than a home with a beautiful deck filled with rocking chairs and flowerpots. There is also nothing worse than a deck that could cave in at any moment. Whether it is due to age or poor construction, many decks are at risk making it increasingly important to know what to look for when performing your home inspection.
This issue is something that is often overlooked by both homeowners and inspectors. One of the limited studies done on deck collapses concluded that “224,000 people were injured nationally due to a deck or porch between 2003 and 2007. Of those injuries, 33,000 were a result of a structural failure or collapse”, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
If these facts are concerning to you, here’s what to keep an eye out for when it comes to your deck!
Unstable Railings. If the rails on your porch tend to move around, red flags should be raised. The railing should not be able to move more than half an inch. This can be a scary problem for homeowners because people often tend to put a lot of trust in the railings of the porch, often leaning against them no matter the height of the deck.
Worn or Missing Metal Connectors. Residential code requires decks to have metal connectors to ensure a stable surface. Make sure these metal connectors are in place and are free of corrosion.
Heaved or Dropped Footings. Keep a close eye on heaving or dropped footings. Dropping is typically caused by footings being poured on disturbed soil while heaving is usually a result of freezing conditions. If either of these appear to be present, the deck should most likely be replaced.
Lack of Flashing. Flashing is used to prevent a buildup of moisture and debris. If this crucial piece is missing, the deck is at risk. This is something homeowners should be aware of before purchasing.
Make homeowners’ decks somewhere they can spend happy hours, barbecues, and family time without the fear of an accident.