We hear stories of decks collapsing all the time. In fact, over 500 people are injured in deck collapses every year, and for some it is even fatal. In a recent interview with Today show’s Jeff Rosen, structural engineer Scott Fischer said that of the 40 million decks in the U.S., about half of them are not built to code. This statistic is alarming, especially because your deck is a space to enjoy with your family and friends. We’ve put together this blog post to discuss the common reasons for deck collapse and how to prevent it.
Too Much Weight
Even if a deck is built the right way, with high quality materials, it can only handle so much weight. This excessive weight may be from having too many people on the deck, or heavy steel/stone furniture, or a few feet of snow. Decks that are built properly will be able to handle more weight. Talk to a professional to know how much weight your deck can safely handle.
Old, Decaying Materials
The underlying problem in nearly every deck collapse is the age of the deck. Rotting and splintering wood is much more likely to break under added weight. You may not always be able to see these signs of decay with your own untrained eye, which is why experts recommend that your deck be professionally inspected when it is 10 years old, and every 3 years that follow. Failure to keep up on deck maintenance can quickly lead to a disaster.
Loose Railings and Supports
If you can see that your deck is attached to your house with only nails, this is a sign of poor workmanship. Nails can be pulled out easily and is not enough to keep your deck from collapsing. Also, if your railings are wobbly or loose, call a professional deck company immediately. Not only could kids lean against the railing and fall, but this is a red flag signaling cheap, low-quality workmanship in other areas of the deck.
Call the Professionals
If your deck is old and in question, don’t trust the safety of your family in the hands of anyone but Maryland’s true deck professionals. DeckMaster has been building, refinishing, and repairing decks throughout Maryland and Virginia for over 20 years. Call us today to schedule an appointment so you can prevent your deck from collapsing.