Deck Failure

Deck Failure: What Happened to my Deck?!

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With the onset of summer, people will be spending time outdoors on wood decks. Wood decks should be inspected annually for signs of decay, missing flashing, and corrosion of fasteners or connectors, especially at the connection to the house. Guardrail details and connection are also important. Besides maintenance-related problems, some decks, especially older ones, may be poorly designed leading to deck failure.

Why is a Deck Inspection Important?

Deck Failure
Older decks, particularly those built before 1996 (when stricter building codes were enforced) should be inspected regularly to prevent catastrophic failure like that pictured above.

A deck is an extension of the home and can provide some great entertainment space. But, unlike a living room or den, decks are constantly exposed to the elements…rain, snow, wind and sunshine are constantly bombarding your deck. This exposure to the elements means that the decking materials will undergo decay and corrosion much quicker than indoor entertainment spaces. And this is why a deck inspection is so very important, particularly if you have an older deck that is more than 4 feet above ground.

Causes of Deck Failure

1. Ledger board pulls away from the house: Most decks are attached to the house by means of a ledger board. The ledger board anchors the deck to the house. If the ledger board pulls away from the house a catastrophic failure can occur.

2. Ledger board splits: If the deck is attached to the house by means of a ledger board the bolts, or fasteners should be used in a staggered pattern. This reduces the chance that a crack will form along the length of the board.

3. Board rot: Many ledger boards rot prematurely due to the lack of flashing. All of the deck’s framing lumber should be decay resistant.

4. Hanger/toe nail failure: When joists are simply “toe nailed” to the ledger, this can lead to the deck “pulling away” from the ledger. Also, if joist hangers are used and the metal hardware corrodes, failure can occur.

5. Post and beam failures: If posts rot prematurely, or if they are undersized, they can cause deck failure. Posts that are set in soil without proper protection often rot to a point where they can no longer support a load.

Call us to book an Inspection at 256-318-0982 or contact us today.

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