Gravity…awesome to experience on a roller coaster or slide…not so great on you deck!

Roller coasterKnowing that gravity is an unfailing force is comforting, usually. It makes anything not firmly planted beneath the earth’s surface or properly attached to a stable structure eventually tumble to the ground. This thought doesn’t pop into your head until the moment you step onto something that wobbles or moves, even one that does it ever so slightly…such as walking across a swinging bridge in the mountains or while boarding a plane or ship…all of which you know to expect some movement. You should absolutely never experience this is when stepping out onto your deck; the most beloved spot for entertaining and relaxing. A well maintained, routinely inspected deck is one that gives you peace of mind each and every time you step on to it.

Logo - Deck SafetyMay, in the building industry is recognized as National Deck Safety Month and even though Archadeck of Central Maryland and Montgomery County helps to increase deck safety awareness during May, we feel deck maintenance should actually be conducted year-round to ensure safety. With a large portion of the approximately 40 million decks over 20 years old in the US, not being properly maintained or routinely inspected, it isn’t surprising that in a six-year period there were an estimated 179 deck failures resulting in 1,122 injuries and 33 deaths. What is startling, however, is the fact that according to NADRA, The North American Deck and Railing Association, deck failures that result in injury are increasing at an alarming rate and are mostly due to non-maintained, aged decks or just shoddy workmanship of a cut-rate builder.

Maryland_Bethesda_Baltimore_Best_Deck_Builder_Contractor_Outdoor_Living_SpecialistIf 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. A well-built deck that is both structurally sound and safe also includes the following components: ledger boards that are either bolted or screwed securely to side of the house; support posts that are mounted to concrete footers; diagonal and/or lateral post braces, proper railing and stairs as well as connectors and fasteners (such as galvanized or stainless steel bolts, screws, nails and joist and post connectors) specially designed for deck construction.

Just as it is with yours or your loved ones’ health (keeping an eye out for potential symptoms or health issues), when it comes to your deck’s safety, YOU are its first line of defense as well. And, since each of your family member’s health is directly affected by the safety of the things you use, you are killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. It’s as simple as doing a visual inspection of the deck each time you use it or are outside near it. If you see any rotten, cracked or damaged wood, or any loose, missing or corroded metal bracing or parts, it is recommended to have a structural engineer or an established, well-respected contractor evaluate your deck before its next use.

hassle-free no textDeck safety is a top priority and 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 Central Maryland and Montgomery County offers a thorough, certified deck safety inspection for a modest fee. You’ll receive a detailed checklist that highlights any necessary or suggested repairs or maybe your deck is good for a couple more years; we’ll let you know that too. Here are just a few of the critical areas our deck safety inspection covers: foundation and footings, the attachment to your home, decking boards, connections and fasteners, the posts, beams and joists (if visible) of the structure, any sagging between supports, as well as stairs and rails.

While we’re there to perform the inspection and upon your request 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 is best suited for your outdoor living needs.

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John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandIf you feel it’s time for your deck to be inspected for safety or are considering a new deck, or re-deck in the future, Archadeck of Central Maryland is the right choice for you. Our professional and talented staff members are experts at producing beautiful, quality outdoor living structures which are well designed and structurally sound. Contact us to learn more or to schedule your deck inspection or new project consultation today at (301) 926 – 3001 or email at centralmaryland@archadeck.net or montgomeryco@archadeck.net.

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May Is Deck Safety Month

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May is National Deck Safety Month, as declared by the North America Deck and Railing Association for the past 7 years. To help ensure safety, especially for decks that are more than 10 years old, Archadeck is sharing these seven deck safety inspection guidelines with the acronym of “BE SAFER”:

BE  SAFER with these 7 Deck Safety Tips from Archadeck.

Deck safety is no accident. Ensure that your deck is safe by following these tips and suggestions from Archadeck Outdoor Living.

Boards
Look at the condition of your deck boards. Most wood will show some minor cracks and splits over time, but is the general condition of the boards good or are they damaged and unsafe to walk on?

Every Connection
A deck should be built using a variety of fasteners and metal hardware connectors. Check every connection on the deck to make certain that they are not corroded or otherwise compromised. Be on the watch for nails backing out, red rust and other signs of corrosion that can weaken the integrity of the deck.

Structure
If visible, look at the posts, beams and joists that provide the structural framework of the deck. What is their condition? Is there any noticeable sagging between supports?

Attachment
The attachment of the deck to the house (also called the house band) is where most deck failures occur. Pay special attention to this area and check to make sure that the deck is properly attached to the house with bolts and that it is properly flashed for water protection. Nails should never be used for this type of attachment.

Foundation / Footings
The foundation / footings receive and support the weight (also known as the load) on a deck and the columns that bear on them. A footing that is sinking may cause a noticeable sag in an area or a column to separate from a beam.

Exits
Check the areas where people exit from the deck. These exits usually involve stairs so be sure to check the condition of the material used on the stair stringers, stair treads and risers. Do the stairs require a handrail? Is there adequate lighting to safely use the exits at night?

Rails
Look at the condition of the rail posts and sections of railing to make sure that they aren’t loose or wobbly. Verify that the pickets/balusters are fastened securely and spaced no more than four inches apart.

BE SAFER by taking these precautions and preventative measures. The number of deck failures and related injuries has been increasing, and each year we hear about more deck collapses and accidents. Recent statistics show that about 40 million decks in the US are over 20 years old, so it’s crucial for homeowners to be proactive and check their decks.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandArchadeck of Central Maryland is a leader in outdoor design & construction for Baltimore, Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County and Prince Georges County MD. Our team has been designing & constructing outdoor living spaces for over 11 years and has been the recipient of CotY (Contractor of the Year) awards and other distinctions, plus featured in the Washington Post. If you have an old deck that needs repair or remodeling, we’d love to help create the perfect outdoor living space for you, whether you’re thinking of building a new deck, 3- or 4-season room, sun room, screened porch, patio, trellis, pergola, arbor, fire pit or other project. We offer a free, no obligation design consultation. Give us a call at 301-926-3001 or email us to schedule yours today.