Knowing 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.
May, 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.
If 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.
Deck 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.
If 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.