Is your deck safe? In­spec­tion can pre­vent in­juries

The Covington News - - Front page -

to hire a li­censed in­spec­tor. Many decks built on homes were done so be­fore cer­tain codes were in place to pro­tect the safety of oc­cu­pants. Also, through the years, cer­tain build­ing codes change --your deck may no longer be safe in the eyes of the law. For your own per­sonal safety and to sell your home down the line, it pays to have an in­spec­tor of­fer a re­port on the deck and what changes, if any, need to be made.

Wob­bly rail­ings and the deck’s con­nec­tion to the house are the pri­mary cul­prits be­hind deck col­lapses. In the past, decks needed only to be con­nected to the dwelling with nails. Times have changed.

Prop­erly built decks dis­play a num­ber of fea­tures, one of which is con­tin­u­ous load path. A con­tin­u­ous load path is a method of construction that cre­ates a se­ries of solid con­nec­tions within the struc­ture of the deck. The weight load of the deck is trans­ferred from its frame to the ground and an ad­ja­cent struc­ture, such as your house. There are also a num­ber of vi­tal con­nec­tions needed to cre­ate a safe and se­cure deck. Ex­perts will know what to look for re­gard­ing th­ese crit­i­cal con­nec­tions.

While it may take trained eyes to spot some of the safety fea­tures of decks, as a home­owner there are steps you can take to en­sure safety be­fore us­ing your deck this sea­son.

• Look for warn­ing signs that the struc­ture may be fail­ing, such as miss­ing or loose con­nec­tions, cor­ro­sion, rot, and cracks.

• Main­tain and pro­tect the deck each and ev­ery sea­son. Over time, metal con­nec­tors, screws and nails in your deck can cor­rode and weaken the struc­ture, es­pe­cially if the right prod­uct is not used. If you live in an area prone to mois­ture, such as along the coast or near bodies of wa­ter, the risk of cor­ro­sion is much higher. While many wood decks are built of treated wood, that does not make them in­vin­ci­ble. It’s im­por­tant to seal your deck against weather to avoid rot­ting beams and rail­ings.

• Don’t over­look in­sects. There are a num­ber of in­sects that see your deck and other wood struc­tures as a free meal. They may lay nests, bur­row or feed upon the struc­ture, com­pro­mis­ing its in­tegrity.

• Take action quickly if you sus­pect a prob­lem. A fall from a deck can be fa­tal. If you see a prob­lem area or are ad­vised by an in­spec­tor to make a change, do so promptly to en­sure the safety of your fam­ily and guests.

All hands on deck!

Staff Re­ports

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.