Have you wondered if your deck is up to spec?
Does it meet the current building codes? If it is 7 to 10 years old then probably not. We have had several clients who had scary decks before we took them down and built new ones. Some of the decks specification couldn’t hold more than two or so people at one time. Some shook when you would walk on them. Some had to have temporary bracing so it didn’t collapse. If you have a deck and that sounds similar, then you could potentially have problems.
Most people don’t even give it a second thought of their deck collapsing. People need to look at the warning signs such as those mentioned above. Even if your deck seems to be fine, but is older, you must check certain things on them to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for a lawsuit later in life with friends. Let me give you a checklist of sorts to go by to check out your deck to avoid problems.
- Check the first row of deck boards closest to the home. If they have rot, that is not a good sign. Right below that board is the ledger and it should have flashing.
- Check the ledger board, Check for rot, check for minimum 1/2in lag bolts every 12 to 16 inches. If you do have rot or just nails holding the ledger on, the ledger is vulnerable to failing.
- Check the posts, do they have rot on the bottom, are they fastened to the ground or concrete.
- Check the stairs make sure no rot is found.
- The deck boards should be free of rot or curling. You don’t want a trip hazard or fall through the deck.
- Check to see if the deck Specification is warping, such as sagging in the middle.
- Check hand rails and pickets to ensure rigidity so no one falls off the deck leaning on it.
As a rule of measure I will give you some of the major points on the deck specification we build today:
1. 6×6 posts for support with no more than 8 ft. spacing.
2. Minimum 2×10 joists for smaller spans, also they have to have joist hangers.
3. The spacing on the joists are 16 inches max.
4. The stairs usually have 4 stringers and are made out of a 2×12, (they hold the stair treads)Maximum 7 inches tall.
5. The ledger has flashing behind it and the ledger lag bolts are 1/2in spaced in between each joists in a certain pattern.
6. Then posts are on a post base fastened to a concrete pier and notched to the deck band boards.
7. The hand rail varies, but cabling or picket spacing can not be more than 4 inches in between.
After learning of a local homeowner that had a deck collapse from KY3 news in Springfield, MO. This needs to be known to all homeowners with decks. The Home Builders Association has names of local professionals that can evaluate your deck specification if you are concerned. If your deck sounds similar to what is currently built, then you should have nothing to worry about.