Category Archives: deck expert

Magnesite Decking Is DEAD, LONG LIVE MAGNESITE! Asbestos Warning!

Magnesite from circa 1961 on a deck in Goleta.

I’m not sure when Hill Brothers Chemical Company first started manufacturing Magnesite, however, it’s safe to say it’s been around California, Arizona, Nevada and other Western states for a long long time…it’s distinctive bull nose edges are a sure sign of what the deck has on it.

What I do know is that up until 1977, Magnesite was manufactured using Asbestos as an ingredient. Hill Brothers sold millions of square feet of the material as interior and exterior flooring. This 1999 article from the LA Times discusses the allure of Magnesite, although it doesn’t discuss Magnesite’s little problem of asbestos in it… https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1999-jul-11-re-54828-story.html

Fast forward to 2002 and Hill Brothers was found liable for 20,000,000.00 after losing a suit brought by a women who had Mesothelioma from asbestos in the floors of the home she grew up in. https://www.kazanlaw.com/verdicts/20000000-verdict-for-woman-exposed-to-asbestos-in-her-own-family-home/

RIP Magnesite. Today Magnesite is not sold by Hill Brothers anymore. From what they told me, a key ingredient was difficult and costly to source due to demands for it from other industries. As a result, they halted manufacture of Magnesite and are no longer supporting the product.

However, the product is still found everywhere in homes, mult-families and older condo’s. This leaves a huge number of people at risk to exposure to Asbestos due to unknowing owners and contractors just treating it like any product and ripping it out, releasing friable asbestos into the environment.

DeckExpert.com recommends to any owner of a property with Magnesite on it to have asbestos testing done on the product no matter when it was installed. It’s better to be safe than sorry and it is a risk reduction for the owner against future claims.

Only Cal-OSHA approved Consultants can test, only Cal-OSHA asbestos certified contractors can remove it. In speaking with several people, they all said that remediation and sealing areas up to prevent release of friable asbestos when demolition is taking place is paramount. Special respiratory breathing apparatus is required, your dust mask from Home Depot will not help you. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE MAGNESITE YOURSELF!

Bottom line, owners of multi-family buildings with Magnesite on them should not attempt to have the product restored or repaired. The service life of Magnesite is up and it’s time to replace it. Magnesite is dead, long live Magnesite!

Coming Soon! DeckExpert.com Best Practices Video Series!

We’ll be doing quick 3 to 4 minute videos on best practices for Waterproofing decks.

Y’all ready for this? Our new 3 to 4 minute video series will focus on best practices building and waterproofing decks over living spaces. I’ll be talking about framing, sloping, sheathing, flashing, drains and much more! Watch for our posts coming soon.

IT’S DECK SAFETY MONTH, AND THE BALCONY COLLAPSES CAN’T STOP/WON’T STOP UNTIL AND UNLESS…WE DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Removal of the deck boards against the building reveals a seriously deteriorated set of beams.
They died because of poor workmanship and failing to inspect the deck. #NeverAgain

The North American Deck & Railing Association (NADRA) has declared May as “Deck Safety Month”, although IMHO, every month should be Deck Safety Month.

Read Frank Woeste’s article by clicking here on deck connections here https://awc.org/codes-standards/publications/dca6/deck-connection

Rarely does a day go by without my Google alerts, “deck collapse” & “deck fire” sending me an email about another balcony collapsing somewhere or someone’s grill or fire pit on their deck was the cause of a major house fire.

Two weeks ago the headlines were about the Malibu balcony collapse, where 16 people fell to the rocks 15 feet below while at a house party on the coast. Fortunately no one died. This time. Six years ago, six students died and seven were seriously and permanently injured…broken backs, crushed lungs, featured bones, when the balcony they were standing on to take a picture for a birthday celebration suddenly collapsed.

I remember waking up the morning of June 16th 2015 to see the grisly photograph of blood pooled on the sidewalk, a balcony laying flipped over on the balcony below and staring at the broken cantilevered beams that had rotted away and breaking down in tears. Today I still tear up at the thought of what happened. Berkeley was so avoidable. Malibu was so avoidable. Every balcony collapse is so avoidable.

Something else happens when I read about another balcony collapse-I get angry…very angry. In my opinion, a deck inspection by a competent inspector should be able to find the small clues that a deck about to fail leaves…and my anger is directed at the homeowner, property manager, whoever is in charge, who did not opt to spend $300-1000 on a deck inspection but is willing to spend tens of thousands on legal fees to defend their lack of due diligence.

Many decks, especially wood decks are older and worn. Wood rots, nails rust, supports become weaker, and if additions have been added on top of the deck, then extra weight that probably wasn’t factored into the engineering calculations creates additional stresses on the structure.

Before your next party, before you rent the house with the “large expansive deck” on AirBnB, before another deck collapses with people on it and are injured or killed, for God’s sake, get your deck inspected.

Forget the money it costs, think about the guilt you’ll feel having blood on your hands.

Balcony Collapse in Malibu

https://ktla.com/news/local-news/balcony-collapse-in-malibu-residence-sends-almost-a-dozen-people-onto-rocks-below/

A balcony overlooking the Pacific collapsed in Malibu California over the weekend. Nine people were injured and four people went to the hospital.

Balcony Inspections on condos and apartments with 3 or more units are now required to have their decks balconies and stairs be inspected after a deck in Berkeley collapsed 5 years ago, killing 6 and seriously and permanently injuring 7 other people.

Find a deck inspection company at our website at http://www.deckexpert.com

Davis-Stirling.com On Balcony Inspections

The questions on balcony inspections continue to come in in California and Adrian Adams of Davis-stirling.com continues to answer them on his weekly newsletter. The importance of doing balcony inspections is without dispute however confusion reigns for many.

We appreciate cooperating with Davis-Stirling.com and helping to bring this important information to the public.

BALCONY DRY ROT
REPAIRSQuestions continue to come in about balcony inspections. To understand the importance of inspections, we start with a small science lesson. -Adrian
QUESTIONfungi.jpgYou keep referring to dry rot. What is it? Why do we have to inspect the waterproofing if it doesn’t stop wood from rotting when it’s dry?

ANSWER: The term “dry rot” is a…  Read the Rest by clicking here. https://arborescens.eocampaign.com/web-version?lc=a6c657f7-2409-11e9-a3c9-06b79b628af2&p=35924a2c-6eca-11eb-a3d0-06b4694bee2a&pt=campaign&t=1613311191&s=38043020ead20ad3c07e83a9510c76fb3709b6ea8afe1dae1461c5f6abdd6a69

We’re Growing Again! Two New Page’s Added to Our Site!

We’ve added two new pages to our site recently!

Our first new page is a collaboration with North America Deck & Railing Association  and it allows visitors to DeckExpert.com to find deck inspectors that have passed NADRA’s Deck Inspection Training. You’ll go to NADRA’s page when you click on their links.

Click here to find a deck inspector in the US & Canada. 

NADRA_logo

 

The second page we’ve recently added is for online web based courses on decks NADRA has an agreement with the Building Code College for you to either audit four courses on deck building, or to sign up and become a certified decking expert. The first version is free and we encourage everyone to audit the courses, Glen Mathewson, a recognized deck expert on building codes, wrote most if not all of the material. If you build/frame decks, this knowledge is very important. Take the time to take advantage of these educational opportunities and lets work towards making decks as safe as they can be.

Click here to start your way to becoming code proficient.

full-logo-1-e1391138470947