Direct from NADRA, North American Deck & Railing Association’s web page on deck safety…this applies to wood and waterproof decks-check ’em for safety and life issues!
The number of deck failures and resulting injuries has been increasing at an alarming rate. Between 2000 and 2006, there have been at least 30 deaths reported as a direct result of deck collapses and more than 75 percent of people on a deck when it collapses are injured or killed, illuminating just how important it is for homeowners to check their deck. There are 40 million decks in the U.S. that are over 20 years old. At a conservative 1 percent, that means 40,000 decks are currently in need of repair or replacement. Taking that estimate to 10 percent brings the total number of unsafe decks to 4 million.
Its time to Check Your Deck! Homeowners should visit NADRA�s website at http://www.NADRA.org for the Check Your Deck – 10-Point safety checklist. �May is a great time to make your deck-check,� Beaudry says. �In parts of the country where there�s a lot of snow and ice, your deck could have developed a trouble spot over the winter.� Beaudry adds, �If you�ve never had your deck professionally inspected, make that appointment. A professional inspection will examine every inch of your deck, educate you on your deck�s capacity limits, identify any problem areas, and give you a map of what to keep your eye on in the future. If your deck is older, this might include a regular deck inspection schedule.�
If you find your deck is not safe to enjoy, NADRA advises taking immediate action to have it repaired or rebuilt as necessary and recommends the following tips to choose a deck builder.
* Ask friends and family members for referrals and contact state and local licensing authorities and trade associations such as NADRA.
* Meet with and carefully evaluate all potential deck builders. Ask to see a portfolio and some samples of the decking and railing materials they prefer to use. Good builders take pride in their work and will be enthusiastic about the possibility of creating a relationship.
* Pay attention to the deck builder�s experience, licensing, insurance coverage and professional references.
A key element of enjoying your deck for years to come is making sure it is safe and code compliant. When hiring a deck builder, there is more to consider than just price. In addition to the tips above, NADRA recommends homeowners contact their city or county building department to speak with an inspector with knowledge in deck construction.
For more information on Deck Safety Month, the Check Your Deck program and finding a reputable deck builder, visit http://www.nadra.org.