The number of decks that have sunk, fallen apart, or failed in any other way has increased in recent years. These failures could have been avoided in many of those situations if regular maintenance had been performed. The most common causes of deck collapses and railing failures are old age, inadequate maintenance, insufficient deck installation, or overload capacity. More than 40 million decks in the United States are now more than 20 years old and were designed before existing building codes mandated the use of bolts rather than nails to secure the deck to the house. The most common cause of deck collapse is an improper connection to the house. Collapses occur suddenly and without warning. Over the winter, heavy snow will weaken and ruin your deck, making spring the perfect time to inspect and fix your deck before opening it for the summer season. Hiring a licensed home inspector, deck designer, or engineer to inspect your deck is a brilliant idea.
Here are the following tasks that should be included in your checklist if you choose to inspect your deck on your own:
Grills, chimneys, candles, heaters, and fire pits – Keep these things away from combustible areas or use a non-flammable pad to cover the deck.
Surrounding trees – Overhanging branches should be trimmed, and any decayed or weakened limbs should be removed to prevent them from dropping and destroying your deck.
Rot or splitting wood – Check for rot or splitting wood with an ice pick or a flat screwdriver.
Support joists and posts – Check the structural integrity of all the support posts and joists.
Stairs and deck boards – Check that the deck boards and stairs are not buckling or swaying. Risers and strings should be fastened tightly.
Outdoor storage and furniture – Examine the state of your deck furniture to ensure it is in good working order.
Flashing – Remove any debris that has accumulated between the house and the ledger board’s flashing.
Cleaning and Maintenance – Clear the deck of everything, namely furniture and plants, and sweep away leaves and debris. Soap and water can be used to clean the deck.
Electrical and lighting – Make sure the lighting and electrical outlets are in good working order.
Damaged or loose fasteners – Examine the ledger board to ensure that all fasteners are secure and in good working order. Tighten loose nails and screws, and patch those that have become rusted.
Banisters and railing -Make sure the railing and banisters are stable and not swaying. When you press on them, they should not give at all.