Deck Season Y’All!

caved-in-deck-1-300x199How old is your home? Does it have a deck?

 We all know homes with decks still standing after 5 hurricanes and that historic family reunion last year, but with deck collapses recently on the rise and in the news, you may not want to go for that last summer party of 30 – 50 dancing guests without a real pause! Chances are, if your deck is more than 10 – 15 years old, it may be beyond its intended life and may be very unsafe.

When it comes to decks, don’t simply rely on your eyes; just because you think it may not look bad, doesn’t mean it isn’t bad! With approximately 40 million decks in the US aged over 20 years old, it’s time to ask some serious questions:

  • Does your deck bounce just a little when you walk across it?
  • Any loud creaking?
  • Do you have wobbly rails, or steps?
  • Do you have a ledger board? (*This answer MUST be a “yes”; if you answer “no”, see below)
  • Are the joists pulling away from your home?
  • Do you see only wood and nails?
  • Are any of those nails rusted, or popping out of the wood?
  • Were your deck posts built into concrete footings?
  • Have the vertical posts moved or shifted off the surface of the footings?
  • Any mold, discoloration, mildew or soft, fraying spots in the wood?
  • Do you see cracked or warped planks?

With the exception of the ledger board question, how many of those questions did you answer, “Yes? Just one “yes” and you may have a little problem that’s about to become a massive, dangerous problem very quickly! Time to call your Marietta home professionals – this is NOT a DIY project!

Screen-Shot-2015-07-11-at-10.08.21-PM-300x173*As far as the ledger board is concerned, that MUST be a “yes”. If you do not have a ledger board, your deck is a ticking time bomb! A deck without a ledger board not only defies Georgia building code standards, it means that your deck is not fastened to your house. For safety’s sake, do not allow anyone, or your animals, to walk on that deck. The mere weight of the deck itself, or a windy day, could spell calamity.

With more stringent building codes in effect in Georgia since 2013, many decks built prior to this time just do not measure up. Add inferior workmanship and builders who cut corners to get a quick payday, and you have all the ingredients in place for disaster. Next blog, we’ll cover what you MUST look for if you want that dancing summer party to end in laughter, not in tears.

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