It’s generally agreed that exterior decks have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. It seems like that is the rule for many appliances, so I guess decks wanted to get in the picture. Unlike a failed air conditioner that will cause discomfort, a fail deck can cause injury or death. Every year there are horror stories about a deck collapse. What can you do to help insure safety?
If you are purchasing a home, your Home Inspector should include a snapshot of your deck’s condition and point out the usual failure points. Over 50% of the decks I see have some issues either with connections to the building, improperly fastened joist hangers to rotten wood and bad railings. However, you may not be buying a home every Spring, and having a Home Inspector hanging around your house can be kind of creepy. There are other things you can do.
The North American Deck and Railing Association has a Deck Evaluation Form and a Consumer Checklist that you can download and do your own evaluation. Simpson Strong Tie has good information also. If anything looks wrong, or if you’re just not quite sure, please call a professional and have them check it out. Don’t ruin your Summer with a poor choice when it comes to deck safety…. Check it out!