Many decks are built by homeowners or handypersons without permits, leading to unsafe decks. In fact, there are thousands of injuries per year due to deck structural failures or collapses, as stated by The Consumer Product Safety Commission. However, a trained eye can tell if your deck is safe.
A Structurally Sound Deck Prevents Collapse
A structurally sound deck must be constructed according to local building codes and industry standards. If the design is not constructed to code, the deck may not be able to support the intended load. Moreover, decks must be built with durable and stable support structures. Otherwise, the supporting posts, beams, or joists deteriorate over time, which can, unfortunately, lead to a collapse.
An Example of a Structurally Unsound Deck
Columns are the vertical pieces of lumber in these pictures. They sit on round concrete piers, hopefully reaching a soil depth below the frost line. Most jurisdictions will allow the column to rest in the middle 1/3 area of the pier. However, the columns in this image rest on the edges of the piers. This puts a concentrated load on the edge of the pier, leading to a hazardous deck. Furthermore, degradation is evident in the concrete pier.
It’s crucial to have a structurally sound deck designed and built by qualified professionals who adhere to local building codes to prevent deck collapses. Further, inspections are essential to identify and address potential issues before they become critical safety hazards. If you have concerns about the safety of your deck, contact us to come inspect!