In my last post I talked about the importance of proper landscaping to keep our homes safe while making the yard beautiful. 2 Million decks a year are built and replaced in North America, and an overall part of the landscape. Some large and elaborate and some smaller sitting areas, either way many home owners often tackle the build themselves, resulting in structures not built to last and some very unsafe situations.
Because decks appear to besimple to build, many people do not realize that decks are, in fact, structuresthat need to be designed to adequately resist certain stresses. Like any otherhouse or building, a deck must be designed to support the weight of people,snow loads, and objects. A deck must be able to resist lateral and uplift loadsthat can act on the deck as a result of wind or seismic activity. Deck stairsmust be safe and handrails graspable. And, finally, deck rails should be safefor children by having proper infill spacing.
Facts about decking:
· More decks collapse in the summer than during the rest of the year combined.
· Almost every deck collapse occurred while the decks were occupied or under a heavy snow load.
· There is no correlation between deck failure and whether the deck was built with or without a building permit.
· There is no correlation between deck failure and whether the deck was built by a homeowner or a professional contractor.
· There is a slight correlation between deck failure and the age of the deck.
· About 90% of deck collapses occurred as aresult of the separation of the house and the deck ledger board, allowing the deck to swing away from the house. It is very rare for deck floor joists to break mid-span.
· Many more injuries are the result of rail failure, rather than complete deck collapse.
· Deck stairs are notorious for lacking graspable handrails.
· Many do-it-yourself homeowners, and even contractors, don't believe that rail in fill spacing codes apply to decks.
A well-built deck can increase the value of your property and potential buyers see it as one less thing to do upon moving in. A bad deck may be that one large strike against the property making it less desirable than another.
When planning your deck build,talk to a contractor/home inspector and consider these facts so you have a deck that will last for years and that is safe for your family and visitors.