Decks

Failure Statistics and Data

Based on data collected by the Consumer Product Safety Commission between 2003 and 2012, deck collapses have caused thousands of reported injuries and several deaths.   

 

“There are millions of decks in the U.S. that are beyond their useful life and may be unsafe."  - A leading manufacturer of deck components

 

“Decks cause more injuries and loss of life than any other part of the home structure.” - The Director of the Materials and Engineering Center at Washington State University

General risks & Cause of  failure 

Risks of failure are significantly increased as the deck ages. Regardless of age, it is a fact that most decks are not adequately constructed. Even a newer deck is likely to have a significant risk of failure. The risk of serious deck failure is far too great to ignore.  

 

The most common conditions that result in failures and or collapses of decks are poor or inadequate construction, weakening that occurs due to weathering and age, and lack of proper maintenance.  Regardless of the age of your deck, there are likely some aspects of the deck’s construction that present unstable and unsafe conditions.  

 

Failure is most likely to occur when the deck is in use.  Risk of failure increases greatly and can get extremely high when the deck is in use during family gatherings, parties, and similar times when a number of people are gathered on the deck.  It is very important to be sure your deck is reasonably sound before having a group of people on the deck.  Even if you don’t plan on having a group of people on the deck significant risk of failure remains.

Safety Evaluations

Common deck failures that are often catastrophic:

  • Failure at the deck to house connection.  

  • Corrosion of fasteners and connecting hardware.  

  • Failure due to improper and/or inadequate construction.  An example is the use of improper fasteners and connection techniques which is far too common.

  • Failure due to weakened damaged members due to aging and weathering.

  • Failure due to damaged members due to impact.

  • Overloading the capacity of the deck.  Adding a hot tub without proper additional structural support is a common mistake leading to a catastrophic failure.

Deck Inspection & Evaluation Service

We have inspected over 10,000 homes in our area. We have found a high percentage of decks and porches that have serious safety and soundness issues that could easily lead to failure. Because of this, we have developed a specific deck evaluation service designed to help you prevent and reduce the risk of serious deck failure.  

 

Our service includes a general and overall evaluation of the construction and structural integrity of your deck or porch.  We check for proper fasteners and connections and check their condition. We also evaluate the current overall condition of the various components of the deck.  The service includes recommendations for necessary corrections, maintenance needs, and current repair and/or upgrade needs. We give overall specific recommendations to improve the soundness and durability of your deck.   

Recommendations

Proper Care and Maintenance is Necessary:

Most experts agree that the average life expectancy of a wood deck is 10-15 years.  If a deck is properly constructed and maintained the life expectancy can be much greater.  However, few decks are properly constructed and many lack necessary and critical maintenance.  Due diligence is needed to reduce the risk of failure, provide for general safety, and to extend the useful life of your deck or porch.