How safe is your Deck?

By | July 2, 2016

An article published in the Detroit News “Ask Angie” column on October 16, 2015, stated that per the Consumer Product Safety Commission, thousands of people are hurt on decks every year.  The higher the deck the more potential for serious injury.  The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors estimate that only 40 percent of existing decks are completely safe.

That is why the North American Deck and Railing Association recommends an annual inspection or safety check for any deck more than 10 years old.  Deck owners should:

  • Look for corroded or missing screws and fasteners
  • Look for split or decaying wood.  To check for wood decay, they particularly recommend that you expose the post where it goes in the ground.  If you can push a screwdriver into the wood which is below ground level, you likely have a structural problem.
  • Look for weak joints, excessive wobbling, missings flashing and weak railings.
If you deck needs professional help, contact a deck building professional.  Northville Lumber would be a good source for recommendations.   The cost of a professional deck inspection varies widely from $25 to $199 but it should include a structural safety check, general safety check and common building code violations delivered in written report, along with photos of any issues.  You can then use that report to get competitive quotes to correct any issues.
Remember, our decks are now over 10 years old, and are considered Limited Common Elements per the Association By-Laws and Master Deed.  As such, the maintenance and repair of the deck is the co-owners responsibility, not the responsibility of the Association.  Hence, any liability if someone were to get hurt on your deck would lie with you.  Be Safe!  Keep your Guests Safe!  Inspect your Deck!