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“An owner has a responsibility to ensure a deck structure is A) properly designed and built, and B) properly and frequently maintained” – web site for law firm.

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  1. Approximately 45 million existing decks in the United States attached to Residential Properties.
  2. Estimated that 40% of these are “safe”.
  3. North American Deck and Railing Association says , since 2000, over 30 deck collapse fatalities in US.
  4. Over 40 million decks in US over 20years old.
  5. Many failures are do to over-loaded/improperly built/secured railings.
  6. Standard design decks are not intended for kiddie pools, hot tubs, etc.
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Decks should be inspected on an annual basis. Inspection Highlights*:

  1. Check for proper fasteners.
  2. Check for proper fastener placement – particularly at deck. ledger/railings/handrails/stair stringers.
  3. Check for fastener decay.
  4. Check for wood rot/decay in ledger.
  5. Check for depressions around structural posts at grade.
  6. Check to assure sprinkler heads do not direct spray or water toward structural components.
  7. Check to make sure downspouts do not direct water toward structural members.
  8. Check to make sure intermediate vertical supports in rails are spaced such that a four-inch diameter sphere shall not pass between them.
  9. Check to assure rails and rail supports are adequate.
  10. Check to assure stair systems are properly anchored and in good repair.
  11. Check to assure hand rails are graspable and properly anchored.
  12. Check to make sure Rail posts are properly secured.
  13. Check to make certain deck boards are not rotted or over spanned.
  14. Check to make certain joists and beams are not rotted or over spanned.
  15. Check to make certain all connections are adequate and secure for intended load and purpose.

* Reference American Wood Council DCA6 – Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Guide

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The information contained is for discussion purposes only. No reliance should be placed upon its accuracy, nor should any actions be taken based on the contents of this material. It is not intended to be a comprehensive discussion of the subject matter. You should seek the advice of competent professionals to determine any action required.