This may come as a bit of a shock, but deck collapses are responsible for killing 20 people over the last 15 years and injuring over 900 more. Professionals estimate that nearly half of the wood decks in America are either poorly constructed or are at a stage of advanced decay, making them ticking time bombs for collapse.
So how do you know if your cedar deck is a risk? Here are a few signs that your deck may be ready to collapse:
1. Your deck moves. If your deck moves a lot when people walk on it, that’s a big red flag. To test its stability, walk out onto the deck and try to move it with your feet and your hips. Make a hula-hoop motion; if the deck starts to sway or move at all, you definitely want to get a professional to come look at it. It may need additional bracing or, if it’s over 25 years old, it may need to be replaced.
2. Support posts aren’t properly constructed. A well-built deck will have support posts that are held together by lag bolts, not nails. If your deck is missing lag bolts, call a professional to come install them.
3. Dry rot has moved in. Excess weight is only one cause of deck collapse. Dry rot can lead to deck collapse, as well. Dry rot occurs most often around fasteners or in areas where two boards overlap. If you notice dry rot, call a professional to replace the boards or the deck.
Ignoring a decaying deck can cause injury and even death. If you’d like to learn more about deck collapse and how it can be prevented, read these handy deck safety inspection guidelines or watch this deck safety news report.