RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Aging deck structures, harsh storms, high temperatures and a lack of routine maintenance due to limited financial resources in a difficult economy are all factors that can put homeowners with decks at serious risk of injury for themselves, their families and guests.
There are more than 40 million decks in the United States that are more than 20 years or older, according to the North American Deck & Railing Association (NADRA) and hundreds of reported deck accidents occur annually. The experts at Archadeck (www.archadeck.com) the nation's largest outdoor living company, recommend checking the structural integrity of decks each spring and fall to ensure safety, especially for decks that are more than 10 years old.
The help homeowners determine if their deck is safe, Archadeck is sharing seven deck safety inspection guidelines with the acronym of "BE SAFER":
- Boards: Check deck boards for rot, softness or major cracking.
- Every Connection: Inspect every hardware connection on the deck. Look for screws and/or nails backing out, red rust and other signs of corrosion on metal connectors that can weaken the integrity of the deck.
- Structure: Look at the posts, beams and joists that provide the structural framework of the deck. Is there any noticeable sagging between supports?
- Attachments: Most deck failures occur at the attachment site to the home. Ensure that the deck is properly attached to the house with bolts and proper flashing for water protection. NEVER use nails!
- Foundation/Footings: The foundation and footings support the weight, or load, on a deck and the columns that bear on them. Look for sinking or a noticeable sag.
- Exits: Check deck's exit areas, usually stairs. Are the stair stringers, treads and risers ok? Do the stairs require a handrail? Is there adequate lighting to safely use the exits at night?
- Rails: Look at rail posts and railing sections to make sure that they aren't loose or wobbly. All pickets/balusters should be fastened securely and spaced no more than four inches apart.
For a professional deck safety inspection, contact Archadeck at 888-687-3325 or visit http://www.archadeck.com/.