When performing a home inspection an inspector frequently come across decks that are lacking the proper support and connections needed to ensure safety for the future home owner and anyone else that would ever visit the house. Decks should be inspected each and every year. Poor construction can lead to early failure and corrosion of connectors, and injury to people. Most home owners realize that the decks need cleaned and refinished every few years to help ensure that the wood will not deteriorate prematurely. What most home owners and sellers do not realize is that thousands of people are injured each year as a result of deck failures. These injuries could be avoided if the home owners had the decks inspected on a regular schedule such as once a year.
We recommend that all decks be inspected to ensure that the deck has been constructed properly. Often the decks will not have proper connections between the wood members. Collapse can occur if the connections are not properly made. The ledger board is an area which I have often seen that has issues. Ledger boards need to be properly attached to the home to prevent the deck from pulling away from the home and collapsing. Posts and beams need to be properly joined together and installed. Incorrect installation can lead to serious issues or even death. Many decks are constructed by home owners who may not have had the proper training and knowledge to construct a deck properly. The life expectancy of a deck is 10-15 years. With life expectancy limits and perhaps less than perfect installation it is easy to see why decks need to be inspected each year.
By having a deck inspected by an impartial inspector who does not get paid to build decks is a way to ensure that the inspection and report that you will receive is honest and unbiased. If you are a home owner do not hire a knowledgeable person to inspect the deck then how do you know if there is a serious safety issue before it is perhaps too late? Noticing that the deck is moving some with just your body weight is an indicator that there is an issue. However no movement of the deck does not mean the deck is safe. Have your deck inspected.