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Summer Entertaining - Is My Deck Safe?

Throughout the summer, many of us will find ourselves socializing with family and friends on decks. The last thing anyone wants is for a celebration to turn sour when a deck collapses. Unfortunately though, this is not an uncommon event, especially when decks are loaded with extra guests during special summer events. People can incur serious injuries, even death, when decks fail.

One of the many things that can cause a deck to be unstable is when the ledger board is mounted incorrectly, like this one below, which is mounted to the house with only nails.

Is my deck safe?

Movement of people on the deck can be enough to pull the nails from their non-secured position in the wall of the home.

While the mechanics of building a wood deck may seem fairly straightforward to an average DIY homeowner, there are shortcuts that should never be taken. One of those is using the proper anchor materials for the ledger board to the home. Lag bolts or lag screws at a minimum of ½” diameter are required to be properly secured and safe.

Most deck accidents are preventable. They mostly occur because framing for the house lacks a secure band joist to which lag bolts are supposed to be attached. Unfortunately, it is not until after a deck collapse that most owners pay closer attention to framing details that were omitted.

We've talked about the recommended process of building a deck before on this blog. Click here before you start thinking of building that new deck on your own.

Visit NADRA.org (The North American Deck and Railing Association) for more deck safety information, including a Checklist to use right now to make sure your deck is safe.