How safe is your deck? - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

How safe is your deck?

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There are outward signs you can look for to see how stable the deck on your home or your apartment is. There are outward signs you can look for to see how stable the deck on your home or your apartment is.
Thad Adams Thad Adams
Adams said each week, decks built off of people's homes give way. Adams said each week, decks built off of people's homes give way.
Adams said most wood decks are built to last anywhere from 10 to 30 years. Adams said most wood decks are built to last anywhere from 10 to 30 years.

LANESVILLE, IN (WAVE) - More than 20 people were rushed to hospitals after a deck collapsed on a condo in Ocean Isle, North Carolina. A similar collapse occurred in Louisville in 2012.

There are outward signs you can look for to see how stable the deck on your home or your apartment is.

"This happens more often than we would care to think," said Thad Adams, owner of Adams Construction Services, Inc. in Jeffersonville.

Adams said each week, decks built off of people's homes give way.

"If the deck is this high off the ground, the same things can happen but it just doesn't get as much attention," he said.

Adams said you can use your eyes to make sure yours isn't vulnerable, starting with the boards that support the floors, "It's very critical that when you see them at a distance there's not a sag or a belly in them."

Where those boards connect with the main support, you want to see metal and screws bolting the decking to the home's interior floor supports, not nails.

"Otherwise if these joist hangers are absent, then you're just relying on a few nails on each side to support this joist," he said.

If you see a lot of space where the deck meets the house, Adams said you have a problem because that deck could be separating from the home.

"What happens is the deck actually shifts and comes off the house and then it collapses that way because it is held up by the posts right here," he said.

Adams said it's a good idea for you to check out all of these things yearly and if you don't feel comfortable with what you see, call in a professional, but keep in mind, even well-constructed and maintained decks aren't built to load up with people.

"They're typically built for a load of anywhere from 50-100 pounds per square foot," he said.  "So if you've got 24 people on a deck that's even smaller than this, it could be possible that the deck was overloaded. It could have been built completely to code but if it's overloaded."

He said most wood decks are built to last anywhere from 10 to 30 years and you can extend the life of yours by making sure you re-stain it every two to six years.

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