Homeowners are first line of defense against unsafe decks - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Homeowners are first line of defense against unsafe decks

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Greg Dietz Greg Dietz
A crack in the top rail was found during the shake test. A crack in the top rail was found during the shake test.
A look at the joist hanger bracket. A look at the joist hanger bracket.
A rotted board was found during an inspection of the deck. A rotted board was found during an inspection of the deck.

SELLERSBURG, IN (WAVE) – After video surfaced of a 2013 roof deck collapse at a New Albany neighborhood center, some people have begun to question the safety of their personal decks.

Sellersburg building commissioner Greg Dietz suggested homeowners inspect their decks at least once a year.

[RELATED STORY: Family hopes deck collapse video will educate about potential deck dangers]

"Give it a shake test," said Dietz. "Shake tests are always good. If you shake it, it's not right."

According to Dietz, water damage and loose joints can also pose problems.

"We want to make sure it has light bolts that are actually going through the exterior all the way to the interior and hooking to the band board on the inside," said Dietz. "Make sure there's a flashing wall between the house and the deck. If there's not flashing wall between the house and the deck, you want a good feet of silicone behind there so that water won't run down there and actually rot out your band board where it connects."

Dietz said putting off needed repairs can become costly and dangerous.

"Does it have the proper bracing? Does it have the proper attachments? That's where you have most of the problems with the collapsing," said Dietz.

Without routine inspections, a collapse like that which occurred at a New Albany neighborhood clubhouse last year is not out of the question. However, unlike commercial properties, Dietz said he cannot cite homeowners for not maintaining their decks since it's their personal property.

"Just maintain your deck regularly," urged Dietz of the personal responsibility he believed homeowners should not let weather away over time.

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