Did you know that since 2003 over 6,500 people have been injured from deck collapses?
This is a serious statistic, especially given the fact that nearly everyone has a deck or porch attached to their homes.
It’s easy to put off replacing your deck or even inspecting it for safety. But it’s important to be in the clear when it comes to the sturdiness and lifespan of your deck.
Read on to learn more about signs that you need a new deck, so you can be on the lookout for replacement opportunities.
1. An Unsteady Railing
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Many decks have a railing attached to them. These may be decorative, especially if the deck is at ground level. But many deck railings are designed as a safety measure to keep people safe from falling off of the deck itself.
Unsteady, wobbly, or otherwise unstable railings are a safety hazard and a sure sign that a new deck is in order. Simply bracing wobbly railings or hammering in new nails is not a good solution.
Railings can lose their sturdiness from heavy leaning, (they are, after all, a solid boundary people like to stand near) or from extensive rotting or damage to the deck itself.
Test the strength of your railings by wobbling them a bit or safely leaning against them. Healthy decks will have railings that feel as strong as steel. Any wobbliness means it’s time to contact a decking company right away.
To make sure no one leans against an unsteady railing. Put up caution tape or orange cones. This is especially important if the deck is not at ground level.
2. Unstable Joists
Joists are what keep your deck together and hold it up. It’s important to inspect your joists regularly because they can be a direct cause for collapsed decks or porches.
If your joists are made of wood, it’s especially important to inspect them for damage, rotting, or sagging. Don’t just take a glimpse of them while you’re walking around your house–actually touch them and get under the deck if possible.
Warning signs that it’s time to get a new deck include rotting wood and material that’s soft to the touch. Joists can become unstable as a result of water damage or even termite infestations.
Contact a decking company right away if your joists so signs of extensive damage, and make sure to not use your deck until it is replaced.
3. Your Deck is Simply Too Old
If you’ve purchased your house from previous owners, you may not be sure of your deck’s age. A new deck is definitely in order if your deck is too old or past building code regulations.
Research building regulations in your area so that you can make sure your deck doesn’t violate codes. Check your deck’s age against these regulations.
If you aren’t sure about your deck’s age or standing with regulations, you can easily call a decking company for an inspection. At Decks and Docks Lumber Company, we’re more than happy to perform an inspection for the sake of your family’s safety.
4. There Are Sagging and/or Rotting Materials
If you walk across your deck and the boards sag, it’s definitely time to consider a new deck. Pay attention to where the sagging is occurring–sagging could be the result of water damage to joists or to the floorboards themselves.
Also, inspect the ends of the boards that piece together your deck floor. If they show signs of rotting or softening, especially if the material is wood, it’s time for a new deck.
5. Your Posts Aren’t Secure
The posts that support your deck are essential to its strength and long life. Posts hold up joists which hold up the decking itself.
It’s important for your posts to be connected securely to joists and flooring. Inspect the stability of your posts by giving them a good shake. Any wobbling means an immediate safety hazard–call a decking company right away.
Also, pay attention to how your posts are secured to the joists. These should be secured with heavy-duty bolts or other metal work. If they’re held together by standard nails, this isn’t secure enough of a connection. It’s time for a new deck!
6. Ledger Boards Are Ineffective or Unstable
Ledger boards are an essential component of your deck’s integrity. They connect your deck securely to your home.
Pay close attention to the status of your ledger boards. Are they wobbly, unstable, or damaged in any way? Loose or unsecured ledger boards are a safety hazard and could lead to the collapse of your deck.
You’ll also want to make sure that ledger boards create a watertight connection to your house. Water damage is a leading factor in deck collapses. Ledger boards should also have secure flashing to repel water.
7. You Are Simply Unsure
If you’ve closely inspected your deck and simply aren’t sure if it’s time for a replacement, contact the professionals.
Even a small issue can lead to a deck collapse or need for replacement. This includes a wobbling desk board, splintered railing, and damaged post.
At the very least, it will be worth it to get a professional inspection so that you’ll know when it’s time for a new deck.
Signs That You Need a New Deck
Deck safety means your safety, and it’s important to recognize the signs that it’s time to replace your deck. Homeowners should check in on their deck stability on a regular basis to ensure that all household members stay safe.
Signs that you are in need of a new deck include damaged or rotting joists and deck floorboards, which could result from water damage or pest infestations. Pay close attention to the way posts are secured to the deck itself, and check in on the age of your deck to make sure it fits building regulations.
It’s also imperative to inspect ledger board quality and your railing’s stability.
At Decks and Docks Lumber Company, we know when it’s time for a deck replacement. We are here for you. Give us a call to schedule an inspection today so that you can feel good about your deck health!
We’re available nights, weekends, and weekdays.