Every homeowner or community with balconies and walkways should have an established maintenance plan for their decking that includes routine inspections. Studies reveal a sharp increase in deck failures in the United States between the years of 2000 and 2006. These deck failures resulted in over 33 deaths and 1,122 injuries. Last year alone there were an estimated 2.5 million decks installed or replaced in the United States.
InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) estimates that of existing decks only about 40% of them are safe. In fact, the number of injuries and deaths are likely to continue to rise because more and more decks are being constructed and existing decks continue to deteriorate. The ICC (International Code Council) suggests completing inspections of decks, balconies, and elevated porches once a year. Deck experts agree that the most common sources for deck failures are comprised substrates and framing, sheet metal flashing, guard rails, and transitions to various deck and waterproofing components. Homeowners and community associations should be aware of the many factors and conditions that can affect the structural integrity of a deck:
-Dry or wet rot of wood components
-Rotten plywood and comprised substrate
-Rusted sheet metal flashing
-Seaside corrosion and exposure to the elements
-Lack of proper building practice
-Cracking or delamination of traffic coats and membranes
-Bubbles or gassing
-Flaking or peeling
-Handrails or guardrails
-Balustrades and railing walls
-Lack of proper sloping
In accordance with the ICC, NADRA (North American Deck and Railing Association) urges homeowners to complete inspections of their balconies and decks routinely to avoid costly safety issues and repairs. Identifying the potential issues listed above can save you or your community association the frustrations and costs of deck safety hazards and liabilities. Contact WICR today for more information regarding our deck inspection services.