Deck Inspections

More Than Meets the Eye

More than 2 million deck construction projects take place annually in North America. According to InterNACHI, about 40 percent of these projects involve building new decks. Of the remaining 60 percent, roughly half involve replacing old decks, and the rest involve repairing them.

Decks may seem easy to build, but many people don’t realize just how many different types of force a deck needs to withstand. Like any other home or building, a deck needs to be designed to support a load of people, snow, and objects. A deck needs to be able to resist lateral forces that can act on the structure as a result of wind and seismic activity. Stairs must be safe and handrails graspable. Finally, deck railings should be childproofed by having proper post spacing.

What is a Deck Failure?

A deck failure is defined as any failure of a deck that could lead to injuries, such as rail failure or total collapse. There is no internationally accepted system for tracking deck failures, and they are often treated as isolated events rather than systemic problems. Most local governments do not investigate the causes of deck failures, and the media are typically more interested in reporting any resulting injuries. Rail failures occur far more frequently than total collapses, but because rail failures are less spectacular than total collapses, injuries resulting from rail failures are seldom reported.