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Is Your Deck Safe? How To Tell If Your Deck Needs an Upgrade

June 13, 2022

According to information gathered by the North American Deck Association, they estimated close to half of all the decks in the United States are past their safe, useful life, requiring repair or replacement.

How do I Know If My Deck is Safe?Is Your Deck Safe? How To Tell If Your Deck Needs an Upgrade, Quaker State Construction

If you have a deck, you may be wondering if your deck is nearing the end of its lifespan and how you can tell whether it is safe or not. So how do you know if your deck is safe?

One way you can tell is to perform an inspection of your deck or have a professional perform an inspection. During the inspection, they will look for five common issues such as softened/aged joists, wobbly railings, warped or cracked boards, stairs that are out of code, and any loose fasteners located above or below the deck.

Why Railings are Crucial to Deck Safety

In many cases, decks fail their inspections because of the railing being in disrepair or not up to code based on the standards set by the International Residential Code and the codes set by your local government.

Wooden deck railings can become damaged or decayed over time which can cause them to become unsafe to use. A Faulty railing could lead to injuries and costly damages, so it’s crucial to check the safety of your deck railing when inspecting your deck.

Importance of Deck Joists

The deck joists are a critical part of your deck and play a major role in its structural integrity. These joists serve as a support beam that runs perpendicular to the house and connects the deck to your home. Additionally, they support the deck boards.

Since they are underneath everything, they are often “out of sight, out of mind.” If a deck joist becomes compromised, this can lead to the deck collapsing. With an inspection, you can determine if the joists are bad and prevent a dangerous situation and costly damage.

If you have wooden joists, the wood should be hard with no give. You should also check the joists for rot and cracks that can compromise them. If you find any damage, rot, or cracks, it’s time to replace your deck.

Tips for Determining if Your Deck Boards are Bad

The deck boards are located on top of the frame of the deck and serve as the floor of the deck. They are the most exposed to the elements and need to be resealed and restained. Eventually, they also require replacement to ensure they are safe to walk on.

In Pittsburgh, your deck boards are exposed to heavy rains and rapid freeze-thaw cycles that can cause them to decay faster compared to other areas. Check deck boards for cracking or warping. If they are cracked, warped, or damaged in any way, it’s time to replace them.

Instead of wood, you may want to consider composite decking that provides you with the look of wood without extensive maintenance. They can withstand harsh weather and will not fade in the sun.

Why Fasteners are Important to Deck Structure

Deck fasteners are small objects with a big role in the safety of your deck. Your deck fasteners are what hold everything on your deck together. Faced fasteners are screwed into the boards, so they will be exposed to the harsh Pittsburgh elements just like the deck boards. You need to check that your fasteners are tight and free of rust to ensure they are safely holding the deck together.

Ready to Rebuild Your Deck? Quaker State Construction Can Help!

If your current deck is unsafe, the expert team at Quaker State Construction can help you rebuild a new, safer deck to enjoy! Contact us today to learn more!