Just like your home, it's important to make sure your deck is built right. Most experts agree that the average life expectancy of a wood deck is 10 to 15 years. It is estimated that there are millions of decks in the U.S. that are beyond their useful life and may be unsafe. In fact, the number of deck collapses has increased in recent years. Since 1999, there have been more than 850 reported injuries an deaths as a result of deck failures.
If you're building a deck or have an existing deck, you should know how to evaluate its construction to make sure it's structurally sound and safe. Using the proper structural connectors and fasteners (like nails and screws) as well as regular maintenance are the keys to a safe, strong deck. We invite you to learn more about how to make your deck safe.
1. Ledger Attachment
The ledger connection, where the deck connects to the house, is the most common failure point on a poorly built deck. It's very important to use lag screws (SDS) or through-bolts rather than nails to secure your deck to the ledger board.
The floor joists intersect into a beam or ledger board and must be properly secured.
The beams must be secured to the joists that support the floor of the deck.
The post must be properly connected to the beams underneath the deck.
5. Railing Post-to-Deck Framing
People often get injured due to weak or wobbly railings on a deck. The railing must be properly attached to the perimeter of the deck as well as the floor joists running underneath the deck.
6. Stair Stringer-to-Deck Framing
The stair stringers that run along each of the stair steps (or treads) must be secured to the deck framing.
7. Stair Tread-to-Stringer
Each stair step (or tread) must be tied to the stair stringers.
Post bases are used to connect the post to the footing or concrete slab underneath your deck.