Sadly, deck collapses have been making the news lately. There was the tragic deck collapse in California that resulted in 6 deaths; one in Ohio that injured 8 students in the spring, and a collapse in North Carolina this past weekend that injured up to a few dozen family members who were posing for a photo at a holiday gathering. A similar family portrait scenario happened to an Indiana family last Christmas.
AP requested deck collapse statistics from Consumer Product Safety Commission, who reported that since 2003:
- 6,500 people have been injured in porch and deck failures
- 29 fatalities occurred
- 4,600 emergency room visits were associated with deck collapses
- 1,900 emergency room visits were associated with porch failures
Decks are exposed to the elements and just like roofs or any other part of your house, may require replacement or repair when they are older. Whether you are a homeowner or a business that hosts gatherings or meetings on a porch or deck, be sure to:
- Check your deck regularly for wear & tear. Experts advise a professional inspection
- Hire only licensed professionals if you need repairs, and be sure you are in compliance with codes & permits
- Learn the load-bearing capacity of your deck and do not overload
- Make sure that your homeowners insurance or business insurance coverage is up-to-date!
Here are some resources to help you learn more about deck inspection
- PropertyCasualty360.com: Inspect your deck: An infographic on inspection and safety tips for homeowners
- North American Deck & Railing Association (NADRA): Deck Safety Consumer Checklist (PDF) and Deck Evaluation Form (PDF)
- American Society of Home Inspectors: Experts recommend checking your home’s deck frequently
- Fiberon Decking: How safe is your outdoor deck space?
- This Old House: Deck Safety Checklist