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Inspecting Wood Decks

Inspecting Wood Decks, CREIA Inspector Journal Spring 2016


May is national deck safety month. Decks are without a doubt one of the most dangerous areas on a property. Most would think you were crazy if you didn’t change the oil in your car, yet homeowners often overlook periodic deck maintenance. There are over 40 million wood decks in the US. We add about 300,000 new decks per year through new construction. It is estimated that half of all decks –that is roughly 20 million decks –are over 20 years old.

Many of those have significant deterioration, were improperly constructed, and/or utilize substandard construction methods. Newer decks are not immune for issues as they may be  subject to failure due to the impact of pressure-treated (PT) lumber and accelerated corrosion.

Most experts agree that the average service life of a wood deck is around 10-15 years. Many older decks were built prior to the codes providing any significant guidance. Unfortunately, wood decks are still viewed as a DIY project that can be built over a long weekend or something that the gardener or the handyman can do.

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