I chose this video because it has a happy ending … but many deck collapses result in serious injury or death. The most tragic aspect relates to how preventable those injuries and deaths really are.
It is usually the festive events, as recorded in this video, that populate the family porch. Family and friends of all ages … young and old … gather and play while oblivious to the missing lag screws (that should be attaching the deck to the house) or the over spanned joists and so on.
Sometimes, more than one story from the ground below, a loud crack and a sudden plunge can bring the most festive parties to a bitter and frightening end.
I find many, many decks on homes in Southwest Missouri that are dangerous when I perform home inspections for my clients. Some folks will immediately address the issues and have the proper repairs made while others will shrug them off as they listen to someone tell them “It’s stood up just fine all these years.”
In many cases – particularly in homes that overlook scenic lakefronts or the beautiful Ozark mountains – these decks are the main attraction that my client has for the house. Wanting the deck to be safe is not enough, however. Making it safe is what prevents tragedy.
When you buy the house, have it inspected by a full-time professional and when you are made aware of the defects … do something about them. Then, regularly check the structure yourself for new cracks, separations and rot and correct new issues before inviting the family and friends to your next big party.