There’s no doubt that all of the snow we’ve gotten has caused problems with a lot of decks in our area. Decks can, and do collapse due to heavy snow and ice. Now that the snow has started to melt, you may think you don’t have to be concerned anymore. If your deck was under a heavy load of snow this winter though, there could be possible damage caused from all the weight. You might notice that your deck feels wobbly. That is typically a clear indication that it may need maintenance. But even if your deck feels stable, there are some other signs that you should look for to avoid damage or injury.
One of the most common sources of deck failure is where the deck attaches to the house, or the ledger board. Your siding was most likely cut to install the ledger board, so it’s important that flashing was used to protect your home from moisture. Flashing is a thin sheet of water-resistant material that creates a barrier and directs water flow. Make sure this ledger flashing is not missing, so that water runs away from the house and doesn’t get behind your siding. Also check that your ledger board is secure and not separating from the house, and confirm that it’s secured by ledger locks, not by nails or lag screws. Ledger locks are the only fasteners that should be used to ensure your deck is able to support significant weight and not rip away from your house. Look to see that step hangers were been used to securely fasten your steps. Check these and your other fasteners as well – like the joist hangers and hurricane clips – for missing nails, rust or corrosion. Also make sure that all post beam connections are strong.
It’s also important to look for rotting or weak spots on your posts, decking and railing, especially if your deck is made of wood. Both humidity and moisture can cause wood to rot fairly quickly if not regularly inspected and maintained.
A good deck needs to be designed and built to support the weight of people, snow and objects. Taking the time to inspect your deck for potential problems will help ensure your safety and save on repair expenses later on. If you’d like a free inspection for your deck, contact the professionals at Leingang Home Center.