Decks and Balconies


Old 06-21-15, 05:42 PM
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Decks and Balconies

We get a lot of posts related to decks and it is often difficult to get the attention of the poster as to the risks and safety measures needed. But the recent tragedy in Berkeley is a warning as to how time and deterioration are not that forgiving. The article below points out some of the problems that can result from poor planning and/or poor construction.
How to collapse-proof your deck and balcony - MarketWatch

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Old 06-21-15, 05:58 PM
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It's just like bridge inspections. They must be done occasionally, and thoroughly to reveal any and all deficiencies. I have worked on punching high dollar houses just to note the decks are nailed to the house, no lags and no carriage bolts. It is amazing what less than honest builders will allow to take place on their builds.

If proper building techniques are used, good parts installed, and a frequent inspection made, I believe many deck problems could be averted. It is difficult to tell about the totally attached, non supported balcony in Berkeley. Just from my common sense, it would seem to be a difficult thing to ensure proper attachment.

Good article.
Old 06-21-15, 07:06 PM
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I agree Bud9051 a great article that points out some deficiencies about improperly installed decks. Even getting a contractor to install a deck though doesn't mean that it will be done right as the contractor might be unlicensed or if he is may not know how to properly build a deck. We had a situation like that at our house the deck in our case sits low to the ground so if it broke probably no one would be injured. However a few years ago we had a very well respected contractor come over to replace the wood boards with those plastic boards.

He noticed then that some of the decking was improperly done as it wasn't lagged to the house like it should have been done by code. He also made sure that the joists would be closer together to prevent deflection of the plastic decking since it is not as strong as wood.

The problem though in the whole Washington D.C. metro area of poorly constructed decks and sometimes fatal injuries has caused each jurisdiction to enact stronger laws regarding deck construction. In Virginia alone one year there were so many deck injuries it was hard to keep track of all of them and prompted emergency legislation. Hopefully in California they will have more frequent inspections and everywhere else to try to avoid a tragedy like this from happening again.

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