Why did my Galveston deck collapse during a family BBQ? | DENENA | POINTS

The deck failure injury attorneys at Denena & Points emphasize that poor construction is the number one reason for deck failure. The most common point of failure for Galveston decks is at the connection to the house where nails might have been used instead of screws and bolts, or improper joists and spacing between connectors weakened the connection to the house.

You need to have lag bolts between every other joist. Make sure the bolts actually penetrate into the house structure and not just to the siding.

 Usually when Galveston decks suddenly collapse and fail, they have been connected to the house by nails. Nails are smooth and have no strong anchorage into the house. Our deck failure injury attorneys caution that nails will pull out of the structure as the deck torques away from the supports.

 Inspect your deck a couple times a year, perhaps at the beginning of spring and at the end of the summer. Check the connections at the support posts and the decking. If they are separated, stay off. The deck is beginning to collapse and fail.

 Your Galveston deck should really be constructed with screws and joist hangers to prevent the deck connections from separating from the house. Our deck failure injury attorneys point out that your deck’s joists will rot just like the main deck structure. Chances are that this rot will not be visible. But it might be felt, for instance as a softness or a give in the deck. For stability, you need to use joist hangers to place your deck joists.

 In your deck inspection, you might be alarmed to find that your deck stairs hang from the structure on just a metal strap or two without any vertical bracing. So basically, all that holds your deck stairs up are a few nails and a thin, perforated steel band. Shockingly, you might find that the interior stairs of your home have been constructed in just the same way.

 This is not secure or stable construction, yet it is a very common construction technique. It’s quick and it’s cheap. And you tend to get what you pay for.

 If your Galveston deck stairs are pulling away from the decking, you might see the separation at the top edge of the steps or at the bottom, or both. Look for this condition in your interior stairs too. If you find this separation, don’t use the stairs until they have been repaired, or replaced.

 Our deck failure injury attorneys mention that the second most common cause for deck failure is wood rot. People that experience deck collapse from rot say there is no warning. The deck doesn’t creak or moan; it just collapses. Wood rot is a fungus that eats wood. When wood’s moisture content reaches about 20%, rot begins. Wood rot is nature’s way of recycling dead wood and nature doesn’t really care if that dead wood forms your beloved deck. Even treated wood will rot over time.

 If your deck inspection finds any deficiency in the deck, railings, or stairs, be sure to repair the defects as soon as possible. And always perform needed maintenance, such as treating the top and underside of the decking periodically, to maximize the life and safety of your Galveston deck. A well-constructed and maintained deck could last you for many years and provide a fine gathering place for friends and family.

 An improperly constructed and maintained deck, on the other hand, could mean serious injury or death for family members or guests as well as heavy liability issues for you. So take good care of your deck and conduct regular inspections and maintenance. Learn more about the causes of deck failure and how to prevent it. Conveniently download our free report on balcony and deck collapse right from this web page.