You said it yourself: floors are inside and therefore more protected, while decks are outside and subject to all the forces of nature as well as natural wear and tear. Interior floors also generally have better support joists and more protected connections to the main frame of the house.
Our structural collapse attorneys note that the different woods of which an outdoor deck might be composed are subject to varying aging and wear effects. Whether the wood has been adequately treated or not is an issue. And treatments that might better protect the wood might corrode the connecting hardware faster.
The connections between the components of the deck and guardrail and between the deck and the house are usually the most critical issues. If builders “notch” the guardrail posts at the bottom, for instance, this considerably weakens the posts and might lead to their collapse if guests lean against them.
Our structural collapse attorneys suggest that you inspect your deck regularly at least once per year. It’s preferable to get a trained, qualified inspector to look at the deck. A couple hundred dollars spent on an inspection could save you thousands in injury liability if the deck collapses. Look at:
- Whether your deck’s wood is pressure treated, decayed, or shows signs of infestation or rot;
- The overall condition of the wood;
- The structure of the deck;
- The size, spacing, and composition of the connection fasteners (these should always be bolts rather than nails);
- The spacing and installation of the connection fasteners;
- The condition of the flashing (weatherproofing) on the ledger board between the deck and the house. A loose or inadequate flashing could allow water seepage into the main connection with the house and consequent rot.
- Whether there is a ledger board and flashing (lack of these indicates a weak connection to the main house. The deck could pull free and collapse at any time).
Contact us after a Deck Collapses: Always a Free Legal Consultation
The experienced structural collapse attorneys at Denena & Points always offer you a FREE initial legal consultation. You have no obligation to hire an attorney. Just give us a call at 281-39-4363 for your free consultation. Or fill out our online contact form. We’ll answer your questions and help you find your path to the road to financial recovery after a serious deck collapse injury.