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The average life expectancy of a well-maintained wood deck in Arlington, VA is 10 to 15 years. It is estimated that millions of decks are used today beyond their useful lifespan and may be unsafe. While there is no reliable source for statistics on how many decks exist in the United States, how many are built each year or by whom, we do know the number of deck collapses has increased over the years. As stated in a 2010 Legacy Services report: “Based on the statistics from the CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission), 224,000 people were injured nationally due to a deck or porch over the study period [2003 to 2007]. Nearly 15 percent of these injuries were a result of a structural failure or collapse.”
Deck failures can and should be prevented. The popularity of outdoor living space expands despite an increasing number of deck collapses. And most of us aren’t aware of the rising risks associated with deck failure.
If you plan to build a deck in Arlington, VA or have an aging deck, know how to inspect it to make sure it remains structurally sound and safe to use. Choosing appropriate connectors, joints and fasteners is crucial. Make sure coatings are specifically for exterior use and that all construction is completed in accordance with product warranty requirements.
Deck substructures are typically built from pressure treated lumber (PTL) which is durable and impervious to weather. Some PTL contains toxic chemicals, but natural alternatives are available. You can also consider tropical hardwoods, redwood, cedar or reclaimed wood products that offer built-in protection from resins and oils inherent in their biology.
Timely repairs and periodic application of a weatherproof sealant will keep your deck young. Routine maintenance to fight off premature deterioration is the secret to a safe, strong deck with stamina. Make regular inspections, looking for these clues to your deck’s structural integrity:
As you evaluate the safety and construction of your deck, consider consulting with a qualified deck contractor. Whether the inspection reveals a need for simple repairs, regular maintenance, or a total rebuild, your deck in Arlington, VA will remain safe and strong. Following these simple safety tips will help ensure your deck is structurally sound, properly maintained and available for your enjoyment for years.