One of the many things we need from a deck is that it be safe. We do not want to fall off the deck or get splinters from the deck and we do not want the deck to collapse underneath us.
We know that for a deck not to collapse, the materials out of which it is made must be strong enough to hold the weight of us, the weight of any furniture and other accessories we place on our deck, the weight of other decking materials and any pressure from wind or subsidence. To stay strong enough, the decking materials — whether they be wood or composite — must not easily decompose.
So what leads to deck collapse? Decks can fall apart where the nails or bolts are. Currently, contractors build decks with long bolts and these stay sturdy for a long time.
In the past, contractors built decks using nails in some parts of the deck and nailst to secure the deck to the building. Nails may be too short to begin with, or may rust and break. Bolts can also rust and break but are bigger to begin with so, if good quality, take longer to rust through. Because they are smaller, nails may not hold as well as a bolt in wood that is beginning to decay.
These days, the recommended method for attaching a deck to a building is using huge lag bolts. These are twelve inches long — compare that with nails that could be as short as an inch or two.
If you suspect your deck is unsafe, call Hal Co Fence to discuss it or talk to a local inspector.