ASHI Recommends Regular Inspection of Residential Decks To Help Prevent Serious Accidents


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  • The American Society of Home Inspectors says America"s 40 million decks should be inspected every 2-3 years.
  • Most deck collapses are preventable and caused by aging or poorly built structures
  • An ASHI inspection can ensure your deck is safe and up to code.

DES PLAINES, Ill., (May 15, 2013) "With more than 40 million decks attached to American homes, it"s clear that they are a popular feature for homeowners. However, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) cautions that decks need to be inspected regularly to prevent serious accidents that can lead to fatalities. Decks can collapse in a split-second which is why ASHI is reminding homeowners to "Inspect the Deck" in May during Deck Safety Month. A professional evaluation of the structural safety of an exterior deck can help identify problem areas.

"Most deck collapses should be preventable," said Bill Jacques, ASHI president. "That"s the reason so many communities have updated their building codes for decks. Don"t make the mistake of assuming that because you think it was well built in the first place, your deck is still safe. Decks are vulnerable to wear and tear and should be inspected at least every three years."

Common deck and patio hazards often are simply the result of aging which causes wood to deteriorate and metal structures to weaken. Other areas to examine include:

  • Railings " In general, railings have to be between 36 to 42 inches high. Vertical rails are also required to help prevent objects from falling over the side. Railings are often the first to deteriorate.
  • Structural joints " Decks should never be fastened to the adjacent building by nails, a common, although illegal, indicator the structure is not secure. The deck should be fastened with bolts and an ASHI inspector can recommend the correct type and size.
  • Joist systems " These systems are the major support structures of a deck and should be installed with steel supports and ties. Over time, this system can fail allowing decks to sheer away from the home and fall straight down.

"Decks are an ideal place to enjoy warm weather, but if they aren"t structurally sound, they are the wrong place to spend the summer," said Jacques.

Visit for more information. ASHI's "Find a Home Inspector" directory allows homeowners to locate an inspector in their area by language or services provided.

About the American Society of Home Inspectors
Founded in 1976 and with more than 5,000 members, ASHI is the oldest and most widely recognized non-profit, professional organization of home inspectors in North America. Its Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics is the industry standard. For more information, visit ASHI online. To stay connected to ASHI news and updates, please visit the association"s Facebook Fan Page and Twitter.