Ahhhh, May! That favorite time of year when we really begin to prepare our outdoor living areas in anticipation of the barbecues, games, and luxurious lounging that is sure to follow in the coming summer months.
Having been around for over 45 years with over 175 million square feet of vinyl decking installed throughout North America, Duradek wants to be sure that your deck is still the best it can be.
While the obvious task of cleaning any organic debris, dirt, and soil from the deck or patio surface is usually the first step for many homeowners, be sure to include the critical step of a complete deck inspection. Paying particular attention to the waterproofing details on and around your deck such as the caulking around posts and drains can help you isolate any vulnerabilities in your deck before weakening can occur or unfortunate accidents can take place.
May is Deck Safety Month ®
The North America Deck & Railing Association (NADRA) is the decking industry’s most visible association, and they have a very strong consumer focus. Deck safety is a critical issue to NADRA, and the organization has a mandate of increasing public awareness of the necessity of regular inspections and maintenance of existing decks, and proper installation of new decks. This initiative prompted NADRA to declare May as Deck Safety Month ® in 2006.
NADRA estimates that there are more than 60 million decks in the U.S. Of these, an estimated 30 million decks are past their useful life and need to be replaced. This makes deck safety a critical issue that must be addressed. NADRA helps to make it easy by providing a Deck Safety Consumer Checklist and a Deck Safety Evaluation Form for builders. These fantastic free tools help keep all your deck renovation assessment details together. It is a handy reference when getting estimates or discussing project options. You can access these practical, free tools on the NADRA website Deck Safety page.
History Points to the Need for Deck Safety
Deck collapses happen far too frequently and when they do happen, they happen fast. Each year we seem to hear of some deck disaster that could have potentially been avoided with a little focus on deck safety.
- For example, the Christmas Party in Indiana in December 2013 where a group photo on the deck was interrupted as the deck gave way with no warning, sending two dozen family members crashing to the ground.
- You may recall in April 2014 another family photo resulted in five out of sixteen family members suffering injuries when they fell 10 feet to the ground when the deck collapsed on a deck at a restaurant in Ontario. This wooden deck appears to have been left unprotected from the elements and seems to be yet another unfortunate example of a deck weakened by water infiltration to the point of structural insecurity.
- How about the 4th of July family celebration in 2015 when a family gathering at a seaside home in North Carolina discovered the devastating results of neglected deck safety. 26 family members went down with the failed deck sending 16 people to the hospital, including 5 people in critical condition.
- One of the most tragic deck collapse stories that come to mind is the 2019 Berkley balcony collapse. The balcony had succumbed to rot and decay and claimed the lives of 6 out of the 13 students when the 4th-floor balcony detached from the building.
A look back at these deck disasters is not intended to frighten you away from a large gathering on a beautiful deck. It is merely to raise awareness that when decks are neglected over time, safety can be an issue. Reliable waterproofing and annual deck inspections are well worth the minimal time investment to keep everyone safe.
Duradek takes deck safety very seriously too. We know a safe deck starts with a solid structure built to code. We know a safe deck stays safe the longest with reliable waterproof protection.
Ensuring your deck meets building requirements is critical which is one of the many reasons it makes good sense to have your deck built by a decking professional. Right from the initial construction of the deck to the condition of the substrate, the application of the waterproofing, and the installation of the railings, each stage requires its own detailed expertise. This is a major factor for Duradek recommending that you do not do the job yourself.
If you are considering renovating your balcony or deck to ensure your family group photos are all taken safely, one of our Duradek-trained waterproofing specialists would be happy to provide you with a free estimate on your decking project.