Article originally written in September 2021.
Someone recently asked me for my thoughts on the top maintenance items most often overlooked by homeowners. Rather than repeat my hackneyed list of recommendations to check smoke detectors or furnace filters, my mind immediately went to one maintenance item that isn't talked about nearly enough: decks and porches.
Here in the South, decks and porches are a wonderful addition to a home to extend outdoor living space. As an inspector, however, I rarely find one that is not in need of at least some improvement. I find decks commonly underbuilt, lacking appropriate connecting hardware, and not maintained or updated throughout the seasons. This neglect can have a significant impact for safety as well as the value of a home.
Why are decks so often problematic? In my opinion, people tend to build decks and simply forget about them. They disregard the fact that the materials have a finite life and they fail to plan for routine cleaning, painting, or simple repairs that would prolong the structure.
Additionally, many decks are simply not built well.
Believe it or not, the International Residential Code (IRC) didn't have much to say on decks until 2015, when a spate of unfortunate deck failures caused careful reconsideration of building science and code. In 2018, even more comprehensive provisions were added. This means that until recently, most builders were left to their own devises or local codes, which may have been dated or poorly written, understood, or enforced.
While the NEW code helps guarantee safe NEW decks, there are still a LOT of structures out there that are lacking and would benefit from review and upgrades. Fortunately, many decks can be retrofitted with additional inexpensive bracing or hardware!
If you are considering purchasing a home or currently own a home with a deck, consider having an evaluation performed by a home inspector or contractor certified by the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA). You can also check periodically for deterioration and loose components, and plan for seasonal maintenance.
Follow this link for a detailed schedule and tips on deck care: https://www.houselogic.com/by-room/yard-patio/deck-care-and-maintenance/
About Cingo: The name Cingo means to surround and secure, conveying the company's commitment to home protection. The company has been protecting families in the Southeast since 1974. It provides home protection services throughout Georgia and South Carolina, including Atlanta, Augusta, Charleston, Douglas, Dublin, Milledgeville, Savannah, Vidalia, Waycross and all points in between. Cingo was named a Best Place to Work in Georgia by Georgia Trend Magazine and listed as a National Best & Brightest Company to Work For. Learn more at www.cingohome.com.