Five Safety Tips to Help Prevent Deck Collapse


July 1, 2013
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ben Boxer, 703-324-5880, TTY 711

Five Safety Tips to Help Prevent Deck Collapse

Because people are hurt every year by decks that collapse, Fairfax County building officials ask residents to check the safety of their decks every year. Homeowners should check their decks before using them in the spring and summer, and there are five, easy tips to follow:

  1. Check support posts and beams for rot, splitting or abnormal movement.
  2. Closely check the attachment points between the deck and the house for wood rot, regularly spaced bolts or lag screws and that the flashing covers the ledger board.
  3. Check all fasteners, bolts, joist hangers and other hardware for rust or corrosion.
  4. Check all guards and rails to be sure they are sturdy and secured.
  5. Use grills, heaters and outdoor fire pits with care.

“Regularly inspecting your deck each year can help catch potential hazards and better ensure a safe and enjoyable season,” said Brian Foley, a Fairfax County Deputy Building Official. “If you spot any warning signs of potential hazards, homeowners or a selected contractor should contact the Fairfax County Customer and Technical Support Center before making repairs as the work may require a permit.”

Whenever you build or make structural repairs to a deck, it is important to obtain the required permits and inspections to help ensure your family and guests enjoy your deck without worry of failure or collapse. More tips and information are available online or by calling Fairfax County’s Customer and Technical Support Center at 703-222-0801, TTY 711.

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