The outdoors offer another way to enjoy your home, but it also expands your design options as well. Many homeowners do not realize that industry codes have evolved over the years. Sadly, this is true for a few deck contractors as well. Technology has contributed to the development of new deck materials, making these structures safer, and giving them the ability to last longer. Inferior deck building practices can pose safety risks and strain your budget. Here are a few of them that have caused problems over the years.
- The wrong fasteners – treated lumber requires specific types of fasteners, while you will need other types for different deck materials. Another faster mistake in deck building is using the wrong size bolts. Joist hangers should not be attached using deck screws, but this does sometimes happen.
- No graspable handrails for stairs – handrails are not just there for aesthetics; while they are often very lovely, they do serve a vital purpose. A stairway without a continuous graspable handrail is a design mistake that can prove to be dangerous. Some builders use guardrails as handrails, which is only allowable if the rail can be grasped while climbing the stairs.
- The wrong stair riser heights – inconsistent riser heights can cause falls and injuries. Typically a difference of 3/8 of an inch is acceptable under current building codes. In some cases the variation in riser heights is too great for the stairs to be used safely, in some cases as much as one inch.
- Improper attachment to the house – some deck builders do not understand that connecting a ledger properly depends on the type of building the deck is being attached to. Brick and cladding would be handled differently, which puts some deck attachments in violation of building codes.
- Attaching deck beams to posts – improperly bolting deck beams without properly notching the post can be a big problem for high decks with few posts. This can place too much pressure on the bolts and cause damage to the wood.
Choosing an unqualified deck builder sets you up for numerous problems in the future. A deck is beautiful to look at, but the beams are under enormous stresses. Every decision, such as where to splice beams and attaching guardrail posts, can impact the life of the deck. Make yours last by choosing a professional you trust so that you can avoid these and other common mistakes. Give us a call at Leisure Time Decks in Atlanta at 404-939-2201 if you’re in the north metro Atlanta area and would like to discuss building your new deck with us.