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NADRA'S DECK SAFETY PROGRAM
An effort to save lives, and prevent injuries

Is Your Deck Safe?
May is Deck Safety Month

April 2008 (ARA) - As spring approaches, thoughts turn to sprucing up the yard, the garden, and spending more time outdoors. Part of gearing up for this time of year is making sure your deck is safe and well-maintained.

A deck can be the perfect place to spend time enjoying the weather with friends and family. A well-built and maintained deck offers a safe haven for outdoor living. However, an improperly built or deteriorated structure can mean disaster. A deck collapse can cause unnecessary, and often serious injuries, and even death. In an effort to save lives and prevent injuries, the North American Deck and Railing Association, Inc. (NADRA) declared May as Deck Safety Month in 2006. Now in its third year, the Deck Safety Month program helps increase public awareness of the necessity for regular inspection and maintenance of existing decks, and proper installation of new decks.

The number of deck failures and resulting injuries has been increasing at an alarming rate. Between 2000 and 2006, there have been at least 30 deaths reported as a direct result of deck collapses and more than 75 percent of people on a deck when it collapses are injured or killed, illuminating just how important it is for homeowners to check their deck. There are 40 million decks in the U.S. that are over 20 years old. At a conservative 1 percent, that means 40,000 decks are currently in need of repair or replacement. Taking that estimate to 10 percent brings the total number of unsafe decks to 4 million.

Mike Beaudry, executive vice president for NADRA states, "Our number one priority to the public is to ensure that the decks they and their families enjoy are safe. NADRA takes this responsibility seriously and has created campaigns and educational programs for the builders, lumberyards, and manufacturers to improve proper installation practices along with checklists and safety awareness information for consumers to follow."

Reasons for a deck collapsing can range from age of the deck, poor maintenance and exceeding load capacity to improper building methods. Deck failures can be avoided. It's a matter of making the consumer aware of the necessity of choosing a professional deck contractor, regular maintenance and inspection, and knowing the limits of the deck structure.

Its time to Check Your Deck! Homeowners should visit NADRA's website at www.NADRA.org for the Check Your Deck - 10-Point safety checklist. "May is a great time to make your deck-check," Beaudry says. "In parts of the country where there's a lot of snow and ice, your deck could have developed a trouble spot over the winter." Beaudry adds, "If you've never had your deck professionally inspected, make that appointment. A professional inspection will examine every inch of your deck, educate you on your deck's capacity limits, identify any problem areas, and give you a map of what to keep your eye on in the future. If your deck is older, this might include a regular deck inspection schedule."

If you find your deck is not safe to enjoy, NADRA advises taking immediate action to have it repaired or rebuilt as necessary and recommends the following tips to choose a deck builder.

* Ask friends and family members for referrals and contact state and local licensing authorities and trade associations such as NADRA.
* Meet with and carefully evaluate all potential deck builders. Ask to see a portfolio and some samples of the decking and railing materials they prefer to use. Good builders take pride in their work and will be enthusiastic about the possibility of creating a relationship.
* Pay attention to the deck builder's experience, licensing, insurance coverage and professional references.

A key element of enjoying your deck for years to come is making sure it is safe and code compliant. When hiring a deck builder, there is more to consider than just price. In addition to the tips above, NADRA recommends homeowners contact their city or county building department to speak with an inspector with knowledge in deck construction.

For more information on Deck Safety Month, the Check Your Deck program and finding a reputable deck builder, visit www.nadra.org.

NADRA, Deck Safety Month, and Check Your Deck are registered trademarks of North American Deck and Railing Association. All rights reserved.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

NADRA'S DECK SAFETY PROGRAM - Article 2007

Tips for a Safe Summer Season on Your Deck

April 23, 2007 (ARA Content) - Gas prices are on the rise again, the number of people traveling is down and families are choosing to spend more time at home enjoying their decks. And with so many accessories available that make the yard an oasis -- from solar fountains and fire pit tables to stainless gas grills -- the deck extends the living space and creates an at-home vacation spot.

Whether for entertainment, family time or just quiet enjoyment, a well-built deck offers a safe haven for outdoor living. A deck offers increased square footage and better pay back than a kitchen or bath remodel. As with any sound investment, it's important to do proper maintenance to preserve the integrity of the deck.

The number of deck failures and resulting injuries has been increasing at an alarming rate. Between August 2004 and December 2005, the U.S. news media reported 225 injuries and one fatality from deck collapses caused by ledger connection failures. Many more deck failures -- with and without injuries -- went unreported in the media.

In an effort to save lives and prevent injuries, the North American Deck and Railing Association, Inc. (NADRA) declared May as the first Deck Safety Month in 2006. Now in its second year, the purpose of the promotion is to increase public awareness of the necessity for regular inspection and maintenance of existing decks, and proper installation of new decks.

Reasons for a deck collapsing range from age of the deck, poor maintenance, exceeding load capacity to improper building methods. Deck failures can be avoided. It's a matter of making the consumer aware of the necessity of choosing a professional deck contractor, regular maintenance and inspection, and knowing the limits of the deck structure.

Mike Beaudry, executive vice president for NADRA states, "A simple, annual deck inspection doesn't take long or require special tools, but it's a great investment. It can help prevent unnecessary accidents, and keep a deck a safe place. Each May, we will encourage homeowners to get an annual deck inspection, with the goal of reducing the number of deck injuries suffered each year."

"May is a great time to make a deck-check," Beaudry continues, "especially in locations where there's a lot of snow and ice, as a deck could develop a trouble spot over the winter. A professional inspection will examine every inch of a deck, evaluate the deck's capacity limits, identify problem areas and provide a map of what to keep your eye on in the future."

Researchers at Virginia Tech University in cooperation with the International Code Council have produced a "Manual for the Inspection of Residential Wood Decks and Balconies." The manual is intended for use by homeowners, home inspectors, contractors, engineers and builders interested in the inspection of residential wood decks. Frank Woeste, a deck-safety expert of Virginia Tech, who helped develop the inspection manual, notes, "I'm aware of deck collapses with no one on them, further demonstrating the need for homeowners to get involved and interested in their deck's structural integrity." For more information or to purchase the inspection manual, click here.

Complete a deck check every May for Deck Safety Month, and you'll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your family and friends can safely enjoy your deck all summer long. NADRA's 10-Point Deck Inspection Checklist is available here.

For extra safety, check out any deck accessories you use. As with any source of fire or heat, such as grills, fire pits, heaters of any kind and candles, make sure they are safely placed away from flammable surfaces, use caution and follow manufacturers' directions. Make sure steps and pathways are well lit and all lighting, electrical outlets and appliances are up to code, in good condition and childproof if necessary.

Test all deck furniture for sturdiness. Childproof storage boxes and benches. Store all dangerous products safely away from children, including barbecue lighter fluids and matches. If you have trees surrounding your deck, look for decaying or broken limbs that could fall on the deck.

Courtesy of ARA Content.

Photo of Deck Collapse

Photo courtesy of Simpson Strong-Tie.

Check Your DeckTM

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Protect your family and friends.
Get a once-a-year deck inspection by a qualified professional.

Related Articles, News and Info:

Deck Inspections - A Matter of Life and Death

Who Is Qualified To Inspect Your Deck?

"Manual For the Inspection of Residential Wood Decks and Balconies"

"Summer Issue 2006 - Wood Design Focus - Deck Design and Construction"
providing supplemental information to the "Manual for the Inspection of Residential Wood Decks and Balconies"


North American Deck and Railing Association - P.O. Box 829, Quakertown, PA 18951 - Phone: 215.679.4884 - Fax: 888.623.7248

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