Deck Building: Reasons Why Deck Builders Must Put Safety as An Important Aspect in Design

28 May 2020

A deck can handle even the rowdiest and heaviest weight and foot movement as long as the beam that carries the floor joists is properly bolted to the side of the house. Unlike bolts, nails can pull out — and without warning.

As families from all over the world are spending more time together, they will be looking to get outdoors and make use of their space. It is estimated that 30 million decks are past their useful life and need to be replaced or repaired. It is crucial for homeowners to have their decks inspected to verify the integrity of their deck to ensure user safety as well as help extend the deck’s life-span, improve appearance, and increase liveability. Below are reasons why deck builders must put safety as an important aspect in design.

Safe Decks Avoids Accidents and Hazards

Even modest decks are required to meet building codes, and for good reason. An improperly constructed deck can be a safety hazard, eyesore and can even devalue your home. That’s why any deck project should begin with some research into local codes.

Safe Decks Comply with Local Codes

Talk to your local building department. Most will supply a list of relevant deck building codes for your area and will answer questions you might have about compliance on your particular project. If you have a contractor to build your deck, make sure they are up-to-date on the latest codes.

Post-Footing Diameter and Depth – These are essential for proper deck support. Be aware that the requirements for minimum footing diameter have become more stringent in the recent years. Footings that support important structural members such as beams often are 24-30cm or more in width.

Ledger Flashing – This must be positioned according to code – wrapping over the top of the ledger and under the building paper and siding – to prevent water from infiltrating between the ledger and the wall.

Beam Overhangs or “Cantilever” – These are strictly regulated by code and vary depending on the type of wood and thickness of the beam. Generally, the cantilever should not exceed two centimetres in length for every eight centimetres  of  joist span. If you want to design a cantilever in your deck greater than one-quarter of the span of the beam, you will need to use steel beams.

Engineered Beams – This could be a laminated wood product of steel girder that should be used on decks with very long joist spans, where standard dimension lumber is not adequate for the load. Engineered beams for decks must be rated for exterior use. Stairs – Verticals step risers must be a maximum of 17cm high. If left open, the opening must not be greater that 8cm. Treads should be a minimum of 20cm deep. Variation among risers or treads should not exceed 1.5cm.