A deck is a wonderful extension to a home and can make a floor plan feel even more open when you are able to entertain outside. Most decks on the Outer Banks, North Carolina are elevated to the second or third story of a house and if a deck fell from this height the injuries could be devastating. Deck inspections are critical for these types of decks because of the amount of people that use them in a summer season. The decks sit all winter long and then the home is rented usually to a large number of people. Many times groups, family reunions or wedding parties are held at these homes which can be easily upwards of twenty or more people using one deck.
A fall from this height along with other people and debris from the deck can cause anything from minor injuries to death. According to the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) there have been 30 deaths since the year 2000 and 75 percent of the people who were on a deck that fell were injured or killed. The NADRA has a 10 point checklist to use when looking at a deck.
1. Check for split or decaying wood
2. Make sure the flashing is close to the house and not allowing water to seep inside
3. Inspect the fasteners for any that are loose or corroded
4. Railings should be no more than 4” apart and banisters should be 36” high
5. If stair treads are open the stairs should be no more than 4” apart
6. Clean away leaves or debris and remove mildew
7. Make sure a grill or fire pit is away from flammable material and has a fire proof pad underneath
8. The deck should have adequate lighting
9. Be sure to keep all deck furniture in good condition and position them away from the railing
10. Remove decaying limbs that hang over the deck
If you are part of a group that will be renting a house, be sure to ask the rental agency about deck inspections. It may also serve you well to do a deck inspection yourself when you arrive at the rental home.
About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and the Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard injury law blog as a pro bono service to consumers. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY, who handle car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more.