Making This Crucial Deck Mistake Could Result In Disaster

A deck is one of the outdoor updates that adds serious value to your home, but only if it's built right. One of the most important deck mistakes to avoid when building is installing the ledger board incorrectly. This is the board that connects your home and your deck together.

The ledger board can be installed improperly in a few different ways. For example, perhaps the right bolts weren't used, so they didn't go through the board enough to actually connect the two structures. Or, the board could be attached to something that isn't sturdy enough to support the deck. Even if the ledger board is installed properly, there could be another deck mistake that makes it break down faster, such as not setting up flashing in the right way to prevent excess water from hitting the board, leading to rotten wood.

It's estimated that there are about 2,900 injuries and two deaths every three years from deck collapses and failures, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This is why it's important to avoid crucial deck mistakes like improper ledger board installations. It will keep you and your family and friends much safer.

This ledger board mistake leads to the deck pulling away from a house

Since the ledger board is responsible for connecting your home and the actual deck together, an improper installation will mean that the deck isn't actually connected or not connected solidly. Most commonly, this leads to the deck pulling away from the structure. At first, this could be small, like a noticeable gap between the deck and your home. However, over time, the deck will grow more structurally unsound as it pulls away. Eventually, it can completely collapse.

While winter is the ideal time to build a deck, it's also cold and unpleasant. You or your contractor may end up making mistakes trying to rush through the project and get warm. However, the ledger board is something you should never skip out on. Ensure that all of your fasteners provide resistance to corrosion and that the right bolts are used. If you need to, look up steps on how to install a ledger board correctly to ensure you get the right tools and you don't miss any part of the process.

Sealing and installing railings the right way on your deck are also important

While sturdy ledger boards help prevent total deck collapse, they aren't the only part of your deck you need to be careful with. Skipping over steps or taking half-measures can lead to injury or your deck falling apart faster. Two other parts of building a deck you want to focus on are sealing your deck and installing your railings.

Sealing your deck may seem like just a way to make your deck look nicer for a little longer, but it does a lot more than that. If you don't seal your wood deck correctly, you can get pests and risk the structural integrity. Make sure you've fully covered all of the wood with the sealer and clean it thoroughly before you start.

Additionally, while a ledger board mistake is one of the most common reasons for total deck collapse, according to Robson Forensic, it's not often what causes the most injuries. That award goes to railing failures. If the railing isn't sturdy enough or installed properly, people leaning up against or over a railing could cause it to fail. As it breaks or falls over, the person using the railing for support is likely to fall over with it and injure themselves in some way.