Checking your deck for safety issues

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A viral video showed a family posing for a photo during a holiday party when the deck suddenly collapsed. We spoke with a local contractor to find out how you can prevent a similar disaster.

Experts say the one thing to keep in mind is that decks don't last forever. Minor repairs every few years can keep you and your family safe.

Contractor Jim Illes says decks are often an afterthought for homeowners.

"A lot of people, when they build their own decks, they're looking cheap and they are buying the cheaper fasteners, cheaper lumber, and that's not a good thing," said Illes.

He says decks have to be able to endure extreme winter and summer weather. Quality products and regular upkeep are important.

"If there's any moisture in the wood it freezes. What happens is, it's just like on our streets, the moisture gets in there and expands and causes the deck to move crack, break," said Illes.

Illes says the most common problem around water is a slanted deck.

"Freeze thaws causes the deck to move up and down or one of the worst cases is it causes the deck to sag down," said Illes.

The ground just isn't solid enough to hold the posts in place.

"These main support posts, by code have to go down below frost line, our area around here, 3 and a half to four feet," said Illes.

Experts say don't be fooled, a deck might look perfectly fine on top, but you need to crawl underneath and see what's really going on.

Illes says you want to have you deck inspected at least once a year.

Inspections can save lives and prevent injuries.


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