“You might also consider a professional inspection. A professional inspection will examine every inch of your deck, provide information on your deck’s capacity limits, identify any dangerous 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,” says Mike Beaudry, executive vice president for NADRA.
Older decks require closer scrutiny. Many of these decks were built before code requirements were in place to protect consumers. Some of these decks may have deck-to-house attachments using only nails. If your deck is older, it is even more important to have it inspected by either a home inspector (NADRA recommends ASHI-certified home inspectors) or a knowledgeable deck builder (see the listing at nadra.org). NADRA member deck builders are required to adhere to a code of ethics and comply with state licensing and insurance requirements.
If you find your deck is not safe to enjoy, NADRA advises taking immediate action to have it repaired or rebuilt as necessary.
To choose a deck builder, NADRA offers the following tips:
- 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.
- 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 knowledgeable about deck construction.