Check your deck: how to make sure it’s safe

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Five people still remain in the hospital and two are in critical condition after the deck collapsed in Emerald Isle Saturday night. Officials say the cause is from deterioration or old nails. Homeowners need to know what to look for, so it doesn’t happen to you.

“Are they twisting, are they squeaking bad,” says Leslie Everett.

Chief Building Inspector Leslie Everett says homeowners are responsible for their decks. In our state, it isn’t required to get a deck professionally looked at every few years. Everett says once the deck is built and approved, an inspector won’t come back unless there’s an expansion.

When a homeowner is looking at their deck, they should look for these signs.

“Squeaks, abnormal squeaks, soft spots, or bunging. We are talking about decks that are elevated off the ground, does it sway back and forth to the left or to the right.

He says if you live close to the beach, your deck may need to be replaced sooner than normal.

Officials say the deck that collapsed in emerald isle was caused from deterioration or old nails.

“You get wind, its salt water and it mixes, it’s a salt environment mixed in the air, the mist. Over time it’s going to rust out and dry out and get wet again, dry out and get wet again, and it’s going to rust. ”

A homeowner at Emerald Isle says he just replaced his deck this year. He believes everyone needs to do preventive maintenance

“I didn’t know they were in the shape they were in until we got into them. We replaced the deck on the ocean side and sound side,” says Dennis Joyner.

Joyner says he couldn’t believe how bad the deck had deteriorated.

“A lot of nails were rusted away so it really needed to be repaired and it was kind of hard to see until we got into the job.”

If you see a problem with your deck, contact a contractor or a builder.

“Take care of them, maintain them, look for the obvious,” explains Everett.

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