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Collapsed deck prompts inspection alerts

6:18 AM, Jun 11, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- There were some scary moments in Marietta Sunday night, after the deck on an Atoka Drive home collapsed.

RESOURCE GUIDE | Deck Inspection Companies
MORE | 2 hurt after deck collapses 

The family says they heard a loud noise just before midnight.

When they walked out on the deck to check it out, the deck came crashing down. Both were taken to the hospital to be checked out.

Such collapses are far too common following saturating rains.

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It takes a keen eye and an inspection to make sure your desk is safe.

"The deck is very moist up there, very wet, and it simply just pulled away from the house and collapsed," said Michael Bronner of American Home Inspection. "It's all about water. Water gets between the slats and simply rots the material the deck is attached to, and you have a classic failure."

But water is not the only culprit that can bring down a deck and people with it.

"You want to see bolts. If you don't see bolts at all, it means the deck is simply nailed to the house and it the number one key that the deck insufficiently attached," Bronner said.

New Georgia building codes will require guardrails and stronger ways to attach decks to the house.

"They are required to have special devices that literally go into the framing of the house, attach to the framing joints-long bolts that may completely prevent deck collapses in the future," Bronner said.

But without these codes in place right now, it takes special attention to make sure this does not happen.

The Help Desk has contacted deck companies and home inspection services for valuable information every homeowner should know.

The primary thing to remember if you have an existing deck, especially an older one, is have an inspection at least once every two to three years.  Make sure the inspection is done by a certified inspector and plan on paying from $100 to $150 to have it done.

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