In the past year, there have been several news stories of folks being injured when a deck or balcony has collapsed. (News video link; warning, disturbing footage.)
Could that happen to your family? It’s possible. One of the most common causes of rotting decks is a lack of properly installed flashing.
The International Building Code (IBC), which is a model building code adopted throughout most of the United States, basically notes three rules for flashing:
- It must not corrode
- It must be installed likes shingles (relies on physics to do its job properly)
- It must do its job and keep water out of the building
So, what is flashing? It is the material installed that directs water away from the building and its structural elements.
When a deck is improperly attached to a building, with no flashing, it creates a space where water can collect, causing rot. After a few years, the rotten elements give way, and the deck detaches from the building. Water can also pocket and freeze, and cause damage to a home’s siding.
To check to see if your deck was installed properly, go underneath your deck and look for a metal or vinyl lip on top of the ledger board (the board right next to the house). Today’s pre-treated lumber is incompatible with aluminum flashing; if your ledger board is pre-treated, then the flashing must be plastic, composite or copper flashing. If you don’t see flashing, give L&M Construction a call to have a deck check-up. It’s better to be safe than sorry with this serious issue.
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