Mild year-round temperatures and backyard gatherings on outdoor decks are common throughout Austin. However, many decks need repairs and might not be safe for routine use. The average life expectancy of a wooden deck is 10-15 years.
Poor construction and neglected maintenance can lead to deck collapses, which can cause serious injuries. To prevent these risks, you should check your deck to ensure it's structurally safe and sound.
How to check your deck:
- Look for loose connections or cracks in the wood.
- Ensure your deck can carry the weight of objects and people, including the force of nature.
- Create a "continuous load path" of reinforcements that support the deck through its frame to the ground and sturdy structures, such as your home.
- Check metal connectors, screws and nails for corrosion.
- Inspect regularly for loose nails and boards.
- Make sure surface areas are protected from debris, water, and sun damage.
The City of Austin only inspects decks with active permits. If you suspect your previously permitted deck needs an inspection, check with a third-party inspector.
- For information on architects licensed to practice in the State of Texas, please refer to the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners.
- For information on engineers licensed to practice in the State of Texas, please refer to the Texas Board of Professional Engineers.
- The American Wood Council (AWC) regularly updates and revises the Residential Deck Construction Guide. This AWC document provides a visual design overview and links to the guide.
Does your new residential or commercial deck require a permit? Do you have questions about the residential or commercial deck permitting process?
Call 3-1-1 for these and related permitting questions.
Deck Safety Demonstration