How to make sure your deck is safe in wake of Emerald Isle nightmare

Posted at 9:25 PM, Jul 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-06 09:00:51-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- On the Fourth of July a deck collapsed at a North Carolina beach house on Emerald Isle.  Dozens of people were on the deck, trying to take a a family picture when the deck went plummeting to the ground. At least 24 people were injured, including a 94-year-old.

Deck expert Daniel Swords with Richmond-based BNW Builders explained what you need to do to make sure your deck is safe for your family.

Swords said it is imperative to "check for any boards that may be rotting out or nails that are popping up." Swords also advised you should "move handrails and check the stairs, bounce around on the deck to make sure it is stout."


Swords said it is important to remember most decks do not last forever, especially without upkeep. So when you purchase a home with a deck, do your research and have an expert inspect to make sure the deck is safe.

Weather, age, use and the way a deck was constructed all contribute to whether or not a deck will be able to withstand dozens of people.


Swords said when it comes to building or repairing a deck, never cut corners. Call a professional who knows Virginia's code, and invest in a safe structure.

That could be the difference between a good time and a tragedy. And when boards feel flimsy or soggy, do not risk using your deck.