LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4)- A neighbor who lives near a home in Littleton where a deck collapsed this week has discovered an issue with his deck’s construction that could signal unsafe construction.
The issue concerns bolts and nails. Nails are short and not as substantial. Lag bolts can connect the deck from a supporting board into the beams in the home.
The deck collapsed Tuesday night and sent four people to the hospital. The building inspector concluded the deck was attached to the home with nails. That was an acceptable practice in 1979 when the home was built. But now, contractors use more secure methods to attach decks.
John O’Reilly took his neighbor’s deck collapse as a warning. His home was also built in 1979.
“There’s one nail. I think there’s a couple in here,” said O’Reilly. “It’s like, wow. This is scary. This is really scary. I’m thinking there’s thousands of homes built like this.”
Over time decks can shift and if it shifts away from the home a nail won’t hold the weight of the deck. Nails don’t have teeth like a lag bolt which is the recommended way of securing a deck to a home.
A similar situation happened last summer in Genesee when a dozen people were rushed to the hospital.
Authorities said it’s the most common cause of deck collapses.
“Most of these nails only nail into the next board over. So these nails do not go into this joist,” said O’Reilly. “A 12-inch long lag bolt to go from this board all the way down, six inches into these joists.”
Lag bolts offer more stability. They became part of the International Residential Code in 2000. Before then homeowners were urged to use them.
Anyone with questions about the safety of your deck is asked to call the city or county inspector or a contractor.