Ask Tuff Industries: Should we get a vinyl deck inspection?

Rough plywood deck surface being prepped for waterproof vinyl decking installation

Ask Tuff Industries: Should we get a vinyl deck inspection?

Here’s a common homeowner question: Once you settle into your new (or new-to-you) home (or have been settled for a few years), should you hire someone for a vinyl deck inspection? When? How often? Don’t worry – Tuff Industries has the answer and all the details.

Why get vinyl deck inspection?

The primary reason you should have a vinyl deck inspection on a regular basis is to ensure your deck is safe. The last thing you want is a preventable injury due to a rotten floorboard, a loose railing, or wobbly step.

But what if your deck “looks” safe? Well, looks can be deceiving. Besides catching safety issues, however, it’s important to check your vinyl deck for signs of degradation that could leave to safety issues later, or cause damage to the structure.

In the United States, there are over 40 million decks that are over 20 years old (and built prior to more stringent building codes). Organizations like The North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) are advocating for more education to ensure people understand the importance of regular inspections.

When is a vinyl deck inspection needed?

Older decks should be inspected annually. This may seem like overkill, but when you consider how much you use your deck and who uses it (family members, friends, pets), you can see how important it is to make sure it’s safe. Once you’ve had a vinyl deck inspection, the contractor can let you know whether your deck is one that should be inspected more often, or if you are okay to leave it for a few years.

Here’s another interesting stat: Only about 40% of existing decks are considered completely safe (according to The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) – which side do you think your deck will end up on?

Can you DIY a vinyl deck inspection?

All homeowners should learn the warning signs of a failing or unsafe deck, but that doesn’t mean that your vinyl deck couldn’t benefit from a professional’s expertise. If you see anything that might be a concern (such a looseness, rotten or damp spots, etc.), then it’s time to bring in the big guns, before the deck becomes unsafe or allows moisture to enter the structure. A professional can make recommendations and help you keep the costs low.

Is it expensive?

A typical inspection doesn’t cost much, but the price will vary between contractors and some may be more thorough than others. The inspection should come with a list of areas inspected, an overall analysis of the safety and condition of the structure, and recommendations to correct any issues that you can use to price out repairs.

As decks are a bit of an “add-on” to your home, they often aren’t considered to be as important as the main structure, but given the amount of time you spend on your vinyl deck, shouldn’t you ensure that it’s safe? Find a contractor to help.

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