Homeowners Are Advised to Have Their Older Decks Inspected

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Homeowners Are Advised to Have Their Older Decks Inspected


With the recent deck collapses in various parts of the Washington region, Montgomery County’s Department of Permitting Services (DPS) is advising owners of properties with decks older than 20 years to have a licensed third-party inspection of those decks. DPS advises that having older decks inspected every five years is a good safety measure that could help avoid disaster.

DPS Program Manager Jeremy Shupp has been assessing damages and causes of deck collapses. He offers the following tip for homeowners with aging decks,

“The No. 1 cause of most catastrophic collapses we see is a faulty ledger connection to the house,” he said. “If the property owner cannot verify the type of attachment, DPS recommends making the deck self-supporting or free-standing. Homeowners may also want to take a look at the DPS Deck Maintenance Checklist for more information.

DPS only conducts free deck maintenance inspections only in the month of May as part of Building Safety Month, but it continues to review plans for new deck permits and those decks are inspected to ensure they are safe and meet the current building codes.

The Deck Maintenance Checklist can be viewed at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DPS/Resources/Files/RCI/Deck-Maintenance.pdf.

The County does not maintain a list of contractors that could skillfully inspect a residential deck. However, the State of Maryland Department of Labor maintains a public database of real estate appraisers and home inspectors who are licensed with the Maryland Commission of Real Estate Appraisers, Appraisal Management Companies and Home Inspectors. Homeowners can find licensed inspectors on that database by name, location and license numbers who could provide a deck analysis.

If any homeowners are in disputes regarding their deck project, they can contact the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection at consumer@montgomerycountymd.gov.

“Our mission is safety and we are concerned that some of the County’s older decks may be at risk,” said DPS Director Mitra Pedoeem. “We want to make sure that all homeowners make deck safety a top priority to prevent further collapses.”


This is a Montgomery County, Maryland announcement.


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Roy Kelley, Associate Broker

Realty Group Referrals (Retired from RE/MAX Realty Group)

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Comments (21)

Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Roy - it is wise to do that.  Most homes have mostly free standing but some are simply attached in several story buildings.

Jul 29, 2021 03:12 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Roy - if your area has experienced some recent deck collapses, I can see why property owners might be a bit more aware.  Regardless of timing, a regular maintenance program is a part of property ownership. Things can change in an instant and over time.  Unfortunately, there are examples of both occurring. 

Jul 29, 2021 04:18 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Roy. Many years ago purchased a new consruction townhome with a balcony off the master bedroom. At an inspection, the county found it to be impiperly attached to the dwelling and dangerous. Became a believer! Enjoy your day. 

Jul 29, 2021 04:45 AM
Brian England
Vacasa - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Hopefully, everyone will stay safe, it is important to maintain things in and around your home for safety.

Jul 29, 2021 05:28 AM
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo and Home Specialists

Yes Roy, we are seeing this happening in some of our condo communities that have balconies. Can be dangerous.

Jul 29, 2021 06:01 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Like with everything in life, regular care and maintenace are very important.  We have to pick our car this morning which had its first maintenance.  A

Jul 29, 2021 06:15 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Roy, this is great advise, as we have seen what can happen when they are old and need repair.

Jul 29, 2021 06:35 AM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center 262-567-2455 - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great information.  Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day!

Jul 29, 2021 06:51 AM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

Good morning Roy! That is a great safety tip for the community. Thank you for reminding us about inspecting older decks

Jul 29, 2021 07:32 AM
Raymond Henson, eXp Realty
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Such a great idea!  The first time we rented a house, I was showing a potential renter around the house.  We walked out on the deck our deck and, as I was telling him how great it was to sit out there in the evenings, I fell through the deck.  Our deck had seemed solid, but the boards I fell through had rotted from the bottom.  No one was hurt that day, but it sure taught me a valuable lesson. Yes, get those decks inspected!  Btw-our deck was not that old.  It was just in the shade all of the time.

Jul 29, 2021 08:42 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Roy,  I agree so much on that,  I was showing a house a few years back and th deck was on the second floor off the master bedrooms and was coming away from the house.


Jul 29, 2021 09:03 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Hi Roy... I find that homeowners neglect several aspects of their homes and then "pay the price:" their chimneys/fireplaces, their decks, and their water heaters.

Jul 29, 2021 09:27 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

That's an important advisory, Roy.  A number of years ago, I remember a home in our area, that had a second story deck crash with several people on it.  

Jul 29, 2021 07:06 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Roy- I would definitely check my deck!  You cannot be too safe about that. 

Jul 30, 2021 07:31 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for your comments. It is always good to hear from you.

Aug 02, 2021 08:22 AM