Piedmont Association of Home Inspectors

Deck Construction

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Industry reports that over 2 million decks are constructed in the United States each year, prompting experts to warn that with such large numbers comes the probability of an increase in deck failures. Most decks fail at the connection to the house or where the guard posts attach to the deck. If you're building a deck, it is essential that you carefully follow approved guidelines to ensure strong connections and a safe deck.

The Fairfax County Typical Deck Details have been developed to provide citizens, customers, and other jurisdictions with a consistant, structurally sound and code compliant avenue for the construction of a residential deck

Prescriptive Residential Deck Guide

Deck information is produced by Fairfax County, Va.

Click here to download the Mecklenburg County Inspection Department Deck Brochure


Pressure Treated Decks built in 2004 and beyond– The New Deck Failure Problem


Due to pressure from the EPA, CPSC, consumer advocacy groups, and others pressure treated wood manufacturers voluntarily agreed to stop using chemicals including Chromate Copper Arsenate (CCA), Ammoniacal Copper Arsenate (ACA), and
Ammoniacal Copper Zinc Arsenate(ACZA) to preserve the wood used in residential exterior construction, including decks, playgrounds, etc. effective December 31, 2003.


Most pressure treated lumber manufacturers have changed over to a new chemical known as “ACQ” or alkaline copper quaternary compounds as a preservative.  This new pressure treating poses a problem with fasteners and flashing.  Flashing is typically an aluminum metal material with a purpose of directing rain water away from the home to prevent deterioration of the framing.  The fasteners are metal bolts, screws and/or nails used to secure the deck to the home and/or hold the deck together.


The problem is you end up with two metal compounds in direct contact with each other in an exterior application so water contact is going to happen.  When two metals in direct contact with each other are surrounded by an electrolyte (water) rapid corrosion of the metal on the lower end of the electromotive series will occur. 


Simply stated this means that the aluminum flashing will rapidly corrode and lead to a water intrusion problem inside the framing of the home.  Also, if the fasteners and nails are not made from the manufacturers approved materials they too will corrode and the deck itself will fail.


Below are links to some of the main manufacturers of “ACQ” alkaline copper quaternary compounds and their printed statements regarding fasteners.

Click here to download the Chemical Specialties Fastener Info Sheet

Click here to download the Universal Forest Products Fastener Info Sheet

Click here to download the NatureWood Fastener Information Sheet

PAHI Members: 

2004 Piedmont Association of Home Inspectors / PAHI 
The PAHI website was built as a refrence tool, free information source, and to be one central web site where homebuyers, home sellers, and realtors can obtain answers to almost all questions they may have regarding home inspections.  In order to accomplish this task most of this information is gathered from other web sites and sources including, but not limited to: EPA, CPSC, HUD, NRSB, ALA, IAQA, Code Check, Mike Holt, Inspect-NY (Daniel Frediman), ASHI, etc.  The Piedmont Association of Home Inspectors and its members have not authored any of the opinions on this web site.  Users of this web site agree to hold The Piedmont Association of Home Inspectors and its members harmless and realase all liability for any inforamtion contained on www.pahi.org or any site that www.pahi.org links to including but not limited to: www.inspectorpaul.com www.sherlockcarolinas.com www.arrowhomeinspectionservice.com www.carolina-homepro.com www.schomeinspections.com www.a-prohome.com www.aohomeinspection.com/ www.betterhomeinspection.net www.downunderinspections.com