Investigating deck failures. Decks offer a great option for outdoor entertaining, but they represent a significant risk to insurers based on the number and severity of injuries associated with deck failures. (Photo: Anne Kitzman/

Wood-framed decks at homes throughout the country have become much more common in recent years. An exterior deck provides an attractive location for family gatherings and entertaining guests when weather permits. A deck can increase the value of a home, and the absence of a deck can be viewed as a detriment by potential purchasers.

As a result, many decks are added to homes by the homeowner or a contractor after the initial construction and without proper permits or consideration of code requirements. In addition, just like the rest of the home, decks require regular maintenance to continue performing safely. Due to the number of people who tend to gather on decks combined with the types of activities and construction methods, decks represent a significant risk to insurers, as evidenced by the number and severity of injuries associated with deck failures.

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