Montgomery County, Maryland, officials say that taking advantage of free deck inspections may be a great way to get ready for summer.
The deck maintenance inspections are offered courtesy of the Department of Permitting Service (DPS) “to promote Building Safety during the month of May.”
Pete Piringer, a spokesman with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, said that these free inspections can help catch warning signs before a significant collapse.
“We’ve had significant deck collapses and 90% of the time it’s the failure of the ledger board which is where the deck meets the house,” Piringer told WTOP.
Over time, he said, building codes change and decks deteriorate, losing stability. He has a quick “Hula-Hoop test” that can help you determine if you need to take a look at your deck.
“If you do a Hula-Hoop standing on a deck and, you know, do your thing and that (the deck) shakes a little bit you know you probably need to look at some of the connections,” he said.
DPS says that it plans to honor every request it gets through May 31, though these free deck inspections have been in high demand. You can complete the online form to sign up for a slot by going to the department’s website or call the county’s 311 number to set up an inspection. Residents also can call 240-777-0311.
Montgomery County does not provide free deck inspections in the cities of Gaithersburg and Rockville because the municipalities have their own permitting departments and protocols.
WTOP’s Matthew Delaney contributed to this report.