There's nothing quite like a summer's day spent relaxing on your deck with friends. For many of us, it's like having a small piece of paradise right outside our doors. Condominium associations know that well-maintained and attractive decks serve as enticements to both current and potential residents. That's why so much time and effort goes into the care, maintenance and repair of these amenities.
In coastal towns where salty sea air can wreak havoc on wood and in older condo communities where decks were built 15 or 20 years ago, the wear and tear can be significant, warranting an organized plan for ongoing preventativecare and maintenance.
According to Mark Audette, CPM, a principal at Great North Property Management, located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire with regional offices in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, decks should be inspected as part of management's annual property tour. With an annual tour, management will be able to spot emerging problems and stop them before they get out of hand. "Things won't go radically wrong within a 12 month span," he says, meaning that careful observation once a year should be enough to properly keep an eye on any potential deck issues.
Careful examinations of decks, among other things, are also vital when management takes over a new association. "A lot of condos that were built in 1980 were built to code then, but those codes don't necessarily meet today's codes," Audette says. Taking a close look at all aspects of the buildingsmay reveal important flaws that need correcting. "You can tell whether or not an association has done a good job maintaining things," he adds.
Some of those flaws may include rot and structural issues. Especially in older buildings, layers of paint or stain on a deck may be hiding water damage or rot, making the problem worse over time. Without the right protection and sealants, moisture and salt can do a lot to lessen the life span of a wooden deck. There may be engineering flaws, too, where perhaps the proper number of bolts weren't used to attach the decks to the building. Or sometimes the deck itself is fine, but not flashed properly and water will start leaking into the units. Tracking down those issues is much easier if a structural engineer is brought in to assist with the annual inspections or inspections of new properties.