379 Niagara Frontier Building Officials participate in Deck Construction class

“Simpson Strong-Tie was honored to be invited by the Niagara Frontier Building Officials to speak at their annual conference on January 23rd.  Doug Stercho (Simpson Strong-Tie Territory Manager), Chuck Frisicaro (Simpson Strong-Tie Sr. Dealer Rep for Western NY) and Jim Mailey (Simpson Strong-Tie Technical Training Manager and NADRA Structural Advisor & Educator) all had a major part in the success of this program.

The subject was on Deck Construction and the class was 6 hours long.  There were 379 people in attendance and the class was primarily made up of code officials from the Niagara Frontier region.  Although, there were numerous comments in the beginning about a class that is 6 hours in length on decks, those same people were amazed at how much was covered, how much there is to know about deck construction and how quickly the time seemed to pass.  At the end there were a lot of people requesting more information and asking if there are other classes on deck construction that they could attend.  The NADRA Deck Evaluation checklist, the best document currently available for assessing new and existing decks, was a big hit along with some of the other literature provided.”

Major changes to ICC Guardrail Performance Criteria – Additional testing methods plus safety factor increased on AC-273



Update from NADRA’s Code Committee: 

You may have read this last week in our release revealing these new rules or criteria changes from ICC, however we feel it is necessary that we get the word out about these changes once more; and help bring clarity to the subject. This is an overhaul to AC-273 with big changes. These changes require manufactures and testing agencies alike to alter their testing methods to additional trials such as resembling “worse-case scenarios” to calculating scores with a grander safety factor. We urge everyone to take the time and get to know what is required; and contact your testing agency on how these changes will affect your railing (guardrail) program.  In addition, many in the industry have been discussing the likelihood that similar changes may be impending to AC-174; if you have any information on this please contact the NADRA code committee.

Your NADRA Code Committee has posted the statements of both NTA and ADI (Intertek) . See attached statements below:

Significant changes to ICC-ES AC273 for Handrail and Guards by NTA. Click to enlarge. 
Significant changes for metal guardrails ICC-EC acceptance criteria (Ac273) for metal guards by Intertek. Click to enlarge.

Reminder to all Handrail and Guard Manufacturers

Reminder to all handrail and guard manufacturers, in June 2017 ICC-ES approved significant revisions to AC273, Acceptance Criteria for Handrails and Guards.  NADRA recommends if you have an evaluation or code report for your product in accordance with this acceptance criteria you should contact the agency providing the report on how these changes will affect you.

In addition, due to these changes in AC 273, your Code Committee is interested in your input for discussing possible similar updates to AC174.

If you have feedback and information on your positions please send into: info@nadra.org where it will be forwarded to the NADRA Code Committee.

2018 Education Opportunities with NADRA

As we enter 2018, we want to be sure you know about your opportunities for growing your business. NADRA and ASHI have partnered to bring you the best and only of its kind, deck evaluation certification! NADRA, the North American Deck and Railing Association is a 501 c(6) non-profit that works to educate and grow the outdoor living industry. NADRA is dedicated to deck safety and bringing awareness to the importance of deck inspections.

Not only is this an ASHI approved class that earns you 4CEU’s, this class will expand your portfolio and allow you to tap into an industry that needs your services. There is an estimated 50 million decks in the U.S., 50% which are 15-20+ years old. The need for professional deck inspections is at an all time high and its not slowing down. NADRA has already certified ASHI inspectors in NOVA ASHI, St. Louis ASHI, Metro NY ASHI, and INASHI.

In this four hour class, you will be taken through NADRA’s 5 page deck evaluation form. Expert and educator, Jim Mailey will cover:

– Stairs
– Footings and Posts
– Joists
– Joist Connections
– Girders
– Ledger Connections
– Deck Boards
– Handrail Assemblies and Guards
– Recognize proper and improper fasteners
– Assess hardware or material corrosion & Review of the safety standards of all (decks, stairs, guards) structures

Special Pricing for ASHI Members:

Did you know, ASHI members can join NADRA for only $100.00 annually instead of the regular rate of $350.00? Additionally, NADRA has the following membership / Deck Evaluation Class combos. (Minimum attendees required)
Option 1 – Certification with a one year ASHI Branch membership with NADRA: $199.00
Option 2 – Certification with three year ASHI Branch membership with NADRA: $299.00 (includes one free year of membership)

Learn more about the class, special pricing for ASHI inspectors, and requirements by clicking here. Contact us today with questions or to schedule your class.

NADRA’s ASHI branch membership includes:

– Listing under “Find an Inspector” on the NADRA site
– Participation in NADRA’s Deck Safety Month® Campaign – free marketing toolkit to promote deck safety and inspections.
– Code representation – ask your code questions and get answers from the experts!
– Monthly enewsletter with all upcoming education and networking events

– Learn more about membership benefits by clicking here.

To schedule a class or get more information please email info@NADRA.org your specific needs or call us at 215.679.4884.

MN Deck for a Soldier® build will be completed just in time for Christmas



The crews in MN are wrapping up the build today! Below are some pictures.  Final photos will be taken tonight when the build is complete.

A serious shout out to Bob Lett and Mark Fisher from Wolf Home Products!  They FROZE and went the distance on this build, on top of almost $7K in materials. A very special thank you to Pat Noonan from Deck and Basement Co. who has tirelessly taken the lead role in putting this entire project together & kept it on track to finish before Christmas.

Gallery of images from the MN D4S Build: 

December 19th, 2017 UPDATE


NADRA’s Deck for a Soldier® build in MN is moving along nicely. Our friends up North could use some cheering on. You can send encouragement by posting comments below. It’s been a cold few weeks and these guys are putting in some serious hours trying to wrap up this deck in time for Christmas. 

Pat Noonan from Deck and Basement Co., his team & the crew at Jigsaw Builders installed the framing for the new deck last week. Pat Noonan took the lead in custom bending the decking for the curved front at Pro Deck Supply and Lumberyard. As you read this, the guys are on site installing the Wolf brand decking. Bob Lett, VP of National Sales for Wolf flew in to help with the build along with with Mark Fischer. The crew from Infinite Decks are assisting with the install as well.



The MN D4S project is ready to rumble. 

Props need to go out to the Brawlers from Crossroads Remodeling for TCB on the existing dilapidated deck/porch that was there.  I brought lunch to give them some afternoon energy and they were raking up the last shards of wood, not quite sure how they did all that in 4 hours.

Craig and Craig (no joke) from GoliathTech got the build started installing their Helical footings with a balmy -2 windchill and snow on the ground.  Although with a fresh layer of ice out on the roads I think it took them way longer to drive there than it did to actually set the footings.

It took Mark from Infinite Decks about 2 minutes on the site to sell me on his curves.  We decided if we are going to do this thing it lets do it right, big and nice curves.  Check out his awesome renderings of the masterpiece we are about to create.

Looks like Santa Claus from the Deck Store in Apple Valley is going to give us an early Christmas present by donating all the green for the project.  Thanks Bob-we really appreciate your support!

Framing starts next week with the team from Deck and Basement and Jigsaw Builders-with a projected high of 15 on Tuesday they better be working fast to keep themselves warm…

-Pat Noonan

November 21st, 2017   UPDATE

Just a quick update as this Thanksgiving week winds down.  One of the things that we should all be thankful about are the men and women who keep our great country safe.  Please be sure to say a Thanksgiving prayer for all of our armed forces both home and abroad.

The Minnesota region has begun it’s Deck for a Soldier® project on a Veterans home.  They have torn down the old deck and are getting ready to begin the build once permits are in order.  They may still need a pledge of pressure treated lumber for the framing, so if you can help please click on this link  or contact myself or Pat Noonan.  We are also looking someone to pledge a plaque that would hang on or near this deck to acknowledge the NADRA Deck for a Soldier® program for donating the deck.  Again, please click on the provided link or contact one of us.

The Northeastern region is currently drawing up the plans and will get the permit paperwork submitted in the near future.  They are hoping to begin their build in January or February.  Once this project gets closer we will be looking for pledges for this project as well.

I hope that you all are able to spend quality time with friends and family over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Best Wishes,

Bruce Verblaauw – NADRA National Deck for a Soldier® Committee Chair

Cell 201-803-2909

November 17th, 2017 UPDATE:

Day 1: Tear Down:

NADRA Members, Crossroads Remodeling headed to the site for day 1 of the Deck For a Soldier® Transitional Housing project in Minneapolis. Rick and his team has a huge heart for this program.

Thank you NADRA, Pat Noonan and the other contributors for such an honorable program.” – Rick Wooton – Owner, Crossroads Remodeling

 November 15th, 2017 UPDATE:

NADRA Members begin building a deck for Minnesota Alliance Council for Veterans (MACV)
NADRA members in MN got together to plan this years Deck for a Soldier® build. They chose MACV as their recipient. This worthy organization runs multiple transitional living homes for Veterans in crisis to help them get back on their feet and back into their own independent housing.  One of their homes has an old deck that has been condemned by the City of Minneapolis and is literally falling apart.
Pat Noonan, Deck and Basement Company is leading the project with the support of many local members. Pat writes to the crews just this morning:
Welcome to NADRA and thank you for supporting this worthwhile organization. As a member for 10 years I can attest to the knowledge, friendships and networking I have gained since joining.  Great to hear that you may be interested in helping with our D4S project, I have attached information on the recipient and project details.  We are planning to demo on Friday and finalize plans early next week once we have existing deck removed.  I will send permit plans to you as soon as we have them.  Hoping to have permit and be ready for footings the week after Thanksgiving. Thanks for your support, feel free to reach out with any questions.”


Stay tuned for more updates.












November 2nd, 2017 UPDATE:

Minnesota Deck for a Soldier® Update: Several deck builders are getting ready to get the ball rolling on a Deck for a Soldier® build for the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans at one of their Structured Independent Living Facilities. This is a non-profit organization that helps needy and homeless veterans get back on track. We are currently looking for material and labor pledges for this project. If you would like to become involved please click on the banner to make your pledge. 

Once you fill out the pledge form we can pass your information on to the lead builder, Pat Noonan. It is important for you to fill out this pledge form so your information goes into the Deck for a Soldier® database. For those of you that pledge, please feel free to market the fact that you support NADRA’s Deck for a Soldier® program. This can help you market your products while you help us market this great program. You can also find sponsorship opportunities on the pledge form at the bottom. Thank you in advance for supporting this great cause that is very near to all of our hearts!

Bruce Verblaauw
NADRA National Deck for a Soldier Committee Chairman


Plycem Recalls Allura Decking Due to Fall and Injury Hazards

Name of product: Allura decking

Hazard: The recalled decking can deteriorate and crack, causing the deck surfacing to break. Consumers can fall through broken decking and suffer serious injuries.

Remedy: Repair

Recall date: November 21, 2017

Recall number: 18-044

Consumer Contact:

Plycem toll-free at 844-452-6787 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or online at www.allurausa.com and click on Decking Recalls to complete an online registration form and for more information.

Allura decking in natural wood

Description: The recall involves Allura™ fiber cement decking and fascia. The recalled decking was sold in 12-foot lengths and is 6 inches wide and one inch thick, and came in two styles: a hidden fastener application and a direct screw application. The recalled Allura™ fiber cement fascia, which was for vertical applications only, was sold in 12-foot lengths, is 8- and 12-inches wide and 7/16 inches thick. The decking and fascia were sold in a natural wood color with a wood grain texture. There are no labels or other identifying marks on the decking materials.Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using decks with the recalled decking materials and contact Plycem to schedule a free repair. Plycem is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Incidents/Injuries:  Plycem has received three reports of the recalled decking cracking, resulting in one report of a leg injury to an adult male whose leg went through the cracked decking.

Sold At: Kelseyville Lumber and Trademark Exteriors as stock items and at Home Depot as a special order item from February 2014 through June 2017 for between $25 to $30 per board for the decking and about $25 to $40 per board for the fascia.

Manufacturer(s):  Plycem Construsistemas, of Costa Rica, S.A.

Importer(s):Plycem USA LLC, of Houston, Texas

Manufactured In: Costa Rica

Units: About 37,500 boards

Report an Incident Involving this Product

Anatomy of an Inherently Dangerous Deck, Part I & II

Anatomy of an Inherently Dangerous Deck, Part II

By: Brian Foley

Whenever I go out of town, I notice the differences in deck construction, particularly in other states that don’t have a robust or uniform building code like Virginia.  One of the most common mistakes I can easily see from my informal windshield survey (or handlebar survey when I’m riding my bike) are notched guard posts.  Statistics from deck collapses nationwide verify that one of the weakest points on a deck is the connection of the guard post to the deck framing (the other is the ledger board connection; see the July 5, 2017 post below).

Per the building code, in a worst-case condition, a guard post must resist a horizontal outward force of 200 pounds at its top.  For a 36-inch tall guard, that translates to a rotational torque (moment) at the connection to the deck of 600 foot-pounds.  The most important part of a post at that connection is its thickness – the exact location of the notch!

Most guard posts are comprised of wood 4x4s which have actual dimensions of 3½ inches by 3½ inches.  The average notch I’ve seen is roughly half of the guard thickness which equates to a 1¾ inches.  However, I’ve seen some truly butchered posts that were notched in both directions into a 1-inch by 1-inch section.  Considering a post with half its thickness notched, its ability to resist the rotation is not reduced proportionally.  Due to the way a section is analyzed, the actual resistance is reduced by 75 percent.  That reduction increases exponentially for every additional loss of section.

If you’re building a deck, do NOT notch the guard post, and follow all the connection requirements from the Fairfax County Typical Deck Details to ensure your guard system is constructed safely and can resist the required loads.

Learn more about deck safety in Fairfax County



Anatomy of an Inherently Dangerous Deck, Part I

By: Frank Woeste

Deck collapses caused by failure of a nailed deck-ledger-connection to the structure or house have been followed since 2002, when researchers at Virginia Tech began to investigate and test critical structural elements of a residential/multi-family deck. After several years of tracking deck collapses, it became apparent that the primary cause of deck collapses was the connection of the deck ledger to the house made with nails only. In fact, I believe 90% of all deck collapses result from the failure of the deck ledger-to house connection, and of the 90% most are caused by nailed-only ledgers.

The focus of this article is existing decks with a “nailed-only” ledger connection. As will be demonstrated, a homeowner, home inspector, property manager, or other professional can quickly determine if the deck is dangerous—nails only in a deck ledger constitutes a “dangerous deck.”

Background For decades, the residential codes have specified an occupant deck load of 40 pounds-per-square foot (psf), which translates into about one average-size person locating a space of 2-ft. by 2-ft. In addition, every edition of the International Residential Code (IRC) since 2000 has required that decks be positively anchored to the structure to resist both vertical and lateral loads. Assuming a deck that is 14-ft by 28-ft, the code design load would anticipate the deck could be safely occupied by 98 people. However, until 2007, the IRC did not prescriptively specify how contractors should fasten or connect the deck ledger to the house.









Frank Woeste, P.E., is Professor
Emeritus, Virginia Tech University
and a wood construction consultant.
He can be contacted by e-mail: fwoeste@vt.edu

CAMO supports Deck Safety Month® in May

Contractors Mark NADRA’s Deck Safety Month® in May with CAMO Edge Fastening for Safer, Barefoot-Friendly Deck Surfaces

CAMO Edge Fastening teams with the North American Deck and Railing Association, Inc. (NADRA) to promote “Deck Safety Month®” with ways to improve the safety of your deck using better installation techniques and materials.


CAMO Edge Fastening joined forces with the North American Deck and Railing Association, Inc. (NADRA), in supporting Deck Safety Month® in May to help increase public awareness of the necessity for regular inspection and maintenance of existing decks, and proper installation of new decks. National Nail’s CAMO Edge Fastening is one technology that can help contractors make decks safer for homeowners.

Unlike traditional fasteners that are nailed or screwed through the top or face of the deck board, the proprietary Edge Fastening system guides the unique CAMO® screws through the edge of the boards. Applying the screws in this manner eliminates the safety issues normally associated with traditional face fastening. Edge fastening greatly reduces the cracking and splitting of deck boards that leads to splinters while also eliminating the common issue of nails and screws working themselves out of the deck board surface. Scott Baker, CEO and President of National Nail states, “Splinters, nails and screw pops find their way into the feet of unsuspecting guests. Families don’t want to turn their fun, outdoor event into a first aid lesson. That’s why we say CAMO® is barefoot approved™.”

Another safety advantage to CAMO Edge Fastening is the holding power of the deck board is greatly improved due to the angle which the screws enter the deck board and attach directly to the sub-structure. This system virtually eliminates deck board movement which is a common problem with deck clips. “With CAMO, you get a solid, stable board. If there is ever an issue with a board I can back the screws out to replace it where I can’t with typical hidden clips,” said Billy Lecorchick, owner of Legends Home Improvements in Monroe, NJ.

“Contractors or homeowners using wood, composites or PVC are fastening their decks with CAMO Edge Fastening for safer, fastener-free surfaces,” said Greg Palmer, Director of Marketing, National Nail/CAMO. “Edge-fastened decks prevent fastener caused splitting or cracking that increases weather and moisture access to the deck material– which can add to and increase degradation of the deck board. The deck surface is also safer for bare feet with no raised screw heads, which can also get hot in the sun. These are all important safety factors for homeowners. “

Chris Warren of Warren Builders, State College, PA, agrees and said, “With the new wave of composites and pvcs, no one screws deck boards the old-fashioned way anymore. The edge-fastened decks do not allow water seepage into exposed openings around face-screws or into cracks or splits.”

To learn more about deck safety, visit NADRA’s website at http://www.NADRA.org for their video and Check Your Deck® – 10-Point Safety Checklist. For more information about CAMO Edge Fastening visit http://www.camofasteners.com.

About CAMO Edge Fastening
CAMO Edge Fastening™ from National Nail delivers beautiful, fastener-free, Barefoot Approved™ results with virtually any wood, composite or PVC decking. CAMO® offers a variety of guides, fasteners, and accessories, as well as a collated system to suit project requirements. For more information or to locate a dealer, visit CAMO Fasteners or call 1-800-968-6245. Be sure to “Like” CAMO® Fasteners on Facebook.

Greetings Industry Associates, Bob Lett – Wolf

Greetings industry associates, outdoor living enthusiasts:
Welcome to spring! Summer is around the corner and May is Deck Safety Month®

In the U.S. we celebrate Memorial Day and in Canada we celebrate Victoria Day. Both of these May holidays are the unofficial “start” of summer in North America and with that we spend more time out on our decks. Family get togethers, graduation parties and summer vacations are just a few examples of where we might be “on the deck.”

This is a great time to market your business and remind homeowners to “Check Your Deck®” to ensure its safety. How do we do this? NADRA rolls out a plethora of marketing materials for its members to use to promote deck safety awareness (like the 10-point consumer checklist & PR templates). What better opportunity to call up local news stations, send out press releases, or offer a promotion and get your community involved with a Check Your Deck® campaign.

At NADRA HQ, interviews are coming in left and right as columnists are talking about making outdoor living improvements to those backyard havens & making sure they are safe for family and friends. We at NADRA are doing our part by directing calls and inquiries to our membership directory, and have seen a spike in traffic in the first 9 days of May to the “Find a Builder” and “Find an Inspector” section of NADRA.org.

Market indicators continue to suggest we are positioned to have a busy year- here’s to a fun and safe outdoor living season. For my Canadian friends, that’s July. Just kidding. Have a great year!

Kindest regards,
Bob Lett
Bob Lett is VP of National Sales for Wolf Home Products. He is a NADRA member and is Secretary for the NADRA Board of Directors.
Should you have any questions Bob can be reached at:

Choosing the correct wood for your outdoor project

Choosing the correct wood for your outdoor project, by: Lonza Wood Protection

This past year the wood preserving industry took a bold stance on quality when the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) voted to require higher amounts of preservative for wood used in many applications. The AWPA, an organization comprised of individuals from all facets of the wood protection industry that sets standards for wood preservation and treated wood, updated its standards to require wood treated to Ground Contact retentions be used in many physically above-ground applications, including when:

  • soil or other debris may build up and stay in contact with the wood
  • insufficient ventilation does not allow air circulation around wood
  • material is installed <6 inches above the ground on permeable building materials
  • material is installed in contact with non-durable untreated or older construction with evidence of decay
  • wood is subject to frequent or recurring wetting
  • located in tropical climates
  • the wood is both:

— difficult to maintain, repair or replace and

— critical to the performance and safety of the entire system

Building codes require that preserved wood comply with these standards and the installer must decide if these conditions are present, select, and install the correct material for the project.  The wood preserving industry and many retailers have helped implement these standards by switching inventories of lumber in sizes commonly used for structural parts of decks to Ground Contact retentions. Some retailers have switched all lumber, including decking and railing, to Ground Contact retentions. These changes benefit builders and consumers by removing the guesswork from the decision process. Buyers can focus on their project rather than deciding if they need to purchase Ground Contact wood.

“It is important,” says, Jay Hilsenbeck, chemist and residential product specialist from Lonza Wood Protection, “to educate builders, contractors, and DIYers so they know what wood to choose for their project. During Deck Safety Month® we focus on deck inspections, but we should also focus on quality and proper construction practices before construction begins. The builder should consider the deck surroundings. For a deck built close to the ground, for example, Ground Contact retentions would be required under the new AWPA guidelines.”

The contractor should also consider what parts of the deck (joists, beams, ledger boards, posts) are important to sustain the structure and are more expensive or time-consuming to repair after the project is complete. The contractor and homeowner should work together to discuss the environmental conditions such as if the deck will be subject to constant wetting from a pool or sprinklers or if there will be debris build-up.

With that knowledge, contractors and homeowners can have peace-of-mind that they have chosen the appropriate preserved wood for the project. Contractors can offer their clients the confidence that they are providing a durable outdoor living space for their homeowner clients to enjoy for many years.

Each May, during Deck Safety Month®, homeowners can focus on evaluating the items in the deck safety checklist, knowing their deck was built using the right preserved wood.

Learn more