When signs of rust appear around the fastener heads and other metal hardware on a coastal deck, the homeowner should heed this simple safety warning and have the deck inspected, warns noted building scientists Frank Woeste and Joe Loferski and veteran deck inspector Bruce Barker in Coastal Decks: Red Rust on Decks Is a Safety Warning, an article originally published in the ASHI Reporter and reprinted in the ICC's 'Building Safety Journal'. While red rust on any deck fastener can be problematic, the issue is particularly acute on a coastal deck that is exposed to salt spray and salty air because the failure mode can occur quite quickly after the rust first appears. Not only does corrosion weaken the fastener, it also can lead to deterioration of the wood around the structural hardware. That's why the 2018 IRC now requires decks that are within 300 feet of a coastline be built with stainless steel hardware (though not all coastal areas have adopted the latest edition of the IRC). As Woeste, Loferski, and Barker note, the red rust is like a warning flag that doesn't require any particular expertise to recognize and act upon.

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