Most new (and old) houses have a deck off the side or back of the house for one popular reason – it is a beautiful place to unwind and entertain. You can lounge, spend time outdoors without actually leaving your home, or enjoy a family barbecue. But how can you guarantee that your deck is safe for years to come?
Most deck accidents result in a shoulder injury, as a person falls and sprains or tears their shoulder, leaving them incapacitated for days, if not weeks. This is why you should prioritize checking the safety of your lovely deck because you wouldn’t want to risk the safety of your loved ones.
So, what should you include then in your deck inspection checklist? In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of the five most important things to look for when checking your deck.
Deck Safety Tip #1: Examine Your Deck’s Interior
Your deck may still appear in good condition from the outside but could already have flaws on the inside. This must be checked because it may be the beginning of larger defects.
Here are three things you might want to check in your deck’s interior:
Check for rusting
When inspecting your deck, look closely at your connectors, joists, and fasteners for any signs of rusting, which could weaken and make your deck dangerous to use. Call a professional deck contractor immediately if you notice any rust on nails, screws, bolts, or other connectors.
Check for mildew and molds
Decks are constantly exposed to different temperatures and elements throughout the year. It shouldn’t be a surprise then that mold and mildew will grow, especially on the stairs, making them slippery and unsafe.
When you notice a green tint on your deck, wash and stain it regularly to address the issue. However, if you see mushroom-like growth on your deck, it could be mold or fungus, which could indicate larger problems. Call your deck inspector as soon as possible to have your deck inspected.
Check for cracks
Check for cracks regardless of how old your deck is since they indicate deteriorating strength. When you check this early on, you will avoid bigger problems because once it’s too late, you will most likely need to replace the deck boards. In any case, if you have noticed larger cracks, call an inspector to have it checked to see if it needs to be repaired immediately.
Deck Safety Top #2: Examine the Presence of Insects
When your deck is made of wood, you must check for termites and ants, especially if you do not use any treatment to keep these pests away. Also, check where the deck is attached to your house and its exterior. You are more likely to experience termite problems if you live in a humid climate. If you notice that the deck sways slightly when you walk on it, now is the time to call a professional deck repair team to inspect it.
Deck Safety Tip #3: Check for Wobbly Decks
Your deck will deteriorate naturally over time with regular use and will definitely require maintenance. Wobbly decks are another common problem for deck owners. This can be caused by several factors and depends on the circumstances. Among them are:
● Poor construction quality
● Screws have been stripped
● Long-term use or the age of your deck
● Wood has begun to rot and deteriorate
● The deck has been subjected to adverse weather conditions
● Initially, nails or other insufficient hardware were used to secure the post
● Insects or other pests have eaten away at your deck’s frame or the bars themselves
Deck Safety Tip #4: Check the Railing and Stairs
According to InterNACHI, rail failure causes more injuries than deck collapse. Deck stairs are also notorious for lacking reachable handrails. Sure, your kids may run down the steps of your deck without even noticing the railing, let alone using it. However, your elderly guests and family members may rely on that railing to safely navigate the stairs and other areas of your deck.
Checking the state of the stairs and railings is crucial to further address this concern. If you want it fixed by a pro, get in touch with a deck repair company near you.
Deck Safety Tip #5: Confirm the Deck Age
A deck’s materials deteriorate over time, and if the structure is older, it is more likely to have serious flaws that can’t be repaired.
Natural woods like cedar and pine succumb to moisture damage around the ten-year mark, while composite decking materials may last 20-30 years. If your deck is old, then replacing it might be a good idea. Make sure to hire a professional to evaluate your deck if you find anything that concerns you.
Have a deck repair or replacement project in Newton, MA? Newton Deck Builders is a reputable local deck contractor you can trust your project with. Whether it’s patio revamp, railing repair, hot tub repair, or repair of cracked hardscapes, we’ve got the skill and experience to handle all your repair and restoration needs!
If you’re unsure whether to repair your deck, tear it down, or rebuild it from scratch, get in touch with us, and we’ll give you a free consultation to help you decide.