For many families, hanging out on a backyard deck is a great way to savor warm summer nights, spend time with friends, or gather around the BBQ for an outdoor meal. May is Deck Safety Month, so take some time this month to ensure everyone enjoys their time in your outdoor space. Here is your homeowner’s checklist for deck safety month.
Check several areas, including the ledger board (where the deck attaches to the house), support posts, and joists to look for split or decaying wood. Use a screwdriver to penetrate the wood surface. If you can easily penetrate 1/4″ to 1/2″ or the wood is soft and spongy, decay may be present.
Deck railings should be secure and not “wiggle.” Railings must be properly attached to both the deck framing and deck surface.
Check the Footings
Check footings and support posts for loose connections, inferior fasteners (for example, nails instead of bolts), pooling water, and signs of decay.
Check the flashing for leaks or cracks. The wood can rot and weaken the deck’s foundation if water gets under the flashing.
Walk the surface and check for pest infestation. Do you see small boreholes? These may indicate insect infestation. Other signs include the presence of a powder resembling fine sawdust, wood shavings, or merely seeing termites in swarms around your home.
Ensure water from your sprinklers, downspouts, or hoses doesn’t discharge near support posts. Exposure to water over time can cause wood rot to occur.
Keep all pathways clear to prevent tripping; this includes potted plants, toys, and other outdoor equipment.
As a general rule, a standard deck’s lifespan is around 15 to 20 years. Keep your deck healthy, and it will repay you with happy and safe summer gatherings.
Consider a Professional Inspection
As a general rule, a standard deck’s lifespan is somewhere between 15- 20 years. Your deck is constantly exposed to rain, wind, sun, and foot traffic. This exposure can create wear and tear on even the most quality-built decks.
Professional Inspections can begin at less than a hundred dollars to several hundred dollars depending upon the length of the inspection.
Now it’s time to relax and put your feet up on that perfectly solid railing and enjoy those summer nights.