10 Questions to Ensure Your Deck Safety
Winter has passed and Spring has sprung! Is your deck ready for the spring and summer seasons?
Here are the top 10 steps you can take to check the safety of your deck to ensure your friends and family are safe during deck season.
#1 Is your wood split or decaying?
Where your deck attaches to your house is the most common source of deck failure. Make sure that your ledger board is intact, and all the areas of wood on your deck are undamaged. If you see any split or decaying wood, that is an indication of a much bigger problem.
But don’t just check the surface of your deck, also peek under your deck to check your posts, joists, and strings to give you a better overall look at the life cycle status of your deck.
#2 Do you have any loose or corroded fasteners?
Fasteners consist of nails, screws, or anchors that are in your deck’s ledger board. Make sure none of these are corroded, loose, or broken off. If any of your fasteners are corroded, you may want to consider replacing them, as the corrosion can cause the wood surrounding the fasteners to deteriorate. If you have any nails that have popped out, make sure to hammer them back in.
#3 How does the flashing between your deck and the house look?
Between your deck and your house is a metal or plastic guard called Flashing. Flashing helps direct water out and away from the sensitive areas and keeps moisture and debris from collecting between the two.
Make sure that your flashing is in good condition and intact so that water doesn’t intrude. If you see any spots where water is collecting near those areas, you may want to consider adding additional flashing or replacing your current flashing.
#4 How are your stairs and handrails?
Most people forget to check their stairs and handrails each spring/summer season. Your deck and stairs should appear even and should not move or sway when tugged on and tested. Make sure to check that your stairs and handrails are firmly held in place.
Again, check the fasteners, risers, and stringers to be certain your stairs and handrails are safely and securely attached. In addition to checking the condition of the stairs, make sure you don’t have anything blocking too much of the pathway. Planters, décor, toys, and other items can get in the way and present a tripping hazard. Better to be safe than sorry!
#5 Do you have secure railings and banisters?
Make sure your railings and banisters are secure. People tend to relax on decks, lean back on the railing, and kids may even try to hang from them. All railings and banisters always need to remain secure. This is especially important if your deck is higher up off the ground.
#6 Have you been cleaning and maintaining your deck?
Many of us do not look forward to the “spring cleaning” time of year. However, its important for the life span of your deck.
If you have a lot of debris and leaves, they can create a slippery environment. They also promote mildew! If you have any mildew on your deck, your deck coatings have probably worn away, and it may be time to upgrade.
Clean up the deck surface and consider new waterproofing or a new coating. This will also increase the lifespan of the deck. It helps seal decaying wood and helps delay and prevent splitting.
#7 Do you have any grills or firepits on your deck?
If you love to use your deck frequently, you probably enjoy some nights by the firepit and some steaks on the grill. These activities create a great deck environment that all your friends and family can enjoy.
The only downside is that these activities are sources of fire and heat, and they could potentially lead to a fire hazard. If you are using a grill or fire pit, make sure that your deck surface is protected by a non-flammable pad, and always use caution. In addition, to aid with deck safety, make sure these items aren’t directly next to your house while they are on the deck.
#8 Are all the lighting and electrical outlets on your deck working properly?
If you have any lights on your deck, make sure they are all working properly. Clean out the covers and trim any plants that may be blocking them.
If you don’t have any lighting sources on your deck, make sure you find a way to illuminate your walkway, which will prevent any tripping hazards. Even if you don’t have lighting, but you have electrical outlets, make sure those are up to code and in good working condition.
#9 Do you have any outdoor furniture or storage on your deck?
You probably have a place to sit and enjoy the breeze while you are on your deck. If so, make sure your furniture is in good condition and sturdy. Avoid placing your furniture on the edges of your decks, as we don’t want any accidents happening.
In addition, if you have storage on your deck, make sure all your chemical products, lighters, BBQ supplies, etc. are stored away safely.
#10 Do you have any overhanging or surrounding trees?
If you have any trees that overhang onto your deck, make sure there are no damaged limbs that could fall onto your deck. Make sure to trim your trees properly prior to the season to ensure your deck safety.
Is Your Deck Ready for Spring?
Now that you know the 10 questions to ask yourself to ensure deck safety, you should have no issues as you start enjoying this gorgeous outdoor weather.
At Engineering Express, our expert team of engineers design permit-ready deck plans. If you are looking for the perfect engineering designs to creatively improve your outdoor spaces, we are your contractor’s one-stop-shop.
We offer three different services to provide contractors and builders with the perfect, permit-ready solution for your needs:
3. Custom Solutions
Your contractor or builder can also contact us today to see how we can help you with your specific engineering needs!