As families start spending more time outside, they will be ready to enjoy their outside spaces. Decks are one of the most popular outside areas this time of year. Whether choosing to grill, chill, or party, decks are the place to be! That’s why it is crucial for homeowners to have their decks inspected to verify its integrity. A deck inspection ensures user safety as well as helps extend the deck’s lifespan, improve appearance, and increase livability.
There are several areas to consider when you inspect your deck for safety concerns.
First, start by locating any split or decaying wood. Use a pick or a flat screwdriver to check for the split or decaying spaces. If you can insert a sharp instrument more than ¼ inch deep or if the wood feels spongy or breaks off without splintering, you most likely have decay. Check the decking and railing as well as the support structures.
Next, examine the flashing. Start by removing any debris that may have collected around the flashing between the house and the ledger board. Replace any flashing that is damaged or missing and in areas where water may be collecting. Also, look for any corroded fasteners. Check the ledger board and make sure fasteners are in place and in good condition. Drive in loose nails and tighten screws and replace any that have rusted.
Now, check support posts and joists for structural soundness. The railings and banisters should be secure. They should not give or move when you push on them. Also, make sure deck boards and stairs are not sagging and do not sway. Risers and strings should be securely attached.
The next step in creating a safe space on the deck includes cleaning and maintenance. Remember to remove everything from the deck, including furniture and plants, and sweep away leaves and debris. Clean the deck with soap and water. Consider applying a new coat of stain or sealant. This not only looks beautiful, but it also preserves your deck and you.
Grills, firepits, chimneys, heaters, and candles can make your outside deck more enjoyable. Just use caution when placing these items. Position these objects away from flammable surfaces or protect the deck with a non-flammable pad. Lighting and electrical can also create an amazing atmosphere on your deck. Check lighting and electrical outlets to make sure they are functioning properly. Clean the light fixtures and replace any burnt out bulbs. Consider adding additional lighting to improve safety and ambiance.
Outdoor furniture and storage help add comfort to your deck. Always inspect the condition of your deck furniture to make sure it is sturdy. Also, examine the furniture for small holes that allow easy access for pests. Surprise stings are never fun. Add storage with a lock for chemicals, such as BBQ lighter fluid and cleaners, especially if you have younger children in these areas.
Finally, don’t’ forget about your surrounding trees. They can be beautiful and provide much needed shade, but always trim overhanging branches and make sure any decaying or damaged limbs are removed to prevent them from falling and damaging your deck or hurting individuals.
Creating an inviting, enjoyable, and safe space on your deck is a critical component to your spring and summer fun. Verify that the structure of your deck is sound, clean and maintain the deck itself, and then make sure everything on it and surrounding it is secure and safe. Taking these key steps before you start using your deck will help guarantee months of fun with family and friends.