Like any part of our homes, decks need regular checks and maintenance to ensure they’re safe to use for all of our favorite outdoor activities. If you’re like most homeowners, however, you don’t know what to look for when double-checking on your deck’s safety. Luckily, we’ve compiled everything you need to know for performing a deck safety check in this checklist.
1. Steps and Railing
If you’re having issues with your steps and use your deck frequently, you’ve likely already noticed that you have an issue. Either way though, you should check the steps on your deck for soft, splintered, and rotting wood. You also want to look for slip and trip hazards, like loose nails or lifting wood. Once you’ve finished examining the actual steps, move on to checking the staircase railing and the safety railing around the entirety of your deck. The stairs and railing of your deck are not only there for your convenience, but also your safety, so make sure that they’re given the attention they need.
2. Rotting Wood
As we mentioned in the first step, checking for wood rot is an important part of your deck safety checklist. Not only should you check your stairs, but you should also check for wood rot and softness throughout your entire deck. An easy way to check for any softness is by using a screwdriver or another sharp object and spot check. Just remember, that a healthy deck will be difficult to penetrate or even notice any give. Pay special attention during your inspection to the areas of your deck that receive a lot of moisture and the areas next to your fasteners.
Deck fasteners are the hardware used to fasten your deck together – like nails, screws, and anchors. You’ll want to check that the fasteners are secure and aren’t allowing the boards to wiggle or move. Also, it’s important to look closely for any rust. Not only can rust damage the integrity of the fasteners, but it can also cause rot and decay in the surrounding wood, which can lead to the soft and splintering wood we mentioned in the previous steps.
You can find your deck’s flashing in areas that your deck connects to your home; it’s used to prevent water and moisture for hitting those areas of the deck that are especially susceptible to rot and decay. It’s essential that you regularly check your deck’s flashing because when your flashing is in disrepair, it can lead to both deck and home damage. If your deck doesn’t currently have flashing, this step is a great chance to add it. Luckily, if your deck was installed by professionals, this should already be taken care of.
5. Regular Maintenance
While following this checklist will certainly find any immediate issues, the best way to prevent damage to your deck is with regular maintenance. Regular cleaning and staining can go a long way! However, if your deck is too far gone, and you’re ready for a new deck, contact our experts at Austin Outdoor Living today.