Top 9 Deck Checkpoints for Homeowners' Deck Safety
Deck Safety Awareness
Promote a safe outdoor living environment by thoroughly examining your deck with these top 9 checkpoints:
1) Split or Decaying Wood
Start by checking different areas of your deck to notice any compromised wood. This includes boards, railings, stairs, support posts, and joists. More specifically, look for areas that are regularly exposed to water . Decay might be present if the wood is soft and spongy or can be easily broken off. Also, be on the lookout for holes in the wood which may indicate insects.
Deck flashing is the plastic or metal guards which direct water away from vulnerable areas, ensuring that your deck stays dry. Be sure that the flashing is structurally stable and consider replacing it or adding more flashing in any areas that collect water.
3) Corroded Fasteners
Fasteners are what holds you deck together in the form of nails, screws, or anchors so you can enjoy your outdoor living space in a safe manner. If the deck itself or the stairs tend be easily moved, examine the fasteners to see if they're loose or if rust is present and replace them where necessary.
4) Stairs, Railings, and Banisters
Be sure that the stairs, railings, and banisters are free from obstructions like plants and décor. Also, check to be sure that they are held firmly in place and securely attached with no evident decay. This is vitally important if your deck is located higher off the ground.
5) Cleaning and Maintenance
Prevent future splitting and decaying wood by making certain that your deck is free of any leaves or debris which can cause mildew buildup. Consider applying a new waterproofing coating if you experience any excess mildew accumulation.
6) Grills, Fire Pits, Chimneys, Heaters and Candles
Although these sources of heat can add a warm and cozy ambiance to your deck, they can be dangerous if left unattended to. Always make sure that they are located away from any flammable surfaces on your deck to reduce the risk of fire damage.
7) Lighting and Electrical
Examine all lighting and electrical devices that surround your outdoor living space by ensuring that all cords, plugs, and outlets are in good condition and up to code. Also, be certain that any plants or tree limbs that are blocking light sources are trimmed.
8) Outdoor Furniture and Storage
Any furniture placed on your deck should be sturdy and in good condition. Avoid putting furniture near the edge or stairs as this has the potential to cause serious injury. Childproof any storage containers that may house any chemical products or hazardous materials.
If there are any trees surrounding your deck, examine them for evidence of decay or loose limbs. A fallen tree or limb can produce thousands of dollars worth of structural damage to your deck if left untreated.