Wednesday, March 27, 2013 11:51:00 AM
Deck safety is so important in America that there’s a whole month set aside for it. During the month of May every year, people are encouraged to check their decks with a critical eye to safety.
Why the Paranoia?
We’re not talking splinters here. Decks collapse, and usually they do it without warning. Your kids may be running, dancing, and stomping on your deck one day, and then the next day, the whole contraption might fall completely apart. Inspecting your deck can be a matter of life or death. Just glance over the tips we’ve gathered in the information below. Maybe you’ll decide not to wait until May to carry out your own deck safety check.
5 Tips on Checking Deck Safety
- Flashing: Problems with flashing is one of the most frequently occurring safety issues for decks. Flashing is a waterproof material that connects your deck to your home. It can fail due to either incorrect installation or deterioration. Flashing prevents water from seeping into the house and slowly eroding the wood. Your deck’s flashing should extend a minimum of four inches up the wall to which it is attached. To check your deck’s flashing yourself, watch the progress of a drop of rain hitting the flashing. It should move, unimpeded, all the way to the ground. Flashing is essential for deck safety, so if your deck was installed without it, it is definitely time to rectify that oversight.
- Inspect all fasteners: Everything that holds your deck together can be compromised. It’s important to check the security of every bolt, nail, screw, or anchor you can find on your deck.
- Wood: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recommends inspecting the wood on your deck with a tool such as an ice pick. If you can easily penetrate more than ½” without the wood splintering, you’ve probably just found decay that will need to be repaired.
- Stairs: Check not only the stair steps for your deck, but also the stair railing, and repair any area that is unstable. Also look for any trip hazards, such as loose wood (or dog toys). Lean from side to side on each stair to see if the stair wobbles. Look carefully at the points of connection between the stairs and the deck and replace anything that looks old or compromised.
- Railings: There are three things to keep in mind when checking your decks banisters and railings: rail height (which needs to measure at least three yards), stability, and the amount of space between each rail (no more than 3-7/8” in width).
Other Things You Can Do
Watch the NADRA’s video on deck safety:
If you think your deck needs to be updated or replaced to ensure the safety of your family and guests, schedule a in home consultation with one of our experts to see how we can help you build a deck that you can trust is safe.