Spring is here, and summer is fast approaching. With the warm weather, people will be outside much more in the coming months. However, if you haven’t performed a deck safety checklist, those warm nights could end in disaster.
If you have a deck full of friends and family, the last thing you want is an unstable foundation. Taking some time to thoroughly check your deck could save you time, money, and heartache down the road.
If you want help ensuring your deck is safe, call the experts at Dupont Construction and Remodeling. We have years of experience working with customers on all kinds of projects, from deck renovations to completely new decks.
Why A Deck Safety Checklist?
Just because your deck looks sturdy, that does not mean there isn’t damage visible to the naked eye or underneath. Frequently it is inconspicuous. However, left untreated, the damage gets worse, creating worse consequences.
Following a deck safety checklist can also save you money upfront. If you know your deck needs some attention, following this list will allow you to pinpoint what needs attention now and what can wait.
If you are not in a place to build a new deck from scratch, completing a deck safety checklist will allow you to replace or repair what needs fixing and saving work that can wait.
Decks can take a beating, especially in our neck of the woods. Between the wind, rain, snow, sun, and everything else our weather throws at us, your deck “weathers” it all. Nothing lasts forever. An outdoor deck needs attention now and then.
Furthermore, more than 30,000 people are injured because of deck failures every year. Ensuring your deck is structurally sound can prevent your friends and family from becoming part of that statistic.
Deck Safety Checklist
While this is not an exhaustive list, it is a good starting point. If you are concerned about the integrity of your deck, please call a professional. The helpful staff at Dupont Construction and Remodeling is here to help. We will thoroughly examine your deck and ensure it is safe for those you love to enjoy.
In the meantime, here are some of the most important things to check on your deck.
1. Ledger Board and Ledger Connection.
The ledger on your deck is the part of the frame that is connected flat against your home. Depending on who installed your deck, it should be secured by a lag or with bolts. However, if there are only nails, this is the first thing you should address.
You also want to ensure the ledger is flashed with either metal or rubber. Sometimes the flashing is hard to see without removing boards; it is wise you don’t do that. See professional help from Dupont if necessary.
If you know for sure there is no flashing, check for moisture in the wood or rot. If you can poke something pointy into the deck’s wood, it likely needs to be replaced.
Check all of the screws or bolts to ensure everything is still tightly connected.
Flashing is made from metal, rubber, or plastic and is necessary to divert water away from a specific area. You can find uses of flashing throughout your home, including your roof and deck.
There should be flashing on your ledger board, as discussed. However, there might be flashing on other sensitive areas. Check the integrity of all the flashing and clean any debris that may have built up.
If you have noticed an area where water pools consider adding flashing to protect those areas.
3. Support Posts and Joists
Joists are the part of the deck that is perpendicular to the ledger. Usually, there is a front beam and posts to support them. It’s all connected to the ledger beam with joists.
It is not always possible to thoroughly examine support posts and joists. However, if you can safely reach your support posts and joists, check their structure and integrity.
You want the support posts to be solid wood without warping, moisture, or mold. You are looking for rust, or potentially missing joists. Ensure all of these pieces are intact and sound.
4. Decking and Railings
It seems obvious, but examining the decking and railings is vital. These are the most prominent and visible parts of the deck. They are also the most exposed to the elements.
To check the deck boards and stairs, look for sagging, cracking, or mold. Seeing peeling paint or missing stain does not necessarily mean the integrity of the wood is gone. You do not want to see any movement or sway when tested.
To evaluate the railings, look for mold, moisture, or rot. Apply some pressure to the handrails and ensure there is no movement and that they are securely attached. Pull the railings towards you and make sure they don’t move more than a couple of inches.
You also want to ensure all of the deck boards and railings are securely attached. If there is missing hardware, the solution might be simple. Adding some screws or bolts might be the answer. However, if too many are missing, you should call Dupont and let us examine the deck.
While you’re at it, check all of the hardware throughout the deck. If any nails or screws are loose, tighten, or drive them in. Replace any rusted parts, as well.
5. Final Preparation
After you have checked the structural integrity, there are a few more things to tackle. Remove all plants, furniture, and toys and clean your deck. Sweep away debris, spray down the deck, and clean with soap and water.
Once you have the deck cleared off, consider re-staining, painting, or applying water repellent to it.
Check all of the lighting fixtures and electrical components. If they are not working properly, call an expert. For lighting ideas, check out our tips here.
Call Dupont Construction and Remodeling
If you have questions or concerns about your deck, call us today. We have over 20 years of experience and strive to provide the best service possible to our customers. Reach out today for a free quote.