Well May is Deck safety month so I wanted to take a few minutes and give you some information about decks. Unfortunately there are thousands and thousands of injuries from problems with decks every year!
Let’s consider a few things you should be aware of if you have a deck, especially one that is elevated.
- Look around for rusting or corrosion on any part of the deck. Bolts, fasteners and flashing (a material that helps shed water away from the structure) should all be in good condition.
- Is the deck simply nailed together? If it is, have it evaluated. Nails can pull out easily, so to increase stability the deck should be screwed together.
- Is the deck attached to the siding or does it have a proper ledger board that it attaches to? A common defect with decks is they are simply secured to the siding which doesn’t provide much support or reinforcement. Make sure it is secured properly to the house.
- Make sure the handrails are steady. They should be able to withstand a pretty hefty impact before giving. There also shouldn’t be more than 4 inches between the balusters.
- There should be no more than a 4 inch opening between steps if they are open steps. More than that can allow for a child to fall through the gap.
- If it is a wood deck, is there any splitting, rotting, damaged wood? Make sure it is repaired before it causes injury. Make sure you seal it and do regular maintenance to help it last a long time.
- Are there any trees hanging over the deck or in contact with the deck? If so, these can allow moisture to sit on the deck which only speeds up deterioration. They can also fall on the deck causing damage.
For a full checklist by the NADRA click here. We recommend getting your deck inspected annually by a licensed home inspector or professional deck builder.