As the weather gets warmer, homeowners begin to prepare their outdoor living spaces for use by family and guests. This often includes inspecting and preparing their decks for use. Decks are a wonderful addition to any home, offering a space for relaxation, entertainment, and fun. However, decks that are not properly maintained and inspected can quickly become a safety hazard for homeowners and their guests. Therefore, it’s crucial for homeowners to check for their deck safety. Here are 8 important areas homeowners should check when inspecting their deck:
Check For Structural Issues
The first thing homeowners should do when inspecting their deck for safety is to check for any signs of structural issues. This includes looking for signs of rot, decay, or damage to the wood or hardware. Any structural issues should be addressed immediately by an experienced deck builder to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards. Here’s a deck safety checklist for homeowners:
1. Check the Ledger Board: The ledger board is the part of the deck that attaches to the house. Inspecting the ledger board is essential to ensure that it’s properly secured and not pulling away from the home. Look for signs of rot, water damage, or corrosion. If you notice any issues, call a professional to inspect and repair the ledger board to keep the structure safe for use.
2. Look at the Support Beams: The beams support the deck boards, so it’s essential to look them over closely. Look for signs of rot, water damage, or insect infestation. Check each one to make sure it’s secure and not leaning. Use a level to check that each support beam t is vertical and there are no significant cracks or signs of rot. If you notice any issues, have the damaged joists or beams replaced as soon as possible.
3. Check the Fasteners: If you have wood decking, check for popped nails and pound them down or replace them. Tighten any loose screws. Replace rusted or corroded fasteners, as corrosion can deteriorate any surrounding wood.
4. Inspect the Railings: The deck’s railings are an important safety feature that should be inspected regularly. Homeowners should check to make sure that the railings are sturdy and secure. Check that each rail is secure and that there are no significant cracks or signs of rot. Ensure your deck railing complies with local building codes. This is usually a rail height of 36 inches, although 42 inches is required in some states and for commercial properties. To prevent small children and pets from squeezing through, the distance between each baluster should not exceed 4 inches for line sections.
5. Check Stairs, Steps, and Handrails: If the deck has stairs or steps, homeowners should check them for safety as well. The stairs and steps should be free of any damage or rot, and the treads and risers should be securely attached and not wobbly. Homeowners should also check the handrails to ensure they are sturdy.
6. Check the Deck Boards: Check the deck boards and ensure that each of the boards is secure and in good condition. Worn or damaged deck boards should be replaced as soon as possible.
7. Look for Signs of Water Damage: Water damage is a common issue that affects decks, especially those that are not properly maintained or protected from the elements. Homeowners should look for signs of water damage, such as mold, mildew, or discoloration on the wood. If water damage is present, it should be addressed immediately to prevent further damage and potential safety hazards.
8. Inspect Lighting Features: Lighting is an important safety feature that should not be overlooked when inspecting a deck. Ensure that all the lighting fixtures are working correctly and that there are no exposed wires or loose bulbs. Homeowners should make sure that their deck is well-lit and add additional lighting if needed to ensure that the deck is safe for use after sunset.
Decks are a great addition to any home, but they can also be a safety hazard if they are not properly inspected and maintained. Decks are exposed to harsh weather conditions, so inspecting a deck at least once a year is a smart idea. By taking these simple steps, homeowners can ensure that their decks are safe and enjoyable for years. Always consult a professional if you notice any significant problems or concerns with your deck.
RT Construction has completed residential and commercial projects in Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas with precision and quality for over 25 years. We take pride in our work, and your satisfaction is guaranteed. We design and install decks, patio covers, and underdecking systems. We are licensed, insured, and bonded for your protection. Contact us online or call 636-317-5636 to schedule a consultation and free estimate.