May is National Deck Safety Month, and it is a good reminder to check the safety of your home as we head into the summer months.
If you think it’s time to check or replace your deck or other outdoor project, contact the skilled team at T.W. Ellis. We are not only certified remodelers, but also a long-time member of the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA).
There are some steps you can take on your own to monitor the safety of your deck. NADRA recommends checking several items. Keep in mind that fully inspecting your deck and checking its safety takes the skills of a pro. As a homeowner, you may miss deterioration that a professional eye would not.
Split or decaying wood
Check multiple areas to make sure the wood is still sound. That should include the ledger board, support posts, joists, railing, deck boards and stairs. Boards shouldn’t appear to sag or be warped.
Pay special attention to areas that frequently get damp or are in contact with fasteners. If a screwdriver can penetrate ¼ to ½ inch into the wood, or the wood is soft, that’s an indication that there may be decay present. Also check for small holes in the wood, which could be a sign of insect damage.
Flashing is installed where the house and deck come together in order to keep water and debris from collecting there. Check the flashing to ensure it is tight and undamaged. Replace damaged flashing, especially in any areas where water is accumulating.
Fasteners are the nails, screws, anchors that connect your deck and hold it in place. Tighten all loose fasteners and pound in loose nails. Consider replacing any rusted or corroded fasteners as they can damage the surrounding wood.
Railings & stairs
Check that railings and handrails on stairs and around the deck are tight and secure. Make sure stair risers are secure and not decaying. The deck and stairs should be sturdy and should not sway or move.
Grills, fire pits, etc.
Make sure any fire feature or source of heat is placed a safe distance from any flammable surfaces or that the deck is protected by a non-flammable pad.
Make certain all lighting is operational and there are no exposed wires. Clean around lights and trim any bushes or plants that may be blocking light. If you have power to the deck, check that outlets and appliances are up to code and in good operating condition.
Examine surrounding trees to make sure there aren’t any decaying limbs or branches that could fall onto the deck.
Furniture and storage
Test all of the outdoor furniture to be sure it is sturdy. When used, it should be placed away from the edge of the deck. Store all chemicals, such as lighter fluid, out of the reach of children.
Remember, the best way to make sure your deck is up to safe standards is to work with a fully licensed and insured company like T.W. Ellis. Contact us to today to talk about your decking, outdoor living project or any remodeling needs!