Before you start spending a lot of time outside on the deck with family and friends, there are a number of things you should check to make sure everyone stays safe and has a good time. If you need new boards, new railings or new lighting, the sales associates at Marling can help you with your options. If you’ve decided you want a new deck, a bigger deck or a porch - we’re also here to help. Let's learn about the ways to confirm the safety of your deck.
How To Check Decking Connections
The ledger board is the board that attaches the deck to an existing structure. It can be attached to stucco, brick or siding, but the proper hardware must be used. Just using nails is not using proper hardware.
There should not be a dip in the deck by the ledger board and the deck shouldn’t bounce or sway when you step from the house onto the deck.
Check the flashing. The flashing is metal or plastic and it directs water away from areas. It is usually installed where the deck and the house meet because standing water will rot wood or mildew and stain many composites. Replace or add flashing if you see water has been collecting.
Look for loose or corroded fasteners including nails, screws and anchors. If a fastener appears corroded, replace it and, make sure to check the stairs. There should not be a dip on the individual stair treads and the stairs should not sway or move when you test them.
Make sure the stair handrails and the deck railings are secured. According to deck inspectors, railing failure is one of the largest sources of deck injuries followed by ledger board failure.
Water is Not Your Friend
As soon as weather allows, clean off leaves and debris. Remove mildew and apply new waterproofing if needed. Again, check to make sure water is not pooling in the flashing by the ledger board.
If you have a wood deck, check for decay in several areas, paying particular attention to areas regularly exposed to water. Use a tool like an ice pick or screwdriver and stick it into the wood. It should be difficult to stick into the wood and the wood should not break or splinter.
Breaking, splintering or soft spongy areas indicate decay is present.
Remember to check wood railings, the stair areas and any benches for decaying wood as well as corroded fasteners.
Some Other Things to Check…
Clean lighting and check for frayed or cracked areas. Trim any vegetation that might hang over and block lighting. Consider some of the new lighting options for stair areas and pathways. Make sure outside electrical outlets are child and pet proof. Remember to keep cleaning products, barbecue lighter fluid and insect sprays secured.
Test outdoor furniture to make sure they are still sturdy and check ropes or chains that may be used for swings or hammocks.
Clear limbs and vegetation away from areas where they may drip water onto the deck.
Remember, if you are using a grill, candle, heater or torch lighting, keep away from flammable areas and protect the deck surface with a non-flammable pad.
Check out the newest deck colors and accessories at a Marling Lumber and HomeWorks location. Marling Lumber and HomeWorks' decking lines include Azek Decking, Deckorators, Regal Rail, TimberTech, and Trex.
Here’s to a safe and fun outdoor season!