As families spend time together at home this year, the deck may be used more often. The weather is warming up and outdoor living spaces give us more options to enjoy the sun, cook on the grill, and relax on a warm evening. Especially if you have children or pets, you’ll want to be certain the decking is stable and in good condition. Here is a checklist of areas to inspect to make your deck safe.
Make Sure the Stairs are Safe
If your deck has steps leading down into the yard, examine them to verify they are sturdy and securely attached. Make sure the wood is still in good condition. Stairs should be flat and level with no warping wood, which could be a tripping hazard. Test that the handrail is secure and make sure your deck stairs are well-lit in the evenings.
Check your deck’s railings and banisters. They should be sturdy with no movement when you put your weight on them. The railing should be at least 36” tall and the spaces between spindles should be no more than 4” wide. If you have young children or pets, install railing guards to keep the little ones safe on the deck. These are available as plastic mesh or sheets of plastic and attach to the rails, covering the spindles.
Make Your Deck Safe by Maintaining the Wood
Inspect your decking for split, warping, or decaying wood. There may be planks that need to be removed and replaced. Look for small holes that may be signs of beetle or termite damage. Hammer or screw in any fasteners that have worked their way out of the wood. After replacing any boards, pressure-wash the deck to remove any algae or mildew growth. Then sand the decking boards. Finally, reseal the wood with a quality waterproofing product.