Deck Safety

May 11, 2011

Wooden decks serve dual purposes.  They function as an extension of your home allowing for comfortable outdoor living, while beautifully complementing a home’s character.  Decks are inviting and welcoming, but do need attention to maintain their health.  To preserve the beauty and stability of your wooden deck, consider the following:

·        Use sealant every one to two years.  Weather resistant coatings are best and can be found with polyurethane or oil based stains.

·        Check the deck to house connection (also called the ledger board.)  A collapsed deck is dangerous and difficult if not impossible to repair.  Nails used to be the norm, but lag screws and bolts are far more effective.  Current trends encourage building a free-standing deck, which uses supports both near and away from the house. No weight is stressing the deck/house connection.

·        Railings should be secure and tall.  Gentle tugging against the rail should elicit no give.  If there is movement, tighten or replace it.  Most regulations require 36 inches, but the higher the deck the higher the rail.  A second floor deck could benefit from a 42 inch rail.  Equally important is spacing between individual railings.  Any space larger than four inches runs a risk for pets and children.

·        Inspect any outlets, grills, and outdoor furniture for safety.  Is the outlet covered?  Is the area under the grill normal?  Does outdoor furniture sit safely and evenly on the deck?  Glitches with any of these items could compromise your deck’s health

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