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Check the Safety of Your Deck In 5 Simple Steps

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, May 6, 2016

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"Backyard deck with an Alan's Factory Outlet gazebo kit built on top of it"

If you have a deck, you know how much fun it can be to sit outside and enjoy the view. Inviting friends over for a cookout on the deck may even be a regular occurrence at your house. I think it's especially fun to spend time outdoors with friends and family during the warm-weather months. But before you start to plan your first spring party, it's important to check the condition of your deck. You want to be sure that your deck can handle all of the gatherings you're planning this spring and summer.

Five Steps for Checking the Safety of Your Deck

  1. Look at the Condition of the Wood. Take a walk around your deck to look for holes or splits in the wood. Small holes could have been made by carpenter ants or another type of boring insect. Boric acid powder can help to get rid of carpenter ants. Take a flat-head screwdriver and gently insert it into any splits or cracks in the wood. If it goes in further than a quarter of an inch, the wood may be rotting. Rotting planks of wood should be replaced so they don't present a safety hazard.
  2. Check the Ledger Board. The ledger board is the connection between your deck and your home. Your deck should be bolted securely to your house with galvanized screws and bolts. Inspect the screws in the ledger board to make sure they are flush with the outside wall of your home. If it looks like the deck is moving away from the wall, it must be looked at by a professional to prevent a collapse.
  3. Inspect the Railings. Grasp your deck railing and try to wiggle it back and forth in several places. You should feel very little, if any, movement beneath your palm. If you find that your deck railing is wobbly, it's important to make the adjustments necessary to solidify it. Sometimes, a railing can be strengthened by adding blocks of wood beneath the deck at the rim joist. Also, check the balusters beneath the deck railing. Each of them should be securely in place.
  4. Inspect the Surface of the Deck. Every deck should be sealed in order to keep water from soaking into the wood, causing rot. If you see water beading on the surface of the wood, you know that the deck is sealed. Look for discolored spots on your deck, which could indicate the growth of mildew. If you find mildew, you should remove it to prevent family members and visitors from slipping.
  5. Check Out the Support Beams. Walk around beneath your deck to look for any loose bolts in the support beams or posts. If you find any, use a wrench to tighten them or replace them if necessary. Also, look for discolored bolts, which could mean that they are rusting.

Taking a few minutes to inspect your deck gives you peace of mind when family and friends are enjoying time together outdoors. Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: Deck Safety

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