Decks are appealing home features for resting in the open air and gathering with friends and family. Although decks look stylish, they do require inspection at least once a year. Your deck is fastened to the side of your house and held up by many metal and wood pieces which are susceptible to the elements. To make sure your deck is safe for use, inspect the boards for rotting, metal fasteners for rusting, and renew the deck’s water seal after cleaning.
These are just a few tips to help us with deck safety:
- Make sure the deck’s boards are strong. Look all across the deck for damaged boards, particularly in areas where water gathers.
- Inspect the flashing. Flashing is a waterproof material, often metal, rising up from where your deck meets your house. Check to see that the flashing goes at least four inches up the wall and the caulking attaching it is holding.
- Test the railings and banisters. Push against the handrails. If one moves too much, its post and railings probably aren’t attached firmly at the bottom. Tighten the lag screws or lab bolts that attach them at the bottom.
- Inspect the posts and joists. The joists are the boards that support the deck boards. Check them for rot, cracks, or other types of damage.
- Check the ledger board. The ledger board is mounted to the house and supports the deck’s joists. Check that the lag screws that mount it to the house are tight. The vibration from walking on the deck may loosen them over time.