May is Deck Safety MonthApril 12, 2013
Although its still a few weeks away May is just around the corner. That means inviting people over for BBQs, drinks and chilling on your deck. Well before you do that you may to check underneath your deck to make sure that it is still a safe usable structure. Decks are made of wood which is an organic product. Anything organic has a shelf life and especially when it comes in contact with the elements will break down. A well built deck can last up to 20 years and beyond. Depending on how it was built of course, you may start to run into maintenance issues 7-8 years into the life of your deck. These issues could be loose boards, to broken spindles, worn out boards or even rotting posts and skirting. I have dogs and there is one spot where they like to lay, as soon as they see something in the backyard, bang they’re off. This sudden take off causes claw marks, and I replace a handfull of boards just because I dont like the sight of a marked up deck. 1000s of deck fail each year, many go unreported because there were no injuries when it happened.
So what to look for?
On top is easy, check the decking by visually inspecting the boards for deep cracks or splntering, also while walking on the boards try to notice if they bend a little too much.
Railings: check the railings to ensure that they are strong and will easy support your body weight while leaning on them.
Underneath: This gets a little technical as it requires knowledge of deck construction. But check to esnure that all joists are still tight, have not rotten.
If you are not sure about the condition of your deck call a pro to come inspect it for you. They may come accross something that will prevent somebody from getting hurt.