Deck Safety Advice Every Homeowner Needs to Know

A wood deck is one of the best exterior features of a home, providing comfortable outdoor living space and a perfect place to gather and entertain. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), there are approximately 45 million existing decks in North America, and yet only about 40% of them are considered to be completely safe. In order to ensure that your wood deck is safe and secure for regular use, there are some simple safety tips you need to know and follow.

Secure the deck railings

The railings are one of the most potentially dangerous weak spots of a deck. If they become loose or the wood becomes rotted and weakened, accidents can occur. InterNACHI has found that most injuries related to deck incidents are due to deck railing failure, rather than deck collapse.

Guests or family members leaning on loose railings could be at risk of falling, should the railing break free from the deck itself. Be sure to check all of the railings to ensure that they’re secure and sturdy. If you do notice a wobbly rail, take the time to pinpoint the location where the weakness is occurring. It could be a fix as simple as tightening up the screws that keep the railing in place.

Sturdy deck stairs

The stairs of a deck are another area to pay close attention to. Be sure that the stairs have secure railings along either side, with properly spaced posts to keep kids and pets from falling through and getting injured. Your deck should have sturdy graspable railings along either side of a set of stairs. Replace damaged steps with new weather treated boards, secure all screws and nails, and make sure that nails are hammered down and flush with the wood to avoid trips, falls, and foot injuries.

Perform a thorough inspection

As the weather warms up in the spring, it’s time to do a complete, thorough inspection of your deck to check for damage, wood rot, loose screws, and wobbly railings or steps. It won’t take long to do, but will ensure that you have a safe deck for entertaining and relaxing in the months ahead.

You may also want to perform a brief inspection in the fall when preparing your outdoor living area for the colder months to come. Cover or bring in furniture, décor, and accessories, and then check the areas around them for water damage, wood rot, loose screws, and chipping paint. You can make a note of these issues to repair them before getting the deck set up again in the spring. A cold, wet winter can do damage to your deck, so do be sure to do a more detailed inspection in the springtime.

Your deck should be a place that allows you to relax and enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. By following this simple deck safety advice, you can have peace of mind knowing that your deck is properly maintained and safe for daily use.

Not sure whether your wood deck is in good condition and meets current safety standards? Call our deck specialists today at (978) 538-7325 and schedule a Deck Safety Evaluation. Our experienced professionals will employ a 100­-point evaluation process to examine the safety and structural integrity of your wood deck.


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