Is Your Deck Safe for Summer Entertaining?

Summer is finally here, and that means it’s time for graduation parties, cookouts, and a wide array of other outdoor get-togethers. If you own a deck, there’s no doubt that you’ll want to put it to use while you entertain your friends and family, whether you plan on hosting midday luncheons or nighttime cocktail parties. However, it is important to make sure that your deck is safe for entertaining before putting it into action. Unattended decks can often suffer both surface and structural problems that might cause a collapse leading to multiple injuries. Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your deck is safe for the summer.

Evaluate the health of your deck’s wood

The wood on your deck is exposed to the weather every day. If you live in an area with long winters, it may have been sitting under heavy layers of snow or moisture for weeks at a time. When it’s time to start preparing for spring and summer, make sure to check the quality of your deck’s wood.

Look for splits or wood that appears to be decaying, especially where the deck connects to your house. Check all along your deck boards and make sure the support beams underneath the deck are sturdy. You can poke the wood lightly look for damage – if the wood feels spongy or weak, it may be decaying or rotting. You should not be able to easily pierce the wood or remove chips.

If you feel that parts of your deck are rotting, it is important to replace them as soon as possible. If you’re handy, you can do this yourself. If not, contact a local expert.

Examine the Railings

Take a firm grasp of the deck’s railings and try to wiggle them. If they are unstable, you are at risk for many problems, including a potential collapse. A professional decking company can help you to secure the railings and keep them safe.

You’ll also want to make sure that your railings are the appropriate height. Experts suggest at least 3 feet tall but say that 3.5 feet is the optimal height. This will prevent potential injuries from people falling over the railings.

Consider Resealing

Waterproofing helps your deck to avoid rot and decay for longer periods of times. Resealing the deck annually will help lock out moisture, preventing water from soaking into the surface or getting down into cracks and crevices. If you are in a humid climate or live near the ocean, you’ll be doing yourself a major favor and saving money in the long run by waterproofing your deck.

Anti-Slip Boards

If you notice that your deck is exceedingly slippery, you can purchase low-slip boards that screw into the wood on your deck. This provides extra grip so that your guests benefit from better footing, especially after the deck has been exposed to moisture.


This isn’t so much a structural issue, but if you plan to use your deck at night, proper lighting is a must. Whether you have temporary lights that you bring out for the summer or high-tech LEDs that are built into the deck, you’ll be providing a safer atmosphere for your nighttime soirees.

Not sure whether your wood deck is in good condition and meets current safety standards? Contact us at (978) 538-7325 and speak to one of our Deck Aficionados.


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