May is Deck Safety Month
The North American Deck and Railing Association recognizes May as Deck Safety Month. Most people can agree that having a deck, porch, or patio attached to your home is a very worthwhile addition. It can provide a nice, secluded outdoor space to relax, give you access to breathtaking views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains and even add significant additional property value.
It is important to perform routine maintenance and quality checks on your deck and railings. Without proper maintenance over time, your deck, and its railings, may not be as safe as you think they are. We highlight a few key areas of the deck to check during the month of May. These areas include:
1. Search for split or decaying wood – Check several different areas of the deck to ensure that the wood is still structurally sound. If you encounter any soft, spongy areas in the wood, this can indicate damage, mildew or decay and must be followed up with promptly. Important areas to check include the support posts, deck boards, railings and stairs.
2. Test railings and banisters – It is important to frequently test the sturdiness of your deck’s railing and banisters. The best way to do this is to gently push down on them with your body weight to assure that they are still firmly attached and have the ability to support you and your loved ones.
3. Check your fasteners – Over time, fasteners have the tendency to pop from wood, to loosen or even corrode. Walk the perimeter and surface area of the deck and check all nails, screws or anchors and replace/schedule a professional evaluation for anything that looks suspicious.
4. Step carefully – Walk the surface area of the deck and check for loose or sagging boards. It is also important to frequently clear the deck, especially the staircase of any potential tripping hazards including planters, décor or toys.
5. Clean up debris – Make it a priority to sweep away leaves, branches, mildew or other debris from your deck frequently. A long-term buildup of these materials, especially when wet, can be slippery and promote mildew growth.