According to recent data, around 60% of all backyard decks in the United States need repair. While the collapsed deck typically makes the headlines once in a blue moon, hundreds of thousands of people suffer injury or fatality every year because of structurally unsound decking. If you doubt your deck’s condition, here’s how to inspect for deck safety.
Instability can happen in any part of the deck’s construction, so you will want to inspect every part of the deck for deck safety. The first place to start, though, is its foundation. Decks have concrete footers that secure the posts in the ground and prevent them from rotting. Check to see if the concrete is cracking or crumbling.
Next, look over the posts to see if there is any mold or mildew, insect damage, rot, or cracking. For a thorough test, take an awl or a screwdriver and try to penetrate the posts with it. If the tool can easily go through, the wood is too soft.
The worst deck collapses happen because of a rotten or improperly-attached ledger. The ledger is the board that connects the deck directly to the house framing. Many Maryland decks are unattached, but yours may be attached. If so, ensure that a continuous metal flashing sits along it, that the ledger is properly bolted to the house framing, and there is no rot.
Beam & Joists
The beam is the board parallel to the house, at the opposite side of the deck. It rests on top of the posts and supports the joists, which run perpendicularly to the house and support the deck boards. Check that the joists are fastened with hanger nails and that these components are free of rot and other damage.
One should seal the deck boards every few years to keep it from moisture, insect damage, and rot. However, deck boards may warp, crack, or splinter over time, and will need replacing. You can either replace the affected boards yourself or call a professional like United Fence & Deck to help.
Too many times, it is often faulty deck railing that is to blame for accidents. Test the stability of the railing and check it over completely to ensure that its material and construction are sound.
Lastly, inspect the stairs for deck safety. Check for missing or loose fasteners, signs of rot and damage, and rickety stair railing. Take a close look at the bottom steps, which are most susceptible to moisture damage.
Contact United Fence and Deck Now!
If you’re ready to see just how great a fence or deck can make your home look, you can rely on United Fence & Deck to meet them. We’ve got a reputation as a family-owned business for providing great service and prices throughout the Eastern Shore. We proudly provide our fence and deck services to Easton, St. Michaels, Cambridge, Talbot County, Dorchester County, and Queen Anne’s County. Contact us online or give us a call at (410) 476-7073 for more information. For updates about our company, follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.