Summertime means a dramatic increase in the use of your deck. It is important to insure that your deck, stairs and any surrounding rail systems are secure and safe. Here are some inspection tips for you to consider.
Stairs: Check to make sure stair treads are level. The winter’s frost often times will lift outdoor stairs. Once the ground has lifted the stairs, it will require you to re-grade the base of your steps so that they sit level again. You also want to check where the framing of your stairs attaches to the deck. The movement can loosen up the connection between stairs and deck framing. Also check your stairs handrail for sturdiness and smoothness. Often times while shoveling snow, your stairs railings and the ones around your deck get dinged up by coming in contact with the shovel. It is important to maintain smooth railings for a number of reasons. The primary reason is you do not want to get a splinter in your hand while walking down stairs, as it could distract you and cause a fall.
Deck: Check your deck to see if frost has lifted it. If it has the proper base, frost should not be an issue. However, many people will “float” their decks by using a modest cement footing or blocking under the decks vertical framing. You will also want to check your deck’s connection to your home. Look for excessive moisture, any signs of deck pulling away from your building. Up on the sunny side, make sure your deck is properly treated for protection from the elements, spilled food and or beverages.
Rails: As stated, check for smoothness. You will also want to insure the post, rails and balusters (called slats by some) are secure and do not have cracks in them. If a toddler grabs onto a baluster and it breaks, chances are they could fall through the railing - so please observe.
Decks are gathering places that create lifetime memories. Keep your deck sound, safe and spectacular and have a great summer of fun on it!