Deck Safety Tips by Denver Deck Estimate | Douglas County Colorado
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Having a deck can truly be a blessing, as it provides an amazing environment to enjoy time with your friends and family. You can BBQ on a deck, you can sun bath without worrying about wet grass, you can have a free place from mud or snow, you can have a hot tub or virtually anything you can think of, we can do. However, a deck that is failing, sagging, warped or rotting can also be the most dangerous environment in your house. It is reported there are over 20,000 deck failure causing injuries in the US each year!
Consistent upkeep and attention needs to be paid to the safety of your deck to avoid issues. If you are not sure if your deck is safe, here is a list that our Denver and Douglas County Colorado Deck Builders adhere to when we are building and/or repairing Decks. We will also gladly come out and honestly tell you if your in need of attention or if everything is fine, a-okay. If you have any questions about the safety of you or a friend's or family member's deck, call Denver Outdoor Spaces (Brunetti Designs) at (720) 556 - 2051 or send a quick and easy form stating what your concerns are here.
Here is the checklist we go through. By all means please go through this list on your deck at least once a year.
Surrounding Trees -
If there are trees overhanging your deck or front porch, ensure that there is no danger of decaying limbs breaking free and falling from trees that surround your deck.
Outdoor Storage & Furniture -
First, make sure that none of the seating is placed at or near the edge of a deck. Also ensure all the seating is sturdy. If a hammock or swing is installed, test the chains and/or ropes to be sure they are secure. Be sure to keep all deck related sealant, cleaner or other chemical products stored safely away from children, including BBQ lighting fluids, matchers and any cleaners
Lighting and Electrical -
Ensure that any light source is functioning properly; clean any light covers to ensure maximum light can shine through, and trim any plants or tree limbs that could be obstructing light.
If you don't have adequate lighting there are all kinds of cool kits to have installed. Click here to see some that Denver Outdoors can install onto your existing Denver deck. Ensure that all electrical outlets, and any other electrical features you have on your deck are up to code and functioning properly.
Check that any Grills, heaters, candles, fire pits or any other heat omitting features are placed safely away from any flammable surface, or that the deck surface is protected by a non-flammable pad. Always ensure that you use these items with caution around decks, and do not leave them unattended.
Be sure to brush away any leaves and debris left behind on a deck, since these can be slippery on their own, and even worse can create mildew. If mildew is present or if the deck coating has worn away it is important to clean and reseal the deck as soon as possible.
Ensure that all railings or handrails are firmly held in place; also ensure that the risers and stringers are securely intact and not beginning to decay. If the area behind the stair treads is open, the opening shouldn't be more than 4" high. Be sure to keep all stair pathways clear of planters, toys or any other possible tripping hazards.
Railings and Banisters -
Be sure that all of these are secure, push on them to be sure there is no give at all. This is a good time to be sure that they are high enough, they should be at least 36' to 42' high. Rails cannot be more than 4' apart so that children cannot get their heads stuck in between them, obviously the higher up you go, the more this becomes important.
Corroded or Loose Fasteners -
Be sure that all fasteners, nails, screws and anchors are tightly attached to the ledger board. If any are loose be sure to tighten and/or replace them immediately. If a fastener appears rusted or corroded it needs to be replaced as quickly as possible. A rusted fastener can cause the wood surrounding it to rot away and deteriorate. There should be absolutely no sway or sagging on the stairs when tested.
Flashing is the material that helps direct water out and away from your walls and ensures that the inside of your walls wont rot due to water. Make sure that the flashing is firmly in place. If you notice areas that are clearly allowing water to collect, install more flashing.
Split or Decaying Wood -
Be sure to check several different areas of the wood to ensure that it is all still in good quality. This includes the ledger board (where the deck is actually attached to the house, this is a common trouble area), support posts and joists under the deck, deck boards, railings and the stairs.
Be sure to really check any areas that tend to remain damp, are often exposed to water, or are in contact with fasteners.
Use a tool like a screwdriver or ice pick to dig into the surface. If you can easily penetrate 1/4 to 1/2 an inch, break off a sliver of wood without any splintering, or the wood is spongy and soft than there is a decent chance decay is present.
If you are noticing any of these issues on your deck, it is time to call in a professional to take a look at it. Brunetti Designs will give you a free consultation to discuss what's going on with your deck, as well provide a free very detailed and easy to understand estimate.
Also remember, that a deck repair is usually a lot cheaper than having a whole new deck built for you, and that having a whole new deck built for you is a lot cheaper than having us come out and help you pick up the pieces of a collapsed deck...
Basically, deck issues will not fix themselves, so the quicker you get ahead of the problem the cheaper its going to be.