Relaxing on an outdoor deck is a great way to enjoy the nice weather and spend time with friends and family. However, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors estimates that only 40 percent of the 45 million decks in North America are safe. Below are some tips to help you inspect your deck and keep it safe for your friends and family.
- Inspections should begin at the bottom of your deck. If a deck seems unsafe or is sagging in any location, do not walk on the deck.
- Inspect the connection between your deck and the building to ensure that it is secure.
- Ensure that railings on the deck and stairways are properly supported and stable.
- Check for water sources near your deck that could contribute to accelerated wood decay. These can include the following:
- Lawn sprinklers that regularly come into contact with your deck.
- Indentations around your deck’s support beams where water may pool, especially in newly installed decks.
- Downspouts from gutter systems that exit near your deck.
- Narrow gaps in the deck’s floor boards that don’t allow water to pass through.
- Make sure that none of the deck’s wood has decayed. Keep in mind that layers of paint can hide decay.
- Visually inspect the beams below your deck for signs of sagging.
If you have any concerns about the safety of your deck, refrain from using it and call a home inspector or professional contractor for assistance. That last thing you want is a bad deck to turn into a homeowners insurance claim because a friend got hurt. Using your deck should be an enjoyable time and these tips will help ensure that everyone using the deck will have a safe and enjoyable time.
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