As the weather finally turns and we head outdoors more to entertain and relax, you’ll likely notice that Mother Nature isn’t always so kind to backyard decks. Here are some tips and tricks for ensuring the entire family can enjoy the outdoors on your deck safely.
Kids’ Eye View
If you’ve got little ones or fur babies, your deck can pose hazards you might not even think of. Get down on their level and take a peek at the deck and its surroundings from their point of view. Consider the surfaces little hands and paws in your family can reach and tend to any potential safety problems. Gates might also be a wise safety choice.
Mind Your Railing
Especially after a long winter season, you’ll want to ensure any existing railing is still in top condition. Test for stability and integrity. If you’re installing a new railing, be sure to adhere to safety codes—you’ll want at least three balusters for each foot of railing. Railing height requirements vary depending on your specific deck design, but you’ll generally find a recommended height of 35 inches.
If stairs are a part of your deck’s design, extra safety considerations are needed. Some form of slip guard is a must. Anti-slip options include tape, tread, paint with grit added, and more.
Your deck’s flashing, or the material which connects the deck to your home, requires careful inspection every so often and especially after the cold season. Poor flashing can seriously compromise the integrity of the wood and can even cause water to seep into your home. If you suspect damage, call in a professional to avoid costly damage.
Rot and splinters are some of the most common safety hazards deck owners will face, but weather or insect damage and popped fastener heads may also pose problems. Check each and every board before you open the deck for the warm seasons. Note any warped boards, and make a plan to replace.
Once you’ve ensured everything is safe and secure, you can relax and enjoy your deck with the whole family. Here’s to warm temperatures and backyard bliss!