“Many of us have delayed home repairs and improvement until they are absolutely essential,” says Rob Haislip, vice president of Archadeck. “Even then, sometimes homeowners don’t have enough information to decide when something is optional or truly a safety hazard that could result in an injury.”
To help ensure safety, especially for decks that are more than 10 years old, Archadeck is sharing seven deck safety inspection guidelines with the acronym of “BE SAFER”:
Boards: Look at the condition of your deck boards. While most wood will show some minor cracks and splits over time, boards should be good and not rotting or damaged.
Every Connection: Decks should be built using a variety of fasteners and metal hardware connectors. Check every connection on the deck to make certain that they are not corroded or compromised. Look for nails backing out, red rust and other signs of corrosion that can weaken the integrity of the deck.
Structure: If visible, look at the posts, beams and joists that provide the structural framework of the deck. Is there any noticeable sagging between supports?
Attachment: The attachment of the deck to the house is where most deck failures occur. Ensure that the deck is properly attached to the house with bolts and is properly flashed for water protection. Nails should never be used.
Foundation / Footings: The foundation / footings support the weight, also known as the load, on a deck and the columns that bear on them. A footing that is sinking may cause a noticeable sag in an area or a column to separate from a beam.
Exits: Check the areas where people exit from the deck, usually stairs. Check the condition of the material used on the stair stringers, stair treads and risers. Do the stairs require a handrail? Is there adequate lighting to safely use the exits at night?
Rails: Look at the condition of the rail posts and sections of railing to make sure that they aren’t loose or wobbly. Verify that the pickets/balusters are fastened securely and spaced no more than four inches apart.