If you’re lucky enough to have a deck out back, you already know its pleasures and benefits. Not only is a deck a wonderful space for entertaining and relaxing, but it also allows you to enjoy a higher view of your surroundings.
However, if you notice unmistakable signs of wear or damage on your deck, these problems don’t just represent an unsightly inconvenience. Such damages may indicate safety risks as well.
Learn What Affects Your Deck Most
Regardless of your deck’s material—from timber to steel—any material eventually faces damage from constant outdoor exposure. Here are a few common suspects that affect your deck’s safety:
- Water – Even if you protect your deck timbers, they may still yield to wet rot, particularly where they connect to the ground.
- Corrosion – Any structure, particularly one with steel fittings and reinforcements, can corrode over time. Corrosion is more likely in coastal or humid areas.
- Weight – If you enjoy an outdoor spa on your deck, that spa places extra load pressure on the deck itself. Over time, heavy deck furniture, air conditioners, barbeques and people add to the stress on your deck’s structure.
- Pests – Timber decks attract borer pests such as termites or carpenter insects. Most deck owners remain unaware of pests’ presence until damage become obvious. Remember to schedule inspections.
Of course, if your deck was poorly designed or constructed, these flaws may put even more stress on the entire structure. Call your safety inspector regularly to ensure your deck stays steady. And if you replace an old deck, contact a licenced and insured deck builder who designs and builds to a higher standard.
Pay Attention to Danger Signs
Even the best-made decks can fail over time if the deck owner isn’t vigilant with regular maintenance and inspections. Keep deck wear to a minimum by watching for:
- Loose boards, balustrades and/or hand railing
- Discoloured decking materials
- Sagging beams, warped timbers or cracking surfaces
- Signs of rot or insect infestation
- Poor drainage and pooling water
- Too few supporting timbers for the deck’s weight requirements
- Springy or spongy deck floor
- Lateral swaying or shaking
- Splinters, loose hardware and worn spots
- Insecure timber or steel posts
- Missing lag bolts and other hardware below deck
Also, pay attention to the type of timber, as each variety has different maintenance needs. Your contractor can offer specific advice during deck installation or repair.
Ask an Expert for Help
If you feel unsafe on your deck, don’t wait—ask for an expert’s opinion. Your licenced tradesperson or builder can diagnose and correct the problems. If your deck looks too damaged to repair, consider installing a well-designed new deck and stay safe from the start.
Also, if you’ve considered a new home purchase—and if the new property has a deck—remember to call your builder for a full inspection first. By so doing, you protect yourself from liability if your deck fails after buying the home.
If you already know that you want a new deck, your builder can also obtain approval on your behalf through your local council.
Don’t be afraid to ask your builder to show you relevant information about licencing, experience, insurance and other qualifications. These questions represent the best way to protect your investment and ensure accurate, safe results.
Enjoy Your Deck for Many Years to Come
A well-constructed deck adds beauty and value both to your property and to your life. By following a few safety protocols such as those mentioned above, you prolong your deck’s life and feel additional peace of mind whenever you step outside.
If you have a question about your deck or want to know more about decking costs, contact your licenced builders today. And enjoy your time outdoors!