Summertime and the livin’ is easy; that’s the motto for many residents of North Carolina and South Carolina when the weather warms up and the sun comes out every year. Many families in these states, and throughout the rest of the Southeast, spend as much time as possible on their decks when summer arrives. If this sounds like you, it is imperative to make sure your deck is set for summer fun before you host your first get together. In this guide, you’ll discover five things you should check to ascertain that your deck is safe for you and your loved ones every year.
- Look at the ledger board – The ledger board is one of the most critical components of any deck. It is the piece that actually attaches a deck structure to the exterior wall of a house. When something goes awry with the ledger board, the entire deck is at risk of collapse; this risk increases when people are regularly walking around the deck area. Carefully look at your deck ledger board for all necessary screws, bolts, and fasteners. If anything is missing or if it appears that the board is pulling away from the house, contact a professional contractor right away.
- Make sure flashing is present – As enjoyable as having a deck can be, there is a risk of water damage to your house if the structure isn’t constructed correctly. Properly built decks should have either metal flashing, like the type that is commonly used on roofs, or a specialized rubber membrane between the deck and your home’s exterior walls. This prevents water from penetrating your siding and protects your residence from mold and other issues. If no flashing seems to be present when you look at your deck, contact a professional to install it as soon as possible.
- Check the deck posts – Deck posts are of critical importance when it comes to the overall integrity of your deck. If they are not securely attached to the surface of the deck, it could potentially collapse, taking whoever is on it with it! To make sure your deck posts are properly secured, wiggle each of them as hard as you can. If they give way whatsoever, you should call in a professional right away. Most often, the posts are simply missing screws or fasteners and can be easily repaired. In certain cases, however, they are rotting and need to be replaced entirely.
- Inspect all of the deck boards – While split, cracked, or rotting deck boards aren’t likely to cause an immediate problem, the longer you let them go without replacing them, the greater the odds of a negative issue become. If your deck is made of treated lumber, you will probably have to buy new boards to replace the deteriorating ones. If, however, you invested in a composite wood deck and pieces of it are failing, you should contact the manufacturer to find out if your purchase is still under warranty.
- Test the railings – Deck rails should be tested similarly to deck posts. Give each railing a strong shake to see if it moves. If it does, there’s a good chance it is missing fasteners or has begun to rot. Secure deck rails are essential to the safety of everyone on your deck, particularly children and older people, so make a point of having faulty railings repaired as soon as you can.
Keeping your deck in good condition won’t take as much time as you may think. If you dedicate one afternoon a year to inspecting it, you can enjoy an entire season of peace of mind! If you aren’t comfortable checking the integrity of your deck yourself, remember you can always hire a local contractor who performs inspections to look at your outdoor living space on your behalf. Online reviews and recommendations from trusted family and friends can help you find a reputable professional who will do an excellent job.