Looking for ways to ensure your deck is perfectly stable and safe for the kids to run around on? You’re at the right place! Here are some deck safety tips for a top-rated local decking contractor.
Your deck is an ideal place for family gatherings and playtime with the kids. People even set up hanging chairs and comfy cushions to enjoy some relaxing time outdoors. However, before you start to make the most of your deck, you need to ensure it is safe and stable.
Here are some deck safety tips from an expert contractor.
Firm Footings are Essential
Your deck will only be as safe as the footing it lays on. This foundation is created through a pier system for which any top-rated decking contractor would dig holes below the front line. If these holes are too shallow, it will cause pier movement due to frost heave anytime there is a soil shift. This can prove to be disastrous for shallow deck posts.
Therefore, care needs to be taken to protect the support posts themselves. It will help you maintain the long-term integrity of your deck. Having a firm footing also ensures the posts don’t break down or rot away.
Use Screws Instead of Nails
It is still quite a common practice to use nails as fasteners for deck construction. However, with the ever-increasing incidents of collapses due to loosened nails over time, it is best to swap them out.
Be sure to use screws instead of nails as your deck fasteners. The screw’s thread will grip the deck material better and result in a more structurally-sound construction. Screws increase the durability of your deck quite significantly.
Invest in Sturdy Railings
Your railings are an essential deck safety feature, especially if you have kids or pets. There are a few different things to consider when picking out the right railings for your deck.
Firstly, your railings need to be strong enough to support at least 200 lbs. of weight on every side. Give them a good rush and see if they remain secure with the extra pressure. Moreover, your railing support posts shouldn’t be further than 6 feet apart, as per the U.S. Building Code.
Secondly, the railings must be at least 36 inches in height. Your handrail must be comfortable and easy to grip, with a diameter that doesn’t exceed 2.23 inches. Lastly, your balusters shouldn’t be more than 4 inches apart. This will ensure your kids or pets can’t squeeze through the rails and fall over.
These safety measures should be especially considered in your deck is constructed high above ground level.
Develop a Thorough Maintenance Plan
No matter what decking material you use, it will need repairs and maintenance, at least on an annual basis. Even treated wood is affected by repeated exposure to humidity and other temperature fluctuations. It can cause damage to the internal structure of your deck and poses a risk of collapse if now looked after.
To keep your deck in optimal condition and retain its durability, try to develop a thorough annual maintenance plan. It should include;
- Inspecting for loose deck boards.
- Proper cleaning.
- Resealing the surface.
Being diligent with your deck maintenance will help you prevent any major damages in the future. Remember, maintenance will cost you far lesser than damage repair.