A deck adds value to your home and gives you a place to enjoy the outdoors and entertain guests. A wooden deck typically has a lifespan between 10 to 15 years, but a lack of maintenance or improper building methods can present hazards. Here are some deck safety tips that will help your family enjoy your outdoor space.

Inspect Railings for Deck Safety

Railings are essential to make your deck safe. The railings should be strong enough to support the pressure of at least 200 lbs. The space between individual balusters should be spaced no more than 4″ apart on center so that toddlers and pets can’t pass through them or get trapped. The minimum railing height should be 36 inches.

Install a Gate at the Top of the Stairs

Gates are a great addition to improve deck safety. A gate helps keep your pets from escaping and your children from falling down the steps. You can find deck gates in different colors and styles so they will not only provide protection but can also improve the appearance of your deck. If you’re handy, consider building one yourself.

Have the Stairs Inspected for Deck Safety

Along with checking the railings, you should also regularly inspect the stairs for unstable areas and loose boards. If you notice any, hire a deck contractor to make repairs. Pay special attention to the risers, stringers, and treads of the steps. Look for anything that could harm your kids, pets, and bare feet, like splinters and protruding nails.

Use Screws Instead of Nails

When it comes to deck safety, screws are a better choice for fasteners than nails. They have a better grip and are less prone to becoming loose over time. Be sure to inspect them regularly for signs of corrosion and tighten loose screws. Only use screws that are designed for exterior use.

Replace Damaged Wood

Deck wood is constantly exposed to the elements. When you don’t practice proper maintenance, it can develop mold and mildew which affects the wood quality and deck safety. A termite infestation is also possible and could affect the structural integrity of the deck. Inspect the deck regularly for signs of termites.

360 Home Inspections provides inspection services to Northern New Jersey. If you’re buying or selling a home, contact us to request an appointment.

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