7 Signs of a Dangerous Deck

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7 Signs of a Dangerous Deck

Delawareans are happy that the clement weather is here to stay so that we can get some fresh air and enjoy nature’s gifts.  Now is the perfect time to inspect your deck to make sure it is up for your outdoor entertainment plans ahead. It is important to ensure that your deck structure is safe and in top shape for family and friends to enjoy.

Well-built decks will last a few decades if maintained properly. However a deck that is rotting, missing fasteners or moves with your weight might be dangerous and in need of major repair or replacement. Each year people are severely injured or killed when deck structures fail.

Most deck repairs are easy fixes, inexpensive and take little time to implement. If you want to be sure your deck is safe and appealing for the season, take the time to inspect and address the following warning signs of a dangerous deck.

7 Signs of a Dangerous Deck:

1) Replace Deck Flooring and Loose Nails as Problems Arise Inspect your deck surface for popped nails, warped boards and damaged deck flooring on a regular basis. Paint patching material with wood preservation before installation, covering all services.

2) Is Ledger Board Attached Properly to the House? A ledger board is the end of the deck attached to the house and is often the most common issue with DIY decks. If not well fastened, the ledger can become detached from the home. Obviously, this is a real hazard when this occurs. Especially if the deck is occupied at the time! For a strong connection, a ledger needs 1/2in. X 3in. lag screws or bolts driven every 16 inches of length of the ledger board.

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3) Are Any Joist Hangers Missing Nails? Often these short, fat joist nails are missing from joist hangers on either the ledger board or rim joist. These joist nails have thicker heads that are very effective in holding the hangers in place under heavy loads. They are also have heavily galvanized coatings that resist corrosion from treated lumber.

4) How Sturdy Are Your Deck Support Posts? Deck posts rest directly on the footings and often rot, especially if they are not pressure treated. Rotting posts need replaced, as they often cannot support the deck’s weight.

5) Does Your Deck Wobble? It does not necessarily mean that there is cause for concern if your deck wobbles as you walk across it. However, over time, the wobbling could loosen joists from the rim joist or leger board. This issue can be easily fixed by fastening angle bracing under the deck.

 6)Are the Railings Loose? Loose railings are an obvious hazard and need to bolstered with a 4 X 4-post anchor. The post will need two ½ inch diameter galvanized carriage bolts with a nut and washer attached about 1 ½ in from the top of the joist and the same distance from the bottom of the joist. Tighten the carriage bolts until the bolt heads are flush with the post.

7) Does Your Deck Need Refinished? Deck take a beating, especially in the winter months. Refinishing your deck as needed can prolong its life, stop splintering and make it more inviting.

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