May is ‘Deck Safety Month’, and with this gorgeous spring weather continuing, there is a good chance your deck will be getting lots of use in the coming weeks and months.
In order to keep your friends and family safe this summer, here are our top tips for deck safety:
- Remove debris: before you start on any maintenance or cleaning, you’ll want to ensure your deck is free from any debris. Remove anything between the boards with a butter knife or similar-shaped tool.
- Replace nails/screws: check your deck thoroughly (top and bottom) for loose nails or screws, and those sticking up or bent. Remove all nails and screws that can’t be tightened, and have them replaced.
- Sand: lightly sand down any parts of your deck that have chipped paint or wood splinters sticking out.
Safety tips for building a deck:
- Get rid of obstructions: ensure you remove all shrubs or obstructions from the area you plan to build the deck on.
- Level the soil: grade the soil in the deck area so that it slopes away from the house. To suppress unwanted growth under the deck, cover the area with some kind of material (rocks, landscaping fabric, etc.).
- Mark the area: mark the location of the ledger on the side of the house. With this reference point, outline the deck with a system of strings pulled over batter boards. These lines will establish the edge of the deck and reference any corners.
- Dig holes: where footing locations are marked, holes must be dug.
- Put posts up: insert posts into the holes and pour concrete into the holes to allow the posts to set.
- Install: girders and joists are installed and braced where needed. The substructure is fastened together with galvanized metal connectors in most cases, though there are other options.
- Fasten: Use nails or screws to fasten the decking, and check thoroughly all parts of the deck that they are stable and secure.
Enjoy the nice weather and stay safe on your decks!