Sure, your deck looks like it’s in good condition, but would it stand up to a close inspection? When you break out the white gloves and go a little deeper you may be surprised at the hidden hazards that are on, around and under your deck.
Until you actually test out your railing you can’t be sure that it’s sturdy. Push and pull on the railing banister to see if there’s any give. Next do the same to each rail to ensure they are all securely in place. If just one rail comes loose you’ll have a huge gap that any person or animal could fall through.
Nails and Screws
Fasteners aren’t set in stone once the deck is built. As the wood swells, shrinks and adjusts so do the nails and screws holding everything together. Take a close look all around the deck for loose screws and nails that are popping out of place. Also make note of any fasteners that are corroding so they can be replaced as soon as possible.
Look for missing screws and nails as well. A missing lag screw in the ledger is particularly problematic. Examine the underside of the deck along with the top, and replace all missing fasteners immediately.
They’re small but they can cause a lot of pain and even infection. When you’re dealing with wood, splinters are always a possibility. Give all the deck boards, railings and seating a once over and remove any splinters that are sticking out. The cut edges are particularly prone to splintering.
Have you felt any spongy spots on your deck? You may not be able to tell with your naked eye, but those soft spots are evidence of rot. Walk up and down each board noting any time if feels soft or spongy. Try digging into those spots with a sharp object. If you can easily go a quarter inch or more into the wood then you’ve got rot that needs to be taken care of ASAP.
Weakened Joints and Joists
Your search for rot spots shouldn’t be restricted to the deck boards. The underbelly of your deck could be hiding a whole host of problems including weakened joints. Are there any fasteners missing? Is there any noticeable sagging underneath the deck? Anything questionable should be addressed in short order.
Stairs are a deck hazard at any time but if they aren’t in 100% perfect working condition then the potential for an accident goes way up. Walk up and down the staircase looking for any loose boards. Put pressure on the lip of each board to see if they give at all. Also check the handrail to make sure it stays firmly in place.
The posts of a deck are pretty important – if you want it to remain standing. Rot and loose connections are problems that can occur over time and greatly compromise the integrity of your deck.
Many accidents from unstable decks happen when homeowners are having get togethers. Before the holiday guests start stopping by give your deck a thorough inspection for the hidden hazards above.
Image Source: http://www.statesman.com/news/lifestyles/fashion-style/austin-family-wins-dream-deck-in-trex-contest-1/nRpSL/
Original Source: http://timbertownaustin.com/home-improvement/hidden-hazards-of-decks-that-look-safe