Warmer weather is here and like many families, you’ll probably be spending a lot more time outdoors. Before the heat of summer arrives, spend some time on deck maintenance. By improving your outdoor living spaces, you’ll make your deck safer for kids and pets.
Make Your Deck Safer: Check the Guardrail
The guardrail is the support beam that runs across the top of the deck. It is in place to add stability and to prevent people from falling off the deck. It is recommended that all decks more than 30 inches off the ground have a guardrail and that the guardrail is at least 36” tall. However, check your local building codes to make sure your deck meets their requirements.
Clean Your Deck
Scrub your deck regularly to keep it free of algae and mildew. Your deck will look nicer and you’ll remove any growth that causes slippery spots or damage to the wood. Use a deck-cleaning detergent and a stiff brush to remove debris. After scrubbing, hose down the decking to rinse it thoroughly.
Replace Hardware to Make Your Deck Safer
Examine your deck for popped nails or screws that are working their way out of the wood. Hammer nails back into place and tighten any loose screws. If you notice rusting or corroded fasteners, replace them. Corroded nails or screws cause wood to decay.
Inspect the Stairs
Examine the point where the stairs connect to the deck to make sure it’s secure. Look for loose boards on the steps that could cause tripping. Test the stairs by shifting your weight on them to verify they are stable and secure. The stairway should be well-lit for visibility. Also, make sure to keep the stairs clear of toys, garden tools, and planters. These items are tripping hazards, especially at night.
Install Railing Guards
If you have small children or pets, install a mesh or plastic guard to your deck railings. Some attach with ties while others are screwed into place. These guards keep kids and pets from putting their heads between the spindles and getting stuck.