Deck Inspection and Maintenance
Homeowners across the country have slowly migrated from the comfort of their couches to the splendor of the sunshine. What better place to enjoy the outdoors than your deck. But is your deck prepared for the summer season? Deck Maintenance is a huge concern in my world.
With more than 40 million decks in the United States older than 20 years old, it’s important to regularly check your deck, as improperly built decks lead to failure and injuries. The North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the necessity for regular inspection and maintenance of existing decks and proper installation of new decks.
In 2006, NADRA declared May as Deck Safety Month. While May is one month dedicated to deck safety, homeowners should always be concerned with the condition of their deck. That’s why NADRA works with members, including deck builders and decking industry suppliers, to educate homeowners on the importance of keeping their decks well maintained. They have created a “10-Point Consumer Safety Checklist” to help identify what deck maintenance is needed. The “10-Point Consumer Safety Checklist” can be downloaded here. A few areas of focus include:
- Split or decaying wood – check to see if the wood is still sound and look for small holes from insects
- Railing and banisters – these should be secure and high enough
- Loose or corroded fasteners – if a fastener appears rusted or corroded, consider replacing it. Corroded fasteners can cause deterioration
- Flashing – be certain the flashing is sound and firmly in place so debris and moisture will not collect
Deck Safety Retrofit
If your deck is older or you are concerned that it may not be up to code read my article on Deck Safety – Repair or Replace.
While many of the same risks exist for both wood and composite decks, composite decking requires less maintenance and lasts a lifetime (with the proper care). Composite decking won’t crack, splinter, or deteriorate. There’s also nothing to sand, stain or seal.