Before you entertain this summer, perform a deck maintenance inspection as part of your warm-weather cleaning.
Your deck should be the feature of your backyard. It should be a safe place where you can have a party, and grill up a couple of steaks. Often, deck accidents can be avoided, but you need to know what to look for. Of course you can always call in a pro if you are not comfortable inspecting your deck yourself. Remember, your deck needs continous maintenance. So don’t think that once you’ve built your deck, you are done. Before you have your first party this summer, make sure you perform a thorough deck mainteance inspection. Here is what to look for.
The important connection points: your ledger board, your joists, stairs, and more need to be inspected for safety. The ledger board is a small part of your deck that plays a big role. The ledger board runs the length of the deck and connects it to the home. A weak connection is a common cause of deck failure. Your deck supports a lot of weight, so that ledger board needs to be bolted in tight to the house and not with nails or screws.
Also check for rot. Take a hammer and screwdriver and tap it around where the joists fasten into the ledger board. If the screwdriver sinks into the wood, that means it’s rotting and needs to be replaced before you use the deck. Do you have any loose boards or wobbly guardrails on your deck? Those may not seem like a big issue, but all it takes is a little pressure from someone leaning on it and you could have a serious accident on your hands. Ensure the rails are fastened to the rim joist as well as tied back to the joist framing. If you spot any deck boards that are starting to rot, you’ll want to replace them quickly.
If everything seems structurally sound, give your deck a good cleaning to eliminate any dirt and mildew.