Just because you have a relatively new deck, and you are confident that it was built by a competent contractor, doesn’t mean that it does not need to be regularly inspected for safety. And older decks especially are prime candidates for more frequent safety inspections.
Preserving and maintaining your deck involves more than simply cleaning it and applying a new coat of sealant. Decking materials are exposed to extreme weather conditions. Mother Nature throws everything she has at it and after a while this can start to take its toll on any of the materials used in the construction of your deck.
There are many parts of a deck that need to be checked for safety. Railings and balustrades may come loose, screws, joist hangers, and other fasteners may corrode, decking boards can twist, or their nails can pop up, structural boards may decay, and those uninvited wood eating insects may be dining out on your deck – these are just some of the many concerns that need to be addressed for maintaining and preserving your deck, not just for the enjoyment of the deck, but for your safety as well.
It is good to be observant and look for any indication of a problem. You may notice that a board depresses when you step on it, or you may feel a swaying motion of the deck; these and other signs, can indicate that there is a problem.
Many people would not know how to inspect their deck or even know what to look for to conduct a thorough safety inspection themselves. Luckily, there are professionals that you can hire to conduct a safety inspection, such as a structural engineer that does home inspections, or a local building inspector. They will even check to see if your deck was built properly. Make sure that they give you a written report of their inspection and any recommended course of action that is needed to repair unsafe parts of the deck.
Having your deck regularly inspected for safety will help you stay on top of problems that you may be unaware of.
For more information on deck safety, and what to look when choosing a deck builder, visit The North American Deck and Railing Association website – NADRA Deck Safety