The deck is a great place for entertaining and relaxing. However, your deck gets a beating from the weather and elements year-round. This can cause the deck to deteriorate over time. Does your old deck meet deck safety requirements?
Here are seven safety factors you need to consider when evaluating your deck:
#1 Rusty Connectors
The connectors used on your deck should be made from galvanized steel, which is resistant to rust. Take a moment every few months to examine the connectors on your deck. If you see any signs of rust, you have a deck safety issue.
Galvanized steel has a protective coating of zinc over the top which is what resists rusts. If the zinc sustains damage or wears off, it leaves the steel below susceptible to rust. Rust can cause the fastener to weaken and puts the deck at risk.
If the wood is in good condition, replacing the connectors should be a simple job for a professional. If the wood is deteriorating, however, it could end up needing a major repair.
#2 Damage from Insects
Most decks are made from wood treated with chemicals that inhibit insects. Decks made with untreated redwood or cedar are naturally insect resistant. For these reasons, insect damage is very rare on decks built within the last 20 to 30 years.
If you see signs of insect damage, you need to get a professional to take a look. It may be that the house itself has insect damage along the edge where it meets the deck. No matter the reason, though, you need professional eyes on the situation quickly.
#3 Cracked or Split Decking
How do you know when to replace deck boards? Wood expands and contracts as temperatures and humidity levels change. This cycle of expansion and contraction can cause the wood to develop small cracks. A few minor cracks is nothing to worry about. However, in time, those small cracks can turn into larger ones.
If you see cracks around fasteners, that’s when to replace deck boards. The fasteners are what keep the decking attached to the framing below. When boards get loose, they become potential hazards.
#4 Rotted Wood
Even pressure-treated wood will begin to rot at some point. Water infiltrates small cracks in the wood and start to saturate it. This causes the wood to start breaking apart.
Rotted wood on a deck can be very dangerous. For example, if rot sets into the bottom of your deck railing, it can loosen the entire thing. If someone leans on that railing, it could cause a very bad accident.
If you see rotted wood, you need to get repairs made quickly. That way you and your guests will be safe at your next gathering.
#5 Deck Surface Becomes Spongy or Springy
Wood rot may not be evident, especially on the decking itself. If moisture starts rotting the underside of the boards, it may not be visible.
A sign that the decking is having problems is how it feels when you walk across it. If the deck feels spongy, there may be rotting wood just beneath the surface. If the deck suddenly becomes springy, the wood or the framing below may be deteriorating.
Have a professional come in and look at the underside of your deck. Replace boards or frame pieces as needed.
#6 Excessive Mold or Mildew Growth
Seeing a bit of mold growth in a shady spot on the deck is not a big deal. Shadier areas tend to be moister than areas in the sun. Just wash it with a bit of bleach and water to remove the mold and mildew.
If you are seeing mold and mildew growth all over the deck, you may have bigger problem. These fungi thrive in moist conditions. When the decking materials are holding a lot of moisture, it encourages the growth of mold and mildew even in areas that get sun.
#7 Deck Safety Gate
A deck safety gate helps prevent someone from stepping off the top step and falling. It also helps corral small children and animals as needed.
If you see any of these troubling signs, it’s time to act. Nortex Fence specializes in custom cedar fences, as well as decks, driveway gates, and more. We have everything you need to make your residential or commercial outdoor space as nice as possible. Fill out the contact form to get started and learn more about what we can do for you.