Do you put much thought into if the deck on your home is safe? Maybe now is a good time to take a look at these safety items that are essential for the safety of you and your family as you prepare to use your deck for the upcoming summer season.
1. Railing height – The deck railing should be a minimum of 36″ high. Anything less is a potential problem for someone to fall over the edge.
2. Baluster spacing – The safety standard is to use a 4″ ball to check the spacing. If the ball passes through the balusters, the spacing is too wide. A small child can get their head stuck in between.
3. Deck attachment – This is a big one here. The ledger board (the board attached to the house) should be bolted to the rim joist (outside board on the home) with 1/2″ bolts or lag screws. Many homes are only nailed to the rim joist. This is a dangerous situation that can lead to tragedy.
4. Deck connections – All structural connections for the deck should be bolted. Posts to beams and handrail posts to the support beams. All floor joist should be attached using joist hangers(metal brackets). Nails and screws are not okay even if you put many extras.
5. Ledger board sealing – The ledger board should not be attached over the siding. The siding should be removed and the area sealed before attaching the ledger board. A piece of flashing that installs under the siding and over the ledger board is critical to prevent water infiltration through the bolt holes.
6. Deck railing – Shake the railing to make sure it is secure. Bolts can be tightened to help secure the connections. They will loose over time as the wood dries out after installation.
7. Stairs – Check the treads to make sure they are secure and no fasteners are sticking up as a trip hazard.
If you check your deck and it passes all these safety checks, you are ready to enjoy and great summer season on the deck!