The deck on your home provides an area to enjoy the weather outdoors. Like any part of the home, your deck needs attention to make sure that it’s in good condition and safe for kids and pets. Here are a few simple tips to make your deck safe for all your family members.

Hardware Maintenance Helps Make Your Deck Safe

Loose hardware is a common cause of injuries on decks. Every year, inspect the deck for nails, screws, or bolts that have become loose. If the hardware has become rusty, replace it. Railings are important too. Make sure they are sturdy and add fasteners to reinforce them. Check the gaps between balusters to make sure they are close enough together to prevent kids and pets from getting stuck in between them.

Make sure that all fasteners are installed in solid wood. Sometimes structural components can split, warp, or rot, making nails and screws come loose. If this is happening, add a nail or screw in a new location.

Repair Splintered Areas

Over time, wood will splinter. While you’re inspecting the deck, check for splinters which can cause injury. If you find a damaged area, you have a few options. Sometimes the splinter can simply be pulled off. Other times, you will need to sand the area. Occasionally you’ll notice a board that needs to be replaced completely. Begin your project before spring comes so you’ll have time to finish repairs before deck season. Regular deck maintenance of sanding and sealing will help prevent the deck from splintering in the first place.

Install Risers to Make Your Deck Safe

Risers are the vertical boards at the back of the steps. Some builders do not install risers on decks, but this can be a safety hazard for pets and children. Without risers, there are unsafe gaps between the steps.

Adding risers is a fairly simple project. Make sure they are the proper length to reach the stringers that will support them and secure the risers with nails or screws. While you’re on the steps, inspect the stringers and the stair treads to make sure they are in good condition.

Keep Your Deck Clean

A buildup of algae or dirt will keep you from noticing signs of damage to the wood or corroded fasteners. The surface can also become slippery, adding another challenge to keeping your deck safe.

Clean your deck periodically. Plain water is often enough if you’re using a pressure washer, but you can also use a deck cleaner formula. Choose a cleaning product that is safe for your decking material, your plants, and, of course, your children and pets.

A deck is a great place for the whole family to enjoy being outdoors. To protect pets and kids, use these simple tips for making your deck safe this year.

Hub City Home Inspections offers home inspections to Hattiesburg and the surrounding areas in Mississippi. Contact us to request our services.