Libby Smoot, May 23, 2014

Is Your Deck Safe?

According to the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA), 40 million decks in the United States are more than 20 years old. May is Deck Safety Month®, so we’re offering the following tips to keep your deck safe and secure:

Smooth Out the Surface – Exposed, loose nails are a hazard. If you own a wood deck, we recommend hammering down protruding nail heads or replacing them with galvanized screws that are approximately ½-inch longer than the original nails. (Nails shouldn’t loosen on decks made of other materials). If you are replacing or building a new deck, consider a wood-alternative material which uses hidden fasteners for a clean – and worry-free – finish.

Trex wood-alternative decking and railing.

Reinforce with Railing – In addition to adding style to a deck, railing fundamentally adds security and support. When installing railing, we recommend making sure to space balusters no more than four inches apart to prevent small children and pets from squeezing through. After installation, push on the railing to ensure there is no give.

Build a Solid Foundation – For added support and safety, we suggest you reinforce your deck with a steel substructure. Unlike wood, steel will not warp, twist, split or decay. Steel offers superior durability, longevity and stability, and you won’t ever have to worry about insect damage undermining your substructure.

Stifle Splinters – Summer fun should be ouch-less so ensure that your deck is free of splintering boards. Lightly splintered boards may be salvaged through sanding and sealing, while severely splintered boards will continue to deteriorate and should be replaced. Wood-alternative materials will never splinter, crack or decay.

Light the Night – Prevent unwanted trips and other mishaps by incorporating lighting into your outdoor living space. Lighting provides sophisticated, understated fixtures to enhance the ambiance – and safety – of any deck. Check your local codes, as well. Some localities now require lighting on stairs.

Trex OutdoorLighting provides sophistication and safety.
Fire up the Grill – Any deck can feel warm and cozy with grills, fire pits, chimneys, heaters and candles, but it is important to make sure that they are properly placed away from flammable items and surfaces. Always use caution and follow the directions prescribed by the manufacturer.

For more deck safety tips check out NADRA’s Check Your Deck® video campaign.

Do you have any other tips to ensure a safe deck this season? Share with us below!