Check your deck!
Download the quick 10-point deck safety consumer checklist from the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA).
“You may think all your deck needs is a power-wash and stain every year or so, but a safety check should be part of routine maintenance,” says Ashita Kapoor, associate director of product safety at Consumer Reports.” We’ve added a few more tips below to make sure your outdoor living retreat is a great place to enjoy safely with family and friends.
1. Make sure gutters are angled away from underneath the deck, so water doesn’t pool underneath. The ground under your deck should slope away from the house. Fix this if it doesn’t slope away from the house. Moisture can cause significant damage not only to your deck but also to your home’s foundation.
2. Create air flow under the deck, especially if you use it for storage. Make sure air can flow from side to side and through the front as well. Be careful what you store under your deck. Do not store firewood under your deck as it can attract pests, rodents, or snakes.
3. Keep your deck clean. And when you do clean your deck, do not use chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) as it breaks down the lignin in wood causing excessive damage to wood cells. Bleach corrodes metal fasteners, screws and nails and does not eliminate the spores from which mold and mildew grow. Use hydrogen peroxide, an environmentally friendly and safer substitute than bleach. For tough jobs, hydrogen peroxide kills the mildew on contact within several minutes. Oxygen bleach is another recommended cleaner. It is sodium percarbonate, an environmentally friendly and excellent detergent with a hydrogen peroxide base with a strong fungicide effect. It has been tested and found to be effective attacking the deeper-rooted organic growth on the porous wood surfaces. Click here for other tips on care and cleaning.
4. If your deck is in a tree-shaded area, use a table without a glass top. Glass tabletops are a magnet for fallen tree branches. Trim back branches when needed and keep a watch for dead branches overhead.
5. If your home has some age on it, find a deck inspector to evaluate the safety of your deck. For any needed structural repairs, call a pro deck builder. These pros build decks every day and can fix safety issues such as unstable posts, wobbly railings, and corroded fasteners.
NADRA® and May is Deck Safety Month® are trademarks of the North American Deck and Railing Association.