Is Your Older Deck Safe? | May Is Deck Safety Month

Did you know that May is Deck Safety Month? It’s easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of everyday life that decks need to be checked regularly for issues. Ideally, a yearly deck inspection by a qualified individual should be performed to identify any safety concerns. 

5 Common Deck Safety Issues

Here are the most common safety issues discovered by deck inspectors:

Decaying Deck Joists

The deck joist is the support beam that runs perpendicular to the building. It is used to connect the deck to the home or business and supports the surface deck boards. As such, it is a critical structural component of any deck. 

When the structural integrity of a joist is compromised it could ultimately result in a total collapse of the deck. 

Joists are traditionally made from wood. Typically, wood joists begin to show signs of decay and rot within a decade of being installed, although in areas with extreme weather changes and moisture, damage could occur sooner. Homeowners should check the joist regularly for cracks and soft spots. 

To improve the life of your deck, consider using Structural Plastic Lumber. These fiberglass reinforced boards are stronger than wood, will never rot, and can handle extreme climate changes. 

Cracked And Warped Deck Boards

When a deck board is cracked or warped it’s not just structurally unsound, it can also cause visitors to slip and fall. Children and adults are more likely to get splinters if they walk barefoot across the damaged boards. 

Even with regular painting, staining, and sealing, wood boards will ultimately crack. 

Premium Plastic Lumber boards don’t warp or crack. Splinters become a thing of the past with this pet and kid-friendly decking board! Plastic boards come in a large selection of colors and can be extruded to include a wood grain for a more traditional look without the weaknesses that come with using wood. 

Loose Railing

Per building codes, a deck that is 30 inches above grade must have a railing. This helps to prevent falls that could cause serious injury. 

A deck railing that isn’t secure won’t help to prevent a fall. 

Do you need to upgrade your railing to improve safety? Check out the vinyl railing options included in our online store. Like plastic lumber, vinyl will never crack, splitter, peel, or rot. 

Stairs That Aren’t Code Compliant

In addition to the previously mentioned issues that come with deck stairs that have been built with subpar materials like wood, stairs that fail to meet code could be deemed unsafe. 

Every area has different codes that must be met during deck construction. These codes typically cover maximum rise, tread width, and railing style and placement options. Consult with deck installation professionals and inspectors to determine if your deck stairs are safe and prior to replacing deck stairs. 

Broken Fasteners 

Fasteners, particularly those installed on gates, are meant to keep pets and children safe. If a fastener is broken, they may leave the deck interior, wandering farther than they should. 

Replacement parts are easy to order and install. 

Repairing An Unsafe Deck? Contact Plastic Lumber Yard 

If you are looking for replacement parts for your existing deck or are completely rebuilding a deck, contact our team. We can help you determine what materials will fit your needs and provide you with a quote. 

Call (610) 277-3900 or email to get started.