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The Ultimate Deck Safety Checklist

Don’t let hazards ruin your vibe!

If you’re like us, then you enjoy Nashville's outdoor living to the fullest. And you probably also love spending it out on your deck.

This is the perfect time to make sure you complete any maintenance needed on your deck in Nashville, Brentwood, Nolensville and surrounding. Don’t wait until your first spring BBQ to realize your boards need replacing!

Don't worry, here at NLO, we have your back.

Here’s what to look for on your deck and patio:

We also provide complimentary inspections from foundation to railings.

If you'd like to take advantage of this, please fill out the contact form here: HERE!

Deck Inspection: The Big Six

A deck safety checklist should help evaluate your current setup and ensure that it is safe for everyone. When inspecting your deck, here are "the big six" areas to check out:

  • Rotten wood: The most serious hazard for any wood deck is moisture and deterioration, especially at the ledger board junction (where the deck is connected to your home). Collapses are frequently caused by decay or faulty hardware that attaches the deck to the house. If you can easily penetrate wood by a quarter to half of an inch, pull off a sliver without splinters, or the wood is soft and spongy; it’s an indication of decay. Also, you want to inspect for tiny holes in the wooden surfaces—these might indicate a termite infestation. These are more common than you think in Middle Tennessee but can be easily managed when found early on.

  • Loose or missing flashing: Flashing is a type of guard that directs water away from susceptible areas, such as the underside of deck boards. It is often used where the deck meets the house to stop moisture and debris in the space between. Ensure your flashing is in good shape and secure and replace when necessary—to guarantee that flashing performs its function and prevents rot and decay. If there are pools of water trapped beneath the treated framework, —cover the tops of all joists and beams with flashing tape.

  • Rusted fasteners and hardware: Your deck is most likely bolted together using nails, screws, or anchors. It’s critical that the fasteners holding the deck boards in place are in good working order and tightly secured. Loose fasteners might cause harm, so check and tighten them regularly. Keep an eye out for rusted or corroded fasteners—which may lead to rot and deterioration in the surrounding wood. The beginning of rust is not so much a concern for us, but loose and missing pieces are very well indicators that you need deck restoration.

  • Loose railings or balusters: The handrail and balusters are crucial aspects of all deck safety inspections. According to the International Residential Code (IRC), handrails are required for any deck with a height of more than 30 inches above the ground. Railings should have a minimum height of 36 inches and a spacing between individual balusters (vertical posts in a railing) of less than 4 inches to prevent children from slipping through the guardrails. The distance between the bottom of a deck’s railing and its top should not exceed 4 inches.

  • Electrical wiring, lighting, and gas lines: Check whether all electrical outlets are in good working order. If you have exposed electrical wiring, double-check the insulation isn’t cracked and that there is no exposed metal wire. If you have a gas line linked to your barbecue, check for gas leaks by washing the pipe with dish soap and then turning on the gas. If the soap begins to bubble, there is a leak.

  • Stairs: Examine the handrails on the stairs for tightness and safety. Gently pull on the handrails to verify that they are not loose. It’s vital to address a problem if something moves more than a quarter of an inch in either direction.

Take a closer look at the risers and stringers. They should be firmly fastened and free of decay.Additionally, ensure there are no plants, toys, or other debris on the stairs—anything that might cause a tripping hazard. A visible walkway is a critical aspect of a safe staircase. Cleaning up toys is something we can't help you with :-)

rotting wood stairs of deck Nashville
Hazardous Stairs that need to be replaced

Wood stairs sturdy and safe with black metal railings
Replaced with safe sturdy stairs

The Role Maintenance Plays On Your Deck

Cleaning and maintaining your deck is one of the most important things you can do to ensure it lasts for years. The average life span of a wood deck in Nashville is 20-30 years, And longer for composite or other "upgraded" materials.

To avoid mildew and moisture accumulation, clean up any debris or leaves, inspect for clogs and obstructions, verify that everything is bolted and in its proper location to prevent accidents, and re-coat the surface of your deck as needed to prevent rot and deterioration. We usually say every 3-5 years is time for a new coat of paint of stain. Of course, if you opted for composite decking, then this does not require either of these.

What’s Next?

It’s time to assess the damage once the inspection is finished. If you discover multiple hazards on your deck, schedule a complimentary inspection with us before things worsen. This way, you’ll know for sure that your deck is sturdy and will endure many years.

Contact us if you are looking for a reliable deck repair in Nashville. We can assist you in determining the condition of your deck and coming up with a strategy for its restoration.

Further Reading: For more information on deck safety and inspections, download NADRA’s Deck SafetyChecklist.

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