Spring is finally here and it’s time for the kids to have lunch dates out on the deck. But before you let those precious little ones get out there, have you made sure your deck is safe?
Every year, many families ignore the importance of inspecting their outdoor decks and porches after the winter season which results in accidents that could easily have been avoided with just a little bit of care and responsibility. Every year, The North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) declares May as Deck Safety Month. The aim is to create safer homes by raising awareness about the importance of making sure your decks is safe for you and your family.
As a homeowner, the landlord of a rented property or a property manager it is your responsibility to inspect the decks in your property and make sure they are strong and sturdy enough to hold the extra weight of children or adults using them to soak up the sun. During winter, heavy snowfall can weaken the structure of decks, especially elevated decks that are supported by wooden legs or beams. When you do not get the decks inspected, they can collapse and cause injuries to anyone who was using them at the time.
Possible Signs of Deck Weakening
Look out for possible signs that could hint at your deck’s weakness. These include rotting wood, wobbly rails or floor boards, instability when walked on, loose planks or rusted nails and screws. These may seem insignificant but can actually lead to the deck collapsing on your family when used. You can access a compete checklist of signs on the NADRA website which lists many other factors that could show you the deck structure needs to be repaired or replaced.
What Should I Do to Make Sure the Deck is Safe?
In addition to regular maintenance inspections, make sure you follow these tips.
- Hire a certified contractor to build your deck. Going the DIY route when building something like this could spell disaster especially if you are inexperienced and do not know the basic rules for a safe deck.
- Get a certified inspector to come out and check your deck. They can give you a complete breakdown of what needs to be done to make the deck safe for your family.
- Follow their instructions ad hire a certified maintenance person to repair or replace your deck. Endangering your family’s life is not worth the few dollars saved by hiring an amateur.
- Get your deck inspected regularly during the spring and summer months if it is being used frequently.
- The deck contractor or inspector should be able to tell you the limits of your deck so you can make sure you do not over-burden it and cause it to weaken and collapse.
As a landlord or property manager, it is your responsibility to make sure your tenants have a safe home to live in. In order to avoid any accidents caused by your negligence, get your decks and other outdoor structures inspected and repaired before you rent out your property.
For more advice or help about renting out your property or managing your property, please give contact JB Property Management.