Decks are an excellent addition to any home. This space provides an outdoor extension of your living spaces. Like the rest of your home, decks need routine maintenance. With a little work, they can stay in great condition for many years. There are a few precautions that you should take to make your deck safe for children and pets.
Make Sure the Foundation is Stable
Decking material should not be sitting directly on the ground because it will cause the material to rot and warp. There should be support beams holding it off the ground, and the beams should be resting on concrete blocks, bricks, or slab. The supports should be intact and solid. The foundation blocks should not be cracked or sinking. If any of the foundation pieces are failing, call a professional to make your deck safe again.
The Attachments Should Be Secure
Over time, the attachments that secure the deck to the house can weaken as people lean on the railings. There should not be any movement when you put pressure on the deck’s attachments to the house. If there is, determine if you need to replace the house’s siding or the railing itself. Repair any defects and reattach the railing in accordance with local building codes.
Inspect the Deck Railings
Make your deck safe by inspecting all of the railings. The rails are a vital component of the structure. They add stability, support, and safety. If you have a wooden deck, check the handrails for splintering. Check verticle rail posts, because these need to be stable in order to keep kids and pets safe on the deck. If you find loose posts, don’t allow children on the deck until you get them repaired.
Make Your Deck Safe by Maintaining a Smooth Surface
If the surface boards are wooden, check for cracking or splintering. Damaged wood can hurt children’s bare feet and pets’ paws. Make sure all of the boards are laying flat and replace any that are beginning to warp, rot, or splinter. Check for raised nails and screws. The elements will cause some decking materials to contract and shift, which causes fasteners to pop up.
Kids and pets need shade during the hotter months of summer. If the area does not have any trees over it, add another form of shade. Large potted trees could be one solution. To make your deck safe, choose species that are not toxic to humans or pets. Another option is to attach a sunshade to the house to extend over the deck. If you install a shade over a door that opens out, hang the material high enough so that it does not interfere with the function of the door. Many people opt for picnic tables with umbrellas for shade. Add padding underneath the legs and table so that it does not scratch the decking material.
Make Your Deck Safe for Barbecues
A deck is an ideal place for barbecues. Follow all fire safety measures when using the grill. Never leave the grill unattended, and once you are finished cooking, turn it off completely or extinguish the coals. Place the grill on a protective mat. These are heavy-duty and will protect your deck from hot sparks and grease splatters. Teach children to stay away from the grill, and store all fuels and cooking tools out of their reach.