You’ve spent the spring and summer enjoying your deck, birthday parties, cookouts and celebrations. It was probably used almost every weekend in those warm Maryland months. Now that Fall is upon us, consider doing a fall deck-check to make sure your deck is in tip top shape before winter, catching issues now and correcting them before the cold months to ensure that next season you’ll be ready to go without hesitation.
According to NADRA, or the North American Deck and Railing Association, over 40 million American Decks are over 20 years old. Over the last 20 years there have been considerable changes to the building codes, materials, and building methods, which means that an older deck could be missing out on important, up–to-date features. Even if your deck isn’t old, it’s still important to keep up to date on the latest options for improving your outdoor deck space and making it as safe and long lasting as possible.
What to Check
The ledger board is the lumber that connects your deck to your home. This is typically the first board to be installed and the most important as it supports the deck and about half of its weight. Check to be sure that this board is the same size as the rest of the deck boards, attached firmly, and doesn’t give under weight.
While most decks these days tend to be made of composite or vinyl, wood decks are still an option, if your deck is made of wood, water damage is a concern and should be addressed as soon as noticed. Discoloration and rotting needs to be tackled to prevent further damage. Also look for small holes that could be caused by pests.
These support beams beneath your deck should be visually inspected for damage from the elements and also for leaning or cracking. These supports need to remain straight and be well cared for as they ensure the deck’s structural integrity.
Flashing prevents moisture and debris from collecting between the ledger board and your home. It is installed just behind the siding and over the ledger. You should check to be sure the space is clear of debris and there is no water collecting anywhere. If so, you may need your flashing repaired or replaced.
No matter what the material of your deck, you should be checking to make sure all of your screws are tight and replace any rusted or damaged fasteners.