What is a deck?
In architecture, a terminology deck is a flat surface that is capable of supporting weight just like a floor but typically constructed outdoors. It’s mostly elevated from the ground and connected to a building. In the UK it’s called a decked patio or area. This term is derived from the deck of a ship.
Functions of a deck:
A deck can be used in several ways. It can be a part of the garden landscape, as an extension of the living area, and as an alternative to stone-based features such as patios. Decks are normally made up of treated lumber, composite lumber, composite material, and aluminum. Not everyone can nail a perfect and firm deck for you. A proper experienced professional is required for this. Deck builders in New Haven Indiana specialize in deck building. They have a good reputation as well. You’ll be in safe hands if you try them.
Safety tips and precautions while deck building:
The deck can be a lifesaver particularly if you are spending extended time at home during a lockdown. You can move around and spend some time outdoors without leaving the house or enjoy a cookout with your family. But how do you make sure that your deck is safe to use for many years? Here are some safety tips and precautions which you should consider while building a deck.
Your deck will be only safe and reliable if it’s based on a stable foundation. Foundation is comprised of support posts. To ensure that the deck is durable and provides you with a firm footing, the pier system needs to have holes that are deep enough and way below the frost line. If the holes are shallow the support post may start to move particularly during the winter when the moisture in the ground freezes and cause the soil to shift.
Moreover, the bases of the support posts are best encased with galvanized plates before they are anchored to the pier with concrete. Deck foundations built according to this are less likely to rot and deteriorate over time.
The railing of any deck is its main safety feature particularly if you have kids or pets. There are three main issues when it comes to the railings of the deck. First thing you need to make sure that they are strong enough to support at least 200-pound pressure on all sides. To check this give it a good strong push and pull to see if it remain secure with this additional pressure. In the US building codes require railing support posts that are no farther apart than 6 feet.
It ensures the stability of the deck railing. Second thing is that railing must have a height of at least 36 inches or 3 feet from the floor of the deck. The handrail must be easy to grip with a diameter of no more than 2.25 inches. Lastly, each bluster shouldn’t be any more than 4 inches apart. It’s necessary to prevent children and pets from squeezing through the rails. These safety measures are particularly important if your deck is constructed high above the ground.
While building and fixing stair guardrails same safety measures which were used while building for deck railing should be applied. The stability of stairs can be attributed to the risers, stringers, and threads. So, make sure that these individual parts of stairs are still sound and securely attached, particularly the point of connection between the deck and stairs. Keep the stairs clear from the décor, planters, and other stuff. It may pose trip hazards.
Replacing the damaged wood:
Wood destroying organisms and rot are the worst enemies of wood and any structure made from wood. So, these things should be prevented at any cost. For this remove the leaves right away and other such buildups like mildew or moss. At the initial stages, the floor could get slippery due to these and moisture can eventually lead to decay of wood and splinter. To check the integrity of the wood, use an ice pick or any tool with a sharp tip. If you can push this tool easily into the wood or find that wood has become spongy then this is a good indication that it’s time to replace the damaged wood planks. Check the other parts of the deck such as support posts, ledger boards, joists, and railings as well.
Assess the fasteners:
Among the nails and screws, screws will make better fasteners for decks because of a better grip on the wood. As compared to this nails can loosen up over time. Irrespective of what type of fasteners you are using you need to check them for corrosion or if they loosened up. Replace the nails which popped out and tighten the loose screws immediately. Notice and rectify any creaking sound and slight wobble. If you don’t do that then your deck structure might be compromised. So, it’s better to have a professional inspection of your deck and make the necessary repairs.
Fire can be a serious threat if you have a wooden deck. So, if you’re planning to host a BBQ party then place the grill away from the deck. This same rule will be applied to fire pits, chimineas, and candles. But if it became a must for you to have a grill or candles in your deck then use a fireproof mat to ensure safety.
Provide proper and sufficient lighting:
A well-light-up deck not only provides aesthetic value to your property but it’s also a basic safety measure that you can’t afford to overlook. Check the lighting regularly and replace any busted light bulbs. Make sure that the lighting fixtures and electrical outlets you’re using are of high quality. To prevent accidents and falls make sure that there is ample light on the stairs. Trim the shrubs and clean the outdoor lighting fixtures so that light will not be blocked.
Keep a check on surrounding trees:
In case if you have trees around your property ensure that none of the branch’s overhang or are too close to the deck. Falling leaves can also be a problem. So, regularly trim the nearby trees and make the best precautionary measures.