With spring just around the corner, it may be time to check on your deck and figure out whether any maintenance is needed or not. During the winter months you may not have used your deck very much but now that the weather is starting to warm up and the days are getting longer, you will probably start using your deck more and more, but aren't quite sure how to properly maintain a deck. According to the North American Deck and Railing Association, there has been an increase in the amount of decks that have fallen apart or have collapsed and many of these have ended in fatal accidents. In many of these cases, simple upkeep was all that was needed to prevent these accidents. Here’s some easy guidelines on how to check your deck to make sure that it’s in good shape.
Before you start maintaining your deck, the first thing that you’ll want to do is to check the general appearance of the deck. Are there any split or decaying pieces of wood? Are there any holes? Holes can often be indications of the fact that an insect has burrowed in the wood. See whether the wood feels spongy or if there are any cracks. If you can insert a Flathead screwdriver more than ¼” into the crack, it could be an indication that the wood has started to rot. If you have a raised deck, check the weight-bearing board of the deck. This is the board that connects your deck to the side of your house. Determine whether there is a wide gap between the board and the house. If so, you may need to re-tighten the bolts. If you have railing on your deck, firmly grasp them and push them back and forth to measure how secure they are. If they wobble, be sure to re-tighten them, add glue, or even replace them entirely. Keep this in mind when you protect your deck.