You want your backyard to be a safe place for your children and pets to play. The deck is often a convenient area for kids to spend time outdoors while still keeping them near the house. However, every year, injuries occur on decks. May is National Deck Safety Month, so follow these tips to improve deck safety.
The Need to Improve Deck Safety
The deck’s condition, environmental factors, and dangerous items stored there can result in injuries. You do not need to wait for something to go wrong before you take action. Be proactive by following these essential steps to improve deck safety. You’ll make your backyard environment safer for your loved ones.
Remove Dangerous Items
Dangerous items that are stored on the deck are safety concerns. A child can be burned on a hot grill, trip over a water hose, or come in contact with a toxic plant. After using the grill, store it securely away. Store the water hose in a large flower pot to avoid tripping hazards. Select all plants and greenery on your deck carefully to make sure they are not toxic to humans or animals.
Install and Use Deck Lighting to Improve Safety
In order to improve deck safety, make sure there’s good visibility at all times. Children often play until dusk or later. Shadowy deck stairs can be hazardous and may lead to accidents.
Children and pets can also bump into items on decks in the dark, or they may fall off of a raised platform that does not have a railing. Reduce these risks by installing and using deck lighting. Install lights from multiple angles to eliminate as many shadows as possible.
Check the Boards and Supports
Newer decks may be unsafe because of poor construction techniques. Older decks can become unsafe because of weather-related damage, general wear and tear, and wood-destroying insect damage.
Regardless of the age of your deck, inspect each board and the decking supports to check the condition of the wood. Rotting and warping are signs of damaged boards that need replacement. Boards that bow upward should also be replaced as soon as possible. Check the joints and nails or screws for rust.
You can also improve deck safety and maintain the wood’s condition by staining and sealing it regularly. This prevents the wood from splintering, rotting, and weakening with exposure to the elements.
Improve Deck Safety by Securing Railings
Loose railings are risk factors that need to be addressed as soon as possible. Periodically test the railing by applying weight and making sure the spindles are secure. People often lean against the railing, so it should be strong enough to support the weight of an adult.