3 Easy Steps To Maintain Your Deck in Fall

Fall has arrived and winter is knocking at the door. A lot of times we shut the doors and focus on what are we going to do in order to stay warm and cozy and don’t even think about our outdoor spaces.

Believe it or not, this time is very crucial in the maintenance of your deck especially if you want it to continue looking beautiful for those warmer spring and summer months. It’s pivotal that you sweep off dead leaves and wash down your deck from time to time. Leaves that are left on the deck can wind up in between each deck board. This can then continue to accumulate and develop into a serious drainage problem when the snow begins to pile on or the rain starts to pour. How bad of a drainage problem? Water can begin to collect on the surface of the board, and with nowhere to go, can lead to the cupping and warping of your deck boards.

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Do You Need Frost Footings For Your Stairs?

Frost footings help keep post movement down, whether it's on your deck posts or stair posts.
Frost footings help keep post movement down, whether it’s on your deck posts or stair posts.

Traditionally, deck stairs land directly on a patio made of concrete, stone, or a material other than soil to prevent rot and decay. These landings can shift freely with frost movement. Frost movement is the rise and fall of the soil due to underground water freezing and expanding. Recently there have been some concerns regarding frost movement and the stair’s ability to withstand the fluctuations. Typically, stairs have more freedom of movement than the deck, but some builders argue the stairs should be supported just like the deck. This topic is a grey area because it all depends on each deck’s situation.

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Deck Inspections: Tools You’ll Need

Every building inspector needs the correct tools and safety equipment to properly check decks. Without these tools, they wouldn’t be able to tell if your deck is sound, or if it needs some attention. It’s beneficial for homeowners to have the same tools as these inspectors so they can properly check their deck themselves. While some inspectors carry more than enough tools, homeowners can find what they need around the house.

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Deck Inspection: How to Inspect Ledgers, Girders, and Joists

Girders and joists work together as the support system for your deck.
Girders and joists work together as the support system for your deck.

Girders and joists are an integral part of your deck. They work in harmony to support the entire walking area. Because these connections are so important, you need to inspect that they were both properly installed, and properly fastened.

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Deck Inspection: Railings and Stairs

Broken railings and stairs are a leading cause of deck related injuries. Years ago, there weren’t any codes to adhere to when constructing these elements. Most railings were simply nailed without any structural support and when people leaned on it, they failed to stay in place. Stairs are also another common area where improper installation and improper fastening is the culprit of injury.

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Deck Inspection: Posts and Footings are the Foundation of Your Deck

Inspecting deck posts and footings.
This is one of the most important elements of your deck. Make sure it’s installed correctly.

Deck posts are an extremely important part of your deck. So, it should be obvious that ensuring they stay in good condition and a part of any routine deck inspection is critical.

A deck is built for load to be evenly distributed throughout the entire surface area. This suggests the ledger board and posts will have an equal load. This assumption is wrong in most cases. If you plan to entertain on your deck, your guests will have a tendency to hang out at the end of the deck where the railings are; thereby increasing the load on the posts and not the ledger board.

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Deck Inspections: Facts

deck inspection tips
Getting your deck inspected can prevent larger headaches in the future.

Did you know that roughly 40% of all the decks in America are deemed safe? When you add in the fact there are an estimated 40 million decks that are over 20 years old and you quickly realize becoming a statistic is a real possibility for many homes.

Just like every aspect of your home needs to be solidly and correctly built, so does your deck. Even though decks appear to be simple and straightforward structures, you should consider them to be a rooms without walls or a roof. It’s an outdoor space that needs to be planted in strong foundations.

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