May is Deck Safety Month: Check Your Vinyl Deck!
As May has arrived once more, the North American Deck & Railing Association is reminding us once again the importance of checking your vinyl deck regularly to ensure its’ safety. With that in mind, Tuff Industries has compiled a list of areas to check this spring:
Step One: Sound Wood for a Sound Vinyl Deck
The basis of a safe vinyl deck is a sound base – of both the supporting structure and the deck surface. Check the wood areas of your deck for the following:
- Ledger board is securely attached to the building
- No areas that are consistently damp
- No splintering or evidence of rot
- Holes in wood or evidence of insect activity
Any evidence of a decline in the strength of the deck’s wood construction should be explored immediately and fixed before there is long-term damage or a major safety issue.
Step Two: Efficient Water Removal
Standing water on any deck, or the ability for water to get under the vinyl deck surface, exposed wood areas, or inside the housing envelope is a major concern as it could not only reduce the safety of the deck; it could potentially cause damage to your home. Here’s what to look for:
- Flashing (metal strips) securely fastened and extend up under housing envelope and under vinyl deck membrane. Look for cracks, warping, looseness, or damage.
- Exterior edge of vinyl decking extend over edge of deck so water drains off, rather than going over edge and under membrane.
- Any water on deck flows away from the building and does not pool.
Pooling water indicates that the slope of your deck may need correction in order to ensure long-term safety and to protect your home and deck from water damage.
Step Three: Fastenings, Stairs, and Railings
Focusing on the little things is the primary way to keep your vinyl deck in top shape and safe for those who use it. Loose boards, loose railings, or wobbly stairs are prime safety hazards when it comes to older or poorly-constructed decks. Here’s what to look for:
- Ledger board should be attached to building using screws or bolts, not nails.
- Loose nails or screws should be fixed
- Stairs should not move when weight applied
- Railings should be securely fastened to deck/staircase
- Openings between stair treads should be 4″ or less
For a complete list of safety items to check to ensure that your vinyl deck is safe for use, check out NADRA’s checklist. As always, a Tufdek™ deck surface professional can help you with any questions or concerns.