Vinyl Deck Safety Month is Just Around the Corner – Are you ready?
May is deck safety month, and at Tuff Industries we take deck safety very seriously. Whether you have a vinyl deck or a different type of deck surface, it’s important to look your deck over to ensure that it’s safe before you start hosting any backyard get-togethers.
Feel free to check out the North American Deck and Railing Associations’ deck safety checklist, it includes everything you need to ensure your deck isn’t showing signs of safety issues. We’ll cover off some of the basics below:
Warning Sign #1: Wood Problems Under a Vinyl Deck
Split, rotting, or otherwise degraded wood is a big red flag when it comes to the safety of your vinyl deck. Look over these parts of your deck for issues:
- Ledger board (where the deck attaches to the building)
- Posts and beams
- Joists that support the deck
- Attachment areas for posts
- Stairs (risers, stringers, and steps)
So what should you look for? Dampness, splintering, and spongey-ness. If any part of the wood of your vinyl deck exhibits these behaviors you need to consider replacement. Also be on the look out for areas that are consistently wet – if they don’t have time to dry out they might become the next problem area.
Warning Sign #2: How’s it Fastened?
Regardless of the shape of your deck overall, if it’s not held together safely the entire deck could be at risk. Older decks often used nails, which can work loose over time. Fortunately, it’s an easy fix to replace loose nails with screws or lag bolts, where appropriate. You also want to be on the lookout for any rusty fasteners – as this might indicate not only that the fastener is failing, but that you’re getting water where you don’t want it.
Warning Sign #3: Loose, Cracked, Missing Flashing
When you’re out in the rain, you can wear a raincoat to keep you dry, but if you don’t wear a hat the water is going to run down your neck and under your coat. The raincoat is your waterproof vinyl deck surface, and the hat is the flashing. Without it, water can run down a surface (like the side of your home) and work its way under the vinyl membrane. So, it’s important!
Any place where the vinyl deck surface meets another surface (house, railing, etc.) should have intact flashing. If it’s loose, cracked, or otherwise starting to show signs of wear you might want to consider replacement.
Warning Sign #4: Everything in its Place
While not the last thing you should look for, this is one of the more important – everything needs to be properly attached. Railings and stairs are of the most important as they get used often and keep your people safe. If anything is loose or wobbly it should be fixed as soon as possible.
If there is anything that gives you concern about the safety of your vinyl deck you should get it checked immediately by a vinyl decking professional. And come back here often for more deck safety tips by Tuff.
Happy Deck Safety Month!