Your backyard deck is a great place to have your morning coffee, invite the neighbors over for a cookout, enjoy a summer day reading a book, or hang out with your family in the evening. If you have pets or small children, or if you’re planning to use your outdoor living spaces to entertain friends, take these steps to improve deck safety.
Deck Safety Begins with Materials
Before using your deck this season, inspect the materials. Check the decking boards for cracks or warping. Look for splinters, fasteners that are coming loose, and rotting wood. Replace any missing or damaged boards and reattach fasteners. Pressure wash the deck to remove algae or mold that may be slippery. Sand the decking and seal the wood with a paint or stain to protect it from the elements.
Check the Railings
Make sure the railing is stable and secure and can support your body weight when leaning against it. The railing should be at least 36” tall. Also, inspect the spindles of the deck. These pieces should be spaced no more than 4” apart to prevent small children or pets from getting stuck between them. If the spindles are too far apart, add a cover. You can choose a mesh or Plexiglas cover that you can affix to the railings to help keep kids and pets safe on the deck.
Provide Shade for Deck Safety
You can get overheated quickly under the hot summer sun. This is especially dangerous for elderly family members, children, and pets. Install an awning, use a patio umbrella, or buy large potted plants to provide some shade. A cooler area on the deck is a great place to get relief from the heat and a nice spot for pets to nap. The lower temperature of the decking boards will be safer for bare feet and paws.