Everything eventually needs repair and replacement, and the same holds true for your home decks. Whether it’s nature’s natural wear and tear finally catching up or the signs of shoddy workmanship coming back with a venomous vengeance, you should be able to identify the signs of an unsafe deck. Unsafe decking can turn a chill Sunday afternoon into a danger zone instantly if left unchecked. Keep your loved ones safe by learning how to spot the signs of an unsafe deck:
1. Check the connections
To properly build a deck, metal connectors are necessary to place in key areas. Placing these keep your decking in place. This can be done through connecting the post to the beam, or a joist to the beam, and so forth. To keep your decks safe, check for any loose or corroded connectors. The presence of such is a warning of possible accidents, so replacing these connectors should be done immediately.
Similarly, missing connectors could mean that metal connectors were not used at all during the building process. The connections could have been made simply by nailing the wood together. Unfortunately, if the wood rots, these nailed connections will not be able to hold your deck.
2. Touch the wood
If you own traditional wooden decking, your deck surface will naturally show signs of wear and age. As the years progress, the wear and tear ultimately take its toll on your wooden decking. One common mistake people make is opting to treat the wood. While this can work, you’ll only be delaying the inevitable. You’re better off cutting oak beams for a brand new deck.
3. Check carefully for rotting wood
Rotting wood can be detected easily, as one of the tell-tale signs is a gradual change in colour. Rotting wood can also be characterised by softness, where its surface wood becomes extra susceptible to scratches. Wood rot in some areas of your deck cannot be easily spotted, however. As such, check the entire framework carefully. Rotten wood inside the framework (support made to measure wood joists and air-dried oak beams, for instance) can be tricky to identify. As such, check if your entire deck moves when shaken. If it’s unstable, then the presence of rotten wood is likely.
4. Inspect the wood for cracks
As with rotting wood, cracked wood can pose the same danger to your loved ones. At times, cracked wood can be even more dangerous, depending on the extent of the crack. Such damage significantly weakens your entire deck’s structure. One wrong move can result in open injuries and broken bones, especially since splinters and raw edges can cut through flesh.
Such cracks are common in natural wood as it ages. If you’re unsure about your wooden deck’s current age, it’s best to do a thorough checkup. Cracks can be easier to identify than rotten wood. Once you confirm the presence of cracks, replace your wooden deck immediately.
5. Observe if the deck is slippery when wet
Slippery decking is essentially an accident waiting to happen. A simple shower or flecks of snow can cause your deck to become extremely slippery, but it isn’t nature’s fault all the time. Many times a slippery deck indicates the presence of mould and fungus, organisms that grow on moisture, and thus, wet wood. To check for any signs of a mould and fungi infestation, check for black stains. While expensive, it’s best to completely replace infected wood so as not to ruin the rest of your deck. Similarly, take note that if your deck has been infected entirely, it has already been damaged beyond repair.
A deck is an area that encourages relaxation, bonding, and a short reconnection with nature. As an essential part of your home, it’s best to regularly maintain and clean it. If damaged, repair it as soon as possible!
For deck repairs and replacement, get in touch with us today! We have over sixty years of experience with sourcing and trading timbers from all over the world, and so we know only the best types of woods for your projects. If you’re in need of proper cut to size timber decking, don’t hesitate to contact our team!