Has the winter weather weathered your deck? Please use this checklist to make sure your deck is safe and ready to use during your summer barbeques.
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- Pound in popped nails, tighten any loose screws and replace any corroded fasteners.
- Secure all railings and check the stairs to make sure they don't sway or sag.
- Look for holes in the wood, this could mean insect infestations.
- Search for rot, especially around areas close to the ground. To test for rot probe the wood with a screwdriver. If you can push 1/4 inch into the wood, it may be rotted.
- Inspect the condition of joists and posts supporting the deck.
- Check the ledger board, this is where the deck attached to the house. The ledger board should be in sound condition and should be fastened securely with lag screws, not nails.
- Trim any tree limbs that hang over the your deck. Trim plants too, so they don't touch or brush against the deck structure
- Sand the wood until smooth to prevent splinters.
- Replace any rotten, cupped and warped deck boards.
- Clean any debris from the deck and under the deck. Also check under furniture, barbecue, storage boxes and other moveable fixtures for debris.
- Wash your deck with a deck cleaner and a stiff broom. Use a bleach-based cleaner to combat mildew or follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Seal the deck with a product that provides UV protection and is water-resistant. To test if your deck needs sealing, splash several areas with water. If it bleeds, there is no need to seal. Remember that opaque sealers show more wear and darker shades absorb more heat.
- Make sure your grill and fire pit are away from flammable materials and be sure to pull patio furniture away from the deck's edge.