April 22, 2020| Lester Yat
Maintenance tips for decks?
How do you know if you should be worried about your decks? The North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) suggests looking for these warning signs:
• Ledger: Is the ledger attached over siding, stucco, brick or veneer? Has proper hardware been used to attach the ledger?
• Hardware: Is there red rust from corroded metal hardware, such as fasteners, connectors or metal posts?
• Framing: Is any of the wood untreated, decayed or rotted, or are there loose or missing connectors such as joist hangers, guard post-to-joist connections or tension-ties?
• Footers: Are the footers at the proper depth and width using footer to post fasteners?
In connection with its own deck safety program, NADRA has produced a “Check Your Deck” consumer checklist that can be downloaded in PDF form at nadra.org.
Should I hire a Pro?
While suggesting that consumers regularly check their decks for obvious problems, NADRA stresses the importance of getting professional help to ensure safety. “The evaluation/ inspection of residential decks require special knowledge, expertise and experience because of the possibility of the gradual deterioration of structural materials from water, climate factors, and corrosion of structural fasteners and connectors,” the association’s website notes. “In addition to structural materials, numerous deck elements such as guardrails, handrails, lighting, stairs, and landings may not meet current safety standards as the building codes are updated on a recurring basis, typically three years. A professional inspector should thoroughly examine your deck for occupant safety to ensure the deck is safe for future use.”
Whether your decks and balconies are attached to urban mid-rises, suburban townhomes or lakeside retreats, regular inspections are essential.
While construction defects may play a role in some cases, decks that experience failure were most likely originally built to code. Unfortunately, time and the forces of nature tend to affect the vulnerable point where the deck is attached to the building. Corroded or improper fasteners, flashing problems, split or decaying wood — the list of potential trouble spots grows with time.
When beautiful weather lures residents onto those popular outdoor spaces, you won’t have to worry about dealing with disaster if regular inspection of all decks, porches and balconies is a part of your building’s routine.
Which deck style is right for you?
A deck can add flavor and pizzazz to any property due to the numerous additions it instantly provides. From another place to impress entertainment, or another area to spend time with the family and eat dinners outside, decks are enjoyed by many as a means of settling down and enjoying what life has to offer.
Like most amenities with a building or property, the options for decks are as bountiful as that of roofs and front doors. And like those, decks come in different shapes and sizes.
The first kind of deck is contemporary. It takes a “less is more” mentality that invokes basics and logic into its design, such as straight lines and low-maintenance materials.
A colonial design is a blast from the past, using the infamous white color to create an old-fashioned look. Decorative posts are an underlining feature of the symmetrical design that offers a real homey-type feel.
Traditional styles resemble a cottage in the middle of nowhere, made of different kinds of wood and offering sharp definition. These are perfect for beach homes that aspire for practicality but not sacrifice style.
The mountain style uses heavy timber that fits the mold of a house in the woods. The decks look classier in a way, and the look of it gives an impression of strong construction. It gives a good view.
And coastal decks are good for overlooking bodies of water. A light wood, like cedar, can be paired white a white paint for posts to offer a nautical impression. The best part is that low-maintenance materials can keep such a deck good for a number of years.