Regular maintenance of a wood deck can extend its life by 10-15 years. At the beginning of spring and the end of summer, you should inspect your deck for signs of deterioration - loose screws, rusting fasteners, protruding nails and rotten or loose components are the most common items. Use a piece of paper and a pen to draw a rough diagram of your deck so you can take note of where you locate issues along the way. If you are unsure of any safety concerns, please call a professional.
Loose nails and weak connections are the most common maintenance issues we find on decks. These can lead to serious structural issues and can become a safety concern. We recommend replacing loose nails with galvanized, all-purpose deck screws that provide a more secure connection and are resistant to corrosion. Loose or wobbly components can often be repaired by strengthening their connections with metal hardware.
While inspecting your deck, check the railings for security as these often become loose over time. Check the stair handrails - they should not be too wide to grab onto quickly, often they are 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 laid on its side. In this case, a smaller handrail can simply be added on. Please make sure to keep items like outdoor furniture and garden boxes away from railings, as children may use these to climb up the railing.
Inspect your deck structure for the following issues:
1) The ledger board connecting the deck to the house was not attached using structural bolts.
2) The joists are not secured to the beams.
3) The beams are not secured to the columns using metal brackets.
4) The columns are not secured to the concrete footings using metal column bases.
5) There are no concrete footings, and/or the wood columns (or other wood components) are in contact with soil. Wood in contact with soil tends to cause premature deterioration in treated wood, and rapid decay in untreated wood.
If you find any of these issues, we recommend improvement.
If you have a membrane deck covering, it is important that the deck slopes down slightly forward to direct water away from the house. If water pools on your deck, or flows towards the house when it rains, we recommend improvement.
Home Inspector & Residential Environmentalist
Premium Home Inspections Ltd.
250-617-3378 | firstname.lastname@example.org
CPBC License #71217