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As warm weather approaches, ensuring your deck is safe for family and friends to enjoy is critical. Every year around 33,000 people are injured due to safety issues on a deck, porch, railing, or staircase with 6,000 people suffering traumatic injuries.

May is Deck Safety month, so it’s the perfect time to review steps you can take to keep your deck safe for summer fun!

Check for Damage

Replace Any Rotten or Damaged Wood and Loose Fasteners

Rotten wood can cause fasteners to become loose due to the wood being too soft to hold fasteners in place. This causes safety issues. If you run into out of place nails or screws, replace the damaged deck boards and inspect for other loose fasteners. Make sure to only reuse fasteners that are in pristine condition and replace any that are compromised. 

When choosing fasteners for your backyard projects, Grip-Rite® is the reliable and trustworthy choice. With fasteners like Deckforce® exterior screws for wood and composite deck boards, you’re sure to find the right one for your project. For grooved deck boards, Grip-Rite® Ninja™ Hidden Deck Clip makes installations faster and creates a seamless finish.

Address Any Weather-Related Damage and Mold

Winter snowstorms and spring rain can cause high moisture levels on your deck, which can lead to rotting. To check for damage, you can try poking the area of concern with a screwdriver, and if it goes into the wood more than ⅛ of an inch, you most likely have rotten wood.

Excessive flaking and chipping of paint can also indicate rotting. Make sure you replace any damaged wood and get an assessment by a professional to make certain your deck is safe to use again. 

Deep Clean Your Deck

Remove Debris

There are more than 60 million decks in the United States with 30 million of these being past useful life, needing to be repaired or totally replaced. Keeping your deck clean by sweeping off debris and using a hose to wash it down will make it easier to notice any hazards and will help keep your deck in its best shape. 

It is important to create a maintenance plan that regularly checks on the following:

  • Railing & banisters
  • Deck boards
  • Stairs
  • Underbelly connections
  • Deck lighting

Pressure Wash Carefully

After you’ve removed all items and debris from the deck and closed all windows and doors, you’re ready to pressure wash your deck. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on your pressure washer to figure out the best PSI to use so you won’t damage your deck. You can combine pressure washing with some detergents and different spray heads for a deeper clean.

Refinish if Necessary

Sand and Stain

While sanding a deck is not always necessary before staining or sealing it, it is recommended if your deck is old or has been refinished multiple times. The process gives you the ability to even out the surface of your deck and remove any old stains or finishes.

If you decide to sand and stain, do it 48 hours after your deck is washed and dried.

Begin by applying the deck stain to handrails using a paintbrush. For oil-based products, make sure to use a natural-bristle paintbrush. For water-based stains, use a synthetic-bristle brush. Stain the surface decking boards with a flat paint-pad applicator. Let it soak according to the instructions and remove any excess using a rag.

Pro Tip: Avoid applying the stain in direct sunlight and stay off of the deck for a full day to ensure it dries completely.

Seal Against the Elements

Sealing your deck protects the surface from extreme temperatures and the elements. After cleaning and clearing the deck, you’ll want to ensure you stir the sealer and then using a brush, paint roller, or sprayer apply a thin coat over a two-to-three board section.

You may have to back-roll to ensure you achieve the best-looking coat possible. Then, use a finer paintbrush to apply the sealer to more difficult areas such as railings, steps, and cracks. Lastly, allow the deck to dry completely before use.

Lighting Can Create the Perfect Mood

Having improper lighting or no lighting on your deck can pose safety concerns like slipping and tripping. Installing lighting on your deck not only keeps guests safe, but also adds to the aesthetic of the space. To ensure your lighting is installed and maintained properly, we recommend hiring a certified electrician. 

Elevate Your Views with New Railing Solutions

Timeless Railing Solutions with RailFX®

Whether you’re installing a new deck and railing or looking to spruce your existing deck railing up, RailFX® has solutions for you. For a new installation, we recommend exploring our custom railing system or RailFX® Oasis™ Railing System. Both options feature aluminum posts and various infill options, backed by a Limited Lifetime Warranty. For decks with wood posts, check out our Express Mount Brackets™ or newly redesigned FlexFX Fittings. Whichever option you choose, RailFX will ensure your deck is a showstopper.

Our Custom Railing System delivers an all-in-one solution to any project and has everything you could need including:

  • CABLES AND FITTINGS INCLUDED with the system
  • SEAMLESS TOP RAILS are available in lengths up to 20 feet, easy to trim on site
  • PRE-DRILLED POSTS for cable and concealed cable fittings
  • GLASS AND PICKET INFILL OPTIONS AVAILABLE as a cable infill alternative

Quick Tips for Summer

Grill Safety

  • Keep grill 2 feet from all furniture, railings, overhangs, and shade structures
  • Trim any branches or brush near your grill
  • Always have a fire extinguisher on hand

Shade for Maximum Outdoor Enjoyment

  • Add an umbrella or sun shade when trees aren’t available
  • Large potted plants can add ambiance and shade

Furniture Upgrades

  • Have plenty of seating on hand for larger gatherings
  • Weatherproof accent pillows make deck furniture more comfortable

At RailFX, we love spending time outdoors in the summer! To help you make the most of your summer nights, we’ve created deck safety and outdoor living resources you can reference. Remember: Creating a deck maintenance plan can help you spend less time on issues in the long run!

Explore our resources by visiting https://www.railfx.net/deck-safety-month/.

A deck or patio is the perfect place for you to enjoy the great outdoors. Open views and space to entertain make them an ideal addition to your home.

Elevating your outdoor space might feel like a dream, but we’ve got your back!

The RailFX® Oasis™ Railing System offers a seamless solution to transform any space into a serene and stylish sanctuary. We’ll walk you through the process of selecting, designing, and installing your RailFX® Oasis™ Railing System to ensure your outdoor space becomes the oasis you’ve always wanted.

Understanding the RailFX® Oasis™ Railing System

The RailFX® Oasis™ Railing System is designed with simplicity and durability in mind. Made from extruded aluminum in a textured black finish, it promises longevity without the risk of rust, meeting, and exceeding IBC and IRC  requirements. Its design options are flexible, offering both picket and horizontal cable infill options that add elegance to any outdoor setting.

Key Features:

  • Post Size: 3″
  • Post Spacing: Up to 8′
  • Infill Options: Picket, Horizontal Cable
  • Finish: Textured Black
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime

Designing Your Outdoor Oasis

Choose Your View

Railing infill is not just a part of design; it’s a critical feature that combines aesthetics, safety, and code compliance. It serves as the “filler” material between the handrail and the deck or floor, ensuring that spaces are safely enclosed without compromising on visual appeal.

Your choice of infill material significantly affects the overall look and functionality of a railing system. For this reason, it’s an essential consideration for architects, builders, and homeowners alike. When choosing between cable or picket infill, you should first decide your aesthetic preference and your functional needs.

Cable infill offers a modern deck railing look with unobstructed views, ideal for showing off gorgeous landscapes or gardens. Stainless steel cables require minimal maintenance and provide a sleek, mixed material look. They’re perfect for contemporary settings where preserving sightlines is crucial, as cables seem to “disappear” from view.

Picket infill provides a more traditional appearance, where the pickets match the post and rails. The textured black finish used throughout the picket railing system can provide greater contrast against the deck boards and scenery.  

Deciding on Railing Height

RailFX® offers two standard railing heights: 36 inches and 42 inches. Height typically depends on local building codes for safety and personal preference for visibility. Generally, residential railings should be 36 inches high for decks and balconies. Commercial railings—and residential railings in the state of California— require a minimum railing height of 42 inches.

Selecting Top Rail Lengths

Top rails are available in 6-foot lengths for picket railing systems and 8-foot lengths for both picket and cable railing systems. This choice should be guided by the overall design layout of your deck or balcony to ensure consistency and structural integrity.

Rails are designed to be cut down to the exact size you need. Since you can’t extend a rail that’s too short to span the gap, you should ensure your rail kit is slightly longer than the space between your posts.

Installation Essentials

Installing your RailFX® Oasis™ Railing System is straightforward with the right tools and preparation. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Post Drilling Template: Simplifies installation by providing precise pre-drill positioning for brackets and by centering the bottom rail bracket on post when installing screws. 
  • Touch-Up Paint: Keeps your railing looking new by easily covering any scratches or dings incurred during installation or use.
  • Instruction Guide: As always, it’s important to follow instructions closely during installation to maintain warranty coverage and ensure safety compliance. We advise reading written instructions prior to beginning installation.

Resources & Inspiration

RailFX® provides valuable resources to help you in your project planning, from sparking ideas for designing your outdoor oasis to ensuring proper installation techniques are followed. View our resources to learn more:

Combining Simplicity and Style

Transforming your outdoor space into an oasis is within reach with the RailFX® Oasis™ Railing System. By understanding its features, carefully planning your design, and following detailed installation guidelines, you can achieve an elegant, durable outdoor living area that will bring joy for years to come.

Whether you’re enjoying quiet mornings alone or entertaining guests under the stars, your RailFX® Oasis™ equipped space will undoubtedly become your favorite retreat.

To design your dream railing system, connect with a RailFX® Oasis™ Railing System dealer to get started!

Learn more about RailFX® Oasis™ today!

https://www.railfx.net/railfx-oasis-railing-system/.