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/.