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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/.

According to The American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2021 Home Design Trends Survey the popularity of outdoor living spaces – such as decks and patios – has continued to dominate as a preference for homeowners by nearly 75 percent.  This is an increase by more than 20 percent from the prior year.  Likewise, blending indoor and outdoor spaces is important to more than half of homeowners surveyed. Identifying ways to make these sought-after spaces both beautiful and safe – ideal for socializing – is a top priority.

Check out these three tips for creating a picturesque outdoor living area that shows your guests you’ve thought of everything, including their safety. Get curb appeal without compromise. 

Tip #1 Ambient Lighting

Today’s outdoor living areas are multifunctional, complete with zones for cooking, dining and lounging. The right lighting can create an atmosphere, draw attention to your landscape and elevate the aesthetic of your space. What’s more, well-positioned outdoor lights can also ensure your safety and security. Stair and pathway lighting can help to prevent tripping and falling, while recessed or deck post lights create warm ambient lighting that will allow your guests to easily see the whole deck space. For added security, don’t forget to include lighting that is triggered by a timer or motion sensor for extra protection from trespassers. Check out these ideas from Bob Vila.

Tip #2 Boost your view

Whether the view from your deck is a coastline or skyline, or simply your own backyard, cable railing will allow you to put it on display. Get inspired by the design flexibility you can enjoy by choosing RailFX cable railing for your deck. Whether you prefer a classic architectural style or lean more towards the modern look, cable railing complements a broad range of design preferences and will allow you to successfully mix materials, textures and colors to create the custom-built outdoor living oasis you have always dreamed of. We offer beauty and so much more. Rest assured, you can have confidence in the strength and durability of the RailFX aluminum cable railing system. Check out this article on why cable railing is a safe railing option for homeowners.

Tip #3 Guard against the elements

Deck and outdoor living season can be synonymous with sun and summer.  While come can’t get enough Vitamin D, others search for a shady spot to bring relief from the heat. When designing a deck, it is important to plan ahead and create zones that deliver both fun-in-the-sun and opportunities to shield against the sun’s harsh effects and intense heat. From awnings and umbrellas to a trellis or roof, Fine Homebuilding shares great ideas for controlling the sun without sacrificing style. Check it out.

Bonus Tip!

Chances are, when choosing materials for your outdoor living space, you can be counted among the 60 percent of homeowners in the AIA survey who cast their vote in favor of low maintenance materials for their home exterior. After all, who wouldn’t prefer spending time enjoying their deck or patio, rather than maintaining it? Get curb appeal without compromise.  At RailFX, our aluminum cable railing system not only elevates the look of your home exterior, checks the safety boxes, it is also low maintenance. Simply complete a routine  cable tensioning inspection and general cleaning once every 12 months; then, spend the rest of the season reaping the benefits of your smart choice in deck cable railing.

We’re here to help answer your questions about choosing the right RailFX cable railing option for your deck or porch.  Contact us to get more information.