Your deck is a great place to spend time outdoors with family and friends. However, decks can pose some hazards that cause injuries, splinters, and falls. Especially if you have small children and pets, take these additional steps to make your deck safe.
Make Your Deck Safe with Maintenance
If your deck is made from wood, as most are, it requires regular maintenance to stay in good condition. Pressure-treated pine is the most common type of deck material and it also needs the most maintenance. Without maintenance, wooden decking materials will warp, splinter, and begin to rot.
For pressure-treated wood, first sand the boards to smooth out any splinters before staining it and applying a sealant to waterproof the deck. Complete this maintenance task at least every other year.
Check Railings and Steps
Unsecured railings and steps are dangerous for anyone using the deck, but especially children and pets. The deck railing balusters should be no more than 3 inches apart for safety.
Apply pressure to railings and make sure they don’t budge. If they move back and forth, reinforce the fasteners. Stairs should also be held securely in place. If a step wobbles, tighten it or replace the board entirely.
Keep Dangerous Items Out of Reach
Dangerous items like lighter fluid, grilling tools, and decorative plants that are toxic to ingest are sometimes kept on decks. When kids and pets are around, keep these items out of reach. Have locked storage for grilling accessories and any other unsafe items and put plants on a high shelf.
Add Some Shade to Make Your Deck Safe
During the summer, hot deck surfaces can burn feet and paws. Add some shade to the deck to make it safer. An awning, umbrella, or shade sail will keep the sunlight from scorching the deck. It will also help prevent people and pets from overheating while spending time outside.
Install a Gate
While you should always supervise kids and pets outdoors, a gate will make it easier to keep them safe on the deck. Add a gate to the top of the steps to keep kids and pets from wandering or falling down them.
These simple deck upgrades will reduce hazards to kids and pets. Check the status of your deck and make improvements where needed.