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Deck Safety Tips

There’s something rejuvenating about counting down to those warm days of summer as winter comes to an end. When the days get longer and the temperature gets warmer, spending time outside becomes a priority. For families who savor their outdoor spaces, it’s important to give your deck and patio extra TLC before summer officially starts. From double (and triple!) checking fasteners and connectors to giving a thorough inspection to any bug or pest damage, here are some smart ways you can ensure your deck is as ready for summertime adventuring as you are.

Check for Rusted Fasteners and Connectors

When the weather outside is frightful or you encounter a season where the rain simply won’t go away, it’s not just your mood that’s impacted. The wood, fasteners and connectors that make up your outdoor living spaces take the brunt of the weatherman’s forecasts. Much like ingredients that make up your favorite recipes, the nuts and bolts of your outdoor living area must be in top shape to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

When spring rolls around, start preparing your deck by giving it a thorough cleaning. Using cleaning products you trust for your household, scrub and wipe clean the fasteners and connectors on each of your wooden railings and beams. While you’re washing, keep your eyes carefully peeled for rust. If you notice any type of deterioration, consider hiring a professional who can determine if a replacement strategy is needed. Even if it seems minor, resist procrastination. After all, you don’t want to risk accidents that can happen when the glue that holds your deck together is ignored.

Ward Off Bugs — And Their Damage

There’s nothing quite like waking up with a view of a soothing lake or the beauty of a myriad of trees in your backyard. Unfortunately, this scenery provides the perfect environment for insects to thrive. Though they mostly keep to themselves, it’s never a bad idea to have an exterminator inspect your property, especially if you have a neighbor who experienced an outbreak. If you notice signs of termites, it’s important to have a professional take a look. Termites can deteriorate not only your deck, but your home’s structure and foundation.

For extra protection, consider investing in special bug-fighting lighting and citronella lamps to reduce the chance of a breakout.

Ensure Your Fire Pit and Grill Area Won’t Spark Flames

Sunsets in the summer are one of a kind. And they’re made even sweeter when you can watch the kiddos catch fireflies in the yard while you whip up dinner on the grill.

Before you start cooking, make sure your dinner preparation is safe and secure. It’s important to double check that all flammable materials are far out of reach. And though you might consider yourself a master, being confident on how to properly work, refill and turn off your grill is of utmost importance. It’s also highly recommended to keep a fire extinguisher handy, just in case there’s an accident.

Test the Strength and Durability of Railings and Banisters

Years of walking, lounging and enjoying will slowly cause some wear and tear to your deck. Though normal, you want to ensure the structure — and its railings — can support any weight that’s applied to them.

For an at-home test, carefully push against various parts of your deck. If you notice any sort of wiggle, pull back and keep the area off-limits. Then, contact a professional contractor who can give advice on how to reinforce the area or modify your deck to improve safety.

Look Out for Tripping Hazards

From wet towels slung over the railings to trash placed outside, your deck isn’t just for outdoor dinners but a home to countless items too. If your family has a tendency to leave shoes and other items strewn about the patio, make it a nightly or morning routine to clean up the area reducing the chance of trips and falls. Leaves and other debris from trees can also present an opportunity to slip, so it’s a smart idea to sweep regularly and clean up after storms.

And what about accessories that have wheels? When they’re not in use, make sure they are properly stowed away, so you don’t have an accidental tumble.

Consider Installing Perimeter Lights

Since temperatures stay warmer throughout the evening during the summertime, you might find yourself enjoying a glass of wine under the starry sky. But without proper lighting, the trek back inside can be dark and somewhat treacherous. An easy fix is to install outdoor smart lighting. Triggered by motion detectors, smart lighting can illuminate your path, while also conserving electricity. This not only helps you to watch your step, but it can add to the overall aesthetic appeal of your home.

With proper preparation and safety checks, your deck can serve as a base for summer fun and celebrations all season long. Perform these simple checks and you’ll be on your way to a relaxing and carefree summertime.

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