At Home in Berks April 2017 - 24

ANGLES

Making Sure Your Deck is
Safe this Summer

Contributed by Matt Breyer, Operating Partner and Lead Project Designer
Breyer Construction and Landscape, LLC

W

hen talking about decks and
"outdoor living".... thoughts
of weekend barbeques,
family dinners on long summer nights,
kids' birthday parties overflowing into
the backyard, and generally good times
come to mind. For some folks, however,
there may also be a bit of angst at the
inevitable splintering, sanding, staining,
sealing, and general upkeep of an older
wood deck... but for most of us, we
tend to think more about how we use
our deck, and less about the actual deck
structure.

Just because your deck has provided 5,
10, or even 20+ years of faithful service
does not guarantee that it will continue
to do so. Realistic expectations, along
with a bit of "preventative maintenance,"
can go a long way to keeping your family safe this summer.

24

AT HOME IN BERKs April 2017

Fortunately, there are some quick and
relatively easy items that you can check
yourself to see if your deck is safe, or if
additional assistance may be needed.
We highly recommend checking your
deck and performing any maintenance
(cleaning, sealing, etc.) at least once a
year - but a second check towards the
end of the season is a good idea as well,
especially for tall decks, or those in
areas prone to additional damage (such
as under mature trees, commercial
usage, or near salt water).
Over the last 15+ years of inspecting,
repairing, designing, and building
decks we've seen some that were only a
few years old fail. Others were decades
old, still standing and barely held on to
the house by a few rusted nails. Too often, decks are compromised by rot due
to the outdoor environment they exist
in. Rot starts down where it's hidden,
attacking critical joints or fasteners.

While everything possible should be
reviewed, generally the 3 areas we see
the greatest potential for failure are at
the connection of the deck to the house
wall, the railings, and the stairs.
For the house connection, generally we
want to see evidence of flashing above
and behind the decks ledger board, as
well as joist hangers and bolts that are
properly secured, and in good shape.
Signs of moisture and debris piled up
next to the house wall when everything
else is dry suggests there may be some
compromise to the deck's frame, and
possibly even to the house wall's framing. If there is basement access, it's a
good idea to look at the inside framing
of the house at the deck location, just
to make sure no water is getting inside
your home and rotting the house wall.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of At Home in Berks April 2017

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