I'm Ready to Have a Summer Party. How do I Get My Deck Ready?
A deck can make all the difference in the overall impression your summer party makes. With a fresh stain or deck repair from the professionals at A1 Handyman, this party will be one for the ages.
May is National Deck Safety Month, and with barbecue season just around the corner, now's the time to take a closer look at where you'll host all your warm-weather gatherings. According to the North American Deck and Railing Association, there's been an increase in the number of decks that have collapsed, fallen apart, or otherwise failed. In most cases, simple upkeep could have prevented these incidents, which tend to happen (no surprise) when decks are packed with people. Make such an inspection an annual affair - it takes a few minutes - and fix any problems before inviting the gang over.
Fixing The Deck
All decks need some new boards once in a while to keep them looking their best. After a few years of exposure to the elements, these boards will start to become prone to water damage and need replacing. Look for severe splintering in the wood or places where it seems extra soft; test the wood with a screwdriver to see how soft it is. Choosing pressure-treated lumber should also help to prevent damage in the future.
• Check for split or decaying wood - Inspect cracks with a flathead screwdriver; if you can insert it more than ¼ inch into any cracks, or if the wood feels spongy or breaks off without splintering, this could indicate rot. Keep an eye out for holes, which could mean insects have burrowed in and made a home.
• Ledger Board - This weight-bearing board connects the deck to your house. Make sure it's attached with ½-inch stainless- or galvanized-steel lag screws and through bolts, rather than nails, which can pop out. Check for a widened gap between the house and the ledger, which may signal that the bolts need tightening.
• Flashing - The flashing around the ledger board prevents moisture from building up and causing rot. Look to see if it has pulled away from the house, and make sure caulk that seals overlapping pieces is intact. Inspect for mud or debris stuck between the spacer and the exterior wall, a sign the flashing's been breached.
• Railings and Balusters - Firmly grasp and wriggle these to make sure they're secure. Also double-check whether they meet local codes, which generally call for a railing at least 3 feet high with balusters spaced no wider than 4 inches apart. Toenail loose pieces back into place, adding glue for extra security, or replace them entirely.
• Deck staining - This is essential for extended protection of the wood in your deck. If you pick a high-quality deck stain/sealant, it can cut down on the number of times you need to stain the deck. On average, most decks need a new coat every 1-2 years. Don’t have time to do the staining but don’t want extensive deck repair later? Call the A1 Handyman deck finishing experts for help. Our professionals can also give your deck a proper pressure washing that won’t damage the boards.
• Don’t forget the decorations - Once the deck is ready, it’s time to get the party plans set in place. Make sure you have plenty of seating for all the expected guests, with a few extra spaces - just in case. Make sure you pick a summer theme, then sit back and enjoy.
Contact A1 Handyman today at (208) 995-6457 for help with getting your deck ready for all that summer fun.