Deck safety begins with how it is built and then how it is maintained over time.

To ensure a safe deck, it is critical to build it using proper connections and adhering to building codes.. When it comes to decking, nails are not enough. A safe deck features the use of heavy-duty, metal hardware throughout the entire structure, spanning from the house to the posts in the ground. Check out the DCA 6 Prescriptive Residential Deck Construction Guide or share it with your deck contractor so you get the job done right.

Once your deck is built, make sure to keep it in great shape with regular maintenance and annual deck safety checks. Make time once per year to make sure your connections remain secure and the wood is in good shape.

When that yearly deck check rolls around, it’s a good time to clean your deck and stain (as needed) to ensure your deck is protected for enjoyment year-round.

Proper maintenance with annual wood deck safety checks and periodic refinishing will mean that your deck will age better than a deck that is neglected. A well-maintained deck can last twice as long as a neglected deck, with a life expectancy of up to 20 years. Some factors that can affect how long a deck lasts include:

Location – The best location for a deck will have moderate, dappled shade throughout most of the day.

Quality of lumber – Buying lumber with fewer knots will extend the life of your deck.

Type of foundation – The best deck foundation is stable, with a concrete foundation. Pressure-treated lumber is the go-to for decking substructure. Wood should not have any contact with the ground, unless it is graded for ground contact.

Coating – A water-repellant coating with an oil or wax base keeps water from penetrating the wood surface. Coating decks every couple of years will help to extend its life.

A little bit of deck care and an annual cleaning will preserve the natural beauty of decks for years to come.

Check out our gallery of Decks & Porches for inspiration and how-to articles and videos.

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