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Large residential wooden backyard deck with furniture

Spring is officially in full swing, which means that homeowners are getting their decks ready for a season of fun, sunshine, and probably lots of grilling. More than likely you’ll be called upon to perform various deck inspections and repairs, so use the checklist below as a handy reference for your various deck-related projects.

  1. Check the flashing at the places where the deck meets the house, as well as on the perimeter of the deck. Make sure that everything is still properly fitted and secure, without any deterioration or damage.
  2. Make sure that the ledger board for the deck has all of the necessary lag screws to properly fasten the ledger (and thus the deck) to the side of the house. Sometimes these screws can be loose, rusted, or corroded, or they may be missing washers. If the ledger board was fastened primarily with nails instead of lag screws, it will definitely need to be reinforced with lag screws to better secure the deck.
  3. Inspect all areas around posts, as these sensitive spots are often subject to water infiltration, which can lead to damage and rotting.
  4. Assess the deck slope. Remember, gravity is always at work, often causing the main building or the deck itself to shift, shrink, or settle over time. This can produce various cracks or vulnerable areas that will need to be addressed. The deck should slope slightly away from the building, so that water pooling can be kept to an absolute minimum.
  5. Check the condition of the wood on every area of the deck, but pay special attention to those areas where water tends to collect, or that receive frequent contact with water. Use some type of pointed object (e.g., a screwdriver) to test the quality of the wood’s surface; if you can penetrate into the wood more than 1/2 inch deep, or if the wood seems spongy or soft, you may be dealing with a decay issue.
  6. Double-check the railings for weather damage or rot, as well as for loose bolts or worn-out caulking.
  7. Check the quality of the caulking around entryways, doorways, posts or perimeters, and repair or replace worn or missing caulking as needed.
  8. Check for stability and structural integrity in applicable areas such as stairs, posts, joists, deck boards, and of course the ledger board. Keep an eye out for areas of rot or insect damage.
  9. Double-check the joist hangers to ensure that there are nails in every nail hole. Yes, this can be a tedious job because there are lots of nail holes to fill in the average joist hanger, but they’re there for a reason.
  10. Check the deck for any significant wobbling or shifting movements when you walk across it. If things seem a little too loose, you may need to reinforce its stability with a diagonal brace running from corner to corner underneath the deck.

No matter what type of deck repairs you may need to make, you’re going to need quality materials to get the job done right. Nisbet Brower offers building materials in Cincinnati, OH and can provide you with everything you need to produce top-notch results for your clients. Using the checklist above as your guide, you can help give your clients better peace of mind, so that they can fully enjoy their decks during this busy spring season!