Your deck is one of the focal points of your home’s exterior. You and everyone you love spends hours on it enjoying your great outdoors. Like every other outdoor space, there are potential safety hazards for adventurous children and clumsy adults! From tripping hazards to splinters or even serious structural issues, your beloved outdoor gathering space has a plethora of potential safety hazards to be aware of. If you’re looking for ways to keep your deck safe, check out these tips.
Put down rugs and mats
A good rug really does tie any room together. It feels funny to say, but utilizing outdoor rugs is a great way to prevent accidents on your deck. If your deck is a bit older, for example, adding a rug will give you space to enjoy sitting on without fear of splinters.
Maybe you’re not into rugs. There are loads of options for deck mats as well. For the grill masters among us, keeping a mat underneath will prevent it from moving and catch any food or debris.
If you’re concerned about hazards on the stairs, there are mats you can place on each step to increase traction. They come in a variety of colors and styles, so you don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics for safety.
Light it up
It seems a bit obvious, but lighting is a cornerstone of deck safety. When your deck isn’t lit properly, you are at greater risk for falling or slipping. Especially if you have kids who like to leave toys around.
Not only does it make your deck safer, but putting up lights is a great way to add life to your outdoor living space. No matter your budget there’s plenty of lighting option that are both functional and stylish.
Keep up with maintenance
Depending on the kind of deck you have, you need to reseal it every couple years to prevent deterioration and rot from taking over. Over time, decks can become slippery and lose their structural integrity. Wood decks are especially susceptible to the elements, so resealing extends their life span. Every 3 years or so, give your deck a thorough inspection to check for anything that seems off.
One of the best ways to keep your deck safe and reduce repairs is by keeping up with regular maintenance. Preventing algae and grime buildup, sweeping away anything that’s fallen, and periodically power washing your deck will not only keep it safe, but also looking sharp.
Remove snow and ice
Shoveling on a freezing winter day is the last thing anyone wants to do, but it’s crucial to keep your deck safe. An icy deck is extremely dangerous and a fall can result in serious injury. Snow melting products are helpful, but double check that they’re safe for your deck before you purchase. If you have a wood deck, you need an ice melt free of salt, chloride, and acetate. Otherwise, you risk damaging your deck.
Properly installed deck railings are the best way to prevent serious fall related injuries on your deck. Not having any deck railings at all is obviously a no-go if your deck sits above the ground. Improperly installed or poorly maintained deck railings can collapse when people lean on them leading to a nasty fall. And, did you know that a child can squeeze through a 4 inch wide gap between rails?
So, what can you do to keep your deck safe when it comes to deck railing?
First, make sure that there are no gaps larger than 4 inches between your railings. If there are, you’ll need to do a little childproofing to stop baby Junior from squeezing through! We recommend you look into things like wire mesh (which can be secured with screws or plastic zip tie), or rigid sheets of a clear material like Banister Guard. If your deck railings run horizontally, make sure you secure whatever you use to the inside of the rails.
While you’re thinking about your railings, don’t forget to think about the stairs as well. If you have stairs leading down, you may want to invest in a gate to keep toddlers from toddling off the edge.
Keep your deck safe - final thoughts
Decks are our favorite part of the home, and we all spend lots of time outdoors on ours. Because of that, it’s imperative that you make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your deck safe. Doing things like sealing your wood to prevent splinters, ensuring railings are strong enough to lean on, providing adequate light to see at night, and making sure your railings aren’t easy for a child to slip through will go a long way towards keeping everyone happy and safe this summer!