One of the best times to inspecting the under-structure of your deck is usually before summer arrives. And the reason is simple: you want to enjoy your deck during the hotter nights of the year. So, as always, safety should come first. So, by inspecting everything related to your deck beforehand will allow you to enjoy it with your family and friends without any safety concerns.
However, what exactly should you inspect? How can you make sure that your deck can be used safely?
Before we talk about each specific thing you need to look at or task that needs to be done, it’s important to acknowledge that you should always follow local building codes as well as you should be wearing the right safety gear to protect you.
So, here is all that you need to do when you are inspecting the under-structure of your deck:
#1: Ledger Board
In case you don’t know, the ledger board is the board that makes the connection between your house and the deck. This is always a key point of support and this is one of those places that you really should inspect every single year.
The first thing you should consider doing is looking at the fastening method used to connect the ledger board to your home. In case you see nails or any other material that isn’t bolts you should definitely replace them with bolts only. And while you’re making the change, don’t allow anyone to be on the deck.
In the second place, it’s time to check flashing. Flashing is what prevents the water from penetrating into the wood which generally leads to rods and possible failure. While you may not notice any flashing, make sure that you check the board itself and look for penetration. Sometimes, they may not be evident marks but the danger is present.
The last thing that you need to check out on the ledger board is to see if there ate any corroded or loose fasteners.
#2: Joists & Beams
Both joists and beams are pieces that carry the deck’s weight to the posts and to the ledger board. Each joint and each beam need to be carefully examined to check on termites and rods.
One of the easiest ways to do it is to poke the wood. If it breaks apart or you feel the wood spongy, you need to change that specific joint or beam.
When you notice you have one joint or beam that needs to be replaced, make sure that you carefully check the ones around them.
One of the most common places for failure to occur is where the connections are made. This is why it is especially important to check the hardware for corrosion and rust.
The posts are the ones that carry the entire deck structure, your family, and your friends. While traditionally they aren’t involved in a failure of a deck, it’s always best to be safe and sorry. So, just do the same process as you did with the joints.
#4: Concrete Footings
The concrete footings are, basically, your foundation. In this part of your deck, you need to check for cracks. In case you notice that your concrete is dry or cracked, this may mean that your post is standing on an unstable ground, which can cause the post to sway, leading to the deck’s collapse.
Plus, you should also check the hardware that connects your footings to your posts for rust.