Now that summer is upon us, we want our outside areas to be perfect for the summer months where we’ll spend the evenings barbecuing and the days amongst family and friends. Adding a deck to any home is a great way to make a more inviting and livable outdoor space. If you plan to build one yourself, make sure safety is your top priority. Each year thousands of people are injured from deck collapses. Building a strong, sturdy deck that will last years is very important.
First things first, you should know your codes. Building material codes were created to help ensure safety and quality. A great resource for these codes is the International Residential Code (IRC). Make sure you double check and confirm that all your deck-building materials are code-compliant and that you are using the highest quality to ease your mind. Next, the key to a safe and successful build is to create a strong foundation. You want a foundation that will support not only your new deck, but your family and friends. Remember that pressure-treated wood can potentially warp, twist, rot, decay and split over time.
Your deck is going to be exposed to the weather 365 days a year, make sure you choose durable decking. Although we may not have extreme weather here in Southern California, rain, sun, and the heat can still be damaging. Over time wood can rot, warp, and split, further increasing chances of injury. Consider opting out for a wood-alternative deck material that can offer stability and not weaken under harsh weather or heavy foot traffic.
Don’t forget to reinforce railings as they provide security and support to the deck. Building codes actually require a railing for structures built 30 inches or more off the ground. Keep balusters no more than four inches apart to keep small children and animals from falling through. Make sure to properly light the deck so there are no unwanted trips or other mishaps. Go with energy efficient lights that are weather-proof and salt-air resistant. LED lights are perfect because they are cool to the touch making them safe for homes with small children and pets.