There’s no doubt about the allure of a deck or patio on your home as they not only increase your quality of living but also boost property value. There’s perhaps nothing better than hosting a barbecue, conversing with friends outdoors, or just sitting under the stars by yourself while enjoying a cold drink. Of course when deck boards start cracking or the platform begins pulling away from the home it tends to take some tranquility and calmness away from the situation. This is the main reason that -while decks are indeed nice – they also must be safe and durable with proper use of these components:
A deck that is fastened to a home using only nails, even if there are 10,000 of them, is a huge safety risk that should never be walked upon by one person let alone 3 or 4. Instead, the connectors of a deck involve a system of components that work together and with each other to ensure the area doesn’t pull away from the home. Lag bolts and tie screws connect the ledger to the home much more securely than nails. From there, connectors (hangers) tie in the perpendicular joists with the ledger. There are other separate connectors that hook up the joists with the beam, provide tension, give added security (hurricane ties), and serve as post caps among others.
The two components that bear load on a deck are the house and the posts. It’s important to select posts that are durable enough to support the excessive weight of the deck and to install them correctly. For example it’s extremely crucial that the deck is built level so that the weight is distributed evenly among the posts and that they wear on a consistent basis. Posts must also be connected to a footing that is placed below the frost line to prevent shifting. From there posts must also be secured to each connecting board and with a post cap near the bottom to prevent excessive moisture exposure.
The correct deck boards must be selected to withstand the elements and to ensure the deck lasts longer than a few years. These boards must also be secured correctly and acclimated to avoid excessive expansion and contraction leaving gaps in the surface. Corroded deck boards will snap in half potentially causing serious injury especially on steps.
The railings of the deck also need to be secured in the proper manner and the spindles spaced close enough to prevent a child falling through. A railing needs to be durable enough to withstand a number of people leaning against it and the spindles, although seemingly more of a decorative detail, also serve an important purpose in protection for young people and pets.
The most important thing a skilled contractor can bring on a deck project is experience – and with that, sound peace of mind for you. A safe deck is a happy deck.