Check Your Deck: Verandah, Balcony, and Deck Safety

Balcony with table and chairs.

Backyard decks, front verandahs, and first-floor balconies are great structures to expand your living area.

They make great outdoor spaces where you can dine, socialize, and relax with family and friends. Like every part of your home, these structures need proper maintenance or else they pose a danger to you and your family.

Whether you own a timber, concrete, or metal structure; always check your deck, verandah, and balcony to ensure its condition.

Worried about your deck, verandah or balcony? Call us now on 1 300 899 078 or schedule an inspection online for your and peace of mind.

Why is it important?

Components of a deck deteriorate over time because of exposure to natural elements like moisture and heat. This decline in quality makes the deck weaker and incapable of holding the amount of weight that it used to carry easily. Without proper inspection, you and your family might fall under the wrong impression that everything is safe when it actually isn’t.

Unchecked verandahs, balconies, and decks have caused plenty of injuries and deaths in the country during the last few years. These unfortunate incidents could have been prevented if only homeowners were able to conduct proper inspections and maintenance to keep their decks safe.

What should you check?

Posts

The parts of your deck that holds most of the load are the posts. They support the entire structure, as well as the weight of people and furniture. Weak or faulty posts will result in the collapse of the structure, leading to injuries, deaths, and damage to the property. If you have steel posts, check for signs of corrosion and rust. In particular, inspect the bottom part that is connected to the ground which is easily reached by water. Painting the steel posts will help prevent rusting.

On the other hand, timber posts should be treated for termites, woodworms, wet rotting, dry rotting, and ground contact. Check for signs of decay, especially on portions that are connected to bearers, fixings, and other timbers. Also, check if the footings are still in good condition. If the posts are directly in contact with the ground, consider making concrete footings.

Bracing

Decks that stand higher than 2 ft. have diagonal braces to prevent the beam from moving. Without bracing, decks and balconies are susceptible to swaying and rotating. Check the bracings and make sure that they are not loose or dislodged. This will ensure that the structure remains sturdy. Cracked bracings or those with rusting or lose fixing and welds need to be repaired.

Fixings

Fixings, more specifically nuts, bolts, brackets, screws, and nails help the whole deck, balcony or verandah together. It’s crucial that they are in perfect shape. They should be checked for signs of rust, especially for decks exposed in constant rain and humidity. If you live in areas with these weather conditions, it’s better to apply paint to the metal fixings or stainless steel ones.

Aside from rusting, you should also check for signs of bending, fractures, and looseness. This will help you determine the need for repair or replacement. The sooner you repair or replace the fixings, the more you will be assured of your safety.

Decking Boards, Bearers, and Joist

Timber parts of the deck have the most direct contact with people. They are the first three levels of support that hold your weight. That’s why maintaining their integrity is important as well. Check them by listening to creaks and groans because these are signs of termite and decay damage. Also, if there are cracks or fractures on the decking boards that can cause slips and trips, then you need to replace the damaged board right away.

Ledgers and Pole Plates

Attached decks are connected to the outside wall through ledgers or pole plates. They hold the weight of the deck together with the posts. Although you definitely need to check their condition, their connection to the external wall is more important here. Make sure that they are attached securely. Any shortage of strength and toughness to ledgers and pole plates might result in the failure of the whole deck.

Deck safety

To help prevent accidents, below are the things that you can do to maintain the structural integrity of the whole deck, verandah, or balcony:

  1. Avoid placing or installing heavy objects on your deck. It’s better to keep them inside the house which foundation and support are more capable of holding heavy loads. Limit the furniture in your decks to chairs and tables.
  2. Avoid unnecessary jumping and other forceful movements. This will just give additional stress to posts, ledgers, and pole plates.
  3. Avoid gathering too many people on the deck. Find out the maximum load that the deck can carry and stick to it. Don’t let it bear the weight that is more than it’s designed for.
  4. Never sit on the balustrade. Although they are designed to keep you from falling off, their strength also deteriorates over time. Sitting and leaning against the balustrade will help shorten its good condition.
  5. Never climb from one balcony to another. It’s the same as sitting and leaning against the balustrade. Taking the longer route is always the best way.
  6. Avoid leaving any objects that kids can climb. It will only defeat the purpose of having balustrades to ensure safety. Also, put away objects that kids can move and use as a step ladder.
  7. As a primary prevention from giving the kids access to the decks unsupervised, install high locks and latches on the doors. It’s also advisable to install self-closing doors, which only open inwards.
  8. Always close windows near decks and remove any climbable objects near them.

Get a professional inspection

To make sure that your deck, verandah or balcony is in the best condition, hire a professional building and safety inspection team like iCertified.

Whether your deck is new or old, you can make sure that it’s safe with the help of our experienced property inspectors.

Call us now on 1 300 899 078 or enquire online to schedule an inspection of your property.