With the hot summer weather just around the corner, patios and decks are soon to be the areas for entertainment. No more gatherings in the kitchen, time to get those guests outside and in the sun! You should however ensure that your guests are on a safe sturdy structure, one that hasn’t been demolished by winter.
Winter can be a catastrophic season for exterior structures. Allow me to make a suggestion to you my fellow reader: check your deck, balcony or what ever structure it may be, before having people over. The last thing you want is for your deck to collapse with your guests on it. This may sound exaggerated, but it happens. With winter’s cold climates comes snow, ice, freeze-thaw cycles, soil expansions, frost heaves and the list goes on and on. Needless to say, once the winter passes, you should always ensure that your exterior structures remain intact. How can I do that? You may ask. It’s quite simple actually!
The very first thing to do is to check from a distance. Look at the overall condition of the structure. Has it moved, shifted, anything of the sorts. If it has, you’re probably looking at foundation movement also. A Jack-Of-All-Trades may be able to fix it himself, by lifting the structure and realigning the foundation members. These are normally 4×4’s of 6×6’s inserted into Deck-Blocks. Second, inspect where the structure is attached to the house (if it applies).
The securement methods, what ever it may be, should be in good condition. If you try nudging the structure, it should resist all movement.
If at all possible, getting a look at the underside of the structure is always an excellent idea. You’ll be able to look at the structural members and ensure moisture problems and wood/soil contact hasn’t affected them.
Lastly, verify the walking surface. Wood members should be in good condition with no signs of rotting of sagging. Pieces that show signs of weakness are a safety hazard. Not to mention that they are very easy to replace.
So give your exterior structures a good thorough inspection before inviting the beasties over.
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