1. Determine if the footings require replacement. If they are too shallow, your contractor will recommend deeper footings that can support the full weight of the deck.
2. Check the frames and posts for imperfections such as cracks. Some cracks may signal problems because water can get into them and cause them to expand. This weakens the boards, risking your safety.
3. Look for rusted connectors and fasteners under the deck. The nails, screws, bolts and hangers are made from galvanized steel, but they need an inspection to make sure they are in a good condition.
4. Some modern decks are susceptible to bug damage, and this is a common problem with older decks. Your builder will recommend decks that are made with chemically-treated lumber to keep bugs away.
5. Ensure the joists have a solid connection to support the hangers. You may need at least one 3/8-inch screw into the joist but some contractors may recommend more for some cases.
6. Inspect the railing to ensure it is not loose, as this helps to improve the safety of your deck. Let your contractor recommend any necessary fixes or determine how much replacement is necessary.
7. Keep your deck free of mildew and mold growth. In some cases, the mold may eat away the structure.
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Make your deck exceptional with flower beds or a grilling station.
As a safety precaution, prohibit people from sitting on the deck rail.