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May is National Deck Safety Month. When preparing your deck for warm weather and more frequent use, follow these tips to maintain a safe deck for your children and pets.

1. Check Railings Regularly to Maintain a Safe Deck

Heavy winds, rain, and mold can cause your deck to gradually deteriorate over time. One way to maintain a safe deck is to check on the condition of your railings a few times a year.

While making your inspection, confirm that the spaces between the spindles are less than three inches wide. Large spaces can lead to injury and falling, especially if children or pets attempt to walk through. Making the necessary repairs will make your deck safer.

2. Invest in a Deck Gate

To keep your kids or pets safe while out on the deck, install a gate at the top of the stairs. Although a gate does not completely eliminate the risk of injury, it helps prevent falls and keeps children and pets from wandering away. Be sure to place furniture away from the gate and railings.

3. Keep Non-Poisonous Plants on the Deck

If you have children or pets, you know they love to play with almost anything nearby. When adding plants to your deck, be aware that many species are toxic to people and animals. To avoid aggravating allergies or making emergency hospital visits, research plants before you buy them.

4. Maintain a Safe Deck by Creating Shade

On hot, sunny days, pets may get too hot when basking on decks without shade. Create some shade on your deck to keep it cool and safe. Investing in a shade sail is a great way to maintain a safe deck. A shaded area will give your pet a cool place to lie down and also keep kids bare feet from getting too hot.

5. Remove Tripping Hazards to Keep Your Deck Safe

To reduce the risk of falls and injury, view your deck from the perspective of your child or pet. Get down low and check the surface of the deck. Make sure nails are hammered flush with the decking and boards aren’t sticking up. Sand rough spots to where the deck is splintering.

As you prepare your deck for use, it is important to make sure you’re maintaining a safe deck for every family member, including your pets. Observing the above tips will help you prevent injuries.

OBX Home Inspections provides home inspection services to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Contact us to schedule an inspection.