Decks are relaxing places to spend time with family and friends, especially during the warmer months. It’s a perfect place for family gatherings, parties, and cookouts. Before using your outdoor living spaces this season, take steps to make your deck safe.

Safety precautions are especially important for families who have toddlers and pets around the house. Below are some tips to help you maintain the deck as a safer place for family and friends.

Make Your Deck Safe With Railings

Although railings are often mandatory features for a deck, people whose decks are lower to the ground may not see the need for them. However, railings enhance safety, especially if you have young children who spend time outdoors. Ideally, the railings should be at least 36 inches tall. The gaps between the balusters need to be less than 4 inches apart. That will prevent children from getting stuck in the rails or slipping and falling off.

Install Deck Gates

If you have a staircase leading to your deck, installing a gate is a good way to make your deck safer. With a securely locking gate, kids and pets can use the area freely without worry that they might fall down the steps or wander off.

Keep the Door to the Deck Locked

With young children or pets around the house, lock the door that leads to your deck. It will prevent them from accessing the area unattended. Install the lock high enough so that young children can’t reach it.

Add Shade to Make Your Deck Safe

Installing a shade over a portion of the deck will make it safer and more comfortable, especially if it is exposed to direct sunlight during the day. High temperatures can be harmful to children and pets. Shade offers an area to get relief from the heat and keeps the decking materials cool enough for pets and barefoot children.

Remove Toxic Plants

If you decorate your deck with flowers and plants, choose non-toxic varieties to keep your deck safe. Some common plants are hazardous to children and animals. Research the plants that you would like to plant in pots on the deck.

Maintain the Deck

Conduct routine maintenance to keep the decking safe. If it is made from wood, nails or screws can work their way out and splinters can form on the surface. This may cause injury to people walking barefoot on the deck or your pet’s paws. Use a hammer or screwdriver to drive fasteners back into the wood. Sand any rough areas and replace rotting and warped boards.

Prudent Home Inspections provides home inspection services to the Washington DC metro area. Contact us to schedule an appointment.