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Guest Blogger: Avoid these Common Patio Deck Mistakes

Guest Blogger #953, Entry #2390, May 7, 2013

Chances are that this summer you’ll be spending a lot of time on the deck catching up with old friends and family on your outdoor deck. Under the patio umbrellas, you’ll be sipping ice tea, eating barbecue and swatting away all those countless mosquitoes. Yes, the summer is a perfect time for some patio and deck fun. If you don’t have a deck, you should know that they make an excellent addition to any home with enough room in the backyard to build one. You should also know that there is a right way and a wrong way to build a deck. Here are 5 common deck construction mistakes.

patio deck construction idea

Has the right fasteners and materials been used for your deck?

Image via: RDM Architecture

1.) Risers and railings missing:

One of the most common deck construction mistakes is failing to include risers or a railing on the steps on the deck. A single or double railing is important because it gives people something to hold on to when they are going up or down the steps. If your deck is unusually high, either to compensate for uneven ground or for aesthetic reasons, both a railing and risers are important because you don’t want young children to fall behind or get stuck.

patio stairs ideas

Patio construction tips for your outdoor home

Image via:  Marla Schrank Interiors

2.) Not sealing deck wood

Another mistake is not properly sealing the wood. Without proper sealant your deck is vulnerable to the elements, especially moisture. After a few months you will start to see the deck become withered and the wood will start to rot, which will cause the deck to splinter and possibly break through, which can be a huge safety hazard. Moreover, a deck that is not properly sealed will not be so pleasant to look at or spend time on after a few months.

3.) Proper sized brackets

Also, if you don’t want to run the risk of your deck collapsing or warping, make sure to install properly sized brackets for the specific weight distribution of your deck. All too often, people build their decks with too small or too big of brackets, which can have disastrous consequences. Make sure that before you build your deck you crunch some numbers to determine which brackets to use in your construction.

patio deck stairs

Ensure your patio heights – tread, risers, deck are to local building codes

Image via: Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design

4.) Deck heights are according to local building codes

Next, make sure that you check with your state to see what the proper baluster height and spacing is so that you can build your deck according to code. If someone gets injured from spending time on your deck, because the baluster was too low or the space was too far apart, the homeowner can actually get sued for negligence. In order to avoid this potential headache, be sure to build your deck according to code.

5.) Proper size fasteners

Lastly, to avoid the risk of doing serious damage to your home or your deck in the long run, be sure to include the correctly sized fasteners that attach the deck to your house. There have been occurrences where someone skipped this crucial step and one rainy night the deck comes lose and takes a part of the house with it. To avoid this happening be sure to do the proper measurements and don’t skimp on the materials needed for the fastening process, like extra wood pieces, joints and screws. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

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