Many homeowners choose to build their own decks without factoring in the reality that they do not have the correct information or experience to build a safe and durable deck. Consequently, the deck ends up becoming a safety hazard or failing much sooner than expected and this forces the homeowner to incur the cost of building a new deck. Avoid this added cost by avoiding the following mistakes as you build your deck.
Not Installing a Continuous Handrail
A handrail is intended to provide a place that someone can hold as he or she climbs onto the deck. Handrails are especially useful as supports for the elderly or when visibility is low as one is moving onto the deck. When there is a (vertical) post disrupting the continuity of the handrail it becomes hard for the person to maintain contact on the rail at that point. That momentary loss of contact can result in serious injury if the person slips on the stairs. Ensure that you install a continuous handrail so your family members and visitors are not put at risk.
Installing Piers in Unstable Soil
Deck piers (posts on which suspended parts of the deck rest) need to be set in very stable soil so they are not dislodged during bad weather. For instance, if a pier is set in backfill soil and it snows, then that soil will freeze and heave. The result is that the pier will fail and the deck will collapse since it will have lost its support. Avoid this problem by setting the pier within stable soil or deep beyond the frost line (the depth at which soil freezes during winter). Each area has a different depth at which freezing takes place so find out what the frost line in your area is. This will ensure that the piers remain firm regardless of the weather.
Over-Spanning Decking Materials
Over-spanning decking materials refers to installing a very long piece of decking material like wood composite without placing supports underneath it. This can cause the material to warp or break with time since it will be unable to support all the loads that it is made to carry. You can avoid this problem by reading and following the installation instructions that come with the decking materials.
You can build a durable and safe deck if you learn the correct steps to take and avoid the mistakes that other deck builders make. The information above is a good starting point in your bid to construct the best possible deck. You can also hire a professional deck builder to construct your deck if you think you are not up to the task. Contractors from a business like Lifestyle Patios will be able to ensure your deck is safe and built to last.