Deck Safety Checklist
Follow the National American Deck & Railing Association’s 10-point checklist to keep your deck safe and relaxing.
Railings and Banisters
2. Check to make sure they’re high enough to keep people safe (most codes require a 36-inch-high railing at minimum).
3. Rails should be no more than 4 inches apart (measured from the inside of the rail) to keep small children and pets from squeezing through. This is especially important if your deck is elevated.
1. Check railings or handrails to make sure they are firmly in place.
2. Check the risers and stringers, the sides of the stairs that hold up the steps, to be certain they are securely attached.
3. If guardrails are used in the staircase, make sure they are no more than 4 inches apart.
4. If the area behind the stair treads is open, the opening should be no more than 4 inches high.
Loose or Corroded Fasteners
1. Tighten any loose fasteners (nails, screws, or anchors) and pound in any nails that have popped up.
2. Rusted or corroded fasteners need to be replaced because they can cause the surrounding wood to deteriorate.
3. The deck and stairs should appear even and should not sag, sway, or move when tested.
Grills, Fire Pits, and Chimineas
1. Make sure any source of fire is placed far away from flammable surfaces. (Or protect the deck surface with a nonflammable pad.)
2. Follow manufacturers’ directions for using heaters.
3. Never leave candles unattended.