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Deck Construction and Maintenance Reference Guide


Your deck is an important part of the structure of your home. It should be maintained and repaired as required.

The following are some tips to help ensure your deck stays safe:

  • Make sure that your deck is firmly connected to your home with galvanized lag bolts or carriage bolts. The bolts should be embedded into the framing of the house.
  • If your deck is fastened to a plate, the plate should be pressure treated and properly fastened to the house.
  • Direct water away from the area between the deck connection and the house (drip cap).
  • Decks that are built higher off the ground may require lateral bracing (stop deck from racking).
  • Older decks did not require a footing below the frost line. Newer decks require a footing below the frost line with sono tubes to carry the deck posts.
  • Center the deck posts on the sono tube. Deck posts should be pressure treated.
  • Present deck construction requires 6”x 6” posts. If your deck has 4”x4” deck posts, you may want to change to 6”x6”. (Optional: carport brackets to ensure that the deck posts will not shift on the concrete posts)
  • Make sure your deck railings and posts are secure.

Regular maintenance:

Staining or painting. Look for rust on bolts, screws and nails, especially on older decks. Look for the deck coming away from the house. The bolts may require tightening or on older decks, nails may be required to be replaced with lug bolts.

Building Code Requirements:

Handrail: Minimum height (guards) – 42” Maximum distance between pickets – 4”. When in doubt, HIRE A PROFESSIONAL to look at yoru deck and make the needed repairs.
For more information visit or phone 450-5554 / 1-800-668-2001.


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READ MORE: "Nice Deck. Is it safe?" (NH&R Fall 2015)

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