Category Archives: Deck Safety

Archadeck of Central SC can help you find a long term solution when your deck no longer measures up

Peeling blue paint on wood deck.

Peeling blue paint on wood deck.

In our line of business we have seen many deck owners place their hopes of restoring their aged or worn wooden deck into products that usually only offer false promises. Case in point are the “paint on” plastic deck coatings you may have seen on TV or noticed in the “big box” home improvement stores. Many retailers have been stocking products in the paint section that appear to put a thick coating on deck boards, giving them the appearance of synthetic decking. These products claim to offer superior protection for the wood and to eliminate splinters, nail-holes and minor cracks with ease of application as a homeowner can apply the product over the course of a weekend.

Although each individual case is different, our experience with “fix all” products is anything but positive. These products only serve as a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Many are made up of epoxy-style coverings that appear to be smooth, flawless and cool to the touch when exposed to the sun but in reality can come out rough and retain heat on structures that have a southern exposure.

Beautiful redeck on Lake Murray in Lexington, SC

Beautiful redeck on Lake Murray in Lexington, SC.

In addition to the many shortfalls these products have, they also require frequent and costly reapplication in most scenarios. With wooden decking, as with any of the effects of sun and water on horizontal surfaces, application over rotten or damp wood will likely cause failures of the coatings. Other inconsistencies that must also be addressed are tight spacing of existing deck boards and reduced drainage capabilities. The circumference of these coatings will make tight spacing worse, and the area between your decking boards must be cleaned out regularly or face side rot. Flashing issues at the ledger are also a concern as is lack of proper waterproofing over joist tops.

The possibility of success, if any, of using these “paint-on” products lies within the surface preparation itself. Wood needs to be cleaned and free of any debris, oils or grease (this includes barbecue sauce). Prerequisites also include replacement of any loose nails. Manufacturers of the product even recommend your existing deck be screwed down to avoid the chances of any nails working up through the new finish. We are quick to point out these products should not serve as a “fix” for rotting wood or a surface in very bad condition as many deck owners may assume. These products serve as an alternative to conventional sealers or stain, not as a decking repair system.

Composite deck with composite rail and flared stairs.

Let our experienced staff help you achieve the backyard of your dreams.

Archadeck of Central SC is your redecking expert in the Columbia region. Redecking an aging or failing deck through a quality deck contractor is the only real solution for invasive decking problems. Our diverse portfolio of materials includes quality wooden choices as well as the highest quality synthetic options on the market.

Keep in mind, when redecking with a composite, it is critical to replace all joists. When going from wood to composite, you have to add joists. Typically the wood deck has joists that are eighteen inches apart. So some contractors would put new joists in between the old joists, giving you joists every eight inches. However, mixing new joists in between old ones will result in A) waves in the deck when the level new joists shrink and B) loose-fitting boards unless you screw down every single joist every eight inches, which are too many screws to look good. We tear out all of the joists and build as new to get a problem-free deck. In many cases we may still use the old posts and beams if in good shape.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu

We have many redecking options available to accommodate your lifestyle and budget. Contact Archadeck of Central SC to help you make an informed decision about which material is the best suited for your outdoor space needs. Our knowledge and experience working with wood and synthetics over the years can ensure an outdoor living space that not only meets but exceeds your expectations. Call today for a free design consultation (803) 603- 2160 or email us at
centralsc@archadeck.net.

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A well-built deck from the start plus regular maintenance equals confidence in your deck’s safety.

May is deck safety awareness month!

Poolside deck by ArchadeckIt’s important to ensure your deck is structurally sound in order to take advantage of all the ways it can benefit your home and allow you to safely enjoy the outdoor lifestyle. As the foundation of outdoor living and relaxation, as well as the springboard for backyard recreational activities, your deck is a principal structure in your outdoor living area. With this in mind, have you considered how safe your backyard deck really is?

Deck safety is of the utmost importance to Archadeck of Central South Carolina. We are the area’s premier outdoor structure designer and builder with quality and safety incorporated into each structure from the very beginning. Doing the job right from the onset provides a well-built, safe deck for the homeowner to enjoy for many years to come. However, no matter how well anything that is exposed to the elements is constructed, from your car to your home, without continued proper maintenance and inspections, the life expectancy and safety factor will diminish quickly. This is more than evident in the grim statistics regarding US deck safety; within a 6 year period there were an estimated 179 deck failures (either from poor construction or the deck being 20++ years old) resulting in over one thousand injuries and 33 deaths!

Before and after Renew Crew deck cleaning.

Before and after Renew Crew deck cleaning.

As a homeowner, keeping up with the routine maintenance of your deck is the best way to do your part in maintaining its safety and the safety of those who use it. Along with the effects of Mother Nature, your deck can also become damaged from other forces. Items that are often used along with outdoor living such as Citronella candles and oils can penetrate your wood surfaces and cause staining. Grease and oil spilled on the deck as a result of grilling can damage your deck, as can red wine. Hot charcoal and exposure to solvents such as gasoline will also damage your wood deck. Making sure your deck is sealed properly may give you time to clean up spills or mishaps before they cause damage. Regular cleaning is necessary to keep your deck looking good and its surface safe to use.

Deck revived by Renew Crew of Central SC

Deck revived by Renew Crew of Central SC.

Outsourcing the work to make sure your deck or outdoor space is adequately maintained is a viable option. Renew Crew is an associate business of Archadeck specializing in outdoor structure maintenance and restoration. Renew Crew uses a three-step system providing a comprehensive cleaning and protection service that is environmentally friendly and won’t cause any damage to plants, animals or your outdoor surfaces. By combining low-pressure power washing and cleaners to give your deck a heavy-duty clean, and following up with a fresh coat of proprietary sealant, their process protects your deck from water damage and every-day wear and tear. Renew Crew uses a wood-penetrating sealant with a proprietary, UV-blocking polymer mix that penetrates and protects the wood. This delivers a highly effective seal against the elements and shields your deck from the sun’s harmful UV rays that can cause wood to turn gray over time. This treatment can sometimes avoid the expense of resurfacing or building a new deck.

Archadeck outdoor livingIn addition to maintenance options, we also offer homeowners a thorough deck safety inspection for a modest fee. With this inspection you will receive a detailed checklist that highlights any necessary or suggested repairs —  or maybe your deck is good for a couple more years; we’ll let you know that too. Here are just a few of the critical areas our deck safety inspection covers: foundation and footings, the attachment to your home, decking boards, connections and fasteners, the posts, beams and joists (if visible) of the structure, any sagging between supports, as well as stairs and rails. We can also provide a free consultation on what would be involved with replacing your deck with an updated design that meets or exceeds all building code requirements and complements your outdoor living objectives.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu

Contact Archadeck of Central South Carolina to schedule your deck safety inspection today or to set up an appointment for Renew Crew of Central SC to revive the beauty of your deck. Calling on the expertise of our deck experts will give you peace of mind in knowing you can enjoy your deck this season without worry! Contact us at (803) 603-2160  or via email at centralsc@archadeck.net.

Have you considered the safety of your backyard deck?

Central SC deck and pergola with seating wall

Spring is almost here. Let the outdoor living season begin!

Warmer days and milder evenings are just around the corner.The official first day of spring is less than two short weeks away, and with it will come the opening of the outdoor living season.To many homeowners, the backyard deck is the epicenter of outdoor living. It is the base from which many outdoor recreational activities stem, and the refuge to which we retreat for relaxation when outdoors.With this in mind, have you considered how safe your backyard deck really is?

Classic pressure treated backyard deck in Lexington SC

Classic pressure treated backyard deck in Lexington, SC.

It’s important to ensure your deck is structurally sound in order to take advantage of all the ways it can benefit your home and allow you to safely enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, especially with Spring so close at hand! Archadeck of Central SC takes deck safety very seriously. As the area’s premier outdoor structure designer and builder we realize the value of a well-built deck and well-maintained deck and have seen the results from the opposite. Here in the US within a six-year period there were an estimated 179 deck failures resulting in 1,122 injuries and 33 deaths.These grim statistics may come as a surprise to many homeowners, but deck safety is no accident. If you are one of the 40 million homeowners in the United States still using a deck that is over 20 years old, it is time to take a step back and assess the general safety of your deck. According to The North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA), deck failures that result in injury are increasing at an alarming rate. Most of the reason for this is the number of decks still standing that are over 20 years old and in dire need of replacement.

Just a few weeks ago, a video showing a deck collapse in Indiana went viral on YouTube. It is true this video depicts a worst-case scenario of what can occur when a deck is poorly constructed or not properly maintained. Since few specifics — other than the injuries resulting from the collapse — have been determined, we cannot point out specifically what went awry in this particular circumstance. However, deck failures happen more often than you may think, and that is the reason regular inspections and maintenance are so crucial to ensuring your deck is structurally sound and safe. Below is the video from the Indiana deck collapse:

Here at Archadeck of Central SC we offer homeowners a thorough deck safety inspection for a modest fee. We can also provide a free consultation on what would be involved with replacing your deck with an updated design that meets or exceeds all building code requirements and complements your outdoor living objectives. Here is a list of the critical areas our deck safety inspection covers:

  • Over time results of unprotected wood

    We check the deck boards as part of our inspection.

    We check the decking boards – over time most wood decks will show some cracks and splits,and the main concern with the decking boards is splintering and rotting. A deck that is not safe to walk on is a safety hazard.

  • We check the connections – a properly constructed deck is built with fasteners and other metal hardware connectors to make your deck stable from the bottom up. We check the fasteners to see if they are in good working order, or are in need of replacement. We also check to ensure the fasteners are properly installed and that there are a sufficient number to meet codes.
  • We check the structure –  we check the posts, beams and joists, if visible, for inconsistencies We determine if there is any noticeable sagging between any of the supports. We check to ensure span load requirements are met.

    Low maintenance composite deck builder in Lexington SC

    We check the structure, as a whole, including beams and joists, as part of our deck safety inspection.

  • We check the attachment to your home – the area where the deck attaches to your home is called the house band, and this is where most deck failures can occur. We inspect this portion of the deck to make sure all screws and bolts are present; nails should never be the only fasteners used in the house band. Upon inspection we also make sure the area is flashed properly to aid in protection from water at this important connection site.
  • We check the foundation and footings with a visual inspection  – foundations and footings are important because they support the weight of the deck. A sinking footing can cause a dangerous separation of a column from a beam and must be addressed immediately.
  • We check the exits – we check the stairs that are used as exits from your deck, making sure they are in good working order and structurally sound. It is very possible to have a deck that is sound only to have a rotting staircase that could endanger you and your guests upon entry or exit.

    Saluda River deck in Columbia SC

    We check all exits and stairs as part of our deck safety inspection.

  • We check the rails– we always make sure the railing is secure and that the pickets and balusters are fastened properly. Keep in mind current codes dictate that rails should be spaced no more than four inches apart. A deck with non-conforming railing is a danger because small children and even pets can fall through the railing and get hurt.

In addition to our menu of re-decking and custom deck designs we also offer a eco-friendly deck cleaning and maintenance service through Renew Crew of Central SC to help keep your deck looking great and functioning at optimum performance. This is just another way we are improving outdoor living quality for homeowners in Columbia, SC, for the better!

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu

Contact Archadeck of Central SC to schedule your deck safety inspection today. Calling on the expertise of one of our deck experts will give you peace of mind in knowing you can enjoy your deck this season without worry! (803) 603-2160
centralsc@archadeck.net