A porch is a wonderful thing. It’s a great place to relax and hang out and adds architectural interest to a home. It can also become a hazard over time to you and your guests as the wood deteriorates—sometimes without even realizing the extent of the damage.
Deterioration of wood can be more than just an eyesore. Splintered, cracked, and warped porch boards can injure everyone who comes to the door (or plays around it). It can also open you up to legal action if anyone is seriously injured from damaged porch boards—damage you may not even realize is that bad.
Railings should not budge (even an inch) when you lean on them. If the railings do move when someone leans or sits on it, inspect the railing carefully or call a pro to check them over for damage. A rickety railing can collapse unexpectedly, hurting a family member or friend.
Loose or cracked boards
Even if you’re sure on your feet, a loose or cracked board can catch anyone off guard and send you scrambling for bandages (or medical care). The best way to prevent an injury from a loose or cracked board is to get it repaired as soon as the damaged porch board (or boards) is noticed. Much of the cracking can happen over the winter; look closely at porch boards every spring and step on them to feel if the board sags at all.
Porch steps are one of the most common parts of a deck that cause problems. The hardest part of this problem is that the damage is often hard to spot; often, the cracking or splintering is to the supports under the steps, catching guests off guard. If you think the steps are an accident waiting to happen, contact a contractor.
The supports under the deck are not as obvious as a warped or splintered board, but they can be a major source of problems when they start to weaken. If you don’t want to crawl around under the porch, hire a contractor who can identify weak boards and what needs to be fixed. A contractor can also look for water problems that can shorten the life of porch boards and cause issues to the underpinnings of the porch. Once the drainage issues are identified, a contractor can also repair and add downspouts that can keep a porch looking great and safe for visitors.