Before you get overwhelmed with the tasks listed on your holiday to-do list, prioritize things that matter most – like safety. Ensure the safety of every guest that will enter your home by making sure that your porch is safe and welcoming for everyone.
Because of age or lack of proper maintenance, decks, balconies, and porches cause accidents especially when the usual load capacity is exceeded. To make sure these structures are in mint condition before heavy seasonal use, here are some tips:
- Clear walkways of any obstruction such as tools, trash, stock materials, etc. Make sure there isn’t anything that can catch the foot to stumble.
- Eliminate accidents by making sure your walkways are in good shape and condition. Uneven and broken pavements are trip and fall hazards.
- Consider adding solar lights with motion sensors to ensure your walkways will be properly lit in the dark. Proper lighting is for your security as well.
- Watch the placement of cords and hoses, especially those in high traffic areas. Make sure to tape them down to the ground and add a warning sign.
- Make sure to keep your walkways free from any slippery substance as well, including but not limited to ice, water, snow, slime, oil, or grease.
- Secure porch steps with railings to protect your family and visitors. Aside from making your porch safer, it also increases your curb appeal.
- Securely fasten stairs, balustrades, and handrails at all points. Check for signs of rot, looseness, or instability and address them immediately.
- Keep away furniture and decoration from railings to prevent children from climbing on them. Doing this will prevent children from fall accidents.
- Add additional slats or spindles in your railings to prevent children from slipping through. Installing baby guards is also greatly recommended to do.
- Follow the regulations of the International Residential Code (IRC) or the International Building Code (IBC) regarding the proper size of rails.
- If you have a concrete balcony and deck, look out for signs of spalling, where concrete chunks crack of flake off. Have them repaired immediately.
- Be on the lookout for rust stains and exposed steel reinforcing on your concrete balcony’s edge and underside. Hire a professional to do the repairs.
- If you have a timber balcony and deck, look out for signs of decay and rot. One red flag sign is when the timber becomes spongy when poked.
- More than that, look for other serious signs of deterioration that are often caused by water, weather, or insects. Hire a professional for an inspection.
- Avoid having a lot of people gather on a balcony over a long period of time, unless it has been reinforced or designed to withstand the heavy load.
“When you gamble with safety, you bet your life.” Don’t place your own and your family’s safety at risk, especially on the coming holidays when you’re supposed to have fun moments together. Practice the above safety tips for a safe home not only for the holidays but also all-year round.