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Is your balcony safe – has it been inspected for wood rot or termite damage?

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Now that the weather is warming up it’s a great time to take a good look at your outdoor entertaining spaces and in particular your deck or balcony areas to ensure that they are in good condition and are safe to handle larger than usual loads during the upcoming summer and festive season.

Decks or balconies constructed in the 1970’s – 1990’s are most at risk of timber rot and should be regularly inspected for any signs of termite damage.  There have been many cases of serious injuries and deaths relating to structures failing over the years. Wood rot or termite damage can go un-noticed by property owners and accidents can occur from something as simple as a screw becoming loose on a handrail or balustrade.

Older decks which were commonly constructed from untreated pine or Oregon timber are more susceptible to wet rot and will require regular maintenance or may need replacing. If you are unsure as to whether your deck or balcony is safe for use, you should always seek the assistance of a qualified building professional who will inspect the area and deem it safe or advise you of any issues that need to be addressed.

If you notice any soft spongy areas when you walk on the deck that is a good sign that there is a problem and you should stay off the area until a professional has inspected it.  You may also be able to see damage at the ends of the timber, at joins or on exposed edges.  Bolts and screws should always be secure and in good condition without rust and you should always check the posts and base of the deck if you can access it for signs of rot.  Posts should never go straight into the ground without a metal bracket and foot attached to a concrete footing because water can pool around the ground near the posts and cause moisture damage.

If your deck or balcony has been well built, constructed out of appropriate materials and well maintained you should expect to get 20+ years of use from it before it needs replacing.  It is advisable to coat your timber deck annually with a decking paint, oil or stain to help prolong the lifespan of the timber.

Concrete balconies can also be cause for concern if they have not been constructed using the appropriate building methods and if water pools regularly on your balcony or tiles are lifting you should contact a building professional to put your mind at ease.

Regular maintenance will ensure that you get many extended years of use out of these outdoor spaces and will more importantly keep your family and visitors safe.

If your deck is more than 20 years old or you have any cause for concern, then it is time to give Living Renovations a call on 0416 128 485 so that Rex can put your mind at ease or start work on any necessary maintenance so that you are ready for the summer bbq’s and festive season of entertaining ahead!

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September 16, 2013 |

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