The Key Signs That Your Decking is Unsafe
Posted on 5 April 2023
Categorised as composite-decking
Tagged with composite, garden, garden renovation, home improvement, maintenance, millboard

As we edge out of the darker months and begin to embrace warmer weather, light evenings and the chance to benefit from our outdoor spaces, there is every chance our garden isn’t quite up to scratch yet.

The lawn could need mowing, the flowers may need a little love, and the pond might need cleaning. But have you ever thought about your decking? A deck that is not maintained and left exposed to the elements could prove to be dangerous when the time comes for you to try and get the most use from it.

Cracks, rot, and general cosmetic damage all caused by Mother Nature mean that this summer may not be as relaxing as you had first hoped. Below, we highlight the key signs that show your decking could be unsafe.

Does your decking appear damaged?

Give your deck an initial once over for any obvious damage. Holes in the wood or large cracks could be a huge indicator that the deck is past its best. You should also look for bugs. This may sound trivial, but many bugs will find refuge in damaged wood, this can then lead to a significant problem as they increase in number and weaken your deck even more.

It may not even be that there is damage to the level of holes and splits, but should any boards become loose, they potentially pose just the same risk as a board with a hole in it. It might just be slower to notice the damage it causes as the wobbling boards make other components looser and more damaged over time.

Does your decking show signs of rust?

Screws holding components together or any other metal work used for your deck could be harmed by cold and wet weather – unfortunately leading to rust. This will then make those parts weaker and could see the beginning of the deterioration of your deck. A simple way to look at it is that if there is a lot of rust on any parts that hold connecting parts together, you could have an unsafe deck.

Does the decking feel soft to walk on?

A soft deck could indicate a few things; one may not appear as obvious as the other. Soft wood underfoot could be where rot has begun to set in, and this could lead to not only damage to the deck but also to nasty accidents. The other possibility could be the foundations of the deck. If you have used your decking as a storage area during the winter months or have had consistently high levels of footfall, the additional weight could have caused problems with the foundations and supports. Extreme weather can also cause concrete and other footings to contract or expand, this can then alter the stability of your deck.


How old is your current decking?

Age is but a number in some cases but when it comes to your garden decking it can be hugely significant. Garden decking has a shelf life and this will largely depend on the materials used and how well you look after the deck. Lack of maintenance could see the lifespan of a wooden deck severely diminished, where you may have got 15 years of use, you may perhaps see just 10. Overall, you should expect to see a well-maintained decking last around 20 years.

It is always worth looking for signs of ageing though as that lifespan can easily be reduced by half if your decking is not looked after. That is one of the reasons many people look to composite decking, thanks to its extreme durability and minimal need for maintenance you do not need to worry that your decking will get old before its time.

Are the decking steps or rails wobbly?

If the steps of your deck are all shaky or the rails that run along your deck are wobbly this could be a sign that the deck is no longer as secure as it once was. You should investigate each to see how severe the looseness of these elements is. In some cases, a quick fix is all it takes but if you notice that all are loose or they simply fall out, it could be worth investigating whether a new deck is the best option.

How well attached to the house is the decking?

When you have decking installed it will be fixed to the property and if this application is in some way compromised you could have an unsafe deck. The ledger board is what helps connect the decking to the property, should this board no longer be sufficiently fitted, you could find that the decking is suffering from rot or other damage. At this stage, you are likely to need a new deck to prevent injury or further damage to your decking.

What is the solution to unsafe garden decking?

In some cases, you may be able to apply some DIY to solve the problem however with the examples used above, DIY may be a little too late. A replacement decking may be the only option and where we suggested a composite decking in an earlier paragraph, you could go one better by using a millboard composite decking. This particular type gives the look of wood but is slip resistant, free from the risk of rot, won’t become a haven for bugs and doesn’t stain. With little maintenance needed either, you can eclipse the lifetime of a natural wood deck but still have the aesthetically pleasing appearance it brings.

Not only that but thanks to its long-lasting nature, there is little to no worry of anybody enjoying the deck feeling unsafe or putting themselves at risk of injury when using it.


Should you think your current deck has seen better days, speak to us today. Our team of decking installation experts can advise on the best style to suit your needs and answer any questions you may have. Change your deck today so you can start enjoying the summer the way you wanted to!

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