8 Timber Deck Safety Checks

8 Timber Deck Safety Checks

Outdoor living at home is all about relaxing on your deck. Despite how sturdy or strong your deck may appear, with the extreme weather conditions in Australia, it’s easy to see why an annual deck inspection is a smart idea.

What contributes to an unsafe deck?

Decks are always enduring rough conditions such as rain, sun, and extreme temperature fluctuations. Throughout its service life building timber can be affected by:

  •     Insects & Termites
  •     Water and Rot
  •     Coastal Effects – Salty air corroding steel components
  •     Heavy Loads – Spas, furniture, barbeques, and people

Safety checks


8 Timber Deck Safety Checks

Railings should be secure, especially if your deck is off the ground, although this is less common in Australia. Ensure they’re strong enough to keep people safe and check that the gap between pickets is no more than 100mm apart, to prevent small children and pets from squeezing through at your home.


Check that any supporting structures for your stairs such as railings or handrails are held firmly in place. Then check the main structure, the risers, and the treads to be sure they are sturdy, attached, and not decayed. Keep stair pathways clear of any items that can present a tripping hazard.

Decaying Wood

Rot is timber’s worst enemy. Check several different areas of the deck for decaying timber:

Inspect any areas that never get the sun and consistently get wet or are in contact with metal fasteners. The timber should be solid and vacant of small holes, which may indicate insects.


The leading cause of deck failure is rot; this is usually the result of timber being consistently wet due to missing flashing that removes water from these areas. Ensure the flashing is performing correctly and is secured in place.


Fasteners include timber hardware like screws and anchors on the ledger board. A rusted or corroded fastener can cause deterioration in surrounding timber so consider replacing it.

The deck should look even and should not be sagging or move when tested. If the deck shifts during regular activity it is a sure sign that it is deteriorating.

Timber Coating

8 Timber Deck Safety Checks

Make sure your deck isn’t slippery, or its layer of protection has not been worn away. Clean the surface of any debris or built-up substances that can be slippery.

This same build up can prevent your timber coating from taking. It recommended to clean and re-stain your deck every 1-2 yearsto maintain its appearance, use this extra time to check the surface.

Barbeques & Fire Pits

Many Australians add either an outdoor fireplace or BBQ to their decks which makes safety paramount if there are any kids around the fire. Make sure any source of fire or heat is safely placed away from flammable surfaces or that a non-flammable pad protects the deck surface.

Lighting and Electrical

Be sure all lights are working to illuminate stairs and surrounding areas. If lights or fixtures are broken make sure you switch off or isolate the power source before calling an Electrician . Ensure electrical outlets are in good condition and that there are no stray wires or cords that could trip your guests.

What if there is a problem?

If there is anything off about the steadiness of the deck, don’t use it until you can get the structure inspected by an expert. When you receive professional advice, check they have the right skills and experience to back up the information they offer.

New decks must be built to meet the requirements of the Building Code of Australia and relevant Australian Standards. The materials used to construct a deck must withstand the reasonable uses and stresses that would be placed on the structure.

Contact Austim, and we will make recommendations based on your needs.

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What our clients say

Austim are a great partner and timber supplier. Our business is based on the East Coast of Australia and we partner with Austim for WA projects. We have had a long lasting and great working relationship with Austim for many years. Highly recommend them.
daniel wright
daniel wright
06:31 18 Jun 19
Austim is always the first place I try when I need timber and it’s rare that I can’t get what I need there. Stuart is a rare gem of a gent to deal with – quick to respond to any queries, full of good advice and goes out of his way to help get whatever project I’m working on happening to my schedule, even when all I need is a few sticks and a handful of fixings. Highly recommend Austim, the team and young Stuart.
Anni Lilford
Anni Lilford
00:51 16 Nov 18
Stuart went out of his way to make sure we got the product we wanted. He made suggestions on possible constructions and timbers suitable. Very knowledgeable friendly staff all around. Excellent experience, highly recommended.
Holger Butenschon
Holger Butenschon
05:14 22 May 18
Hi Ben,Just wanted to thankyou for your help and advice in our selection of the Millboard Vintage Oak decking also in you recommending Grant from Premier Hardwood Decking. Grant has just completed our decking and we couldn't have asked for a more professional, reliable and competent tradesman. The decking has been installed to a very high standard and the decking itself is stunning. Ian and Sue
susan smith
susan smith
06:27 08 Oct 18
I've used Austim on a few occasions for home projects like decking and pergola, etc and each time the response to my requests for price and delivery have been excellent, the deliveries took place as negotiated, the timber quality was great and value for money. The team at Austim do a great job and make dealing with Austim a breeze.
Michael Robinson
Michael Robinson
09:06 25 Oct 18
I have worked with Austim for around 8 years now and they are one of the best suppliers in perth to deal with. I would highly recommend to use them for any timber needs!!!
Art of Timber
Art of Timber
07:55 05 Mar 20
I had been looking for some cedar for my kayak project and had rung a couple of other places with no luck. When I contacted Austim they were very helpful, had the timber in stock and I was on my was in 20 minutes. The wood was very good quality and has really finished up beautifully. Thanks to Austim.
mark alderson
mark alderson
02:03 08 Apr 17
I"d like to thank Austim for there help in supplying me with material that firstly I thought I'd have trouble sourcing as it was marring up with originally 30 year old existing timber.My project was not a massive project but still needed the attention of an new build.The timber supplied by Austim was machined to size with absolute perfection, where I had to remove old pieces and replace with the new pieces they fitted perfectly.once the floors are re-sanded and varnished they will be back to there former glory. Thanks again to the staff at Austim.Regards Bob Heppenstall.I've just added a finished photo after the Floor Sanding was completed.Original timber was Tassie Oak, and the new is Vic Ash, as you can see there is only a slight variation in the final product.I hope this gives anyone thinking doing the same the confidence to proceed. Regards Bob Heppenstall.
Robert Heppenstall
Robert Heppenstall
10:05 12 Oct 18
Great service over phone and by email. Product supplied is high quality - no issues. Staff accommodating and friendly.
00:18 07 May 20
Good service with fair prices.
Colin Della Bosca
Colin Della Bosca
08:14 04 Jun 20

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