Think of Safety when Building a Deck

There is a right way and a wrong way to build relaxing outdoor space.

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A deck is a wonderful addition to your home; it looks great and it's a terrific place to relax. But as the homeowners in Davidsonville, Md., learned, it's tough to relax when the deck becomes dangerous. There is a right way and wrong way to build a deck. And nailing the railing is the wrong way.

Screws rather than nails should be used when putting up a deck railing. A screw is more durable and has stronger holding power than a nail. Another reason to use screws: they're easier to remove if the railing has to be replaced. Here are a few other things to know about deck railings:


  • Check your local building code for deck railing requirements. Usually a railing is required if the deck is 18 or more inches off the ground.
  • The height of the railing should be 36-42 inches, depending again on local building codes.
  • Gaps between the railing balusters should be no more that four inches wide to prevent a child from slipping through.

If you are unsure about building a deck railing check with your local building authority, they'll be happy to give you all the information you need.

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