If you live on the waterfront or near marshlands, you have the opportunity to change backyard access and property use with the installation of a boardwalk. A boardwalk gives you a lot of daily use options for the space, including daily walks, relaxation, fishing, or socializing. If you have children in the home, proper safety should be a consideration as you plan out a boardwalk design.
Several safety features will help protect the boardwalk area and prevent accidents while still allowing you to enjoy the new construction space. Check out some of the safety features you can choose when a boardwalk is first added to your home.
1. Boardwalk Materials
Natural wood is common for boardwalks but may present dangers for children. With natural wood, you have the threat of splinters, warped wood from extreme temperatures, and exposed nails that pop up when the wood warps. As an alternative, consider a composite deck material. Composite wood comes with many advantages such as low maintenance costs and added safety, especially for kids.
The composite pieces will not splinter and can last for years. Many builders will use strong deck screws on the pieces so the screws will not come loose or pop up out of the composite pieces. Composite pieces also come in multiple finishes. For example, you can choose a lighter finish that will not absorb as much heat and be comfortable to walk or sit on.
2. Closed Off Rails
The height of a boardwalk can become an anxious setting for parents with young children. If the boardwalk goes over water areas, you do not want to constantly worry about your child falling in. As you plan a boardwalk design, consider rail installations for the length of the boardwalk. The rails can include extra planks to fill the gap between the top rail and the base.
The filled gaps will prevent a child from easily climbing through the gaps. The planks between should be set vertically so a child cannot just climb to the top of the rail and create more danger. You could also install a mesh or vinyl fencing to block off the gap areas completely. Choose a style and color that matches the rest of the deck.
3. Deck Grips
No matter what material you choose to go with, boardwalk areas become slippery when wet. Morning dew and rain are just a couple of the ways the areas become moist. Children who run or play on the boardwalk could easily slip and get injured. Consider the installation of grips on the boards of your boardwalk.
Grips come in many options and they typically include an abrasive top for feet and shoes to easily grip on. Strips of the grip material can screw right into the boardwalk planks. The screws will prevent the grips from sliding or peeling upwards.
You can choose an adhesive tape that sticks securely to the planks. After some time, the edges may peel upwards. When it does, simply peel off the whole strip and replace the grip. The replacement will also replace any parts of the grip tape that have been worn down over extended times.
You also have the option to use anti-slip paint that is applied directly to the boardwalk. Once the paint dries, it will create an easy grip area to walk on. Use painter’s tape for areas where you want to apply the paint. Space out the grip paint every two to three feet to provide enough space without the addition of too much paint.
4. Gradual Ramps
As you plan a boardwalk design around your landscaping, you may have areas where the decks rise up higher above the ground. Instead of steep steps, consider the installation of a gradual ramp that rises up at a slight angle. The gradual ramp is easier for a child to climb up and down.
When you use deck grip solutions with the ramp, you eliminate safety issues like falls. Children can safely make their way on the boardwalk without the need for too much assistance. The gradual ramp will also make it easy for children to go on recreational items like bikes or scooters.
5. Locked Gates
Boardwalk access gives children a lot of fun activities, but you may not want younger children roaming around a boardwalk on their own. Limit boardwalk access with the installation of a gate at the starting point of a boardwalk. A gate with a lock will block out children and allow you to control access to the area.
A locked gate will give you peace of mind, especially if children are playing in the backyard or on other areas of the property. If your boardwalk leads to an open dock or boat area, then the gate can prevent easy access.
Some boardwalks loop around and may feature multiple entries. If this is the case, then you could add gates to each entry point.
Plan out your ideal boardwalk design with our services at Abbotts’ Construction Services, Inc. We will help you from the planning stages until the project is complete.