Decking Maintenance

Decking Maintenance

In order to keep a hardwood timber deck looking its best, it must be kept clean and well maintained. It is a good idea to inspect a hardwood timber deck at least annually to ensure that it is in good condition. The deck must be regularly maintained as it may become discolored or affected by moisture and weather. Inspect the deck to replace loose boards and protruding nails or screws. Any loose or damaged boards should be re-secured or replaced, loose nails hammered back in or screws reaffixed.
To clean the deck, sweep off any loose dirt or garden residue and then clean the deck with a specialized deck cleaning product. It is important to not only remove dirt, but any algae or moss that may be growing on the deck.
After the cleaning has been completed, lightly sand the deck in the direction of the timber. This will remove any splinters and damage to the timber. Once cleaned, reseal the deck with a stain, oil, paint or varnish, depending on aesthetic preference. Before the decking finish is applied, cover areas around the deck that need protection such as plants and furniture.
Drying times are dependent on the type of finish so check finish manufacturer’s recommendations before walking on a newly finished deck. Apply and re-apply decking finish as per finish manufacturer’s recommendations. Finish manufacturers may recommend that the decking finish needs to be re-applied more than once a year.
After a new timber deck has been built, or an existing deck repaired, thoroughly sweep and clean to remove metal filings from drilling, nailing or other construction materials that may cause black spots on the hardwood deck when exposed to the elements.
If the deck has turned grey from natural weathering or is discolored due to metal filings or other construction materials, there are a large range of maintenance and cleaning products on the market which can bring back the timber’s original color. Use with care and follow the finish manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Make Your Deck An Outdoor Oasis

Since we’re stuck indoors for a good portion of the winter, once spring and summer hit most Minnesotans can’t get enough of being outdoors!  That’s why it’s important to have at least one space, whether it’s a deck or patio, or even a porch, to be able to enjoy the warmer weather.

Here are ways to make your space, big or small, into a relaxing outdoor oasis!

Make it Private.

When you’re wanting to kick back and relax after a long day, watching the neighbors grill their hamburgers just may not cut it.

Adding a privacy screen, a row of tall grasses in pots, or outdoor curtains are just some of the ways you can up the privacy factor.

Keep the pests away.

Aaaahhh. You’re settled in — feet up, a cold beverage, good book…

What?  Where did all of the bugs come from?  Don’t forget the Citronella candles or, for a more natural solution for your outdoor oasis, check out 11 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes or Six Insect Repellent Plants to Grow.

Furniture.

Of course every good outdoor space needs a place to sit!

Invest in comfortable patio furniture, and arrange it in a way that promotes conversation and relaxation so that you can enjoy both the outdoors and visiting with guests or family.

Fabric and rugs. 

Decorating isn’t limited to indoor spaces.  Soften your space and add personality by choosing cushion fabrics and coordinating outdoor pillows and rugs that compliment your design style.

Add water.

The trickle, the rush, the roar (okay, maybe not) – Whether it’s a small bubbling rock or a large water feature, the sound of water is a great way to add a soothing element.

Get fired up.

There’s nothing like the glow and warmth from a fire to cozy up an outdoor oasis.

It not only adds ambience, but it allows you to enjoy your spaces even on those days or evenings when the temps are a little cooler.

Light your way.

Just as in interior spaces, lighting adds another level of interest to your design, adds a nice glow and, of course, helps you to see when you’re just not quite ready to move indoors even though the sun has already set. 

Plants.

Whether you actually plant flowers in the ground, or just use potted and hanging plants, they’re always a good idea.

Just like textiles, they add another layer of color, texture, and interest and help to soften the space.

 

Naples Deck Builders

Your deck can be your own personal respite from the rigors of the day. The key is to add lighting that casts a pleasant glow over sitting areas while highlighting features like steps and walks for safety and aesthetics. In this article, learn about the different types of deck lighting, and watch a video on final installation of post lights.

Deck Lighting Adds Ambiance and Safety

Deck lighting will have a striking impact on your home while increasing safety for you and your guests. This increased usability on your deck will allow you to enjoy great weather from the comfort of your home, and give gatherings and activities a unique flair.

At night, your deck can be a bit treacherous as you navigate furniture, steps and stoops. Sure, porch lights may overcome the darkness, but they also take remove the aesthetic appeal of the deck you have built and the garden you have groomed. With deck lighting, create wash of light conducive to moving around safely without destroying the relaxed mood or that beautiful night sky.

Highlight outstanding features like steps, doorways, and other areas where foot traffic is likely and obstacles might be found.

Installation of Deck Lighting

Most deck lights are fairly easy to install yourself. Determine which type of power source your deck lighting system will use. A system that uses a standard 120 volt household current should be installed by a qualified electrician. Most systems are low voltage, so installation by a home owner can be a cost effective solution. All lighting will have some sort of code compliance- please check with a qualified electrician or your city inspector before you get started.

Hiding the wiring is a challenge for any deck lighting scenario. PVC post and railing systems offer the best options when running wire for your lighting.

  • Wood Only : Wood railing bottoms have to be routed to hide and secure the wiring. Wooden posts have to be drilled down the center with a long drill bit to allow a wire to be hidden from view.
  • Many PVC, composite wood and aluminum railing systems are extruded and hollow and will allow for easier passage of wiring along it’s rail length.
  • PVC post systems are much easier to wire. PVC posts systems (which have a structural wooden post center and a pvc sleeve/cover) allow you to cut away ( with a router down the wooden post length) a channel to hold the wiring. Since the post will be sheathed with a attractive all weather pvc sleeve, your wiring will be hidden from view and protected from the elements. The sleeve surface would only have to be drilled where the light is installed.
  • Cladded Posts: A third method is to clad the posts with pvc or wood. In this method the center wooden post would have a wiring channel cut down the length with a router similar to the method used with a PVC post systems described above. Then the pvc or wood boards are fitted and secured to the center post.

Low-voltage lighting fixtures are a great choice for this project as they are safer and easy to work with. Unlike with 120V (standard household voltage) fixtures, the transformer that powers them simply plugs into a receptacle. If no receptacle is nearby, you’ll have to install one. A receptacle controlled by an indoor switch is the most common setup.

Be sure to purchase the necessary tools for your DIY project before you start to save time. Although low-voltage lighting fixtures are significantly safer than line voltage (110V/120V) fixtures, always consult an electrician or lighting design expert if you are unsure of how to install them.

  • Hammer
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Drill/driver, cordless (Drill bits, ½-in., 1-in.; Drill bit extension)
  • Pliers
  • Wire stripper/cutter
  • Shovel

Required Materials for this Project:

  • Low-voltage lighting fixtures
  • Cable
  • Transformer
  • Cable staples
  • Waterproof wire connectors

 

Step Lights

 

Lumiere Lighting Zuma 1203 Step Light, 12V

Lumiere Lighting Zuma 1203 Step Light, 12V

Deck lighting is available in several styles. Lighting can be directly installed into the riser, on posts, or under rails that illuminate the steps. Either method works and looks great, so it’s really a matter of which type offers the look you want. The Zuma 1203 is a rugged and attractive ADA-compliant step light for use with a low-voltage, 13-watt incandescent lamp (provided). It mounts directly to any non-combustible surface, yet projects only 1.75 inches from the mounting surface. The adjustable “eyelid”-style faceplate rotates 360° and shields the lamp source to provide soft, comfortable illumination.

Solar Post Cap Lights

Copper Finish - Classy Caps SL094 Ambience 4 Inch x 4 Inch Solar Post Cap Copper

Copper Finish – Classy Caps SL094 Ambience 4 Inch x 4 Inch Solar Post Cap Copper

Lighted post caps are an elegant option for deck lighting. Most are quite attractive and finish off a post nicely. Solar post caps add radiance and allure and contribute security and value to your property. Solar lighting may be an especially attractive option if you are considering deck post cap lighting, since that usually presents the greatest challenge to hiding wires. Almost all are automatically turned on via a photocell.Ideal for fences, railings, mailbox posts, decks, and walkways- almost anywhere a soft accent light is desired. Classy Caps Ambience post caps have two unique LEDs that provide a warm yellow light with the effect of a lit candle. Attractively designed in a Japanese garden style, the Ambience is available in traditional PVC white as well as a rich Copper finish. Dependable performance with unique style.

Rope Lighting

 

Photo credit: http://www.zaretskyassociates.com/

Photo credit: http://www.zaretskyassociates.com/

 

Warm White Color - Westgate Mfg IF2LED 120V Two Wire Clear Tube LED Rope Light IF2LED-WH-WW

Warm White Color – Westgate Mfg IF2LED 120V Two Wire Clear Tube LED Rope Light IF2LED-WH-WW

Rope lighting is another option for deck lighting. It’s easy to install and is relatively inexpensive. It will provide a nice effect when installed on the underside of the bottom rail.  Rope accents lights make it easy to add this type of lighting to hard to reach spots like under cabinets, in display cases and outside under the patio steps. These string lights are playful and fun to use, and they’re just as easy to coil up and put away when they’re not needed.

Thanks so much to the best deck builders in Naples, FL for sponsoring my blog!

Revive Your Deck

Decks are excellent outdoor spaces to entertain and relax. Due to their exposure to the elements and constant foot traffic, your deck will eventually show significant signs of wear, and require maintenance to keep it in good shape. Staining your deck can revive its beauty and keep it protected from deterioration. Below are some tips for picking out stain color and applying it to your deck:

Picking the Color

There are various types of colors that you can use to paint your deck, depending on your taste and preference. When choosing the color, you need to bear in mind the harmony between the exterior of your home and the deck area. There needs to be continuity that blends the deck to the surrounding area. Stains allow most of the wood texture and grain to show through which can create an artistic impression. You can also choose semi-transparent stains that impart color on the surface of the wood while at the same time exposing the wood grains to be seen. Solid colors create a rich and vibrant opaque finish that hides the wood grain completely.

Test Out the Stain Color on a Small Surface

Every stain color must be tested on a surface before it is applied to a wide area. You can try it out on an inconspicuous area of your deck so as to see how it will appear before staining the entire deck. If you don’t like what you see, you can remove the color using a deck stripper instead of sanding it to maintain evenness on the deck surface.

Apply the Stain

If you like the color after testing, you can start applying it onto the rest of the surface. You can start by coating the boards’ open end grain before brushing them one at a time starting from one end to the other in smooth strokes. So as to avoid lap marks, ensure that the leading edge is always kept wet. If your deck is new, only apply a single coat of oil-based finishes.

Remember that over-applying the stain may cause it to crack or peel when exposed to the elements, which will leave you back where you started. And if you would rather have professionals take care of the job for you then contact Memphis Deck Builders.

Thanks so much to the best decking contractor in Memphis for sponsoring my blog.

Deck Storage Ideas

It does not matter how big or small your deck is you can always save on space by incorporating creative storage solutions for your outdoor tools and accessories. When installing these storage solutions, make sure to keep the overall décor in mind. Below are tips for some great storage options:

Under the Deck Storage

Growing families require more and more space for storage and this usually calls for renovations aimed at creating additional spaces to store household items. The area under your deck can be a great place for storage when and properly converted can offer storage space for bulky items such as grills, furniture, sprinklers, bikes, cushions and even lawn mowers. This storage space is also convenient since most of the items stored here are usually made for outdoor activities. So as to keep runoffs at bay, you need to construct a simple and sloped drainage system.

Bench Storage

The bench storage can provide ample space to store patio seat cushions, toys as well as garden supplies. The bench storage can be made in a pattern that complements the décor of your deck area. The lid can be used as a surface for seating or serving thereby make the storage serve an extra purpose which adds to its utility. Because of the elements, the material used to make the bench storage should be weather resistant. Where applicable, you can make this storage lockable so as to safeguard the items stored inside.

Pegboard to Hang Tools

This is a familiar storage solution in indoor spaces such as kitchens and garages. However its use in the deck area has not been as readily used. To capitalize on this storage option, you can hang it on a wall somewhere on your deck to serve as a storage space for garden and barbecue tools.

These are some of the solutions that can give you extra space to store your equipment and other outdoor items to avoid overcrowding your deck. And if you would like assistance with your decks then do not hesitate to contact the professionals at Memphis Decks.

Thanks so much to the best deck builders in Memphis for sponsoring my blog.

Common Uses of Decks for Businesses

Common Uses of Decks for Businesses

 

Decks can play a great role in promoting your business. You can decide to have decks built into different sizes where they will offer you enough space to do things like display the samples of all the items that you are selling. After people know about your products, they will end up referring others to your business, which in the long run will lead you to performing better than your competitors. In order to ensure the deck that you are going to build is able to serve you satisfactorily, you should hire a professional with great experience to build it for you. Orlando Decks is always an excellent choice. Here are common uses of decks for businesses:

Entertaining Clients

In order to help potential clients develop great interest in you and your products, a way to entertain them is key. There are different types of entertainment which you can use to attract potential customers. In order to ensure you are using the right form of entertainment, you should study the interests of your customers and design for them an entertainment that will best suit them. If possible you should carry out surveys to familiarize yourself with the preferences of the customers.

Hosting Product Parties

Decks for businesses will form the best platforms to host product parties. After hosting the product parties, more people will know about the products that you are offering. This will in return reflect positively on the overall profit which you will make. The deck will pay for itself in no time! While holding product parties on the deck, you should have samples of the products so that your potential customers can get a feel for them to develop more interest.

Be sure to always include a pergola with your Orlando Deck.

Thanks so much to the best deck builders in Orlando for sponsoring my blog!

Deck Building

http://www.dailybulletin.com/lifestyle/20170113/some-assembly-required-prefabricated-homes-have-built-in-benefits-that-owners-embrace

 

Sheri Koones thinks prefabricated houses are, well, fabulous.

If the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words “prefab home” or “factory-built” is trailer, think again. Many of these homes have been created by architects and designers, are highly energy efficient and add style and sustainability. She makes that case in her latest book, “Prefabulous Small Houses.”

In the book, she explores 25 houses ranging in size from 400 to 2,000 square feet, all built in various ways from modular systems to kit packages.

“Houses around the world are so energy efficient and contain such incredible technology — things we just don’t do here,” she said.

But the idea has caught on and so has the industry with many companies, particularly here in Southern California, specializing in building these structures.

Koones decided to be involved in the design and building of her house in 1998 and spent hours in the library doing research for herself and her book, “From Sandcastles to Dream Houses.” During the process, she learned about roofing, siding, trim and just about everything else that goes into the making of a house. At about the same time, a friend was involved with a prefab construction project. “The question everyone asked was, do you mean double-wides?”

It piqued her interest, which led to more research and ultimately her latest book.

WHAT’S “PREFABRICATED”?

What people may not know is that the term “prefabricated” involves several types of construction, and while it may seem new here, it’s something people in other parts of the world have embraced for years. The houses she profiled meet the universal code along with local building codes.

“These are sophisticated houses and by far are the most practical ones I’ve covered in all my books,” said Koones, who now is convinced that prefabricated homes are the way to go since they cost less and are more environmentally friendly than traditional homes. Owners can bypass delays, pilfering, change orders and mess.

“I will never build a house on-site again, personally. Prefabricated homes are a cleaner and more professional way to build,” she said.

Sterling Scott couldn’t agree more. He found a great lot in Silver Lake 15 years ago that sports drop-dead gorgeous views of downtown Los Angeles on a clear day. The only problem was the lot size — a conventional house wouldn’t fit. So the lot sat empty until he found out about prefabricated homes, which seemed to be an answer to his building dilemma.

Situated on a narrow yet deep parcel, the space called for a custom home that would fit the footprint while maximizing those killer views. Scott went the prefabricated route, opting to go with LivingHomes of Santa Monica. He followed the house’s progress, even visiting it at the LivingHomes Plant Prefab Rialto factory while it was being built. The company also caught the eye of Dwell on Design, the annual industry event that spotlights just about everything to do with homes. His home was brought to the Los Angeles Convention Center and showcased last summer.

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He admits to being a little floored when he saw it displayed.

“I walked through it before the crowds did. I wanted to tell people to take their shoes off,” he said with a laugh.

A bit unconventional to be sure, but the house was a hit. Scott is happy with his choice.

His cost is $296,000 for the house and $220,000 for the foundation, transporting the house and connecting to utilities. It’s equipped with about $100,000 in upgrades because of the Dwell appearance — all worth it, he said, since a new home in Silver Lake costs a lot more than $600,000. The LivingHomes/Plant Prefab model is dubbed the CK4.2 and is a two-storied, 1,700-square-foot home with three bedrooms and 2½ bathrooms. It includes a LEED platinum level environmental program featuring materials, finishes and systems that reduce energy, water and resource use.

After its Los Angeles debut, it went back into storage waiting on-site preparation. The foundation was finished just before Christmas. The house was expected to be delivered shortly afterward and is projected to be completed in six weeks.

“It’s taken longer than expected, but that hasn’t changed my mind for going this way,” Scott said. “In my case, it really didn’t cost less money to do a prefab, but the good thing is that I knew the cost of the house upfront. It’s a set price, it’s very progressive and green and should work with the lot.”

Scott has always been enamored with older homes and chose the floor plan from the company’s website while tweaking it a bit to better reflect a post-modern, mid-century modern look.

“It’s like building a regular house except it’s done in a factory, transported and stitched together,” he said.

RESEARCH IS IMPORTANT

He admitted, though, that the concept is new, even with some building departments and general contractors. It can take some research. When Scott visited LivingHomes/Plant Prefab founder Steve Glenn’s prefabricated home in Santa Monica, he was sold.

“Many don’t understand what prefab means,” he said, “and they think it is less than a regular home, but it isn’t.”

“Plant Prefab was created to address an extremely large and growing market opportunity — the urban infill market — and it leverages the vast amount of knowledge we’ve acquired in the 10 years since we started LivingHomes,” Glenn said in a statement. “Our mission is to make it easy, fast and cost-effective for people to build custom, high-quality homes that are durable, environmentally responsible and healthy.”

Thanks to the Fort Walton Beach Deck Builders for sponsoring my blog!

How to Build a Deck – part three

You are now ready to begin prepping your ledger board, and your first step will be to create the holes for your bolts (or screws). Check with your local zoning board to find out if they have any specific regulations for the location of the lag screws. Drill all of your holes with a bit that is 1/8″ larger than the screw so that you have room for adjustments, and drill in pairs – one on top of the other – every 15″. Drill your first two holes 1″ from each end of the board for proper holding then drill the others. Drilling all of the holes at once will prevent mistakes. Now temporarily attach the ledger board to your home (using nails) and using a pencil, mark each hole that you drilled into the ledger board. Remove the ledger board from the side of the house and using a drill bit that is slightly smaller than your ledger board screws, drill the holes into the house that correspond to the drill holes in the ledger board.

Decking Company

Using a smaller drill it allows the screws set into the side of the house better, providing a firmer support for your ledger board. Before reattaching the ledger board permanently, fill each hole that you created with silicone caulking which will prevent the holes from retaining rainwater. To prevent rotting of the wood, you will want to now place your ledger board screws into the ledger board, and using rust resistant washers, begin the process of attaching the ledger board to your home. Using the washers for ½” to ¾” from the surface of your home not only helps prevent later decay but will also assist you in leveling out uneven surfaces (shingles, siding, etc.). After you have threaded the lag screws into the ledger, installed the proper number of washers on each screw, and squirted caulk into the holes, lift the ledger into place, tap the screws into the wall, and, with a socket or crescent wrench, tighten the screws making sure that the screws are biting into the wall, especially the last 2”. You should consider applying a waterproofing compound to the ledger board, minimally the exposed ends. You may want to waterproof the entire board, especially if the deck is in an area of your home that gets little sun.

You are now ready to install the two edge joists and locate your pier holes. Deck joists, which support the decking or surface of the deck, should be installed so that they hang from the ledger board (this provides additional stability to your deck). Placing your joists so that the bowed edge (no piece of wood is ever perfectly straight) is pointing up (crowning the joist) allows the bow to settle as weather affects it. When selecting the end joists, select the two straightest ones that you have and nail them to the edges of the outer ledger board using galvanized nails. After the end is nailed to the ledger, drive a temporary 2 x 4 stake into the ground that will hold the floating end level and at a right angle to the ledger board. Your goal should be to guarantee that the two outside joists are at a right angle to the ledger board which can be done by measuring along the ledger board from the outside edge eight feet and marking it then measuring the joist at six feet. Measure between the two marks and if it measures ten feet then it truly is a right angle, if not re-adjust until it is ten feet between marks. Once you have it exact, nail some temporary cross braces from the ledger to the joists at an angle to keep the joists in place. You should now have your two outer joists level, at true right angles from the ledger board, and supported by stakes.

How to Build a Deck – part two

The materials you will need to build your deck include pier blocks, post anchors, nails, railing stock, lag bolts (or screws), flashing (if required), decking, ledger board, girder stock, band joists, caulk, water repellant, post stock, joist hanger sealers and nails, string, brackets (right angle), concrete and post caps.

The most common mistakes in building decks occur when the builder uses badly bowed board, chooses the wrong location (or height) doesn’t use proper woods (such as redwood, cedar or pressure treated lumbers) or fails to follow building codes. You can avoid these mistakes by avoiding them in the first place!

DIY DECK

You will also need to determine if your deck is going to be a free-standing unit or if it will be attached to your home. The procedures for each of these varies and will have to be closely followed to ensure a well stabilized deck, but also, check your municipalities regulations, as many times decks that are not attached to your home may not be taxable as part of your property!

If you plan to attach your deck to your home, you will need to begin by bolting a ledger board to the house, (basically to attach the deck to) generally installed so that the top of the ledger is 1 1/2″ below the final top surface of the deck allowing the decking boards to be nailed on top. You will want to make sure the ledger board is low enough that once the decking is installed, the level of the deck is at least 1″ below the level of the finished floor inside of your home. The length of the ledger board should be three inches less than the total length of your deck (allowing for joist overhang on each end), and if at all possible, should be all one piece. If you cannot use a one piece ledger board, it is highly recommended that the pieces not be less than eight feet each. When placing the ledger board, bolting is the most important piece of this aspect of your project. The bolts should be positioned so that they penetrate something solid such as wall studs or floor joists. When selecting the ledger board, be certain that it has as little bow to it as possible, as otherwise you will have a curve in your finished deck.

How To Build a Deck

You’ve decided it’s time to build the deck of your dreams and have it available for this summer’s entertainment of friends and family and you are handy enough to do it yourself! There are some basic things you are going to need to do before getting started, before you ever purchase one piece of material for your new dream deck. Remember, the biggest key to a successful deck (besides the time, money and labor you put into it) is the durability of the deck once it is built. By using good materials, taking the time to make sure things are level and weather sealed, your deck will become not only a place for your friends and family to relax but a well thought out and carefully crafted addition to your home.

The first step you will need to take is to check with your local zoning office and find out what (if any) restrictions you will be running into and also apply for any permits that might be needed before you can start constructing your deck. If you have an existing deck, you will have far less resistance applying for your permits than if you’re building a brand new deck. When applying for your permit, chances are you may be asked to provide a set of plans for your deck. They do not have to be professionally done, but they will have to have certain information in them. These include (a) where the deck is going to be (including in proportion to property lines, utility lines, etc.); (b) how much space is between the railings; (c) how high the railings are (minimum 36″); (d) size, spacing and type of construction of the foundation of the deck; (e) size and location of girders; (f) size and spacing of joists; (g) what type of fasteners you will be using; (h) size and type of deck boards; and (i) size of posts. If there are any specific weather issues in your area (floods, hurricanes, etc.) or local zoning requirements, your local zoning office will have specific requirements for some of these items.

Deck

One important consideration to consider is handicap accessibility. As with bathrooms (showers, tubs, and sink) and kitchens (sinks, ovens, stoves), many deck designs can be made to make life easier for the elderly. If you plan to live in your house as you grow old, you should strongly consider adding ramps instead of stairs for accessibility.

Material considerations will be your first challenge to overcome when building your deck. There are a variety of materials that are suitable to build a deck including pressure treated lumber, composite material, Aluminum, Western red cedar, teak, mahogany and other hardwoods and recycled planks made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polystyrene (PS) and PET plastic as well as mixed plastics and wood fiber. Once you determine your budget you will be best able to determine which type of material is best suited to your individual needs.

Tools will play an important role in your success in building your deck. The proper tools will ensure that your deck is high quality and well built, and while no fancy tools are required, there are some basic tools you will need to be sure you have available before you begin the construction process including: a framing hammer, shovel, level, wheelbarrow, plumb bob, cement hoe, pencil(s), trowel, nail pouch, pry bar, safety goggles, caulking gun, extension cords, socket set, framing square, power saw, saw horses, hand saw, and tape measure.