Tips for Maintaining and Repairing Wood Decks

Tips for Maintaining and Repairing Wood Decks

When the weather is nice, your deck can be one of the most popular areas for your family to relax.

Whether your deck includes a cook out area with a brightly colored umbrella, surrounds the family pool or overlooks the ocean, you want it to keep looking as fresh and inviting as it did the day you had it installed.

In order to achieve this goal, your deck requires regular maintenance and repair.

Moisture is a Deck’s Enemy

Although your deck will be exposed to elements such as rain or snow, moisture is not its friend. Mud tracked on the deck, leaves that are not removed and spills can all stain or damage your deck. Spill should be cleaned as quickly as possible, just as you would a spill in your home. Sweep or blow fallen leaves from the deck regularly in order to avoid them becoming wet and damaging the flooring. Stuck-on debris can be cleaned with a mixture of household bleach and water. Once each season, have your deck power washed to remove caked on dirt and grime. After a rainstorm, remove any outdoor rugs or other items that may retain moisture and damage the deck underneath.

Returning to Natural Luster

Over time, you may notice that your deck has become dingy, gray and rough. You can return your deck to its natural look with a sander. Simply sand the deck to remove any rough patches and bring out the original color of the wood. Although power washing may also return the deck to its natural color, it may leave rough spots. Use a sander to remove those spots after you complete your power washing.

Seal to Protect

The best way to keep your deck looking as new as the day you installed it is to apply a penetrating sealer each year after cleaning it thoroughly. Be sure the deck is completely dry before applying the sealer and that you have sanded any rough areas. Many of today’s sealers provide UV protection as well as chemicals that prevent the buildup of mildew. Many also repel water. Be sure to choose a sealant that is meant for the type of wood in your deck as each type of wood requires a different sealer. If your deck is faded, consider using a sealer with stain included to add color and protect the wood at the same time.

Warped Boards and Nails

If your deck was built using nails, consider replacing the nails with screws. As wood swells with temperature changes and humidity, nails may become loose. When the nails loosen, replace them with screws which will fasten the deck boards more tightly. Even chemically treated wood can warp over time, so be sure to replace any warped deck boards. Warped boards present a tripping hazard and should be corrected as soon as possible. Be sure to secure railings and fix any posts that have fallen as well.

These tips can help keep your deck looking as beautiful as it did the day it was built. In addition, they will keep your deck safe, allowing your family and friends to enjoy it for many years to come. For more information on deck maintenance and repair, contact Tri-County Exteriors today.

Deck Safety and Maintenance Tips Before Summer

Summer is approaching quickly, and before it arrives is the best time to take care of deck maintenance and deck safety. The first thing that should be done to get ready for the warm weather is a deck inspection, which will determine any potentially hazardous problems that may be looming on the horizon.

Deck Failure

There’s a common misconception that decks are easy to put up and don’t require a lot of careful construction. Because of this, deck failure is very common, and summer is the time when most collapses occur. A deck failure is hazardous and can cause harm or fatality from things such as rail failures or collapse. Deck failures are frequently due to separation from the house wall, although they may be caused by heavy snow or excessive occupation. Rail failures are more common than actual total collapse; however, they cause a lower level of harm and so are frequently not reported. Because deck failure is a dangerous issue, it’s important to have an inspection performed in order to determine deck safety and prevent unnecessary injuries or fatalities. A good deck builder will be key in preventing failures.

Common Deck Problems

When it comes to deck construction, there are some common problems that a deck builder may overlook. One of the first to consider when getting a deck inspected is the condition of all boards. All deck posts and other boards should be checked for deterioration. If there is any softness, sponginess, or rotting, the affected boards should be removed and replaced with wood that is in the best of condition. Otherwise, there is a high risk of collapse. All hardware should be regularly inspected, and anything that shows signs of rust or excessive wear should be replaced. This includes all nails, screws, bolts, hinges, or other connectors. Faulty hardware can cause rails to fall out, or boards to come loose, or compromised support of the deck. Failures commonly result in a detachment from the home structure, so all connections should be properly stabilized with bolts and flashing. A shaky deck is another frequent ailment, but it can be prevented by additional support from a diagonal wood brace.

These are some of the things that are important to address before the summer season arrives and deck usage is in full swing. Contact www.tricountyexteriors.com for a deck that is safe and will last.


Outdoor Patio Furniture Trends For 2014

Image via Wikimedia Commons

As the weather starts to warm up more and more people are getting out their outdoor patio furniture or buying new furniture for their decks, patios and porches. Outdoor furniture is great for relaxing and entertaining guests and there are colors and prints to make everyone happy. If you are planning to buy new furniture this spring or want to give your old furniture a makeover, you may want to let one of the 2014 patio furniture trends inspire you.

Furniture Pieces

This season, outdoor sectionals and conversation sets are more popular than ever. These pieces are perfect for large families or people who have a lot of parties, cookouts or get-togethers at their home. Since these pieces can tend to be expensive, it is best to choose a neutral color or pattern so you can add small details and bursts of colors with throw pillows or other accessories and easily change them when you are ready for something new. You can expect to find outdoor sectionals and conversation set prices starting at around $1200.

Colors

If you want to make sure your deck or patio is decorated with the most modern furniture, choose one of the hot colors of 2014. Black and white is always in style and a safe choice. Bold colors like teal and dark purple are also hot this year. You can even mix and match colors to make a statement on your deck or porch.

Patterns

If you aren’t a fan of the chevron pattern, you may be in trouble. Chevrons are everywhere this spring from clothing to wallpaper and even patio furniture. There are numerous colors to choose from and you can always accent your pattern with a solid colored throw pillow. Large floral prints, stripes and paisley prints are also in style, along with bold, solid colored pieces. The 2014 spring outdoor patio furniture trends are all about being bright and bold and making a statement. Of course, you can always choose to come up with your own trend or combine your own tastes with current trends to come up with something fun and unique. Mannering Ellisha (2014 March 30) Outdoor Patio Furniture Trends For 2014 Retrieved on March 31,2014 From Webpronews.com  

Enjoy spring on a new porch

More and more home owners are using their front porches for traditional outdoor purposes and enjoying the increased interaction this creates with their community.
(Photo: Getty Images / iStockphoto)

Outdoor living spaces are one of the most popular design trends of the past few years in both new home construction and remodeling, and it’s a trend that looks like it’s going to be around for many years to come.

Judges for the recent Best in American Living Awards, an annual National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) competition, noted outdoor spaces as an essential design trend that has expanded to homes nationwide and is at the top of many home buyer and renters’ must-have lists.

Whether you’re remodeling to make your home better suited to your family’s current lifestyle or sprucing it up to be more attractive to potential buyers, adding a porch can be a great option.

Here are some things you should think about when planning your new porch, whether you plan to build it yourself or hire a contractor:

Size matters

The porch is an accessory, so it shouldn’t overwhelm the main structure of the house. It should, however, be large enough to look like part of your home instead of an afterthought.

“Think about the activities that might take place in this space and the ways you’d like to use the porch,” says Jason Broderick of Broderick Builders, a Nashville-based remodeling company. “If you envision dining al fresco with your family during the warm weather months, you’ll want a porch that’s at least eight to 10 feet deep to accommodate a good-sized table and chairs. Six feet or so should be sufficient if you just want to place a loveseat or a couple of chairs outside.”

All about location

If your home has the flexibility, what side of your home your porch is on also can be an important factor. A south-facing porch will take advantage of the sun’s heat, but also could get uncomfortable during the summer. If the idea of cocktails at sunset is appealing, place your porch facing west. Early risers may want maximum light to read the paper and sip coffee with eastern exposure.

A current trend finds more people opting to use the front of their houses, a custom with deep historical roots that once was considered standard practice for most homeowners.

“In the 19th century the porch was always located on the front of the house,” says Nancy Moore, president and founder of The Porch Company. “The backyard contained the barn, the chicken coop, the kitchen garden and other practical resources of the day. It wasn’t until the advent of electricity that we moved indoors and the front porch became a forgotten piece of architecture.

“When people did return to the outside of their homes they naturally gravitated to the large, vacant spaces now available in their backyards. Decks and screened-in porches followed and the popularity of outdoor living spaces flourished.”

Now it seems people are rediscovering the spaces in front of their homes.

“In recent years the front porch has been making a comeback,” Moore says. “It’s still primarily a façade, more pleasing to the eye than functional. But more and more home owners are using their front porches for traditional outdoor purposes and enjoying the increased interaction this creates with their community.”

Consider features

To ensure aesthetic continuity, try to use the same materials to build your porch as are used in the home, especially the exterior surfaces. This includes coordinating millwork and other design motifs so your new porch integrates smoothly with the rest of your home.

Also take into account other factors that could affect your enjoyment of your new porch.

“Consider installing screens if you live in an insect-friendly area, or glass windows so you can extend the days of the year you can use the porch in cooler climates,” says Broderick, current president of the Home Builders Association of Middle Tennessee’s Remodelers Council. “If you plan to use the porch during the night hours, make sure you install either sufficient lighting or outlets for lamps. A ceiling fan is a good idea to make the space more comfortable in warm temperatures.”

Before you know it, you and your family can begin to relax and enjoy the summer season from the comfort of your new porch — or an attractive feature to offer to would-be buyers.
have

Dillon Mike (2014 March 29) Enjoy spring on a new porch. Retrieved on March 31, 2014 from Tennessean.com

Composite Decking For Your Outdoor Living Needs

When building any type of deck, the choice of decking materials is an important variable in the equation. In recent years, engineered wood products such as composite decking have become increasingly popular as an alternative to pressure-treated lumber. Manufactured from a mixture of plastic and wood, composite planking is a revolutionary building material that’s changing how homeowners look at deck construction. In many ways, it’s the ultimate solution to a wide array of problems associated with deck construction.

The Advantages of Composite Decks

Composite deck building materials have many advantages over competing construction options. For one thing, composite boards don’t soak up moisture in the same way that traditional boards do. As a result, moisture-related problems like cracking, warping and rotting are virtually eliminated. Furthermore, composite planks maintain their beauty and aesthetic appeal as they age. Finally, composite building materials are made from recycled products, which prevents plastic and wood from ending up in a landfill.

Downsides & Drawbacks of Wood Decks

As attractive as composite decks appear at first blush, the downsides of wood make them even more compelling. In humid climates, wood warps and buckles easily. More importantly, wood requires more effort to maintain its appearance. It’s also more susceptible to damage from insects such as termites. Though cheaper at the outset, wood costs more over time when maintenance costs are tallied up. It’s also heavier and less resistant to dings than composite materials.

Composite Decks in the Real World

There are two main categories of composite deck boards: solid and hollow. As the name implies, hollow composite deck boards contain internal pockets that reduce weight at the cost of stability. Solid composite boards are heavier but provide superior structural integrity. They also tend to look more like real wood than hollow boards. Both types of composite deck boards use a wide array of pigments, preservatives and plastics such as polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride. All composite boards share one thing in common: they alleviate the vast majority of problems associated with using wood in outdoor deck projects.

The Key to Regret-Free Installation

Constructing a deck with composite deck boards presents its own set of challenges for those not familiar with the material. Employing an expert outdoor deck contractor to do the job correctly the first time is the best way to avoid unfavorable outcomes. A Bucks County deck builder that knows the ins and outs of composite construction techniques is the ideal choice. In any event, few homeowners that opt for composite decks regret the choice.

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Looking for a Deck Builder in Bucks County?

Adding a deck to an existing home is a great way to enjoy additional outdoor living space while also boosting the resale value of a home in the process. According to HGTV, a deck is one of the best additions that home owners can make. In fact, most decks will allow home owners to reclaim 70% or more of the building costs in terms of added resale value, making this a great investment to consider.

Of course, having a deck built is still quite a large investment for many home owners. A new deck, for example, can easily cost $10,000 or more. Because of the high cost, it is important that home owners take the time to find the contractor that is right for them when having a deck built. There are numerous considerations that should be kept in mind when seeking a deck-building contractor.

For starters, home owners should be sure that a deck builder they choose is both fully licensed and insured. Any reputable contractor should be able to provide proof of licensing and insurance, though the local Bucks County municipality should also have this information on file. Finding a contractor with comprehensive insurance coverage is important in giving home owners the peace of mind they need when letting somebody work on their home. This way, in the event that there is a mishap with the deck construction, the contractor’s insurance can cover the expenses to resolve the problem and the home owners will not have to pay any additional costs out of pocket.

Furthermore, home owners get an accurate idea as to just how long the deck construction project is expected to take. Most projects can be completed in a couple of weeks, but larger projects may take up to a month. Of course, weather conditions can also be a determining factor. Regardless, home owners should get a timeline in writing from the contractor before work begins. A solid quote for the overall cost of the project,
including labor and materials, should also be issued by the contractor prior to beginning work.

Choosing a deck builder in Bucks County is not always an easy task, but the good news is that home owners looking for the right professionals for the job do not need to look any further than Tricounty Exteriors for all of their deck-building needs. This experienced and reputable company knows what it takes to build a quality deck for a fair price.

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PVC Decks – The Beauty of Wood Without All the Fuss

Choosing a deck material can be a difficult and confusing process. With so many options like wood, composites, PVC and more, it means there are many factors that weigh in the decision. Traditional wood decks are beautiful when maintained and are the most common when you think of decks. However, the PVC decking market has made great strides over the last few years to give you the same look of even the most exotic hardwoods without all of the cost and maintenance. In fact, a traditional wood deck can cost up to $3,000 every 5 years in maintenance costs alone like sanding, staining, power washing, and replacing warped or damaged boards. With PVC decking, you don’t have all of those maintenance costs. All you have to do is hose it off and you are ready to go.

To create the perfect outdoor living space PVC decking from Fiberon is as smooth as interior hardwoods (and no splinters) and extends your home’s living space. Great for enjoying the outdoors with friends and family, relaxing with a good book, or celebrating life’s special moments in a beautiful and personal space that keeps its good looks. With its patent pending Lumenite technology that helps protect your deck and make it easy to clean, PVC decking is a great solution to your decking needs.

Outdoor Flooring from Fiberon also resists stains and fading and is backed by a limited lifetime performance warranty and 25-year stain and fade warranty. It is a lighter product compared to wood and can be easily installed without the need to pre-drill holes. PVC decking has the added benefit of hidden fasteners so you have a beautiful deck without all the screws showing. It comes with a Class A flame spread rating that meets requirements for fire prone areas. PVC decking products give you the look of exotic hardwood without all of the upkeep. These decks are perfect for anyone looking for the ideal combination of beauty, durability and low maintenance.

With its patent pending Lumenite technology that helps protect your deck and make it easy to clean, PVC decks are a great solution to your decking needs. Let us help you design the outdoor living space of your dreams with a beautiful natural looking deck without all the fuss. Outdoor Flooring from Fiberon is durable, beautiful and is redefining decking as we know it.

Cummins Jennifer (2013 February 15) PVC – The Beauty Of Wood Without All The Fuss. Retrieved on December 21, 2013 From fiberondecking.com

Adding a deck: A cost-effective way to protect your home’s value

Protecting your home’s value in a restless real estate market may seem daunting. There are some easy remedies to restore strong property values on a home in today’s market. Homeowners everywhere constantly preserve their home value by focusing on a project that involves a remodel at their current property. All homeowners should consider building an outdoor living space to accomplish this task. A deck is the most consistently rewarding home improvement project that is cost-effective and improves the value of your residence. When compared to other home improvement projects, there is significantly less time involved with building this type of outdoor addition.

When a homeowner attempts to sell their house, having an outdoor structure like that can be a powerful selling point. For homeowners who plan on living on their house for many years, this space can be an excellent space utilized for parties. In many ways, this outside space is ideal for entertaining guests. And instead of spending money on expensive vacations, homeowners can spend quality time on their new outdoor addition. Typical accessories for this space include furniture, a barbecue, carpeting and flowerpots. And during the construction, some of these accessories can be built in the space when you remodel for it.

Although there is certainly some important maintenance that must be completed to preserve the beauty of this space, it is still significantly less time-consuming when compared to the maintenance of building a new room in a house. The maintenance of this outside space includes winterizing to protect against the brutally cold elements of winter. One tool that is used to clean the space is a pressure-washer. Homeowners who would like to make sure that this space is properly clean should also use oxygen cleaner instead of bleach. The oxygen cleaner will protect the wood and make the space look brand new.

This addition is the perfect outdoor living space for sustaining the value of a home. And best of all, this type of space is constructed to uniquely fit your home. A quality one in the yard of a house can add tremendous value to any home within any neighborhood.

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Three Reasons to Light Your Outdoor Living Space

When many people imagine their dream deck, they picture how big it will be, what color it’ll be, how many levels it will have, what they’ll do on it. But most of the time, they don’t think about how they will light their deck. Sure, your standard porch light will light your deck. Without using a harsh floodlight, however, it’s likely that portions of your deck are in shadows. Here are three reasons you should consider built-in lighting for your deck.

Safety First
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As the days grow longer so do your deck parties. But twilight shifts to night pretty quickly and the edges of your deck can be hard to see, which can be dangerous even if your deck sits on the ground. Recessed deck accent lighting can be used to define the edges of your deck, helping to ensure that nobody accidentally walks over the edge because they don’t know where it is. Another potential danger in the dark is your stairs. Riser lighting is available to illuminate each step, for added safety and awareness.

Mood Lighting

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Nothing beats spending a date night out on the deck, but the harsh light from a porch light can really ruin a romantic dinner. With remote-controlled dimmable in-deck lights, you can easily adjust the level of light to match the mood (and maybe limit the number of six-legged guests)!

A New Level of Sophistication

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The difference between an average deck and an outdoor living space is all in the details. Built-in deck lighting brings a design together and adds a level of sophistication that a standard back porch light cannot. Lighting in your railing posts, stair risers and recessed into the deck elevate a deck from average to exceptional.

Plate Samantha (2013 July 18)Three Reasons to Light Your Outdoor Living Space. Retrieved December 05, 2013 From Fiberondecking/blog.

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Deck Maintenance Tips


If your deck is showing some wear and tear after being exposed to the weather for a few years, make it look new again by applying a little first aid. Here’s the to-do list:

Wash

Before making any repairs to the deck, remove dirt and wood fibers with a pressure washer. When using one, be sure to keep the pressure stream moving. Otherwise, you could gouge the wood. Allow the deck to dry overnight.

Fix nail pops

If you encounter a nail that has worked loose from a board, remove the nail with a cat’s paw or a hammer. Use a screw that’s longer than the nail to reattach the board.

Repair split wood

If you have a board that’s split down the middle, mark the damaged board next to the leading edge of the first support joist that’s completely past the split. Be sure not to mark an area that’s directly over a joist or you could damage your saw when you begin cutting.

Cut the board with a jigsaw, remove the nails or deck screws and remove the damaged wood. Use deck screws to attach a pressure-treated 2-by-4-inch support block to the joist. The support block will hold the replacement board in position. Cut a replacement board to size, pre-drill and fasten it to the support block and joists with deck screws.

Your replacement board may appear to be higher and wider than the existing wood, but it should shrink as it loses moisture. If the board still appears to be higher than the surrounding boards after being in place for a few weeks, you can smooth it down with a belt sander. Be sure that all nail or screw heads are recessed into the wood before you begin sanding.

Stain and seal

Even though pressure-treated lumber resists insects and decay, it’s still vulnerable to moisture and the sun’s rays. To preserve it without changing the color, use s clear wood preservative that contains a UV protector, which will bring new life to the surface while protecting it from the elements. If you want to add color, use an exterior stain first. Exterior stains come in both solid and semi-transparent finishes. Always use the semi-transparent for the decking area, but try a solid color if you want to highlight railings or banisters; it ends up looking like a painted finish. Exterior stains are available in oil or latex, and both provide fade and

mildew resistance.

Wearing protective eyewear and gloves, apply preservative or stain with a roller or a brush. Let the product sit on the wood decking for about 20 minutes so that it has time to penetrate, and then go back over the surface with a brush to give the deck a more consistent finish (this also helps get rid of any puddles that will dry as shiny patches). Apply a second coat for good coverage and protection.

Allow the deck to dry for 48 hours, and then apply a sealant.

DIYNetwork-Deck Maintenance Tips. Retrieved November 22, 2013 From DIYNetwork. Click contact us for more information.

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