Are you looking to maximize the value of your home? Outdoor living spaces have become the latest trend to take home improvement by storm. With more homeowners moving their fun to the backyard, a deck or patio creates the perfect space to blend indoor comfort with the open outdoors.
May is deck safety month. With barbecues, outdoor parties, and summertime fun around the corner, now is the time to inspect your deck and make any repairs necessary. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Follow these guidelines to ensure a thorough inspection.
Look at the condition of your deck boards. Most wood will show some cracks and splits over time, but is the general condition of the boards good, or are the boards splintering and unsafe to walk on?
A deck should be built using a variety of fasteners and metal hardware connectors to create a continuous pathway to ensure deck stability and safety. Check to see if the appropriate fasteners and connectors were used when constructing the deck. Is the hardware in good condition or need to be replaced?
If visible, look at the posts, beams and joists that provide the structural framework of the deck. What is their condition? Is there any noticeable sagging between supports?
The attachment of the deck to the house (at an area called the house band) is the area where most deck failures occur. Pay special attention to this area and check to make sure that the deck is properly attached to the house band with appropriate screws or bolts and that it is properly flashed for water protection. Nails should never be used for this type of attachment.
Foundation / Footings
The foundation / footings receive and support the weight (also known as the load) on a deck and the columns that bear on them. A footing that is sinking may cause a noticeable sag in an area or a column separating from a beam.
Check the areas where people exit from the deck. These exits usually involve stairs so be sure to check the condition of the material used on the stair stringers, stair treads and risers.
Look at the condition of the rail posts and sections of railing on the deck to make sure that the railing is secure. Check to make sure that the pickets/balusters are fastened securely and spaced no more than four inches apart.
If you’re not sure you want to take the responsibility of inspecting the deck yourself, look up a local company in your area and have a professional complete the inspection. Nadra.org and AngiesList.com are great places to find competent, trustworthy professionals or go to Archadeck.com to see if there are deck safety inspectors in your area.
We hope you enjoyed your summer! The days are definitely growing cooler and winter is right around the corner. Now is the perfect time to start thinking about preparing your outdoor living space for winter months; you’ll want to maintain your wooden deck, outdoor furniture, and paver patio to extend their life. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Sweep the surface removing all leaves and debris to help prevent mold and mildew forming.
- Wash with mild soap and water. If some dirt remains or if there are signs of mold, you may need to pressure wash the surfaces. It is advisable that you use a professional as pressure washing at too high of a setting may cause damage.
- If you have a deck, inspect the entire deck (slats, handrails, railings, and posts) noting any rotting, loose rails, or warping. If re-hammering the nails or tightening screws causes the nails or screws to sink into soft wood or splits the wood, then the piece should be replaced.
- If you have a patio, add joining sand and sweep evenly into the joints of your patio. Don’t put too much sand on the patio at one time. Most paver patios have tight joints between bricks and won’t need a lot of sand.
Protecting Your Furniture
- Wash and store vinyl furniture indoors.
- Inspect any wood furniture for damage and make the necessary repairs before covering or storing it for winter.
- Cover with a heavy tarp or store inside a shed or garage to protect it from the elements.
- Clean soil from planters. Any pots made of clay or other fragile materials should be brought indoors.
Tips for Snow Removal
- If you are shoveling snow from your deck, run the shovel lengthwise across the boards to minimize scratching or cutting into the wood. Another option is to use a plastic shovel.
- Avoid salt and other ice melting substances as they may damage or discolor your deck finish.
Summer days are coming to an end and fall is right around the corner. This is the perfect time of year to plan a project for fall, winter, or even early spring. Although the warmer months may soon be behind us, Archadeck will continue to build year round. Now is the time to lock in this year’s prices and avoid the increases we see in early spring. Planning your project during the fall and winter seasons also ensures that your project will be ready to use when the weather warms up again. Instead of spending your warm spring days sifting through busy contractors and waiting for the completion of your project. You will already be relaxing in the sun on your patio or entertaining on your new deck. This is the perfect season to start that new project!
It happens to many of us. We have grand visions of the outdoor living space we want to create, but something like a beloved tree may stand in our way. Sometimes all you need is a little creativity and a knowledgeable contractor. These homeowners knew they wanted to build around the tree, but getting started can sometimes seem a bit daunting. We were pleased to be given the opportunity help them design a deck that wouldn’t harm their tree while also creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing space. Read more about it here.
We are excited to share that we have been named 2013 Best Pick by EBSCO Research for the second year in a row. We are honored to receive this recognition because it is based on testimonials directly from the Chicagoland homeowners we work with day in and day out.
According to the Local Tribune, “Only top-rated companies that qualify in EBSCO Research’s rigorous research process can earn “Best Pick” status. Archadeck of Chicagoland excelled throughout this research process, boasting an overall “A” grade based on more than 100 candid telephone interviews with Chicago-area homeowners.”
Overall, the Best Pick status reinforces our mission, to design outdoor living spaces that blend with our customers’ homes and fit within their lifestyles, while delivering high quality work and service throughout the process.
Read the full article here.
According to Builder Blog, a recent survey by Professional Builders shows decks, outdoor fireplaces, fire pits and screened porches are among the most demanded outdoor living features. Thinking about sprucing up your backyard? Give us a call and visit our showroom!