Sad but true. Fall is upon us and winterizing the house is likely something you do every year in anticipation of the cold months ahead. Your deck should be getting the same attention.
Before doing anything to your deck, you will want to take a walk around it. Assess any damage or areas that could use some TLC, remove any furniture and give it a good cleaning. A little sweet talk won’t hurt either. Your deck isn’t looking forward to winter anymore than you are.
Take a walk about
Now is great time to make those repairs. Who’s got the time or initiative during the summer to be outside fixing the deck, when you could be enjoying it. With the cooler months, repairs can be made more comfortably and come spring, you’ll be glad you took the time.
Clearing the deck
Take any plants or clippings of plants you want to save inside. If your planters are ceramic, indoors is the place for them during the harsh winter. Cleaning and covering or better yet storing your deck furniture inside will keep it in great shape. Remember not to close up shop too early on your deck. The deck is a great place to carve those Halloween pumpkins.
Give it a little elbow grease
After many a barbecue and lots of pools parties, your deck is likely in need a good cleaning. There are lots of great products out there that will do the trick. If you use a power washer, be careful, as too much force can damage a wood deck. Now is also the ideal time to stain or varnish your deck if you have been planning to.
Putting in the work now to winterize your deck will have you spending more time outdoors when the warm weather is finally upon us again.
While having a backyard deck that looks like the hardwood inside your home is ideal, it’s not realistic and staining your deck can be more hassle than it’s worth.
Many decks are made from pressure treated wood, cedar or other hard woods and many different exotic woods. Deciding to stain these decks may not be your best choice. There are many misconceptions about the benefits of staining. Here are just a couple:
Staining will prolong the life of my deck.
This is not necessarily true. For most decks, the staining is not done on all six sides of each board. This will not provide a seal and therefore will not give your deck the protection you’re looking for. A deck that is elevated may be an exception. It’s recommended that your wood be kiln dried and pre-stained on all sides and edges before construction. This can be very time consuming and costly.
Staining a deck will lead to less work in the future.
One of the main reasons the professionals don’t recommend staining wood decks is because of the amount of time and energy involved. Stains don’t generally last more than a year. This means yearly cleaning, staining and, if necessary, sanding of your deck every year. To hire the professionals to do the job yearly can be expensive. To do it yourself can leave you with a hate/hate relationship with outdoor space.
Your professional deck builder will recommend that instead of staining your deck every year, you allow the wood to naturally gray over time. If you just can’t live with the grey and you do decide to stain your deck, do your research on products. Or better yet, opt for a low maintenance deck that provides better durability and an array of colour options.
Spend your summer enjoying your deck, rather than working on it.
You’re ready for a new deck but don’t know where to start. Building a deck from start to finish has a process that will make your project manageable and even enjoyable. Following this process will take your plans for a dream deck and make it a reality.
The process begins by looking at pictures of as many different decks that you can. Getting a feel for what’s out there will get the ball rolling and your head in the game.
This is the very first step needed to achieving your goal of a new deck. Consider the layout of your home. Know your property lines, as building on the neighbours property could be disastrous. If your deck is more than two feet high, a railing system will be required for safety. Are there are obstacles that need to be worked around such as a shed, pool or trees? You may want your deck placed in one spot but because of water pipes, dryer vents, basement windows and even air conditioning units, that place might not be available.
What will your new deck be primarily used for? Entertaining, barbecuing, relaxing, a spa area, and children playing are just some of the uses for decks. How long you intend to live in your home is worth considering as well. You will want to build a deck that will last at least this long.
Know your budget. You won’t want to get your sights set on one deck only to realize, your budget does not fit your vision. Another option is to wait a year or two until your budget and your vision align. Cutting corners and making shortcuts is not an option when building the deck of your dreams.
Finally, your personal preference will come into play. What do you want your new deck to look like. Some options to consider are seating, colour scheme, lighting, steps, fire pits and spa area. You may opt for a built in barbecue or deck skirting.
Whether you have hundreds to spend or thousands, the process of deck building is the same. Follow this formula and you won’t go wrong, Having a process in place will decrease stress, and even bring pleasure to your project.
You’ve decided on a budget, a design, and the contractor for your new deck. You might be questioning whether a permit is needed. The short answer is yes. Throughout most municipalities in Canada, a permit is required when erecting any structure on your property. It’s important to build a deck the right way, because if you’re building without a permit, it can put your home, your loved ones, and your contractors at risk. The permit is much more than a permission to build, and when you go through the permit process, you can feel reassured that safety and liabilities have been covered.
It’s the law
If you decide to build without a permit and manage to convince a contractor to build your new deck without one, you may be facing a $25,000 fine. You may even be forced to remove the deck and start from scratch.
When your deck design is reviewed for permit purposes, building officials will make sure lot coverage and variances are met. Having to modify or even tear down your new deck can be the consequences of building two inches too close to property lines. City officials can ensure this doesn’t happen.
Throughout the deck building process, your inspector will ensure that all building codes are being adhered to. For example, in Ontario, deck footings must be at least four feet deep to prevent frost from causing movement. Not following code can jeopardize the stability of your new deck.
When you play by the rules and start your deck project with a permit, your contractor will be required to have his deck designer license. This will also ensure that your contractor has workers compensation, insurance for all employees, along with liability insurance.
Getting a permit does cost money. Permit fees vary depending on which municipality you live in. Though permit fees will not be your favourite part of the project, consider these fees part of its foundation. Without one, anything goes.
You might be delighted to find so many options available to you for the designing of your new deck. And you’ll be downright ecstatic to realize the array of choices available for finishing touches like railings. A great railing is the icing on the cake for your deck creation.
Deck Railing Options
While structure and engineering is so important in the success of a well-built deck, let’s face it, support beams and permits are boring. Railings however, provide excitement during the deck building process. When the time comes to decide on the railing for your new deck, you can bet there will be loads of choices in material, colour and design.
Whether your deck is made of wood or low maintenance materials, the rails you choose for that deck come in all sorts of options. Deciding on the look you want to achieve should be one of your first considerations. There’s likely a rail system for the look you desire. More important than this is the consideration of safety. Establish what precautions need to be considered and fulfill these first.
After safety has been taken care of, start the process of deciding which rail system best suits your deck. You will want one that compliments both your deck and your house. Choose a colour scheme that will add to your existing outdoor space, not take away from it.
Budget will be an important factor in deciding which railings will best suit you. Price can vary greatly. Per foot, a rail system can cost between $10 for pressure treated wood rails and $150 for a glass rail system.
Materials used in railing systems include wood, glass, aluminum, vinyl, composite, and metal. Many designs will incorporate more than one of these elements. Design options in railings can add great appeal to your deck and ultimately your whole outdoor space. A great railing system can add light, provide privacy, increase safety and add a designer look to any deck.
While many aspects of building a deck are mundane, the finishing touches, including a great railing system can add glamour and excitement to your project.
Did you have big plans for your deck this summer? Plans that never quite turned into reality? If your outdoor space isn’t looking exactly like it did in your dreams, you’ll be surprised by how little it costs to show your deck some lovin’ before the end the season.
For as little as $50 and a couple of hours of work, your deck can be revitalized. Whether your deck is new or old, it likely needs a few accessories, a good mopping and perhaps some small repairs. It won’t take much to have your deck looking more like the deck of your dreams.
A little elbow grease
While a good power wash will go a long way in renewing an old tired deck, perhaps all it needs is a good mopping with a general household cleaner. A standard mop will usually do the trick and remove lots of dirt and grime. Start by cleaning your deck off. Your deck can become a dumping ground for all kinds of things. Find a safe cleanser that will be friendly to your deck, whether wood or low maintenance, and be sure to rinse as well.
Take a walk around your deck and take a good look at the surface as well as the rails. Are there missing screws, chipped boards or stained hand rails? Many of these problems can be remedied in just a few minutes with a hammer and nails, screwdriver and a magic eraser. Once the tour of your deck is complete and all small repairs have been made, you have a beautiful clean canvas to work with and you’ve still only spent pennies.
Midsummer is a great time to go to the nursery and find a great deal. Many annuals and perennials can be found at half price. This is a perfect opportunity to buy a few affordable planters and some great colour for your deck. With this small investment, your deck will be blooming with color, looking alive and feeling a lot more like the deck of your dreams.
Regardless of what your deck is made of, it will likely need some maintenance through the years. A good deck cleaning is a great start.
Being the proud owner of a powerful pressure washer isn’t going to do the trick all on its own. The options for cleaning your deck have increased and improved over the years. Your deck is an investment into your property. Keep it clean and in good repair and it will continue to reward you.
Whether your wood deck has turned grey from years of wicked weather or you are just trying to get a stain out, your trusty pressure washer can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Though a pressure washer will strip your deck of years of aging and wear, it can also damage your deck. Be careful with the angle and pressure. Experiment with a less visible piece of wood until you get the desired effect. When deciding which cleanser to use keep in mind that toxic doesn’t necessarily mean better. There are many non toxic, biodegradable products out there that won’t have you wearing a hazmat suit. Remember to rinse well. Depending on your deck’s size, cleaning your deck could take you a full day.
Though composite decks pride themselves on being low maintenance, this does not mean it won’t need a good cleaning from time to time. Your composite deck can be cleaned and sealed in one weekend, but it will take patience and elbow grease. If you’ve got what looks to be dirt that won’t come up, it’s likely not dirt at all. Some older brands of composite have shown to grow and harbour mould. A good cleaning with a good cleanser will remedy this and if you choose to seal your deck, depending on the product you choose, the mould will be a problem that you can put behind you.
With the right products, some time and energy invested, you will find yourself falling in love with your deck all over again.
Having raised more than $100 000 for charities since it’s inaugural year, the Hickory Dickory Decks Charity Golf Classic is again fast approaching. Get in on the action by registering, or sponsoring this worthwhile event.
Last year alone, the HDD Classic,which is held at the Flamborough Hills golf club in Copetown raised $31 000 in support of Sleeping children around the world, ALS and the Youth for Christ youth centre in Waterdown. Each year, the goal of course is to beat last year’s total. You can be a part of this success.
To play the tournament on Thursday, June 25th, the cost is $175 or $640 for each foursome. This price includes green fees,cart rental and a steak dinner. If golf isn’t your thing, consider coming out to enjoy a fabulous steak dinner with a great view for only $60.
Each year the HDD Charity classic sells out and space is limited this year as well.
The HDD Classic provides an opportunity for the whole community to become involved. Business’ might choose to sponsor a hole or donate a door prize or silent auction item.
A great time is had by all as each participant comes together with one common goal. To raise money for a few excellent causes. You may even be one of the lucky winners of a bottle of famous Hickory Dickory Decks wine. (It’s horrible.)
Check in is 10 am and tee off is 11am. Dinner will be served between 5:30 and 6 pm.
In addition to the silent auction, there will be a 50/50 draw, a putting contest, hammer and nail contest and best dressed. If you aren’t the best player on your team, don’t worry. At the HDD classic you can buy a mulligan and there will also be prizes for closest to the pin, longest drive, and best team score.
The Hickory Dickory Decks Golf Classic is a great way to kick off your summer.
Visit hddgolfclassic.org for more information and to get involved.
Beams can give your deck more than a foundation and stability. Extending your foundation beams or adding beams to your decking project will open up a number of opportunities to enhance your deck’s functionality and appearance.
Beams facilitate many other elements of a deck. Beams allow for a roll back shade or a pergola. This in turn provides the opportunity to add colour to your deck with endless fabric options. If you’re adding beams to your deck, why not use them to frame in a seating area. Add in a fireplace and you’ve got yourself an additional living room, right in your back yard.
If your existing deck design requires beams, why not jazz them up. Beams can be covered with vinyl, wood, or composite. If you want to cover your beam there are many different styles and colours to choose from. There are also many options to create the base of your beam. Some beam covers simply slip over the metal or wood beam while other decorative covers snap around the structural post. Choose a matching or complementary colour and you’ve just created a design element to your outdoor space. Even if your deck doesn’t require support beams, you may want to add them. If you are looking to hide your beams, choose a dark colour, like black. Beams will add dimension and visual interest. They can tie two separate areas together or break up your deck into distinct sections.
Be sure to consider beams when designing your dream deck. You’ll be delighted in the professional appeal that beautiful beams give to your outdoor space.
If you didn’t dream big enough when you first built your deck, its not too late to expand your vision and build that deck addition.
Just like adding a room to your house, putting an addition onto your existing deck will not only increase your square footage but totally update the overall look of your outdoor space. It’s important, however, to spend time and energy carefully designing any deck addition so the change in size or shape is seamless. Nobody wants a deck addition that looks like a deck addition. Before starting any addition, ensure your existing structure is stable.
Wood decks can be tricky to match. After years of weathering, the wood on your existing deck will not look anything like the new wood of your deck addition. Staining all the wood, once your addition is in place will go a long way in tying the two pieces together.
If your existing deck is made of vinyl or composite, simply purchasing more of the same materials used when you first built your deck will ensure that no one will be able to tell the difference. Though the addition may initially look brighter and newer, it won’t take long for the product to season and blend right in.
Talk to the professionals when it comes time to design any addition. Now is your chance to get creative. Maybe you regret that square platform. Maybe you’d like more decking to surround a new pool. The addition doesn’t necessarily need to match but may simply compliment your existing deck. You might be in the market for a few curves or perhaps you might choose a different colour. Your deck addition may simply be a couple of benches or planters or an extension of your existing deck by way of privacy fencing or a pergola.
No matter what you decide on for this deck addition, be sure to think it through, stay on budget and be creative.