Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas for Deck-Lovers

  Top photo: Nate Salnick - 2011 Best Deck Contest Entry It may be cold and snowy out there, and parents may be busier thinking about their Elf on the Shelf’s next escapade rather than how to set a pretty dining table for their first barbeque next summer, but true die-hard deck-lovers dream of their outdoor living space all year round. Therefore, why not give the gift of anticipation during the darkest time of the year and bring a little taste of summer’s warmth of into their lives this holiday season? Some of the best gift ideas for the deck-lovers in your life include: Gifts for serving food... read more

Creating Cozy, Outdoor Conversation Nooks

  Finding the right feng shui for your deck can sometimes be a tricky business, because ultimately, you want your outdoor living space to offer at least a few different cozy seating areas for conversation. Achieving a comfortable balance between all your various deck features is key. After considering where to cook, dine, perhaps where to roast marshmallows or where to put your hot tub, you may be left wondering where you can simply snuggle into a couple of comfy chairs or a pair of soft chaises to relax with your family, a neighbor, a good book or a glass of wine. Here’s where the phrase... read more

Tips for accessorizing a deck on a budget

Building a deck from scratch or remodeling an existing deck with new railing? There are plenty of ways to make your wood deck or composite wood deck stand out—and it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.Here's a short list of cool and unique ways to make your deck area pop without breaking the bank:add unique features to railing with decorative post caps or postcoversincorporate metal or glass baluster infills to your deck railbuilt in bench seatingincorporate deck stone transitionsinstall low-voltage or solar deck lightingplace colorful plants on your deck and stairsincorporate colorful... read more

Great decks start with solid deck plans

Building a deck and going on vacation have at least one thing in common: upfront planning leads to fun and relaxation. Don’t fall prey to disappointment and additional expense by failing to consider the details. Below are some of the items you need to consider when planning a deck.Local codes and requirementsHave you checked the local building codes? Have you followed sound building practices? Does your neighborhood owners association have special requirements? Few things are more troublesome than having to redo work because some building requirement was overlooked.How will you use your... read more

Update your deck or patio with tropical hardwood Ipe deck tiles

Thinking about remodeling or resurfacing your deck or patio? Interlocking deck tiles are rapidly becoming one of the easiest ways to do so, especially because these modular wood tiles are able to be installed by almost anyone.How to install deck tilesStart by clearing your deck or patio of debris and furniture. If installing on an existing wood deck surface, replace any rotted or warped deck boards and make sure there are no protruding nails or screws. The surface your tiles will be installed on should be as flat and level as possible to prevent the tiles from shifting.Once your surface... read more

Accoya-clad home wins awards in green housing competition

The University of Florida recently entered their Project RE:FOCUS home in the Solar Decathlon Europe 2010 competition in Madrid Spain. The Project RE:Focus home blended innovative architecture with sustainable materials to create a zero-energy home. With a nod to Cracker House design prevalent in the late 19th century Florida, the Project RE:Focus home used innovative Accoya® wood solar screens to control solar gain in the home. The Accoya wood screens were supplied and machined to spec by Universal Forest Products. A unique feature of the Accoya solar screens is its ability to appear as a... read more

How to clean and maintain composite decking and railing

Spring is the start of the outdoor living season when homeowners begin to get their deck or patio ready for outdoor entertaining. Here are some general tips for cleaning your composite deck along with types of cleaning agents best suited for washing composite decking materials.Wash and rinse your deckStart cleaning your composite decking by washing with soapy water. Start at the top of the deck railing and work your way down to the composite deck surface. It's necessary to remove the dirt and chalking that accumulates on the composite deck surface. This will also prevent the build-up of pollen... read more

Save time and money by refacing your deck surface

Exposed decks take a beating from Mother Nature, and general wear and tear from moving outdoor furniture around, kids playing and occasionally the family pet. Whether your deck has constant sun beating down on its surface or you live in an area that typically gets a lot of rain or has harsh winters, your wood deck boards may wear faster than expected and become unsightly or even dangerous to walk on. Provided your deck structure (framework underneath decking boards) is solid and up to code, consider refacing / replanking the surface (deck boards)—It's more cost-effective and most DIYers... read more

Keeping your deck safe

May is Deck Safety Month; so before you get the deck furniture out of storage, give your deck a thorough inspection. Grab a pen and notepad and take your time inspecting and documenting trouble areas that need repair or need to be inspected by a professional. Common deck problems include:• Loose railings and balusters• Missing or loose connections• Corroded fasteners • Wood rot• Warped and cracked wood• Nail and screw pops• Insect infestation• Mold and mildew growthFor a comprehensive deck safety checklist visit NADRA (North American Deck and Railing Association) Web site. Most experts agree... read more

Common deck cleaning chemicals

Whether cleaning pressure treated wood decking or synthetic / composite decking material, many of the same cleaning agents are effective on both surface types.Many deck wash/cleaners contain sodium percarbonate and a detergent, which works well on normal dirt and grime and bleaches out mold and mildew stains. An oxygen bleach-based formula is another great alternative. It's effective in removing mildew stains and the weathered grey residue from UV (sunlight) degradation. Both cleaners are environmentally safe and will not harm plants or animals, damage wood's cell structure or leave a... read more

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