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

Build a raised garden bed with no tools needed - The M Brace

Below is a video outlining how easy it is to build a raised garden bed without the need for tools. Simply add one M Brace at each corner, drop in and stack boards for the side walls and you're done! It's that simple. For more information on using M Brace for your next raised garden bed project, go to out this video on constructing a raised garden bed. read more

Build an outdoor sanctuary with birdbaths, stepping stones and more

When it comes to landscaping, customers want more than wood chips and plastic edging. Products from Outdoor Essentials transform ordinary lawns and gardens into appealing outdoor environments that homeowners love. Show them plenty of options, including Tiffany-style stepping stones and our newest offering—Square Tilestone jade stepping stone.Call in the songbirds with bird baths of serpentine jade. Dress up deck posts with elegant caps, also available in solar-powered versions to provide lighting after dark. Planter post caps provide a place for foliage atop any deck post. Outdoor Essentials... read more

Increase the value of your house by adding a deck

Americans will spend nearly $141 billion on remodeling in the first half of this year (2011), according to Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. And If you'll be among the many homeowners opting to improve, rather than relocating, you may be curious to see what renovations are likely to give you the best balance of enhanced resale value and immediate enjoyment.Whether you prefer pressure treated wood lumber or synthetic lumber, adding a deck is one of the best ways to improve resale value, expand your living space and up your enjoyment of your home environment. On average, homeowners who... read more

Raised Garden Bed - How to build a raised garden bed in three easy steps

Build a raised garden bed in just minutes with The M Brace system (4 brackets).Construct your raised garden bed in three simple steps:Cut the boards to desired length.Stack boards into the M BraceFill with soil and plant your gardenM Brace is made of recycled metal and is available in nine distinct designs and in two finishes—unfinished steel and antique bronze. Unfinished steel braces are designed to rust beautifully over time, or can be sprayed with a rust-inhibitor or custom painted. The antique bronze brace is powder-coated for a long-lasting finish. Sold in sets of four, each M Brace... read more

Deck lighting poll: What kind of deck lighting do you prefer?

Outdoor deck lighting is becoming more popular for both aesthetics and safety reasons. So if you have a deck or are considering building a deck, what kind of deck lighting would you be most interested in adding to your composite deck design or lumber deck design?Online Surveys & Market Research  read more

Post cap deck lights make perfect railing accents

Post cap deck lights are one of the most prominent deck enhancements available. Solar deck lighting accessories highlight the deck posts at the top and bottom of a stair rail and act as both a deck railing ornament and as a source of ambient light for composite lumber decks and treated lumber decks.Solar lighted post caps are much easier to install than wired low voltage deck lights as they do not require an electric outlet. Regardless of power source, both types of post and rail lighting help improve deck safety.Deck post cap lights are typically sold with wood, plastic or metal bases to fit... read more

How to hire the right deck builder for your decking or railing project

Adding or updating a deck to your home's outdoor living area can be a significant investment, so you’ll want to make sure you have a top notch deck builder working on your wood or composite decking project. It’s critical to make sure you hire a experienced, reputable contractor with a history of quality deck building and satisfied customers.Doing your homework will help make a good choiceGet recommendations from your friends, family and local lumberyard and then check in with the Better Business Bureau for a list of members in your area. Look for yard signs and see what work is underway in... read more

Bring your deck design ideas to life with the Deck Visualizer deck design software

Create the look of your dream deck in minutes with the latest deck design tool.The sky’s the limit with this new Deck Visualizer deck design software. The Deck Visualizer lets you explore your imagination by selecting from hundreds of decking and railing combinations, designed with two industry-leading brands in mind: Deckorators and Latitudes. Deck Visualizer deck design software lets your imagination take over. Simply select a deck scene, then begin to drag and drop (or click) endless combinations of decking and railing products to create your custom deck design. Along the way to your... read more

Using a hidden deck fastener system to achieve proper spacing for composite deck boards

If you're considering replacing / refacing your old worn out lumber deck boards with new composite deck boards, make sure you have proper board spacing based on the manufacturer's recommendations.When composite deck boards are not spaced correctly you’re setting yourself up for deck drainage issues, dirt and debris buildup and potential expansion/contraction problems, as deck boards expand and contract with changes in the temperature.One of the best solutions to achieve proper spacing on composite deck boards is to use a hidden fastener system to install your decking instead of deck screws.... read more

Popular products to consider when remodeling your deck

Whether you’re prepping your house for sale or just looking to make a change, nothing lends a splash of the new and different than remodeling or updating your deck. Real estate agents know how popular decks are with prospective buyers and few home renovations will get you a higher return on your investment dollar. And if you’re staying put, a remodeled deck breathes new life into the enjoyment of your home. If you're considering selling your home, check out one of my previous blog posts—How to make your deck and outdoor living area stand out when it's time to sell.Deck Railing IdeasConsider... read more

How to get rid of chalk lines on decking

Before you snap a single chalk line, make sure you've got the right type of chalk for the application. High permanence chalk lines will most likely discolor a composite deck or lumber deck surface, so I recommend using only dust off marking chalk (Irwin brand - purple is recommended by many deck builders). Never use permanent chalk to snap a line where you'll eventually be walking or where it will be viewable. If you accidentally snap a chalk line with a bright color or with a permanent chalk, immediately scrub the area with soap and hot water to help remove the stain. For stubborn chalk... read more

Deck railing options help transform your deck and outdoor living area

Transforming your deck into a one-of-a-kind outdoor living area can be as simple as updating your existing deck railing or installing unique balusters to the railing itself. When you decide to build a new composite lumber or pressure treated deck be sure to think about the type of material you desire for the railing and the style of baluster infill that will suite your needs. Deck railings are one of the most prominent parts of any deck, and today there are many unique deck rail options made from different material.Aluminum Deck RailingAluminum deck railing from Deckorators is strong, durable... read more

Benefits of LED deck lighting

Outdoor LED deck lighting offers several benefits. LED lighting improves visibility on and around the deck or patio, provides aesthetic benefits and uses less electricity than traditional wired deck lighting. Since LED deck lighting is low voltage, it’s a great way to make your deck area more functional without having to incur outrageous electricity costs. Most importantly, deck lighting helps to comply with various local building codes and reduce potential trip hazards.There are many additional benefits that come along with installing deck lighting. Installing deck lighting allows you to... read more

Universal drives Latitudes composite decking at U.S. Open, sponsors golf professional Richardson

Universal Consumer Products, a subsidiary of Universal Forest Products, Inc. and maker of Latitudes Composite Decking and Railing, announces that professional golfer Matt Richardson will be sponsored by the company and will promote its Latitudes brand during the 2010 U.S. Open golf tournament.A native of the United Kingdom, Matt Richardson qualified for the U.S. Open by shooting a 67 at the MetroWest Golf Club local qualifier in Orlando, Fla., on May 10. He followed up by shooting a 68, 69 in a 36-hole sectional qualifier at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Ore., on June 7.... read more

Deck Safety - Faulty connections can lead to deck collapse

A deck collapse that injured over 20 Washington and Lee University students at a Friday night party was apparently the result of the deck's "faulty attachment" to the house, according to a Rockbridge County (Lexington, VA) building inspector.With approximately 40 (some accounts are up to 80) students on the 440-square-foot lumber deck, the structure pulled away from the side of the house and collapsed. Dawn Watkins, dean of students at Washington and Lee, said school officials are already having discussions with landlords and city and county officials about "the minimum standards of... read more

May is deck safety month. Is your deck safe?

Your deck is the perfect place to enjoy the warm weather with family and friends. And an unsafe deck could possibly collapse, causing serious injuries to you and your guests.The number of deck failures and resulting injuries has been increasing at an alarming rate. Between 2000 and 2008, there were at least 30 deaths reported as a direct result of deck collapses, and more than 75 percent of people on a deck when it collapses are injured or killed. With 40 million decks in the United States that are more than 20 years old, it's important for homeowners to check their deck."The deck is the most... read more

Make an old deck look new again. Resurface, reuse.

The easiest way to renew your pressure treated wood deck is to thoroughly clean it of dirt and debris. Also, make sure all the lumber fasteners are countersunk into the surface. Scrub rust marks and stains from the surface, then sand down any visible imperfections in the wood deck surface with a portable walk behind sander. These deck sanders make quick work when sanding wood decks and can be rented from your local equipment rental outlet.If a board's appearance can’t be revived, consider flipping the board and using the other face. If rot has set in or a plank is split, then you should... read more

What type of decking material are you considering when building / remodeling your deck, porch or patio?

Online Surveys & Market Research read more

Top decking trends bring the inside out

As the economy starts to come back around, many remodelers and deck builders expect to see a significant up-tick in requests from homeowners who want a new deck or want to update an existing deck to an expansive outdoor living area. Architects, landscape designers and building professionals are among those who typically stay up-to-date with the hottest deck trends.Expansive, multi-feature decksmulti-level decks that allow homeowners to add separate areas for entertainingincorporating unique deck patterns, deck insets, benches, built-in planter boxes and grill kick outs to make an outdoor... read more

Universal Forest Products is the nation's leading manufacturer and distributor of wood and wood-alternative products to the retail building materials, industrial packaging/components, manufactured housing, residential construction and commercial construction & concrete forming markets.