Top outdoor living and garden features for 2011

Top outdoor living trends for 2011 A survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects finds that light and fire are now the most sought-after enhancements for an outdoor living area. Fencing, arbors, and pergolas are the most popular structures, with decks (synthetic decking, lumber decking among others) ranking near the middle. Homeowners want function, efficiency and fire pits in their outdoor space, according to the 2011 American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Residential Trends Survey. The survey asked residential landscape architecture professionals to rate the expected... 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

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

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

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

How to stabilize your deck railing with crush blocks

Crush blocks are important support pieces that fit snugly between the bottom section of your deck railing and deck surface. These blocks are used to support composite / synthetic wood railing, PVC railing, wood railing and many other deck railing material to keep the rail section from sagging and possibly warping over time. Crush blocks are often made from leftover deck building material like 2x2 composite decking pieces, aluminum balusters, square aluminum balusters or treated lumber. You can also cut a piece of 5/4x6 decking and stand it on end under the bottom rail of a deck... 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

Investing in outdoor living

For the past decade, homeowners have been investing more in their decks and outdoor living areas, adding on products like synthetic decking, fiber cement siding or new roofing. And not surprising, studies are reflecting changes to what many call investment improvements. In some areas, outdoor living improvements have matched or exceeded popular kitchen or bathroom projects. Exterior replacement projects, which peaked in 2005, have made their way to the top of the rankings; and now they occupy the majority of the top spots in terms of cost recouped. One reason is that curb appeal influence... 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

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

Care and cleaning for composite decking

Since composite wood decking is low maintenance, periodic washing with soap and water will remove surface dirt and chalk that accumulate on the composite deck surface. This will also prevent the buildup of pollen and debris that can cause mold and mildew growth. Pressure washers (with fan-tip nozzle) should be used for wetting and rinsing only. Pressure washers should not be used to “blast off” soiling agents; attempting to do so can drive the dirt deeper into the composite deck boards. In most cases, applying the cleaning agent with a pump sprayer and scrubbing thoroughly with a synthetic... read more

Simple steps for cleaning a wood deck

Cleaning a pressure treated wood deck properly is pretty simple, but make sure you follow the basic steps outlined below. Following these steps will ensure the surface is cleaned properly to help bring out the natural beauty of the wood.Maintain a healthy looking deck by cleaning and sealing it periodically will defend the surface against the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, water from snow, rain and dew. This is especially true with untreated wood.Tools and chemicals used to clean a wood deck include:• Broom• Hose with spray nozzle• Power washer (wide fan nozzle-40 to 60 degree tip) • Stiff... 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.