Wood Deck Maintenance throughout the year

posted in: Deck Restoration | 0
Annual deck maintenance will forestall repairs, protect your investment, and boost your enjoyment of your outdoor space.

Mid-Spring & Mid-Fall:  Wash the Deck

An unwashed deck is an invitation to mold and mildew, which can cause rot.  Also could make the existing stain/seal to not last as expected.  Here’s how to wash your deck:

  1. Remove debris from between deck boards and all wood cut ends using a plastic putty knife. Pay special attention to the areas where deck boards cross the joists (structural members underneath the decking)
  2. Thoroughly sweep the deck with an average soft bristle broom
  3. Choose an appropriate cleanser. A mild detergent or deck cleaner works great.  Apply the cleaner with a garden sprayer evenly (not too much to take off the stain/sealer).  Then use a soft bristle and garden hose to clean off the dirty areas.  (BE CAREFUL NOT TO SCRUB TO HARD THAT YOU REMOVE THE STAIN/SELAER)

Mid-Summer:  Inspect and Repair your deck

When the weather is warm and dry, it’s a good time to give your deck’s structure a close inspection. Pay particular attention to any areas within 6 inches of the ground or close to sources of water, such as downspouts and planters.

  1. Look for signs of rot. “Nicely” Probe around the cut ends of the decking, railing, and railing posts.  You can use a screw driver and if it goes into the wood more than a ¼” or more, you probably have rot.  (DON’T PROBE INTO THE FINISHED AREAS OF THE BOARD OR YOU COULD SCRATCH OR DAMAGE THE SURFACE – JUST THE CUT ENDS)
  2. Inspect the ledger. Using a flashlight underneath your deck, pay special attention to the ledger board – that all-important piece of framing that attaches the deck to the house.  A damaged ledger is the cause of 90% of all deck collapses.
    1. Tip: The ledger should be attached with lag screws or ledge lockers, not just nails.
  3. Check remaining joists, posts, and beams. Check all hardware underneath and replace any that are seriously rusted.
  4. Check for cracks or rotten decking boards. Not all cracks are a structural threat.  Cracks in 4×4 or 6×6 structural posts naturally happen and is not a structural threat.  Also sometime in Joists.  When the treated materials dry, they will naturally crack.

Early Fall:  Preventive Measures

Preventive measures have many benefits in the condition and longevity of your deck

  1. Trim nearby Bushes and Trees. They need to be at least 12 inches from the deck to slow mold, moss, and rot
  2. Don’t let Leave and other debris pile up
  3. Move planters, chairs, and tables occasionally to avoid discoloring the decking. Keep nearby gutters and downspouts in good repair.

Deck in a Day – Time Lapse Video

My sister and her husband (Owner’s of Black Tie Creatives), whom does our marketing for Deck & Drive Solutions has been wanting a new deck. Since they do our marketing, it would be a great idea to build it for them and then they could do some cool video marketing. They choose to do a Time Lapse Video of us. Most of our team were available on a Sunday this Fall that we could go over to her house and build her deck in a day. We also had my sister and her husband (homeowners) help build their deck.  Also was great group activity to socialize and be productive. We have 2 crews to build our decks. The new deck was 16×16 built with Timbertech’s PVC Capped Composite Decking (Antique Palm) with Westbury Full Aluminum Railing with the optional Westbury Drink Rail. We started around 9:00 in the morning, had lunch, and then finished around 4:00 PM. The deck turned out great, my sister and her husband love the deck, and we all had a great time doing it!! Check out the new Video of 1 day of building a deck

Updated Timbertech Warranty – 30 Year Fade & Stain Warranty

Timbertech PVC Capped Composite Decking now has a 30 Year Fade & Stain Warranty!! The get better all the time!! Call for free estimates for your new Low-Maintenance Decking today @ (515)480-5593. www.deckanddrivesolutions.com and check out some of our past Timbertech Decks – then soon hopefully yours will be online too!!

Timbertech Certified – Gold Level – Quality Products

Timbertech Certified – Gold Level – Quality Products

Deck & Drive Solutions is now Gold Level Certified with Timbertech and Azek Products with PVC Capped Composite Decking, Full PVC Decking, and Railing. We have built many composite and low-maintenance decks and railings throughout the years and my personal favorite low maintenance decking is Timbertech. I am also a big researcher to find the best products to use on our projects. We work closely with Gilcrest Jewett in Waukee so we also know about material news before many. There are many different kinds of materials out there for decking, but I have my own expectations that I require before I trust a product. The materials that we put on our projects, I personally have done research and physically installed it in the past, so I can test the products out. I also check to see what new items are out there for fasteners or anything else to make a deck safer and/or to have a deck last longer. For the framing part of the deck projects, on average, we build above and beyond the building codes. It is nice that many of the building inspectors know who we are around the Des Moines Metro Area so we are able to get quick information when needed.

We stand on our craftsmanship for the construction of each project, as well as we work with only the materials that I am comfortable with.

Front Porch Railing – White Maintenance Free Options

Just last week I was asked about maintenance free front porch railing in the color of White and they wanted some options which there are many different railing styles and manufactures.  I usually show a client some pictures then have them meet me and my lumber man at my local lumber yard (Gilcrest Jewett – Waukee, IA).  For anyone else that is curious about a few “White” maintenance free railing opions which would look great on a front porch, I have created a list below of some styles and my opinions – of course it also depends on the style of house, but this is a basic list.

 

Westbury Railing

Full Aluminum Rail with Powder Coated Finish

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5-30-14_Mangold Deck_6

This is a full aluminum rail that is the most cost effective and most common for the low-maintenance of railing choices.  The above shows rail is the Westbury – Tuscany Style.  The other common style is the – Rivera.  The Rivera is a double top rail.  This brand of rail is a thinner rail with a 2″ wide top cap and 1″ square spindles.  This summer of 2014, Westbury came out with an add on for their top cap called a Drink rail.  This product screws on top of the existing railing and allows for a deck board of either composite or wood decking to be installed.  Which this choice and if you choose the Optional Drink Rail, keep in mind that a deck board will have to be chosen to be added to the top and there are not any white deck boards that is easily available.  Common colors available for the actual rail is the following:  White, Black, Bronze (Others are available for Special Order).

Westbury - Drink Rail Diagram Westbury - Drink Rail

 

Timbertech

PVC Capped Composite

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Timbertech - Evolution Radiance Rail

There are other railing types with Timbertech, but having the color white brings you down to fewer options.  This is Timbertech’s Evolution Radiance Rail.  This deck is used on front porches of many homes.  The only thing this rail does not qualify for everything you are looking for is the top cap is rounded instead of a flat “Drink Rail”.  I personally like this railing on the front of a house to give the house some style, but not so much on most rear decks.

composite standrd

Azek Reserve

Full PVC Rail

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Azek - Reserve White Composite

Timbertech and Azek combined companies last Winter.  Azek also makes PVC Trim for house’s as well.  This Azek Reserve railing comes in white, as well as has a flatter top rail (Enough to balance a Blue Moon®).  The spindles are 1.5″ wide so very similar to the wood spindles you currently have.  This is a very sharp looking railing and does not feel cheap like Vinyl or Plastic.  Depending with the style of your house and your own style, I would probably recommend this railing type.

Arbor_Silver-Oak_Premier_White_Lighting_High

Deckorator

Aluminum Rail with Baroque Spindles

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Deckorator - Aluminum Rail w Baroque Spindles

This rail is very customizable to the colors of the horizontal rails to the Colors and Styles of the Spindles.  This railing is more common for a deck instead of a front porch, but can be done.  This rail’s top cap “Beer Rail/Drink Rail” is a bit thinner but mostly flat.  It is about 2″ wide.  Mostly I use the Deckorator brand for the spindles, and very rarely for the actual rail and posts.  This is a sturdy rail, but there are construction connections that are more noticeable than the other railing choices.  But this is a fully customizable rail to get what every look your house is desiring.

 

If you want more information of different products or the ones that are listed for your own front porch.  Feel free to give me a call (Aaron) at (515)480-5593 or send me an email at aaron@deckanddrivesolutions.com

 

Thanks for reading my blog!!

Timbertech Certified – Quality Products

Timbertech Certified – Quality Products

Deck & Drive Solutions is certified by Timbertech Decking and Railing.  We have built many composite and low-maintenance decks and railings throughout the years and my personal favorite low maintenance decking choices are Timbertech and Gossen.  I am also a big researcher to find the best products to use on our projects.  We work closely with Gilcrest Jewett in Waukee so we also know about material news before many.  There are many different kinds of materials out there for decking, but I have my own expectations that I require before I trust a product.  The materials that we put on our projects, I personally have done research and physically installed it in the past, so I can test the products out.  I also check to see what new items are out there for fasteners or anything else to make a deck safer and/or to have a deck last longer.  For the framing part of the deck projects, on average, we build above and beyond the building codes.  It is nice that many of the building inspectors know who we are around the Des Moines Metro Area so we are able to get quick information when needed.

 

We stand on our craftsmanship for the construction of each project, as well as we work with only the materials that I am comfortable with.

Composite or Wood?  Myth-Busting Facts

Composite or Wood? Myth-Busting Facts

Myth:  Wood is “greener” than composite decking

Truth:  In many ways, composite decking is more eco-friendly than wood decking. The life cycle of composite is longer than wood, which minimizes the environmental impact.  Composite production requires less energy and water, which produces fewer emissions and makes use of recycled materials.  Your final, finished composite deck does not require harsh chemical treatments to maintain it from rot and stain, and it’ll last for many years. that durability means that less energy consumption, fewer resources required to replace and repair, and fewer discarded material in landfills.

Myth:  Composite fades and looks fake

Truth:  Like any other technology, composite decking has evolved from its 1st generation composite at the beginning.  Today’s composite deck material comes with many color and texture options that are fade resistant.  Wood has a unique grain design, and many composite materials now mimic the natural grain and beauty of natural wood.  Composite Decking can come in designs from classic to contemporary, even exotic hardwoods.  Another great spec with Composite the material is smooth and splinter-free!

Myth:  Composite decking is too expensive

Truth:  The initial price for composite material is relative to exotic hardwoods or more than pressure treated wood.  The longevity, durability, and low-maintenance requirements of composite mean it will actually cost less over its lifetime than natural wood.  Low-Maintenance materials eliminate the cost of sealing your deck each year, and its rot-resistant qualities greatly cut repair costs down over time.

 

Information gathered from the following website:

http://scoopsandiego.com/online_features/seasonal/composite-or-wood-myth-busting-facts-to-know-before-you/article_68744fa0-6da7-5257-b0f1-4b7fa4fa0144.html

Front Porch Living

With spring weather finally upon us, there are few better places to sit and relax than the front porch.  Now is the time to clean it up, add some furniture and colored pillows.  Also a fountain is a great touch!!

Our Family Work History

Our Family Work History

posted in: Build | 0

Harold Rouse, aka Junior (Dad) has built decks for many home builders and custom decks for home owners in the Des Moines area since about 1984.  Before the decks, he framed houses for home builders which he had gained connections with the home builders and lumber yards (Gilcrest Jewett) so he could easily transfer into the deck building industry.  A few of his home builders are the following:  Grubb, Drake Homes, Meadowbook Homes, Clark Homes, Hubbell Homes, and many more.  Harold has had 2 sons (Aaron and Chad).  Both sons grown up working on decks with their dad.  When Aaron graduated college, he went to an residential architectural firm (BSB Design) to design homes for Builders for the Dallas, TX Region and the Las Vegas, NV Region.  Aaron has worked for BSB Design for 7 years before he quit and started Deck & Drive Solutions to get back to his passion of Deck Design and Building.  Chad (Brother) has built decks with his Dad from a young age and is still building.

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Deck & Drive Solutions, LLC has used Aaron’s background for innovative ideas for the deck design/planning as well as the new and improved material choices.  Then we use our talent from years of building standard to complex custom construction skills to build the deck project.  We are licensed in the State of Iowa (C110184) and insured through Allied Insurance to provide coverage for our work, homeowner, and ourselves. We also have been recognized in local magazines, local contractors, local suppliers as well as from our material company (Timbertech Headquarters).  We take the highest care in the construction to be above standard of the building codes and the owner’s expectations.

Yearly Deck Maintenance Tips

Yearly Deck Maintenance Tips

Mid / Late Spring – Wash the Deck

Besides the deck looking dirty, one of the sure signs a deck needs a cleaning is a film of mold.  Left unchecked, the mold and dirt can trap moisture and start the rotting process.

Late Spring – Seal the Deck

The finish of your deck may be fading or chipping away.  This is natural because it is bare wood with a surface that sees the brunt of the harsh weather (Snow, Ice, Rain, Sun).  If your sealer or stain is obviously disappearing, now is a good time to wash and reseal your deck.

Mid Summer – Inspect and Repair your Deck

With the weather warm and dry, now is the perfect time to check for rotting.  Pay close attention to wood that is about 6 inches off the ground, close to your house or ground, and at the edges of the deck boards.

Areas of rot that are smaller than a silver dollar can be removed and then treated with a wood preservative, larger areas may need to have some wood replaced.

Early Fall – Preventive Measures

Now is the time to get tasks done that did not get done during the year.  Check the fasteners (Nails popping out), Wash and Seal your deck if it wasn’t completed and need to be done, and also check for rotting and loose boards.

New Deck Project – Part 4 – Lighting, Dry UnderDecking, Patios

Part 4: Lighting, Dry Under Deck, Patios

The final elements to consider for your deck project is Lighting, Under Decking Dry Space, and concrete patios and overlay.
If your deck is built with a stair system, take in consideration of a low-voltage stair riser lighting system. You will definitely want to make sure that you have enough light illuminating them so that they don’t become a danger zone. There is no better time to brighten up your property then when you’re building a new outdoor structure. If the area is not properly lit, flood lights or exterior low-voltage lights can provide you with late-night illumination and allow your family to enjoy the outside even after the sun has gone down.
Besides the obvious perks of additional lighting in your backyard, other lighting adds extra flair to your design, making it that much more attractive. Extra lighting options include low-voltage railing post lights, flush mount decking lights, and ground path lights.
Depending on your deck height, you may have an existing concrete patio with a sliding glass door for your basement under your deck. Often times, people have their furniture and outdoor living areas on their deck and they they don’t utilize the already existing concrete patio off their basement door. If a homeowner would like a dry place to go when it is raining or a cool shaded area in the day, using a patio under a deck is a great option. Under Deck Dry Systems is a great option that is added under a built deck, which allows rain runoff from the deck to slope to a gutter system and transfer to the ground by giving a dry area so friends and family can still be outside during a rain system. On hot days, the dry system also allows an outdoor ceiling fan that can be installed for a breeze while in the shade. This will give more time throughout the year to enjoy the outdoors (Rain or Heat).
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