Accent Deck Design

Decks and Balconies 6 95 800 650 80Decks can play a great role in promoting your business. You can decide to have decks built into different sizes where they will offer you enough space to do things like display the samples of all the items that you are selling. After people know about your products, they will end up referring others to your business, which in the long run will lead you to performing better than your competitors. In order to ensure the deck that you are going to build is able to serve you satisfactorily, you should hire a professional with great experience to build it for you. Accent Deck of Austin is always an excellent choice. Here are common uses of decks for businesses:

Entertaining Clients

In order to help potential clients develop great interest in you and your products, a way to entertain them is key. There are different types of entertainment which you can use to attract potential customers. In order to ensure you are using the right form of entertainment, you should study the interests of your customers and design for them an entertainment that will best suit them. If possible you should carry out surveys to familiarize yourself with the preferences of the customers.

Hosting Product Parties

Decks for businesses will form the best platforms to host product parties. After hosting the product parties, more people will know about the products that you are offering. This will in return reflect positively on the overall profit which you will make. The deck will pay for itself in no time! While holding product parties on the deck, you should have samples of the products so that your potential customers can get a feel for them to develop more interest.

Decks and Balconies 3 92 800 650 80A balcony could be the perfect place for you to get out of the house and watch what is happening in the surrounding world. It will also become the best place for basking in the sun. It can be made from different materials and designs. If you build a house, then you will have to specify the type of balcony which you would like to have so that the professionals deliver the best balcony for you to enjoy. Here are some tips to help you in choosing the perfect balcony:

Take into consideration the Size

Balconies can be built in different sizes, depending on the size of your family. You should talk to the contractors about the size of the balcony which would work best for you. A balcony which is big enough can accommodate potted flowers, outdoor furniture and even a grilling area!

Shape

Balconies can be built to configure to any style home.  As far as resale value goes, many buyers admire and appreciate unique additions and styles.

Materials Used

There are many types of materials that can be used in building your balcony. Chat with a professional to decide on the best material to use in insuring your balcony stays beautiful as well as strong and safe. Just ask the experts at Accent Decks in Austin, and they will share their expertise to find what balcony is best suited to your family and budget.

1580 101413 gs1580It does not matter how big or small your deck is you can always save on space by incorporating creative storage solutions for your outdoor tools and accessories. When installing these storage solutions, make sure to keep the overall décor in mind. Below are tips for some great storage options:

Under the Deck Storage

Growing families require more and more space for storage and this usually calls for renovations aimed at creating additional spaces to store household items. The area under your deck can be a great place for storage when and properly converted can offer storage space for bulky items such as grills, furniture, sprinklers, bikes, cushions and even lawn mowers. This storage space is also convenient since most of the items stored here are usually made for outdoor activities. So as to keep runoffs at bay, you need to construct a simple and sloped drainage system.

Bench Storage

The bench storage can provide ample space to store patio seat cushions, toys as well as garden supplies. The bench storage can be made in a pattern that complements the décor of your deck area. The lid can be used as a surface for seating or serving thereby make the storage serve an extra purpose which adds to its utility. Because of the elements, the material used to make the bench storage should be weather resistant. Where applicable, you can make this storage lockable so as to safeguard the items stored inside.

Pegboard to Hang Tools

This is a familiar storage solution in indoor spaces such as kitchens and garages. However its use in the deck area has not been as readily used. To capitalize on this storage option, you can hang it on a wall somewhere on your deck to serve as a storage space for garden and barbecue tools.

These are some of the solutions that can give you extra space to store your equipment and other outdoor items to avoid overcrowding your deck. And if you would like assistance with your deck storage then do not hesitate to contact the professionals at Accent Deck Design, in Austin, Texas.

Decks and Balconies 11 100 800 650 80Decks are excellent outdoor spaces to entertain and relax. Due to their exposure to the elements and constant foot traffic, your deck will eventually show significant signs of wear, and requiremaintenance to keep it in good shape. Staining your deck can revive its beauty and keep it protected from deterioration. Below are some tips for picking out stain color and applying it to your deck:

Picking the Color

There are various types of colors that you can use to paint your deck, depending on your taste and preference. When choosing the color, you need to bear in mind the harmony between the exterior of your home and the deck area. There needs to be continuity that blends the deck to the surrounding area. Stains allow most of the wood texture and grain to show through which can create an artistic impression. You can also choose semi-transparent stains that impart color on the surface of the wood while at the same time exposing the wood grains to be seen. Solid colors create a rich and vibrant opaque finish that hides the wood grain completely.

Test Out the Stain Color on a Small Surface

Every stain color must be tested on a surface before it is applied to a wide area. You can try it out on an inconspicuous area of your deck so as to see how it will appear before staining the entire deck. If you don’t like what you see, you can remove the color using a deck stripper instead of sanding it to maintain evenness on the deck surface.

Apply the Stain

If you like the color after testing, you can start applying it onto the rest of the surface. You can start by coating the boards’ open end grain before brushing them one at a time starting from one end to the other in smooth strokes. So as to avoid lap marks, ensure that the leading edge is always kept wet. If your deck is new, only apply a single coat of oil-based finishes.

Remember that over-applying the stain may cause it to crack or peel when exposed to the elements, which will leave you back where you started. And if you would rather have professionals take care of the stainjob for you then contact Accent Deck Designs in Austin, Texas.

Decks and Balconies 7 96 800 650 80When designing your deck, one of the factors that you need to consider is the harmony between the deck and your home exterior. This harmony can be attained in several ways, depending on your creativity and imagination. The layout, stain color, railings, and other accessories you incorporate can spruce up your deck area as well as compliment your home exterior. Below are some ideas to achieve a coordinating look:

The Importance of Color

Your choice of deck colors will determine the balance between your deck area and your home. While there should be some contrast between your deck and your home, because you don’t want everything the same color, you still do have to make sure that the color of your deck coordinates with your home’s color. You can also incorporate colors right from your backyard and extend them onto your deck.

The Décor

There are several ways you can decorate your deck so as to blend with your home exterior. You can design a multitier deck that has different zones for conversation, dining as well as other outdoor activities. In addition, you can furnish the deck with stylish and comfortable accessories so as to create a relaxed atmosphere. Shading the deck area with an umbrella can also create an outdoor charm.

Deck Accents

Your deck can be an inviting destination for family and friends to mingle, relax, and enjoy the outdoors. To make this happen, you can incorporate a fine assortment of deck accents including both fun and functional pieces that complement your home exterior. Some of the accents you can use are patio furniture sets, benches, potted plants, or a fire pit, just to name a few.

Flowing Deck Designs

You can transform your deck from an ordinary space into a heavenly retreat using flowing deck designs such as outdoor kitchens, beautiful lighting, fireplaces and pergolas. In addition to bridging with your home exterior, this design will add life into your outdoor environment.

A well done deck area will make your home attractive and transform your outdoor space into an area that you long to sit and relax. And if you would like assistance with designing an amazing outdoor deckspace then contact Accent Deck Design, in Austin, Texas, who would be happy to assist you.

6359-101413-gs6359When rebuilding your current deck or constructing a new one altogether, you will realize that there are a wide range of options, particularly when it comes to the materials. Some common options are synthetic materials, pressure treated wood and tropical hardwood. The options widely available are discussed further below.

Synthetic Decking Options

There are many different types of decking material options in this category. Synthetic materials vary in costs and require low-maintenance. Synthetics are made available in an assortment of textures, finishes and tones thus giving them the appearance of natural wood. These decking materials deliver convenience and they do not degrade or splinter over time like wood does. Unlike natural wood, synthetic materials are not heat-absorbing. As a result, they stay cooler to the touch and your bare feet. This makes them an excellent choice as either spa or pool decks.

Pressure-treated Wood

Options and quality of pressure-treated wood varies from one region to another. Quality and nature of treated wood you choose to use largely determines splintering, warping and splitting that can occur. Certain procedures are applied to reduce shrinkage and swelling thus making the product more consistent. This material option is an economical one, although it requires routine maintenance to keep it durable and appealing.

Exotic Hardwoods

Ipe is a popular choice of exotic hardwood material commonly used. It is more expensive when compared to pressure-treated woods, but is well worth the money, as it makes your decking space look exotic and appealing. Exotic hardwoods deliver high-end decks that are both aesthetically appealing and highly durable. Decking rails made of exotic woods can easily last 50 years, and oiling is not necessary to make it last longer although it can be done to preserve color.

It is advisable that you pick decking options based on your needs and the quality you desire. You can also learn more about different deck designs by contacting a professional in the field, like someone at Accent Decks in Austin.

Decks and Balconies 1-90-800-650-80Despite their long lasting nature, composite decks need proper care so their aesthetic appeal is fully enhanced. If you need one installed, Accent Deck Design in Austin Texas can install it for you. Composite decks are high performing products so semiannual cleaning with gentle pressure or soap and water-or a combination of both-is enough to keep them clean. Being outdoor fixtures, they have various cleaning issues and these require specific treatments. The issues with cleaning composite decks are:

  • Dirt and debris
  • Oil and grease stains
  • Water spots
  • Mold, rust stains and other stubborn spots
  • Chalk lines

Dirt and Debris on Composite Decks

Use a leaf blower once a week to effectively eliminate dirt and debris from your deck. In extreme circumstances,like where the debris leaves spots on the deck, gentle scrubbing with warm water and mild soap should be adequate.

Oil and Grease Deck Stains

Use dishwashing detergents to remove the stains as soon as you notice them. Do however take care to thoroughly rinse off the detergent from the deck surface with hot water. Stains that have sat for a few hours will however require oil stain removers.

Water Spots

Composite decks contain wood as such can show stains. It is advisable to leave the stains for a while as the deck weathers naturally. Cleaning can then be done with deck brighteners that contain oxalic acid.

Mold, Rust Stains and Stubborn Spots on Composite Decking

Rust stains and stubborn spots can be effectively eliminated also by using those deck brighteners containing oxalic acid. Mold on the other hand responds well to bleach based brighteners. These brighteners may however leave your deck looking lighter, but this is only temporary. To get long lasting results, it is wise to use inhibitors after applying bleach.

Chalk Lines

Chalk lines are often a result of a composite deck installation. They can be scrubbed off using hot water and soap. You can add bleach to your cleaning water if you encounter stubborn chalk lines.

Handling scratches and abrasions the correct way, as well as removing ice and snow using appropriate tools also constitute proper care for composite decks.

Pergoals in Austin 2-2-800-650-80The pergola is a structure that can either be attached to the house or be free-standing. Accent Deck Design in Austin, TX offers pergolas in various fashions so you’ll find what you want. When choosing a good place for a pergola, there are various factors that you need to take into consideration to ensure that you make the right choice. They include:

1.Use: Pergolas that are attached to the house are usually used as small porches where you can entertain the guests and have barbecues. The lone-standing structures that are found in gardens can be used for weddings or for relaxation. The use you intend to have for the pergola will go a long way in determining where to place it.

2. Size: The size of the pergola you are going to construct is very important. Since it is a rectangular structure, you need to ensure that the place you have chosen will accommodate the expected length and width of the structure. If you are going to build a pergola attached to the house, then its measurements will be affected by the size of the wall of the house.

3. Style: There are different styles of pergolas available. Some of these pergolas may therefore take up more space than others. If you are constructing a pergola, you should choose a place where you think you will have enough space to construct the specific design that you want.

4. Roofing: The roofing that you are going to use on your pergola will also help determine the place where you should construct it. Trees lose leaves and if your pergola is within the vicinity of any trees, the roof may start experiencing problems after a while. You should therefore look for an area that is free from huge trees or falling water like next to a shed or beside a fountain that may affect it. An open place would be great.

178-1013-A0180Deck lights can have a beautiful impact on your deck. They also help to increase the safety level for you and your guests. These diverse features will enable you to spend more time on your deck, even during late hours. Accent Deck Design in Austin, TX offers beautiful decks that you can easily enhance with gorgeous lighting.

Different Types of Deck Lighting

1. Accent Deck Lights

The light that comes from these accent features is focused downwards. They are particularly useful to people who want to highlight some of their outdoor features like fountains, trees or statues. You can also create a decorative ambience with colored accent deck lights. In most cases, they are installed on posts and railings. In addition, accent deck lights help to enhance outdoor safety and the ambiance of your deck.

2. Recessed Deck Lights

This type of deck lighting is installed at the lowers levels to provide upward illumination. They are installed in different parts of the deck floor to ensure they sit evenly with surrounding surface. You can install recessed lights on pavers, in deck floor boards and beneath seating areas. Recessed deck lights are also available in a wide variety of styles and materials.

3. Post Deck Lights

Post deck lights are placed on top of posts and rails located along the deck. They are usually larger than other types of deck lights. This is because they are designed to cast a light on a wider radius. In addition, post deck lights help to clearly define the entrance area of your deck by illuminating the surrounding area.

4. Stair Deck Lights

If you wish to enhance the look of your deck steps, it’s probably best that you consider using stair deck lights. You can mount them onto the vertical risers of your stairs. These lights promote safety and this in turns increases walking safety during the night. Stair deck lights are normally small in sizes and come in a wide variety of shapes and styles.

4997-101413-gs4997There are various types of decking materials available today including wood, plastic, composite and aluminum. However, these materials vary greatly in terms of structural stability, durability, cost and maintenance requirements. Accent Deck Design in Austin, TX carries a wide range of deck designs, styles, and materials to help you get what you desire. Below are some of the material options available on the market for deck installations.

1. Composite decking

Composite decking is mainly made of a blend of natural wood and synthetic materials (plastic). Besides being environmentally friendly, a composite deck looks virtually the same as a wooden deck but with lower maintenance needs and extra strength. They are available in various textures and colors and are very good at withstanding natural elements such as snow and rainfall.

2. Wood Decks

The popularity of wood as a decking material can be attributed to its natural beauty and durability. Moreover, wood is very versatile because it can be stained and painted in any preferred color or even to match the surrounding area. Most wooden decks require a seasonal cleanup and maintenance in order to maintain their strength and durability. Pressure treated pine, cedar, redwood and tiger wood. However, the type of wood also has an impact on the cost and durability of the deck.

3. Aluminum Decks

Aluminum decks come in panels that are designed to be joined to each other side by side making the deck very easy to install. Aluminum has a very sleek and modern look that will most certainly boost the aesthetic appeal of the home. Although it is the most expensive option, it is highly durable with minimal maintenance requirements. However, an aluminum deck shows dirt quite fast and it might be necessary to clean the surface using a high pressure sprayer several times per year. Aluminum decks are also susceptible to dents and it is necessary to avoid hitting or knocking them.

Although choosing the ideal decking material comes down to personal needs and desires, understanding these factors is vital, especially when it comes to making an informed and confident decision.

2122350-gazebo-040214-2143If you are looking for a simple way to brighten up the decking and other outdoor areas of your home, solar lighting is an option to consider. If you need more than just simple enhancements to revive your deck or other outdoor area, Accent Deck Design in Austin, TX can help. Aside from that, solar lighting can make these places more accessible in the evening darkness and they have decorative and practical applications that are worth exploring.

Solar Light Options

Anyone considering the use of solar lighting on a patio, porch, or other outside location around their property can choose from a variety of styles. Some of the common options available include the following:

· Solar Decking Lights: These are usually round or square units that are intended to be installed in wooden decking applications so the light sits flush with the surface. The usual method is to place them around the edge to show the extent of the decking. This makes them a practical feature that lights up the area for use and also provides additional safety in darkness by showing where the edge of a decked area is.

· Solar Path Lights: This style is a solar light fitted into or on top of a small post. They typically have a spike base that can be pushed in the ground to set the light in place and can be put along either side of a deck or other pathway to make it easier to see at night. This provides an attractive look, as well as making it safer to use the outdoor area.

· Solar Ornament: It is possible to find garden ornaments and statues that are fitted with solar lights. These can provide an attractive feature for any outside area, with options that include lighthouses, animals, and globes being that are especially popular.

· Solar Spotlight: A way to pick out an attractive feature in your garden at night is to install one or more solar spotlights. These can be set up with the light trained on a plant, fountain, or wooden deck to highlight the beauty during hours of darkness.

Benefits of Solar Lights

There are a number of benefits to using solar lights in outdoor areas. Ease of installation is the main advantage, as there is no need to dig up areas to install electric cables. The unit is simply placed in a location where it will get enough sunlight during the day to charge up so that it works during the night. It is possible to use styles that are manually operated, although many solar deck and garden lights can be set to automatically come on when it gets dark and switch off again in the morning. They are easy to maintain and once set in place, they should continue working without requiring much attention.

For these benefits and the attractive look they can bring to your home, solar lights are definitely an outdoor design feature to consider. 

Pergoals in Austin 1-1-800-650-80An outdoor arbor will play a great role in making your flowers stay in position. Accent Deck Design in Austin, Texas offers many pergola styles to choose from if you need one installed because the old one just don’t look alive anymore. Sometimes, rain water or outdoor heat can affect the appearance of the arbor. It may become loose or even unappealing. For you to revive it so that it will stay attractive in your landscaping area, you should ensure the arbor is well maintained. This means that you need to make surethat it is well painted and that there is no developing mold or mildew which can end up damaging wood. Here are simple ways on how to revive an outdoor arbor.

Fix the Arbor Stands Firmly

First, you need to check the stands and ensure that they are strong enough to bear the weight of the arbor itself and the flowers which it may have supported. In case you notice the stands are not strong enough, you’ll need to fix them firmly into the ground. This is necessary for you to avoid cases where the arbor will fall due to strong winds in your yard.

Sand the Wood

The wood used in a making the arbor may develop stains thatcan turn it ugly. For you to easily revive the great appearance of the arbor, you need to use sand paper and sand off the wood surface. This will take some time, but it will really improve the overall appearance.

Color the Arbor

In order to ensure the arbor stays attractive, you need to color it. The best paint for you to use is a paint that is oil based. This is necessary for you to avoid cases where the paint will be dissolved, cracked, or peeled by Mother Nature. In case you are not sure which type of paint to use, you can always ask the experts. You should also choose the right color of paint in order to achieve a great appearance within your exterior space.

2122370-gazebo-and-villa-040214-2147For most homes, the pergola is usually one of the most impressive outdoor structures that you will see there. It is where most people like to relax and enjoy themselves. Accent Deck Design in Austin, Texas has several styles and can install one if you need it. But if your pergola is old and you are rethinking of renewing it, you need to look at a couple of things before you decide what to do next.

1. Cost: This is the most important element because it determines what sort of renovations you can afford to carry out. First ensure that you prepare a budget of how much you expect you are going to use so that you can be able to plan accordingly. You should, however, keep in mind that you get what you pay for and cheap in most cases is usually expensive.

2. Professional Help: It is important to note that some people have been in the pergola industry for a long time and they may haveexperience that you are lacking in certain fields. They will provide ideas and tips that you can employ when renewing your outdoor pergola. This will make it much easier for you to execute a plan of action.

3. Design: The reason why you are renewing your pergola is probably because you want to change the design of it. Conduct extensive research before settling on a new design. This will help you select a style that you are comfortable with and one that will get you value for your money.

4. Size: When renewing your outdoor pergola you may decide to change its size so as to make it larger. This is usually the case, especially when the pergola was initially constructed as attached to the home. When moving it from the wall, you have to create new space where you are going to modify your outdoor pergola. It should be away from trees since the leaves may damage the roof.

cleanerIt is always necessary to clean and revive your outdoor wooden deck. If it is beyond repair, Accent Deck Design in Austin, TX can install a new on for you and customize it to suit your needs. Regardless, cleaning is needed in order to have that beautiful outdoor area where everyone can relax. First, you need to learn about the possible damages to a wooden deck. For the wood to last a longer period of time, you need to avoid the development of stagnant water on the surface, which will lead to mold, mildew, and rot. Here are simple steps for you to clean and revive your outdoor wooden deck:

Removing Surface Stains from the Wooden Deck

For you to easily get rid of the surface dirt, such as debris and surface dirt that may have developed on the wooden deck, you need to remove deck accessories like deck benches, chairs, grills, plants, and other removable items. After you remove those items, you will need to use a blower to clean all the dirt from the surface.

Check on the Decking Screws

After some time has passed, the decking screws may start come up. For you to fix them you need remove the screws and refasten them. This doesn’t always happen, but should be kept in mind. Sometime, they just sink as the wood expands and contracts. After tightening the decking screws you will avoid accidents that may be caused by protruding heads.

Dislodge Any BuiltUp Dirt from the Boards

The boards on your deck may develop dirt in between the gaps. For you to get rid of that problem, you need to take a knife and scrape in between the boards. This is a simple trick that will enable you get rid of all the dirt that may have developed in between more easily.

Replace Any Damaged Boards

After a long time of usage, the boards may get worn out. In order to revive the look of your wooden deck, you need to check the boards and replace them if necessary.

A beautiful outdoor area brings visual appeal to any property.  Often though, the prospect of caring for these spaces can be a bit of a deterrent.  Building a composite deck is a way for anyone to add a comforting area to the home or business and have little to no maintenance to do. 

Composite Decks Are Truly Trouble Free

While there are many benefits to adding any type of deck to your home or business like increased property value, additional living space, and improved curb appeal, there are some advantages specific to building a composite deck that makes them trouble free and easy to care for including:

  • Fast and Easy Installation
  • No Painting or Sealing required
  • No Repainting or Resealing required
  • No Color Fading, Except a Barely Noticeable Initial Fade
  • No Split Boards
  • No Warping
  • No Rotting

Qualities like these make composite decks the best choice for many customers, simply because their new outdoor getaway will be even more relaxing and more valuable if it doesn’t require that extra work and maintenance!

New Options Make Composite Decks Stylish Too

In the past, there weren’t many choices for composite decking, except white or brown boards.  However, that’s not the case anymore.  There are different wood grain patterns to choose from, various colors to pick, and even different board widths to select. 

You can now also find a range of different decorative accent pieces for your composite project, including items like posts, handrails, balusters, corbels, and much more.  This allows for very elaborate designs while still having all the benefits of a composite deck.

Building a composite deck has many different benefits for your residential or commercial property and, it’s sure to provide you with years of trouble-free style.

Here at Accent Deck Design, we’ve been designing and building hardscaping features like patios, balconies, arbors, and decks in Austin, Texas and the surrounding communities for over 20 years. During this time we’ve had the opportunity to work on a wide range of different projects, including a variety of fine custom homes - and even the diving platforms at The University of Texas!

Accent Deck Design is a Fully Accredited Business Providing More Than Just a Deck

As a result of our experience, when you hire Accent Deck Design for your project, you can be sure we’ll be able to create a beautiful, custom design for your central Texas property and construct it with the highest quality materials and craftsmanship possible.

Our years of experience mean that all of us here at Accent Deck Design understand exactly what it takes to get your project done, and done right the first time!

We Have Many Deck Designs to Inspire Your Own

You’ll find that because we’ve been building decks for more than 20 years we also have a variety of custom deck designs to inspire you and show you the endless array of possibilities available. At the same time, we have the knowledge to guide you toward that perfectly unique design that will work the best for your property.

Any Austin, Texas Hardscaping Project is Possible with Accent Deck Design

No project is ever too big or too small. Whatever type of hardscaping features your outdoor area needs, we are here to help. We offer items like decks, arbors, pergolas, privacy screens, balconies, and any other feature you can imagine.

Nothing improves the appearance and functionality of a house exterior more than an expertly designed and hand-crafted deck construction or patio enclosure. A professional deck contractor such as James at Accent Deck Design can provide you with a custom deck plan sure to enhance the outside of your home; at the same time meeting your individual needs and tastes. So, will having a nice deck on your property bring you buyers in a selling market? Well, deck additions score heavily in increased property values, so the answer is yes. Most buyers looking for a home will enjoy having some extra “entertaining” space outdoors, and if their final choice was between two comparable homes, and one had a beautiful deck, then you know which one they’d pick.

Stripping, staining, and finishing with new technology deck products will also bring new life to any existing deck. So if you already have a deck in “not-so-good” shape, then think about maybe adding to it, and cleaning it up really nice. We have links to some very good deck finishers on our website.

When building a deck most people build it along the back of their home for easy access to their backyard. After all, that’s where most of the fun happens, and nobody likes to miss out.

Decks are especially fun if you have quite a sloped lot. A custom deck can be built to take advantage of a view that maybe wasn’t visible from the sloping lot before. And then, all of a sudden you have this “new” incredible view, up in the tree tops perhaps. Decks also make a great “sunning” area for us humans, and even those 4 legged little darlings, they also create a fantastic “eating” area. A perfect way to invite friends over to break in that new patio.

You won’t be sorry when you’ve finally made that big investment to build your deck.

Our customer asked us to build a privacy area for their spa. We used bamboo materials, and the finished area looked fantastic. We can use various materials to build a privacy screen, just ask us.

After we finish installing a beautiful new deck, or other structure on your property, you need to start taking care of it.
Morning dew, rainwater and melting ice or snow are quickly absorbed by unprotected wood, causing it to soften and swell. Direct exposure to the sun’s heat causes drying, which makes wood shrink. Continuous cycles of wet and dry, swelling and shrinking, cause wood to warp, split, crack and check – all of which lead to premature wood degradation and expensive repairs.

New, unprotected wood is also subject to surface graying caused by constant exposure to the sun’s ultra-violet rays. Constant moisture exposure creates conditions for the growth of mildew, mold, algae and other fungal organisms that thrive on wood, eventually spreading across and staining the surface. Termites and other wood boring insects also use wood for a food source, causing ultimate wood rot and decay.

Now don’t let this chore scare you, but after adding such major improvement to your home, and adding to your home’s value, don’t skip on the upkeep. There are plenty of experts specialized in taking care of your deck, or other structure, for you. Or if you are handy, you can buy plenty of fantastic products at your local hardware store, and do it yourself.

If you need a referral in your area, please contact me, and I’d be happy to discuss it with you.

Remodelers can transform a dull backyard into an exciting entertainment and play space by designing and installing a new deck. New decking products are easy to install, long-lasting and need little maintenance.

“Decks today are considerably larger and more complex than those of 25 years ago,” says Jim Flickinger of Perennial Wood. “According to the North American Deck and Railing Association, 40 million decks are 20 years old or older, making them prime for replacement.”

Those numbers present a business opportunity for remodelers. Current decks have more decorative features, with multiple decking colors, trellises, pergolas, lighting, post caps and wrought-iron railings.

REAL WOOD ENHANCED

Consumers often prefer decking that is or looks like wood. Introduced in February 2012, “Perennial Wood decking is real wood that is three times more resistant to the damaging effects of water — like shrinking, swelling, cracking or cupping — than unmodified wood,” says Flickinger.

TruLast Technology, which provides a physical barrier warranted to protect against rot, decay and movement for 25 years, is used to modify the wood without leaving any toxic substances. Perennial Wood has a 25 percent greater surface hardness than unmodified wood. Made from domestic Southern pine processed in the Southeastern U.S., no offshore shipping is used.

Perennial Wood decking comes in 12- and 16-foot lengths in four factory-finished shades: Mahogany, Sierra, Redwood and Cape Cod Gray. The factory finish can be allowed to patina naturally or refinished in another color. Railing posts, balusters, top and bottom rail systems, stair treads and fascia are also available in standard dimensions.

Ecolife Stabilized Weather-Resistant Wood (EL2) from Viance is designed to make wood decks look better for longer.
“Ecolife offers builders and consumers the natural beauty of real wood combined with advanced protection from weathering and improved fastener performance,” says Chris Kollwitz of Viance. “Ecolife’s unique proprietary stabilizer improves the performance of deck surfaces by reducing the cracking, checking and splitting associated with wood in an outdoor environment. During the treating process, the stabilizer in Ecolife is driven deep into the wood to protect all surfaces and to help minimize the weathering effects common to ordinary lumber.”

This helps control the bending, twisting or warping affecting many other treated wood products, making Ecolife particularly desirable for deck framing.

“At a price point that remains 200 to 300 percent less than composite or other decking options, wood decks are more friendly to our environment, last longer, return more value on their investment and offer builders more creative freedom,” Kollwitz notes.

WOOD LOOK, NO FADING

The natural wood look combined with high performance is also offered by capped composites. These decking boards have cores of wood-plastic composite with exterior shells that look like wood. Capped is a good choice for easier cleaning with the most realistic wood looks, notes Edie Kello Wilson of Fiberon.

TimberTech has introduced the Earthwood Evolutions Natural Collection. “Inspired by colors often found in nature the planks come in 12-, 16- and 20-foot lengths in either a square profile or grooved that works well with hidden fasteners,” says Chuck Chura of TimberTech. “Earthwood Evolutions features a flat grain surface that does not trap dirt in its graining pattern and has a more consistent color to achieve a true natural appearance.”

A worldwide shortage of real tropical hardwoods has spurred interest in manmade hardwood lookalikes like Trex Transcend tropical deck boards, notes Adam Zambanini of Trex. Using 95 percent recycled content, they come in Spiced Rum and Lava Rock colors. The complete Trex Transcend line has seven colors of deck boards in 12-, 16- and 20-foot lengths, with square edged or grooved surfaces offered at the same price.

Fiberon’s most popular decking is Horizon, which is capped on four sides and comes in five multi-colored rich tropical, hardwood looks: Ipe, Rosewood, Greystone, Castle Gray and Tudor Brown. Also available are Fiberon’s Outdoor Flooring PVC,
Pro-Tect (capped on three sides) and Professional, which is uncapped. The full line has 17 color options in 12-, 16- and 20-foot lengths, offered in square edge and grooved for use with hidden fasteners.

TimberTech’s new End Cut Paint comes in the same five colors as the Earthwood Evolutions boards: Cedar, Grey, Rosewood, Teak and Walnut. Cut ends of planks that have not been boxed in with fascia can be easily painted to match the boards’ surface, giving the deck a cleaner look.

STEEL UNDERPINNING

While the deck itself should look like wood, a steel substructure underneath like Trex Elevations can create a flat decking surface. When the site permits, many consumers are now finishing off the area underneath the deck to get a shaded outdoor area, Zambanini says, noting, “With Trex Elevations, they get longer spans which give more finished area under the deck.”

Trex Rain-Escape goes between deck boards to collect rainwater falling onto the deck, channeling it to a gutter where it can drain to the yard. “Using Trex Rain-Escape with a second story deck lets people build under the deck,” Zambanini says. “They can put an outdoor kitchen there or spend time under the deck when it’s raining.” With a one-story deck three to four feet off the ground, Trex Rain-Escape can be used to create under deck storage.

LIGHTING, PERGOLAS AND RAILINGS ARE POPULAR

Zambanini says 65 percent of top-tier contractors are now putting lighting on decks. After introducing Trex Deck-Lighting in 2011, a line of post cap lights was recently added.

The Western interest in pergolas is moving across the country. “People are putting them in now because of the design aspect,” Zambanini notes. “Many people have vining plants and grow them over pergolas.” As the plants grow, they form a deck “ceiling,” creating shade and a nice environmental effect. Trex pergolas are available as 8-by-8- foot and 8-by-10- foot kits and in custom sizes.

Horizon railing systems from Fiberon offer metal baluster options, acrylic see through panels and color options. The railing comes in 6- and 8-foot lengths in white, black, bronze and brick.

“Horizon Railing is one of the easiest and fastest to install with our patented dagger system,” notes Wilson. Horizon Mission Railing requires only 21 fasteners for each 6- or 8-foot span of railing.

EASIER INSTALLATION

Deck installers working in coastal regions or in areas with high humidity or dramatic temperature swings will benefit from TimberTech’s new 3-inch-long Stainless Steel TOPLoc fasteners. One-half inch longer than conventional fasteners, “the extra length provides additional stability and grip, ensuring the boards are held in place,” says Chura. “TOPLoc’s tri-lobular design reduces compression within the board and the undercut head with its three annular rings helps eliminate undesired mushrooming, spinout and end splitting.” These fasteners come in the same colors as TimberTech’s planks and End Cut paint.
Trex Hideaway Universal fasteners are hidden once installed and come with a pre-set gapping space for easy installation. Designed for use with grooved deckboard, no screws will be visible on top. “Most consumers prefer this for a smooth deck surface,” Zambanini points out.

Fiberon offers Phantom hidden fasteners for a smooth, fastener-free deck surface.

LONG TERM WARRANTIES, EASY MAINTENANCE

You can assure homeowners their new decks will last and be easy to maintain. Twenty- to 25- year scratch, fade and stain warranties for capped composite decking are now common.

“This industry is providing more realistic wood looks that are designed not ever to be stained or painted like wood requires,” Wilson notes.

Chura recommends keeping decks clear of debris. Just soap and water applied with a sponge or hose will clean up typical spills on these new decks, says Zambanini, and cleaning may only be needed once a year.

TALKING WITH HOMEOWNERS

“Remodelers should consider the homeowners’ lifestyle, their concern for the environment, how the deck will complement the outdoor surroundings and how long homeowners plan to be in their home,” Flickinger says. “All of these factors will influence the type of material specified for a deck.”

During the design process, remodelers should determine consumers’ intended use for the deck. “Is it primarily for entertainment?” Zambanini asks. “Then deck lighting would make a lot of sense. Is it mostly you and your kids and you do a lot of grilling outside? Then you want deckboard with a fade and stain warranty. Do you want more livable space? Then you want a second story deck that’s finished off underneath. Spend enough time upfront with the homeowner finding out what their needs are and then tell them what products are available.” PR

Curb appeal is integral when selling a home, but when the trees are bare and the ground is covered in dirty snow, the winter months can make it very difficult to showcase your home’s attractive landscaping. But smart sellers know that taking extra steps to care for and present a home’s exterior is a worthwhile investment, particularly during the real estate off-season. There is one improvement you can make that will help boost your home’s outdoor appeal no matter what the season: a deck. That’s right, decks increase curb appeal!

When potential buyers visit your home in winter, they might not be able to envision how green and lovely your backyard will look come spring, but they will be able to see with their own eyes what a deck adds to the home’s living space. Decks, patios, sun rooms and porches have always been popular with home buyers, but real estate agents say that too often these spaces are neglected or not used to their best advantage.

Yet outdoor improvements like a deck can significantly enhance your home’s value and appeal. In fact, at the time of resale, a deck will recoup about 73 percent of its original cost, according to “Cost vs. Value” in Remodeling Magazine.
“Anything that adds living space adds value, and the least expensive way to gain space is to build a deck or turn the one you have into an outdoor room by staging it so that it flows seamlessly with the rest of the house,” says Mary Beth Harrison of The Harrison Group, a Dallas-based real estate agency. “A great deck can set your home apart from others with the same interior floor plan or square footage, and deck additions typically add value when it comes time to sell.”

The cooler temperatures of fall and early winter make the season a great time to add a deck to your home. Or, if you already have a deck, enhance its appeal by adding simple touches and accessories that include:

  • Staging a tiny deck or a rarely-used balcony off a master bedroom as a romantic getaway with cozy, cushioned seating and a raised fire pit.
  • Adding designer style while safeguarding your deck with Latitudes Deck Stones, 16-inch interlocking square tiles made of natural slate or granite. Deck stones provide an effective fire barrier that’s an asset under fire pits or grills, or when used to create an outdoor kitchen.
  • Lighting a deck to create a warm, welcoming mood for evening entertaining, as well as an important safety feature. LED deck lighting kits, like those offered by Deckorators, are both practical and visually appealing.
  • Incorporating deck railings into your design to add both safety and visual appeal. Decorative railings with ornate balusters, post caps and post covers can give virtually any wood or composite lumber deck a distinctive look for a modest investment.

“More than ever before, people look at their decks as outdoor entertainment areas,” says Chris Fox of Universal Forest Products, producer of Latitudes Composite decking and railing and Deckorators, a leader in decking railing systems and deck accessories. “For some, it’s a kitchen; for others, a living room. Decks can be party spaces or quiet retreats. With so many different types of deck materials, lighting, rail systems and decorative accents, it’s possible to turn a plain deck into a fantastic outdoor living space.”
“Potential home buyers always react positively to nice decks that look like a great place to hang out,” says Harrison. “From a buyer’s perspective, if all else is equal, it’s true that the home with the best deck wins.”
This sponsored article is presented by Brandpoint.

So, if you are thinking of selling your home this winter, and reside in Austin, Texas, please contact James with ACCENT DECK DESIGN for an estimate, and a design to help that curb appeal.

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Accent Deck Design
9120 Hwy 290 West, Austin, TX 78737
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