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Decks are a valuable feature that offers added value to a home. They provide a beautiful space for family gatherings and leisurely afternoons. Although this project may look straightforward, hiring a professional is the best choice for a successful build. The right contractor is well worth the time, effort and cost. Here are a few points you need to verify before hiring a crew.
Are they licensed and insured?
It’s a good idea to seek out the licensing requirements for your state before researching a deck contractor. This step will educate you on the types of licensure and insurance required for the scope of your project. Deck building and deck design are highly skilled tasks that require a moderate investment. You want to be sure that you’re getting the best crew for the job. Huntsville Deck and Fence employ some of the most skilled deck builders Huntsville has available.
What types of warranties are available?
A well designed and well-constructed deck should last a decade or two with proper maintenance. Having a solid warranty further guarantees years of durability and beauty. Most general contractors will offer a standard one-year warranty on deck replacement or repair. However, most composite decking and hardwood decks will have product warranties. Depending on your deck design, you may also have other custom-built accessories with warranties. Make sure that the contractor will provide you with the warranties that accompany the purchase of your materials.
Will the contractor handle permit requirements?
Inquire if the contractor will be applying for your building permit. A permit is required for deck building when the deck will be attached to the dwelling or 30 inches above grade. Obtaining a permit ensures the deck will be up to code standards and follows local regulations. Failure to obtain a permit could result in fines and headaches.
Who will consult the utility companies?
Each state has one call or an 811 system. This service verifies that there is no underground utility equipment present where the deck building takes place. Most general contractors will handle this step for you. However, it’s a good idea to ask just in case.
Are they comfortable working with multiple deck materials?
Make sure that the contractor you hire works with the types of materials you want to install on your deck. Hardwood decks and composite decking are two of the most common. A good contractor can easily help you weigh the pros and cons of each and discuss the price points between hardwood and composite decking cost. There has been some confusion in the industry about the composite decking cost. Your contractor should be capable of helping you navigate these sorts of issues.
Following these recommendations will give you a good start at procuring the right contractor. Remember, you can always rely on Huntsville Deck & Fence to collaborate your deck design or deck replacement project with some of the most experienced deck builders Huntsville has to offer.
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There’s no question that adding a deck to your home is one of the best home remodeling projects in terms of return on investment also affectionately known as ROI! As homeowners, we want to care for and maintain our properties to the best of our ability not only for our own safety and enjoyment but also because we want the best return on our investment as possible. Communities across the USA love the outdoors and what better way to enjoy your family and friends in the great outdoors than entertaining on your deck with a barbeque! History tells us that home decks were originally inspired by boat decking. Thankfully for us homeowners, a brand new wooden deck won’t depreciate in value like a boat will! In fact, adding a new deck or replacing a damaged one on your property can potentially increase your home’s net value by as much as 75% should you decide to sell it.
So far we’ve established that decks can increase your home’s value, however there are some ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ when it comes to deck building that can affect your overall ROI.
First Things First
One of the largest variables to cost is the size of deck you want built so it will be important to decide on size first. The next cost variable is the type of material you want to build your deck with. Pressure treated lumber typically sits at the lower end of the price spectrum, composite decking in the middle to upper ranges and exotic hardwoods such as Brazilian hardwood will be at the top end of the spectrum.
One of the best cost savings tips out there is to design your deck size using as much standard length lumber as possible. Standard lumber lengths are 6, 8, 10 or 12-foot boards. Doing this will reduce the number of cuts and help cut down on wood waste. Another way to save money on your deck build is to source wood from other sources such as reclaimed wood from demos or local salvage shops.
Protect Your Investment
It is highly recommended that you apply some type of weather and water-proofing treatments to your deck to protect it from all that Mother Nature can dish up – from extreme heat and direct sunlight to rain, snow, ice and sleet. While you sit snuggly inside your home, your deck will be exposed to all the natural elements. Water can be especially damaging because it can become trapped and eventually cause rot. Waterproofing with a high quality water-proof sealant can ensure that your deck remains free from rot and mold damage.
Other Decking Materials To Consider
While wood is still the most popular decking material among homeowners there are some other great decking materials out on the market that you may want to consider as alternatives. Wood decks require yearly maintenance – resealing, re-staining or re-painting, to keep it in tip top shape. While that doesn’t sound like a lot for some homeowners, others may want a decking material that requires even less maintenance.
Composite decking materials like TimberTech and Trex offer a great alternative to wood decks and require much less maintenance and up-keep. Initially, composite decking will cost more however in the long run many homeowners see a savings over time in maintenance costs. In addition to lower maintenance, many composite decking materials such as TimberTech offer a 25-year warranty from the manufacturer.
Designed For Entertaining
When designing a new deck or building on to an existing deck you will want to keep entertaining as the central focus. This is especially true if you will be selling your home in the near future. Prospective homebuyers can very easily see the value in a well-designed deck that extends their entertaining space.
One of the most popular deck designs is built-in bench seating. Built-in benches on a deck are both aesthetically pleasing as well as practical, especially when it comes to entertaining guests. Built-in benches add a lot of value to your deck at a budget-friendly cost once again increasing that ROI!
Let There Be Light!
Another highly popular deck design feature that adds tons of value but is cost effective to implement is lighting. You can create a beautiful outdoor space with either simple ground lights near your deck, lighting underneath deck benches, solar lights on deck posts or simply stringing fairy lights above the deck. Lighting up your deck will provide ambiance as well as safety for you and your family.
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If you’re life many homeowners, you may not be familiar with composite decking materials. Or maybe you remember the first generation of composite decking which was heavier than wood, expensive and slippery when wet. Well the good news is that composite decking materials have come along way since their first introduction into the marketplace. Maybe it is time to take another look! New generation composite decking has many advantages that I’d like to layout in this article.
The good news is that most deck substructures, which consist of posts, horizontal beams and joists are often structurally sound and can adequately support newer generation composite deck boards.
If you are considering replacing worn and weathered wooden deck boards with composite decking you will need to examine your substructure and look for the following:
Tying It All Together
If you determine that your wooden deck substructure is sound and decide to replace wood deck boards with composite decking you may be concerned with creating a cohesive look. Deck posts on the perimeter of the deck are also used as the posts for deck railings. So, while the post may be structurally sound it won’t match the composite decking board creating a mis-matched look that many homeowners do not find attractive. Instead of tearing down a structurally sound substructure, many homeowners are happy to learn that some composite deck manufacturers also make composite fascia boards and post sleeves, stair treads and risers that can be fastened to the wood substructure to create a beautiful and cohesive look.
Replacing your wood deck boards with a composite deck surface is a time and cost efficient way to bring a worn and weather damaged wood deck back to life so that you and your family can continue to enjoy it for many years into the future!
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Nothing says summer like grilling your back deck and watching the lazy hazy days of summer pass by! When you’re not grilling finding a comfy hammock or chaise lounge may be more your speed. But maintaining a wood deck can cut into your relaxing summer plans – from scrubbing, staining, re-staining and replacing old and worn boards.
Worn and damaged deck boards can leave painful splinters in your feet and put a huge damper on your summer plans. Sure, wood decks can be beautiful and charming but do you really want to commit your hard earned free time to its maintenance and upkeep? Do you really want to spend a beautiful summer day pressure washing, repairing and replacing damaged boards then sealing and staining your wood deck? My guess is that your answer is a hearty NO! I bet you have better ways to spend a nice summer day! If that is the case you may want to consider replacing your wood deck with a composite deck. If you’re not convinced about the benefits of composite decking building materials read on and allow me to explain how investing a new composite deck makes perfect sense for any homeowner.
All About Composite Deck Materials
Maybe you’ve never even heard of composite decking or maybe you have but weren’t very impressed with the first wave of composite decking materials out on the market. Well let me be the first to tell you that composite decking has come a long way since it was first released into the market. Like any new product on the market it sometimes takes time for manufacturers to perfect their products. Early versions of composite decking in the early 90s had a tendency to warp really bad leaving many homeowners unhappy with their investments and unable to fully enjoy their decks. Fast forward almost 30 years and you will see a much higher quality of composite decking. No more warping and best of all the lifespan of composite decking material has increased from 10-15 years to 25-30 years! The long lifespan of composite materials has really contributed to its popularity with homeowners.
As compared to wood and metal decks, composite decks are very low maintenance. Not ‘no maintenance’ but definitely low maintenance. With some occasional maintenance you can significantly extend the life of your composite deck and keep it functional and beautiful. Like all other forms of building materials, composite decking can also be susceptible to mold and mildew. However, the good news is that ridding your composite deck of mold and mildew is a much simpler and less time consuming process. Rather than getting out the pressure washer, scrub brush and stain you can simply wash a composite deck with some soap and soft brush to restore the surface. Composite decking also does very well with pressure or power washing. Composite decking should be cleaned at least annually so that dirt and grime don’t build-up making it harder to clean and maintain in the long run.
Composite vs. Wood Decking
In addition to the benefits of being low-maintenance, composite decking also offers many other advantages over wood decking. Composite decking is made from recycled material so the manufacturing of this product is very environmentally friendly and less harsh on the environment than the process of producing pressure treated wood that is needed for building wooden decks. Another reason why composite decking has become so popular with home owner sis that it won’t splinter or crack over time so kiddos and pets can walk and play on the deck without fear of getting those painful splinters. Composite decks are also stain and fade resistant which means that spills won’t turn into stains leaving your deck looking brand new. Stain resistance is very important to homeowners who like to eat and barbecue on their decks. As if all of these qualities are enough, composite decking is also very resistant to insects and pests that can cause rot damage to wood decks. They also stand up strong to anything that Mother Nature can throw our way – rain, hail, snow, sleet, hot sun.
So Many Options To Choose From! Selecting The Right Composite Material For You
Like most building and remodeling products and materials, composite deck building materials range in price and quality – high, mid and low varieties. It’s no surprise that quality has a direct effect on the lifespan and durability of the product. Quality also affects the fade and scratch resistance of the deck. High end composite materials also offer a larger variety of color and texture options for a more customized look and style. High quality composite decking can so closely mimic real wood grain patterns that many people don’t realize it is composite material rather than real wood!
It is important to understand that there are two types of composite boards – solid and hollow. Understanding the difference between them can help you choose the best material for your project. Hollow composite boards are less expensive but boards tend to be stronger and studier plus they also look more like natural wood. That’s the good news. The ‘con’ to hollow composite boards is that the hollow parts are susceptible to storing water which can lead to warping damage. It is important to consider your lifestyle and needs when choosing the right materials for your deck. While composite decking is scratch resistant it can still be scratched, especially by pet claws however scratches can easily be sanded out.
Another important consideration is whether or not your deck will receive direct sunlight in the hottest part of the day. If the area does receive direct sunlight it is important to select the composite material with the highest UV protection to avoid severe fading. Another consideration for decks that will receive lots of direct sunlight is that that it will get hot so it may be best to choose a light color that will retain less heat. If your deck will be in close proximity to a pool a good idea is to choose a textured composite decking that will help avoid slips and falls around the pool. As with most projects a successful outcome will depend on fully understanding your lifestyle, weather conditions in your area and of course, budget.
Is It Time To Replace?
Now that I have explained all of the great benefits of composite decking material you may be interested in learning more and trying to determine if it makes sense to replace your current wood deck. As an honest and reputable contractor, I would tell you that the decision will depending on several factors. First, is your current deck structurally sound? If your current deck is structurally sound, composite boards can be built right on top of that foundation for a quick and relatively painless process. The better news is that you won’t need new construction permits to start the process.
If your design plans involve a complete re-build or enlarging your deck or making it multi-tiered then a permit is generally required before beginning the project. Whatever your deck projects involve the most important aspect is to hire a professional deck contractor that has plenty of experience building with composite materials and completely understands how the material reacts to temperature fluctuations throughout the year.
If you are considering a new deck or replacing wood boards with composite decking, give our team a call for superior results that you can count on!
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Looking to tackle your home improvement list? Summer is right around the corner, so why not use the remainder of spring to install a new privacy fence? Doing so will greatly improve the security measure, give you more privacy and even give the value of your property a boost. But these aren’t the only reasons why you should install a fence during the spring.
Continue reading to learn three reasons why spring is the perfect time to hire a fence contractor to install privacy fence
Spend More Time Outdoors
One of the main reasons why people have a fence installed is because they’re sharing the property with a nearby neighbor. Sharing a property with someone is what’s keeping you cooped up in your house more than you like. By installing a fence, you and your family will have an area to unwind and enjoy the dog days of summer.
Enhance the Design of Your Landscape
For those looking for an easy way to improve your curb appeal, installing a new fence is the way to go! There are various types of fences for you to choose from. An easy, yet very effective choice would be wood fencing. Sure, wood fencing may be seem plain at first, but the catch is that you can design it however you want! Talk to the fence contractor about any ideas you may have and how you want the fence installed.
With summer right around the corner,it's only normal to want to soak up as much sun as possible. This makes it the perfect time to add that extra layer of privacy and protection. All you gotta do is let your fencing contractor in on the details and they’ll take care of the rest.
Looking to add curb appeal with a side of privacy and protection? Look no further! We’ll make sure your home is as stylish as it is safe! Give us a call today to schedule an appointment!