Your deck is outside in the elements all year, which means that it will probably need repairs at some point. If the weather damage to it is severe, you may have to replace it entirely. It is therefore important to find out which types of damage are relatively minor and which call for you to invest in a new deck. You will have to inspect your deck carefully to determine its condition. Pay attention to the following factors during your inspection:
The material used to construct your deck will determine how it stands up to wear. For instance, real wood reacts to the elements differently when compared to composite boards or vinyl. Vinyl and composite decks may fade while wood decks can sometimes warp. Depending on the material, you may only need to replace a few damaged boards or you may need to do a wholesale replacement.
Weakened or Loose Fasteners
Your deck's fasteners can come loose because of the expansion and contraction caused by warm and cold weather. Oxidization can also be a problem because of exposure to the air. Oxidation can weaken fasteners.If the hardware is loose or has been weakened, your deck may be unsafe and you may need to replace it.
A Sagging Frame
Rot makes a wood deck more vulnerable to termite infestation. As the termites eat, they make the wood more porous and this allows water to seep even deeper into it and speed up the rotting process. Rot and the termite damage cause the deck’s frame to sag, which is one of the signs that it needs to be replaced.
The expansion and contraction process that loosens fasteners can damage wood and composite board. In many cases, this can be repaired. If the damage is extensive, you may want to opt for a new deck made from a more stable material.
Weak Post Connections
The right fasteners are essential for a longer lasting deck. For example, the deck posts should be connected to the beam with galvanized carriage bolts. If the only fasteners used for this purpose are standard nails, your deck may be in danger of collapse and in need of replacement.
If you are unsure whether your deck needs small repairs or a complete replacement, contact us at Woodscape Construction today! Our experienced carpenters can help you to figure out what has to be done.
Your deck is an important part of your home, adding beauty and function while increasing its value. During warmer months, it’s a gathering spot for family and friends alike. But as summer turns to fall, winter can’t be far behind. Take the following steps now to prep your deck so it makes it through the winter unscathed and you don’t have any unpleasant surprises next spring.
Sweep and clear away any debris to help prevent the growth of mildew and algae. Rinse your deck with a hose to clear away even more dirt and stains, and follow up by scrubbing with a non-metal brush (like the type you’d use to wash your car) and deck cleaner.
Check the finish
If you have finish that is wearing away, strip it and apply a new coat of water-repellant finish. This will help protect your deck from the sleet, snow, and ice of winter, which could cause the wood to warp or crack.
Inspect your deck
Talk a thorough look at all parts of your deck, moving planters, grills, and other items that should be stored away during the winter. Check to make sure that your deck’s steps and handrails are safe and secure. Also look for loose or cracked boards, nails that have popped up, loose screws, or other issues that can be easily addressed before winter. This helps ensure that they’re not forgotten, causing a hazard or larger repair issue in the spring.
For more information about how to prep your deck for winter or having a new one added to your home, contact Woodscape Construction. We’re licensed to work in Virginia and the District of Columbia, and we have an experienced team of professional carpenters and woodscape designers who will help make your dreams a reality!
Your deck needs your care and attention in order to stay in good shape over the years. It is important to get your deck ready for the summer months, and spring is the time to do it. Prepping for the upcoming summer takes only a few steps, but you must take your time with each step in order to make sure this outdoor space is safe and ready for summer fun.
Give it a good inspection
The first thing you should do is go over the entire space visually. Look for loose boards and nails and check the rails and supports. This gives you the chance to repair or replace anything that’s not in great condition. Sand down splinters and tighten screws where needed. You may or may not need to replace boards, depending on any damage that may have accrued.
Give it a good cleaning
The next step is to clean. Start off with sweeping and hosing off all the debris. On a cloudy day, or during a time when the sun won’t bake the soap, wash the deck with a soap and water mixture. Then rinse it well. You will want to wait a couple days before doing anything else. This allows time to get the space completely dry.
Give it extra protection
Once your space is completely clean you will want to restain, if needed, and seal it for extra protection through the summer months. Depending on the foot traffic, you should only have to restain your deck about once every three years. Plan to do this step when you have two full days of fair weather with no rain in the forecast. Prep the entire space with a light sanding, as this will raise the grain in the area and allow the stain and sealant to absorb.
When applying your sealant you want to use a roller and do it in thin, even coats. You may need to use a small brush to get between the boards. Once you have applied the sealant, give the deck a couple days to fully set and dry before you use it.
Once the area is good and dry, you can bring out the barbecue, the table and chairs, and enjoy the fun summer months. Gather together with friends and family and start off your summer with an outdoor barbecue party on your great refurbished deck!
For more tips on how to refurbish your deck or if you're looking for someone to build your dream deck, contact us at Woodscape!
Having a fire pit means you can enjoy your backyard and deck year round. The ambiance of an outdoor fire pit creates the perfect spot for relaxation, fun, and good conversation. Fire pits are easy to clean and portable, but before you choose one, there are a few things to consider:
Size of Your Deck
The fire pit should fit well on your deck and not take too much space. Additionally, you do not want to choose a fire pit that is too small and difficult to fit around. Pits range in size, with smaller options being 20” to 25” and large ones about 40” to 45”. The smaller ones usually consist of a bowl and are ideal for compact decks.
The fire pit you choose should be one that fits your needs. There are different options in the market such as gas fire pits, wood burning or fire pits with chimneys. A wood burning fire pit may be the most cost effective route and is great for cooking.
Before purchasing, ensure that you know what surrounds your deck so you can make a choice that will fit well with the surroundings and the yard design.
There are two common types of fire pits:
Brick fire pits
These can be built to suite your needs and space, whether small or large.
This style is perfect for decks, patios, and grassy yards and can usually be moved easily. For spacious yards or a permanent location, a stationary square pit is a good choice.
The materials for fire pits range from copper and stainless steel, to stone and tile. As stones are heavy, they are best used with large square pits, which will be stationery. Stainless steel is pricey, but easy to clean and are rust resistant.
It is almost time to get outside and enjoy the Spring weather! Before you set up the patio furniture, you will need to prep your decking. This means it is time to clean, restore, and take protective measures so that your deck will be ready. These steps will allow you to get the most from your deck all through Spring and Summer.
Give your decks a good cleaning
The first step in cleaning is to sweep and brush off all debris. Pay attention to the nook and crannies. You don't want debris left on the deck when you finally seal it. Once you have cleared the area, choose your cleaner and wash the area. Do this on a cloudy day so the sun does not evaporate the cleaner as you work. Simply follow the cleanering instructions and then let dry.
Get rid of the unwanted spots
Before you finish the area you will want to strip away any deteriorating or unwanted finishes. You can completely strip the space if you want a change or if the finish has worn out too much. Or you can lightly sand any areas that may need it. This way you are left with a smooth surface that won't collect mold, mildew, or rot once stained and sealed. Also, take this time to replace any boards that may be damaged. Then finish up by replacing missing or popped nails and screws.
Seal your deck
Now your deck is ready for staining or painting depending on your preference. You will follow the instructions given with the stain or decking paint. Let dry before sealing.
The final step to preparing your decking for Spring is to apply a sealant. Plan this task when you will have a couple clear, warm days for drying. Choose a sealer that is appropriate for your decking material. No matter what sealant you pick, whether it be transparent or semi-transparent, be sure to use a sealant that is water repellent.
When applying the sealer use a roller and stay within 2 to 4 boards at a time. Be careful not to let the sealant pool, apply two thin coats for a good and even seal. Use smaller rollers and brushes for railings and edges.
For more information on care and maintenance of your deck, or if your deck has reached the point of no return and it's time to upgrade, visit us at Woodscape Construction.
It is said that “April is the cruelest month,” but when it comes to decks, nothing compares to the weather – and the damage – produced by Mother Nature during the winter months. The only protection is to take some proactive measures in the months before. Here are the basics for winter deck care in the Maryland and Virginia area:
Clean Thoroughly: This step involves more than just removing the remnants of your end-of-year barbecue party. Instead, you must actually search for and remove any mold, mildew, moss and or algae that will continue to degrade the wood during the winter months. Use a mild bleach-infused cleaner and a stiff, bristle brush to accomplish this.
Make Repairs: Believe it or not, the freezing and thawing cycle can really exacerbate any damage to your deck that may have occurred over the summer months. In short, instead of a minor fix now, you might be looking at a major one or complete replacement come next spring if you ignore the problem. In particular, ensure that the planking is solidly connected, that any fencing is firmly planted in the ground and that all gates are securely attached.
Apply a Protective Finish: Whether you are looking for a colored sealant or just a clear one, it is imperative to use one that protects the deck from water infiltration as, over the winter, the freeze/thaw cycle can cause irreparable damage. There are a number of reputable and proven products on the market.
Don't Shovel Any Snowfall: Here's a great tip that will save you both time and effort as well as help protect your deck - do not shovel any snow that collects on top. Simply put, it saves your back and does no harm to the wood since the snow will not penetrate into the deck. Only shovel if there is a large accumulation which can be very heavy.
For more information on properly preparing your deck for the coming winter weather, please visit us at Woodscape Construction.
Summertime means getting outdoors with your guests! We will work with you to create your dream deck, patio, screened porch or gazebo, complete with walls and walkways. We offer a range of products that you and our designers will use to develop unique plans that are affordable, functional, and aesthetic. We’ve been a leader in the Outdoor Home Improvement industry for over a decade and are very proud of our reputation.
Browse through our portfolio of new construction, as well as renovations, to see how we brought our customers dreams to reality!
Get a free consultation and estimate by contacting us today.
Thinking about hosting the next big sporting event at your house? Afraid your deck won't hold the guests you want to invite? For a fair amount of our projects, we are often called to add to or replace old decking. We built this deck in Leesburg, Virginia. The left side of the deck was existing but the area was crowded and not good for entertaining. The new area we built more than doubled the size of the deck and fits the house much better.
Spring will be here before you know it. Soon you’ll be bringing out your patio furniture and planning barbeques and outdoor parties for your friends and family.
But will your deck be ready? Whether your deck is constructed of wood, composite or vinyl, the harsh effects of winter can wreak havoc on your outdoor space. Early spring is the perfect time to revitalize … consider it an item on your “spring cleaning” list. A careful visual inspection is the first step. Start from the bottom and work your way up to the highest place. You’ll want to tighten any loose boards and hammer exposed nails. Boards that have split should be replaced. Loose handrails, decking or steps will need to be fixed.
Next you’ll want to address your deck’s cosmetic appearance. A cleaning solution can be used to remove mold and mildew that has built up over the winter. Your local home improvement store will have an array of products from which to choose. It is imperative that instructions are carefully followed, as damage can occur if the wrong chemicals are used or if a product is left on for too long a period of time. If your deck is in need of a more thorough cleaning, you may want to consider power washing it. Again, great care must be taken to avoid wood damage.
Some other great things to help spruce up your deck is replacing old lighting, adding new furniture and cushions, and filling plant boxes and flower pots with beautiful plants and colorful flowers.
This multilevel deck came out great. We used Timbertech decking and Fortress Iron railing with an accent panel. The upper deck also included a DrySnap under deck drainage system to keep the area dry below it.