What Is a Cantilever Deck?

Residential decks are often framed vertically from the foundation to the railings. However, some homeowners prefer a slight overhang past the beam. This structure is known as a cantilever.

A cantilever deck is simply a deck with joists extending past the beam creating a cantilever or overhanging end on the deck’s exterior. The decision to have your deck cantilevered often comes with the wish to extend an existing deck. 

However, a cantilever deck may not be as simple as a regular deck. The extension requires precise measurement as recommended by the local building code.

Employing the services of expert deck builders can help you in putting your cantilever deck without any issues.

What Is the Purpose of a Cantilever?

A cantilever deck design is often chosen to add space. In addition, the overhang provides an additional area which is advantageous if your yard is small.

In terms of structure, the cantilever also adds aesthetics as the design can be an intuitive solution for lack of space or limited footprint drive.

Cantilever decks also function to save more money.

One example is a second-floor cantilever deck. Instead of putting up a foundation on the ground, specifically footings, and piers, you simply use two large brackets connected to the house’s exterior in a diagonal position.

What Is the Difference Between a Cantilever and a Beam?

In a standard deck design, the beams are placed perpendicular to the main house structure supported by the columns, piers, and footings. In contrast, a cantilever can simply be a flat surface attached to the house through the ledger and without a foundation.

However, it is important to remember that a cantilever can simply be a beam. But instead of being attached to the underneath structure, it overhangs on the outer side of the frame.

In short, it could be simply an overhang of joists extending from the beam.

Nevertheless, when it comes to decking, the description of a cantilever may be versatile depending on the presence or function of the beam.

How Far Can a Deck Be Cantilevered?

Joists cantilever should have an overhang limited of up to 24 inches. The drop beam can extend to a maximum of ¼ of its length over a post.  

For example, if the back span of the joist is at 16 feet, you can cantilever for up to 4 feet.

Advantages of a Cantilever Deck

While cantilever decks are uncommon in residential areas, they are still considered a reasonable choice with several benefits.

For starters, you can choose a cantilever design if you want a larger deck without spending too much on resources.

Of course, to achieve this purpose, you will have to make sure that your deck is building code compliant. Also, you will need quality decking materials from trusted brands and manufacturers like TimberTech.

Check out some of the advantages of having a cantilever deck.

1.      More Space

Since you will be extending your deck, its substructure and flooring, naturally, would give a larger space for your household to hang out.

This is advantageous, especially for those who had their deck made on the second floor.

In some cases, people choose to have a cantilevered deck if their backyard space is too small. This way, the area underneath the deck, since it is located on a higher floor, will remain unoccupied for a significant part. 

2.      Panoramic View

Cantilever decks can be designed in such as way that the exterior is elongated in the middle. With this form, you can have a panoramic view of your neighborhood or immediate area.

Unlike a regular deck, you can have the freedom of adjusting the shape and angle of a cantilever deck.

Houses near the beach or mountains where the scenery becomes a vital highlight can go for cantilever decks.

The overhang adds a spot where you can see a wider view of the sea or the mountain ranges making your stay in the deck worthwhile.

3.      Visually Appealing

It is pretty tricky to design a regular deck into whatever form you want, as you may need to add more materials on the way. 

But in the case of cantilever decks, you can choose to accentuate the overhang without the hassle.

Cantilever decks provide a visual appeal that adds value to your entire house. Modern designs often include cantilever decks to enhance the façade of the house, especially with curved especially if it is also treated as a balcony.

On the other hand, if your cantilever deck is on the ground floor, you can have it formed in shapes or add several corners, depending on your style.

Disadvantages of a Cantilever Deck

Cantilever decks may add the pizzazz you want for your home, but they also have disadvantages that often occur if the structure is not built correctly.

While a do-it-yourself project can be an exciting way to build your cantilever deck, it may not be the best way to go if you’re inexperienced. Here’s why.

1.      Complicated to Make

Cantilever decks may look simple, especially the balcony type, but they require precision and the proper knowledge of choosing quality materials.

Also, you will have to abide by the standard and calculations prescribed by the local building code. Otherwise, you may end up tearing your deck apart.

The length of the cantilever should not exceed the recommended measurement, or else it could create structural issues in the long run.   

2.      Requires Added Support

A cantilever deck that only has one side for support may require other ways to strengthen the structure.

Although an overhang fixture to the house’s exterior can suffice a smaller deck, if you’re building a larger one, you may have to consider your choices when it comes to support materials. Unless, of course, you will stick to a joist or drop beam overhang.

But if that is not the case, it is still best to ask for professional assistance.  

Are Cantilevered Decks Safe?

Cantilevered decks are safe if built the right way. That’s why hiring a contractor, and professional deck builders like TNT Home Improvement can be worth the money as it guarantees proper construction.

The deck has to abide by the prescribed length via the local building code to keep the overhang safe and well-built.

For instance, the length of the cantilever has to correspond with the lumber species, grade, and size. Another attribute you need to consider is the size and spacing between the joists.

According to the building code, the standard cantilever length for a 40-pound load per square foot is 40 and ½ inches. If you wish to extend, you will have to consult with your contractor or engineer.

Other Deck Designs You May Want To Consider

Cantilever decks are worth your time and money as it gives a modern and stylish aesthetic to your property.

But in some cases, a cantilever deck design may not be suitable for your location and house structure. Nonetheless, you can still choose from other designs that builders may recommend, such as the following.

1.      Attached Deck  

This is the most common type of deck design wherein the deck is connected to your house through a ledger board, and the framing sits on groundwork.  

2.      Floating Deck

This deck is not attached to any structure. Instead, you can put the pier blocks straight on the ground.

3.      Wraparound Deck

A wraparound deck in an exterior structure that surrounds the entire house.

4.      Multi-level Deck

This deck has multiple levels or stories strategically raised on top of the other.  

5.      Roof Deck

A roof deck is simply a flat surface on the roof designed for casual foot traffic.

Summary

Consulting with professional deck builders is essential when you are building a cantilever deck. Not only will your deck have quality construction, but you can also ensure that the installation is done according to the standards of the building code. If you are located in the Northern Colorado/ Southern Wyoming area, then give us a call today at 970-663-2868 or visit the deck services page and fill out the contact form to make an appointment to discuss your next home improvement project.

What Are the Different Parts of a Deck Called?

pic of a Composite deck built in fort collins, co

Knowing the different parts of a deck can guide you in understanding how a deck installation works.

A deck has several components that contribute to its strength, capacity, endurance, and safety. The major parts of a deck include the foundation, framing, decking, railing, stairs, drainage system, and hidden fasteners.

If you are curious about what makes an ideal deck, stick around, and learn its essential parts. 

Parts of a Deck

1.  Foundation

Like any other building or house component, a deck should have a solid foundation that holds up the entire structure. Three major parts make up the groundwork of a deck.

1.1   Footing

The footing is the very foundation of your deck. First, it is laid on the excavated portion of the ground. Then, concrete is poured to strengthen and carry the overall structure of the deck. Simply put, the footing acts as the base.

However, before you can plan on how much concrete and how deep the footing should be on the ground, you have to check your local building code and the frost depth requirement in your region or state.  

For a standard 12 X 12 deck, you should aim for at least three footings. But if you’re planning to add stairs, add two more footings for better support.

1.2   Pier

The pier is also made of concrete poured into a column or cardboard tubes. Of course, the number of piers or posts depends on how many footings you have. These posts function to hold up the beams.

Moreover, having sturdy piers or posts not only allows good airflow. But they also ensure that you can perform underboard repairs safely and conveniently.

Hence, enabling smooth maintenance of the deck.

2.      Framing

Once the foundation is laid down, here comes the framing that gives the deck a case structure. The frame includes the beams, joist, ledger, support columns, band board, and post base.

2.1 Ledger

The ledger is connected to the house and usually leveled to the floor of the main home structure.

It is typically made of pure or treated lumber measuring at least 2×8 nominal and attached horizontally to the house’s exterior wall.

The size should be the same as that of the measurement of the joist.

Although the foundation plays a big part in holding up the deck, ensuring that the ledger is fixed tightly on the main building is another vital safety precaution for homeowners. That is why the installation process should comply with the building code.

2.2 Support Columns

The support or structural columns/posts are connected to the pier and hold the beam. The size of the columns depends on the expected capacity of the deck.

Standard sizes for support columns range from 4 feet x 4 inches to 8 feet x 8 inches. 

2.3 Beam

A deck beam is a longitudinal piece of lumber placed on top of the structural columns.

The beams are essential for framing and substructure support. They are typically made of wood or composite materials.

Beams are usually positioned perpendicular to the joists. You can opt for either flush beams or drop beams.

Flush beams are placed at the same level as the joist, which is attached using the joist hangers. If you’re building a smaller deck or one with an atypical form, then flush beams are the way to go.

On the other hand, a drop beam is placed right under the joists. This position provides better weight support for the frame. 

Furthermore, if you choose a drop beam, you can extend and add a cantilever that enhances the deck’s aesthetic.  

2.4 Joist

Joists are planks of pure or treated timber that support the deck boards. They are placed on top or at a similar level as the beams and are positioned parallel to one another.

Likewise, joists often run perpendicular to the house as the deck boards are parallel to the main building.

The distance of the joists depends on the position of the beams and ledger. The local building code dictates that residential decks should have the joists distanced at 12 inches to 16 inches apart when it comes to spacing.

2.5 Rim Joist

The rim joists are lumber that act as the outer joist covering parts of the deck structure. They are connected perpendicular to the joists.

2.6 Header

The header is located on the opposite end of the ledger. It covers and supports the outer side of the joists.

3.      Decking

After the framing is complete, the next step is decking, wherein you install the deck’s flooring.

While this is considered the most exciting part of the deck building process, there are several considerations when choosing the best flooring materials, particularly the deck boards.

3.1 Deck Boards

Deck boards make the surface of the deck that people walk on. Available deck boards come in different species of timber and composite materials made by combining wood components and plastic.

As a rule of thumb, the first thing you have to think about when choosing deck boards is thickness.

The strength of the flooring relies on the foundation, framing, and deck board thickness. This attribute is also influenced by joist spacing.

If the spaces between the joists are too far apart, you may want to consider stronger deck boards for optimum support.

Nonetheless, one of the best decisions you can make is selecting quality deck boards that could last a lifetime. With this choice, you can rely on deck board collections from TimberTech.

4.      Stairs

Putting stairs on your deck is vital, depending on the height of the structure. Naturally, the stairs allow you to go up and down the deck without having to go inside the house.

For deck stairs, the essential components include a tread, riser, and stringer fascia. In some cases, stylish railings are added.

The tread is the part you step on when you ascend or descend.

On the other hand, the riser is positioned vertically to the tread.

The stringer fascia provides the overall support and framework of the stairs and holds the treads.    

5.      Railing

It’s hard not to imagine a high deck without railings.

On the other hand, for houses with low decks, this seems to be a common occurrence.

Nevertheless, adding railings to your deck will not only provide additional safety, but it can also make the structure visually appealing.

5.1 Top Rail/Cap Rail

The horizontal structure at the very top of the rail is called a cap rail or top rail. It provides efficient finishing on the railing system.

Choosing a top rail depends on the overall design of your deck.

Materials for the top rail should be carefully screened. You can opt for a metal or timber top rail.

 If your deck style works well with wood, choose quality lumber to avoid cases of splinters.

Also, you can go for composite materials to keep the beauty of the wood while providing added strength and endurance.  

5.2 Base Rail

The base rail is a horizontal structure attached to the flooring of the deck. It also contains the baluster and keeps the entire structure fixed to the deck perimeter.

5.3 Baluster

The balusters provide the intended barrier of the railing system. They are placed in between the top and base rail with enough space for airflow. 

6.      Drainage System

In some cases, a drainage system may be considered optional. However, it is necessary for decks that store water unintentionally.

Since most decks are made of wood, prolonged exposure to water can cause irreversible damages. Hence, installing a drainage system can be beneficial.

Consult with your contractor if your deck needs to have a draining structure. 

Summary

Deckbuilding need not be complicated if you know the parts and how to install them properly. But if you truly want to get the convenience you deserve, it is still best to hire professional deck builders.If you are located in the Northern Colorado/ Southern Wyoming area, then give us a call today at 970-663-2868 or visit our deck building services page and fill out the contact form to make an appointment to discuss your next home improvement project.

What Are Egress Windows?

Window installations can be complex and this is particularly true if you have a basement that needs some light to be provided to it through the installation of some windows. There are specific window types that must be used for these applications. You might not know much about this process, which is why you need to learn about egress windows.

Egress windows are commonly used for basement lighting or as a means of escape from a room that is lower than the ground level in your home. Egress windows are placed even with the ground line and can extend up above this line at various heights to provide light into rooms that are located below the foundation level in a home or business.

If you are ready to learn more about what egress windows are, read on!

What is the Purpose of an Egress Window?

In most places, basements are actually required to have egress windows because they provide a means to escape the room if something like a fire takes place. They also allow light to come into parts of the house or business that are built below the level of the ground. It would be a very dark and close feeling in these kinds of basement rooms without these windows.

Older homes were not required to have the same size windows as modern homes, and some of these homes will actually not have large enough windows to be used as an escape route. Many people with homes that were built before World War II choose to remodel these areas to include larger windows for improved light and for better safety for anyone who is sleeping or working in the basement.

Remember that the primary function of egress windows is to be used as a way to get out of a basement that is on fire, so you should consider safety as your first consideration when you are looking into adding these windows to your home.

What’s the Difference Between an Egress Window and a Regular Window?

Egress windows are really made with escape in mind, but they are not designed any differently than regular windows. These windows are often placed specifically for safety, but otherwise they will be the same double-paned casement or sliding windows that you might have in the rest of your home. They will have to meet a set size requirement to be an egress window and meet code standards, however.

People sometimes think that they can place regular windows into these living spaces and call it good, but you will often have to meet some code specifications for fire safety and to get your home insured. This is why it is a good idea to know what an egress window really is before you have someone come and put in new windows in the basement area of your home.

How do I Know if a Window is Egress?

You can measure your windows in your basement to see if they qualify as an egress window. You will need to measure the window placement from the ground inside your basement. This measurement must meet the code so that the window can be used for an easy escape. You will then need to measure the width of the window at the middle, top, and bottom.

Next, take vertical measurements on the sides and in the middle. This will tell you the width and the length of the window so that you can check the measurements against the codes that are upheld in your county or state. There are some international building rules and regulations that are referred to if there is no specific allowance that is made for this part of the building code in your area.

This is a simple process, but it can be very important to complete if you are considering buying a home that has basement bedrooms. You want to know if you are going to have an expensive replacement and remodel process ahead of you to be able to bring the house up to code. In some cases, you cannot get homeowner’s insurance if these windows are not sized correctly.

What Qualifies as an Egress Window?

Egress windows have to meet code, particularly if there are bedrooms in your basement. International building code states that each bedroom should have one egress window at least, just in case of fire. These must be large enough that an adult can fit out of them.

The standard that is adhered to in most situations is that the egress window must be at least 5.7 square feet, 20 inches wide by 24 inches high. The opening must be no higher than 44 inches from the floor. Double-paned casement or sliding windows are acceptable. The placement is the thing that defines them as egress windows rather than the design and materials that they are made of.

If your basement has the older-style windows that simply rotate inward some to let in some fresh air, these are not up to code. An adult person could not fit out through these windows which means that they need to be replaced. You can elect to have larger egress windows than the minimum size ones that are listed above, but you just cannot make them so small that an adult will not be able to climb out in the case of a fire or other emergency.

How Much Do Egress Windows Cost?

The answer to this can vary somewhat depending on your area and the number of alterations that will be needed to replace your windows. The job can be quite expensive if your home is older and has very small windows that are currently framed in. If you are simply replacing older egress windows with new ones, the task will not cost as much as having to remodel to fit larger windows into your basement walls.

You can expect an average of about $1,000-$5,000 per window to install. This can really add up if you have a large basement, so you should consider the rooms that will need the windows first, such as bedrooms. These rooms should be worked on first so that your home can meet code more quickly. This can also be a major cost if you are thinking of buying an older home and realize that this change needs to be made to secure insurance for your home.

Get Help With Your Egress Window Installation

Egress windows are not tough to install, but you might have a lot of questions about the process before you want to start on the work. This is normal and having an expert come help you to decide which windows you will need and how much the project will cost is a big help. Working with a team of qualified installers, this kind of window replacement job can be a breeze.If you need help with your window installation in Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming, we can help! You can contact us today at 970-663-2868 or visit our window services page and fill out the contact form to reach out to us. Make an appointment and we will be happy to discuss your window installation project needs in detail.

What is a Composite Deck and What Are the Pros and Cons?

pic of a Composite deck built in fort collins, co

Nothing says comfortable backyard time like a lovely deck.

Over the years, more and more homeowners have opted for a pleasantly cozy deck suitable for cooling off or just hanging around. 

While wood decks are all the rage decades ago, nowadays, many homeowners are considering composite decks over traditional lumber decks.

According to a study by The Freedonia Group, the demand for decking is projected to increase at 1.3% annually. The demand paves the way for companies like TimberTech to offer high-quality decking materials.  

Nevertheless, residential renovations largely take part in this expansion. It comes as no surprise as modern composite decks are flexible and durable.

You could host a Sunday barbeque for your friends or have some good-old fashion group games. This can easily be achieved with the right deck of choice and the craftsmanship of reliable deck builders.

So, if you are contemplating the installation or renovation of your deck, stick around to find out why a composite deck could be your best choice.       

What Is a Composite Deck?

A composite deck is made of a combination of materials, primarily wood, and plastic. It is best known among homeowners as a durable alternative for lumber or traditional wood decking.

Furthermore, it requires less maintenance which makes it a convenient choice.

You may recognize a composite deck board as a wood-like material as most boards are patterned to imitate the natural looks of a traditional wood deck. But, with other materials in the mixture, it goes against the disadvantages of pure wood, such as decays, rots, and other damages.

Composite deck boards are meticulously made through a co-extrusion process where wood fibers, sawdust, and polyethylene polymers are combined under high temperatures to create a resilient and sturdy core material.

In most cases, a polymeric cap is wrapped around the core. Finally, the mixture is finished with the co-extrusion of other materials and pigments specialized in preventing damages to the deck.  

Pros of Composite Deck

The benefits of composite decking span from low maintenance requirements to a wide variety of colors and patterns you can choose from.

To top it all, composite decks come with a warranty that protects your investment.

Take a closer look at these advantages to help you decide if a composite deck is for you.

  1. Durable

Composite deck materials are designed to last for decades. The boards and rails are water and stain-resistant. And they don’t harbor molds and pests that could damage the deck.

  1. Customizable

When you go for a composite deck, you might be surprised by how flexible the materials are. You get plenty of options when it comes to designs and patterns.

Moreover, you can also combine or rearrange the patterns, especially if you’re going for tiled boards.

  1. Requires Low Maintenance

It is far easier to clean and keep a composite deck away from damages than a wood deck.

Primarily, the raw materials involved in a composite deck can sustain various damaging threats. Furthermore, the deck itself is protected from fading.

  1. Prevents Common Deck Injuries

Splintering can occur in wood decks causing injuries to your friends and family members.

During rainy days, the dangers of the deck can increase as it tends to become slippery.

In the case of a composite deck, injuries from slips or splinters can be avoided as the materials are compact and textured enough to protect you and your family.  

  1. Provides an Array of Natural Colors

If you already have a vision or an inspiration, perhaps with what you want your deck to look like, chances are you will have more success achieving that look with a composite deck.

TimberTech, for example, offers a variety of rustic choices when it comes to colors and patterns.

So, if you still want that natural wood aesthetic, you can still have it and with added benefits on the side.

  1. Sustainable and Environmentally friendly

One of the best qualities of a composite deck is that it’s ecologically sustainable.

The raw materials used in making parts of the composite deck are recyclable. Therefore, if you choose to have this type of deck, you are taking part in saving the environment.

Cons of Composite Deck

Not everything is perfect – and that includes the composite deck.

Despite its promising benefits, there are several disadvantages when you go for composite materials instead of wood.

Nonetheless, these cons are also easily mitigated by choosing the right products and deck contractor, like TNT Home Improvements of course.

Check out some of the cons you can prepare for if you plan to have a composite deck.

  1. Pricier Than Traditional Wood

Composite decking is pricier than the traditional wood deck. Mainly, the price is due to the quality and the intricate process of making the composite materials.

Nevertheless, you regain the amount you invest on a composite deck with its durability that lasts for a long time.

  1. Lacks the Natural Aesthetic of Real Wood

Several materials try to mimic the natural beauty of wood but fail to do so.

A lumber deck sanded and stained with bucolic colors is always pleasing to the eye.

Although a composite deck is only partially wood, the likelihood of still achieving the “wood-like” look is still high with the right materials. If you go for TimberTech, this won’t be a problem.   

  1. Needs Better Frame Structure

The composite deck is heavier than the wood deck. As a result, you will have to potentially add more joists to the structure, and physically moving the materials to the deck location will be that much more work.

So, if you’re planning to have a do-it-yourself project with your composite deck, it may cost you more time and energy.

You can always consult and seek the services of professional deck builders like TNT Home Improvements.

  1. Hotter Temperature

Composite materials can absorb heat, making your deck a bit hot when it’s sunny. That’s why it’s crucial to choose the right location for your composite deck.

Avoid placing it in areas hit by direct sunlight.

Another option is to talk to an expert here at TNT about a deck cover as well.

How Long Do Composite Decks Last?

Composite decks can last for 25 to 30 years. On the other hand, wood decks are known to have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years.

The longevity of composite decks is credited to the type of raw materials included in its co-extrusion process. In addition, it is highly durable, which makes it suitable for areas with harsh weather conditions.

Does a Composite Deck Get Slippery When Wet?

Composite decks are generally not slippery when wet. Or at least not as slick as a wood deck.

With TimberTech decking composite products, the materials have an anti-slip component that minimizes slipping injuries when the board is wet.

For example, its 4-sided capped composite collections are textured to mimic wood and provide a hand-scraped texture adding friction against water.

Is a Composite Deck Worth the Money?

Yes, a composite deck is worth the money you invest. You don’t simply get to have a durable and high-quality deck; you will also enjoy its textured and aesthetically pleasing look as well.

However, there are still instances wherein homeowners are disappointed by how their composite decks are built. The expectations aren’t met, and the result diminishes the comfort and fun supposedly brought by the deck.

That’s why it is of utmost importance to choose the right decking products and employ deck builders who provide nothing less than quality services.

If you’re living in the Loveland, Colorado area and looking for licensed professionals to help you renovate or build your deck, then let TNT Home Improvements come build your dream deck.

This locally-based company only uses the best decking products like TimberTech to give you a cozy and lavish-looking composite deck.

Conclusion

To build the composite deck of your dreams, don’t settle for less.

A comfortable and well-built deck can be your haven within your home, and nothing can put a price on that.

Savor the benefits of a composite deck and avoid the disadvantages by hiring professional deck builders who know the best materials in the industry.If you are located in the Northern Colorado/ Southern Wyoming area, then give us a call today at 970-663-2868 or visit the deck services page and fill out the contact form to make an appointment to discuss your next home improvement project.

What Is the Best Company for Window Replacements in Northern Colorado?

When it comes to home renovations, window replacements are becoming a top hit. Whether it’s changing the design, materials, or size of the window, it requires careful planning and execution. That’s why you could never go wrong when you hire the most outstanding window installer company.

In Northern Colorado, there’s no doubt that the best company for window replacements is TNT Home Improvements of Loveland, CO. TNT offers window installation services along with siding installation as well as deck and patio construction services. 

You can expect quality work especially with the use of top-notch brands like Amerimax in window replacements. Nonetheless, much like any other home improvement project, replacing your windows require careful considerations.

After all, it may come with a large investment. Therefore, making the right decision and learning the essential details of the work is advantageous. Learn how window replacements can bring your house to another level of comfort and elegance. 

Are Window Replacements a Good Investment?

Window replacements are a great investment. They are simply worth it.

Aside from elevating the aesthetics of your house, new windows also increase its property value. Moreover, they increase energy efficiency by cutting back on the cost of heating and cooling.

How Do You Know if It’s Time To Replace Windows?

If you have been living in your house for a long time, there’s a good chance that you have opted to repair your windows instead of replacing them on several occasions.

But how would you know if it’s time to set aside a substantial budget allocation for new windows?

The signs can be very obvious that eventually, you won’t be able to ignore them.

  • They are worn out and damaged.

Window design professionals are adamant that you replace your windows between 15 to 20 years after installation, especially if the frames are made of wood.

Like every other great thing in your house, it doesn’t last forever – or at least it doesn’t remain sturdy and safe permanently.

Aging windows are characterized by splinters in the frame, soft texture from water damage, and balance issues that make it almost impossible to open, close, or lock them.

  • They fail to keep you from draft or outside noises.

You are not supposed to feel cold drafts when the windows are entirely shut or closed. In the same way, you shouldn’t be able to hear noises outside that are too audible.

If these incidences occur, then your windows are failing to do the job. A common cause for these troubles would be broken seals due to old age or excessive force.

It is of utmost importance to replace your window as a broken seal can disrupt thermal stability leading to a dramatic increase in your electric bill.

  • They have condensation building up on the windowpane.

When you notice frosting or moisture between the glass panes, it indicates that the seal is broken.

The condensation only occurs when air from the outside finds a path between the glass layers. If it’s not a sealing issue, there’s a likelihood that there’s a crack in the glass.

Either way, these instances require window replacements.

  • Their design is outdated.

If it’s strictly an aesthetic choice to change your windows, your reason is still valid. After all, how your house sits on the market can be influenced by every detail of your property.

While house designs always consider window placement and patterns, determine the light and warmth of your home.

They may hold high significance in the energy cycle that affects heating and cooling, but they also accentuate the theme of your house.

Benefits of New Windows

Installing new windows in your house comes with plenty of benefits. From beauty enhancement to increased security, there’s no way you’d want to miss these improvements.

  • Increased energy efficiency

A considerable majority of window replacements gear towards improved energy efficiency.

Window brands like Amerimax have contemporary windows designed to withstand different temperatures and familiar frame and glass damages sources.

By increasing modern windows’ stability, insulation, and endurance, energy is contained for heating or cooling indoors.

  • Upgraded protection from specks of dust

One of the best parts of window replacement is seal improvement. The sealing capacity of windows pretty much determines its overall functionality.

Newer windows employ tighter heavy-duty seals on the sash and frame. This way, dust and other allergens from the outside cannot get into the house, adding an extra layer of protection for your household.

  • Enhances home safety

It is fascinating that glass and grid options for window replacements became so varied, yet they maintain an upgraded strength and resistance.

Due to how these materials are almost unbreakable, you can expect to keep yourself and your family safe from forced entry.

  • Improved aesthetic appeal

Window brand Amerimax highly considers the beauty of all of its window products. 

Their multi-chambered frame design, carefully crafted details, and efficient lock systems employ a degree of attractiveness that appeal to all homeowners.

Amerimax windows, for example, come with vinyl colors and hardware that are simply pleasing to the eyes.

  • Higher property value

Installing new windows is one of those remodeling projects where you may have spent big, but you get bigger results.

The return on investment is guaranteed as window replacements increase the market value of your house. This huge payoff has been a reality for homeowners who resold their houses after replacing their worn-out windows with new vinyl windows.

What Is the Average Cost To Replace Windows?

The average cost to replace windows runs between $100 to $750 per window. Adding labor in the calculation, commonly priced from $100 to $300 per window, you should have a budget of $200 to $1,050 for each window.

Nevertheless, you should remember that the type of frame material, glass, design, and other factors affect your overall expenses.

If you’re unsure how your budget fits the window type you like, you can always ask the experts. Here at TNT Home Improvements, we offer a free consultation that will help you jump-start your window replacement project.

What Window Brand Is the Best?

The best window brand, without a doubt, is Amerimax. If you’re looking for innovative window designs that last for decades, then choose from the fine Amerimax window selections.

The brand upholds outstanding quality, especially with its best-performing window replacements. In addition, you can expect features that ensure energy efficiency, long-term durability, and more.  

What Is the Difference Between Wood, Fiberglass, and Vinyl Windows?

The main difference between wood, fiberglass, and vinyl windows lies in damage resistance and durability.

Wood is used as a traditional window frame. It exudes a classic look reminiscent of Victorian or Colonial designs. The downside, however, is that wood is not as durable as your other window options. It is prone to water and termite damages. Therefore, they mostly require high maintenance.

Fiberglass, on the other hand, is considered the most durable compared to wood and vinyl windows. It can last up to more than 50 years from the date of installation. In addition, with a fiberglass frame, you can choose to extend the coverage of the glass, allowing more natural light in the room.

Vinyl windows are also very durable as they can last about 30 years. The frames are also smooth and come with a wide range of attractive colors. Many homeowners go for vinyl windows because they are cheaper than fiberglass but more durable than wood.

Simply put, they tick the boxes for what remodelers look for when choosing window replacements.

Summary

Installing new windows is a great investment to upgrade your house. 

Make it your best home renovation with the help of the best company for window replacement, TNT Home Improvements.

Moreover, with a top-notch brand like Amerimax, you can rest assured that your new windows will not only enhance security and energy efficiency, but accentuate the general beauty of your house. If you are located in the Northern Colorado/ Southern Wyoming area, then give us a call today at 970-663-2868 or fill out the contact form to make an appointment to discuss your next home improvement project.

How To Pick the Siding Color for Your House

pic of a house

If you’re thinking of enhancing your house’s exterior aesthetics, you’re probably wondering how to choose the best siding color.

Trying to build a specific impression about your house will require picking the suitable shade that matches your theme or preference.

But aside from your personal taste, there are other factors you can consider when selecting the siding color for your house. For starters, you can determine your overall color palette depending on the house’s architectural style, the light intensity in your area, and whether or not you want to highlight or tone down certain features.

Nonetheless, successfully picking the right siding color for your exteriors goes beyond satisfaction. You will be happier and prouder of your home. That’s why it’s a task that no one should take for granted.

Learn more about siding colors that suit your house in the following few lines.

Factors To Consider: How Should You Pick the Siding Color for Your House?

Picking the siding color for your house is a significant design decision. Unfortunately, doing it without the right guide can lead to disastrous results.

But then again, you don’t exactly need to be a certified expert to know what you want.

All you got to do is carefully examine the factors influencing exterior aesthetics and base your decision around it. So, here it goes.

Architectural Type

The style of your home strongly influences the color of its sidings. Home designers know exactly what colors compliment their masterpiece.

For example, if your house has Victorian-style architecture, you can play with deep colors or somber ones. Likewise, pastel would also be a good choice.

These color schemes fit well with the style as Victorian houses often look grand. However, it will go over the top if you choose bright, outrageous colors like mood mauve, tracksuit, and little miss sunshine.

On the other hand, with contemporary houses, the overall design is often described as simple but sleek with primarily clean lines.

Architects and exterior designers recommend neutral colors, especially if you’re aiming for a minimalist look.

Highlighted or Hidden Features

Newer house designs mainly adopt simple designs with subtle features. However, owners who wish to put more emphasis on their windows can add colors on the trim that contrast the siding (main).

However, if you are trying to tone down certain features, it is best to use neutral colors that give a sense of commonality, such as tan, beige, taupe, and camel.

Light Intensity

Your location can also help you identify the best siding color or color palette for your house. 

It is crucial to consider the weather, seasons, and light intensity during the morning, afternoon, and evening to decide which color appeals to your style without bothering your neighbors too much.

During summer, when it’s mostly bright, colors appear to be vibrant. But on any other seasons, this impression will most likely change.

If you’re going after colors that look warm, go over some swatches and see how they look during different times of the day.

Personal Taste

When all has been said and done, your choice of the siding color all boils down to your personal taste and preference.

You would probably consider your favorite color or any other color that represents your personality for your siding. The good news is you can do exactly that. You simply have to make sure that it is well complimented with appropriate secondary, stone, and trim colors.

Is It Better To Have Light or Dark Siding?

Whether you should have light or dark siding depends on the size of your house and how you like to be perceived in the neighborhood.

According to house designers, darker siding colors will suit small houses, while light colors are best for large houses. However, if it goes the other way around, it could result in unpleasant or faded looks.

For example, if you have a huge craftsman-style house and you paint heavy dark colors like evening blue on your main siding, your house will appear imposing in your area.

On the other hand, if you have a small cottage with light Mastic vinyl color for the siding, your house may appear bland.

Nonetheless, it still depends on how you like your house to pop or fade in your place.

How Do I Choose Exterior Color Combination?

When it comes to exterior color combinations, the rule of thumb is to choose three complementing colors. Next, you have to decide on your main shade for the house siding and find accent colors that match well.

Home designers recommend lighter shades compared to the main color when it comes to the primary accent covering the pillars, trims, and railings. 

For the secondary accent applied on doors and shutters, darker colors will be more appropriate.

What Siding Color Makes a House Look Bigger?

Light and neutral colors for the siding will make your house look bigger. It’s one trick of the eye that makes your house more welcoming.

You can choose colors like arctic white, ivory, sage green, witch hazel, and light gray. Likewise, you can also opt for other earthy tones. 

What Is the Most Popular Color for Siding?

Most house remodeling projects consider gray as the most popular color siding, especially for modern homes. The gray siding is often paired with blue trim or the other way around. Others opt for neutral grays that seem to complement various ranges of warm and cool colors perfectly.

What Siding Color Goes With Colored Bricks?

Bricks are often part of many house designs. But, if you’re having trouble picking a color for your siding because it can be conflicting with your brick color, here is a simple guide that could help you out.

Red Brick:  Go with brown, tan, gray, and sage green for the siding color.

Orange Brick: The siding color could be riverway, sage green, and cream.

Brown Brick: A blue-gray or tundra gray siding color will do.

Tan Brick: The smokey gray color siding suits tan bricks best.

Choosing the right siding color if you have brick walls can help you maintain the accent of the bricks without it overpowering the design.

What Siding Color Goes With a Colored Roof?

As more designs are meant to explore colors, having houses with colored roofs is pretty common. Whether it poses a challenge or provides a wonderful opportunity to be creative depends on the color of the roof and the siding color you’ll pair with it.

Green Roof: Go for earthy and neutral tones such as cream, white, and tan.

Brown Roof: You can choose from blue-gray, sand dunes, and cavern steel.

Gray Roof: It goes best with off-white, blue, and gray-green.

Black Roof: You can never go wrong with desert stone and snowscape white.

If you choose the wrong house siding color that should go with your roof and vice versa, it could create a confusing look for your house exterior.

What Color Goes With Black Windows?

You would often see house designs with black windows. When it comes to repainting your exterior, having this kind of window color isn’t an issue at all.

Black windows can have white trims. This contrast will only accentuate your window and make it pop especially if it’s the front window.

You can also choose any siding color you like to pair with a black window. If you want to tone it down a little, just choose darker trim colors.

Conclusion

Choosing the right siding color is all about how you visualize your exterior.

In imagining what aesthetics suit your style, consider how tasteful it will appear, matching the architectural design, house features, and more.

You may already have the idea of what you want but still doubting if it could really work. Not to worry, you can always get the help you need in turning your remodeling vision into reality. 

Don’t hesitate to get the renovation services that could make your life easier.If you are located in the Northern Colorado/ Southern Wyoming area, then give us a call today at 970-663-2868 or fill out the contact form to make an appointment to discuss siding options or your next home improvement project.

What is a Footer (or Caisson) in Deck Construction?

There’s obviously more to building a deck than just laying down some timber and hoping for the best. But when you look up what equipment you need, there’s a lot of construction jargon that might not make sense to you. One of the most important words you’ll see when wanting to know more about building a deck is ‘footer’ or ‘caisson’. 

Footers provide support for your deck. They are essentially a hole dug into the ground filled back in with concrete to create a strong base for your deck. You can use the word footer, footing, caisson, and pier when referring to deck footers as they all serve the same purpose. To support your deck and the weight transferred on the deck between people and furniture. 

Naturally, as progression goes, there are numerous types of footers that you can use depending on the size and style of your deck. There will be footers specifically recommended for certain types of construction and it’s always best to speak to a professional if you’re unsure. Carry on reading below for further information on footers, how they work and why you need their support. 

How Does a Footer Work?

The footings carry and evenly spread the weight of the deck and any weight on top of the deck such as people and/or furniture as well as any other constructed patio or pergola features. Decks will usually have a maximum weight load that they can handle depending on how they’ve been designed, and which materials have been used in the construction process, including your footers.

The find out the exact specifications of the size of footers for your deck project, you will have to consult your local building permit office. They can tell things like exactly how deep and how big in diameter the holes will have to be to pass inspection.

Here is a simplified step-by-step guide on how to install a commonly used footer and how a footer works:

Dig a hole

Once you’ve checked with your local utilities and building department that it’s safe to dig in your yard, dig a hole that goes a few inches below your frost line. If this is a permitted deck then you will have exact dimensions of how big the hole will be.

You don’t want to incur any extra fees or damage costs for hitting and breaking plumbing pipes so it’s imperative to find out where it’s not dangerous to dig. 

Compact loose dirt.

Compact the loose dirt in the hole so that the bottom is flat. Then check each hole’s measurements to ensure they are the same so each caisson works efficiently. 

Put a hollow cardboard tube in the hole (if necessary). 

Some deck projects may require the use of cardboard tubes to extend the caisson up out of the ground a certain number of inches. 

The concrete footers can be poured directly into the hole without using a cardboard tube for most projects but for some yards, the grade or other circumstance might dictate the use of these tubes to ensure the measurements are correct and the supports are the same across each footer. 

Get an Inspection Signoff.

At this point, you should have a set number of hollow holes in the yard and if this is a permitted deck project (as a very large number are) then it’s time to call in an inspection to get your permit signed off on caissons. 

Add wet cement and fill the hole completely. 

You can now start adding the cement to your caisson holes until they are completely full of cement. Smooth out the top layer and let the cement fully dry ensuring the posts are completely set within their footings before building your deck on top.

Add anchors if necessary. 

This is also the point in which you want to add any type of anchor system for making a caisson to post connection. For instance, you may choose to add ‘J’ anchors to the wet cement. You can then come back after the cement dries and install 4×4 post bases to the threads of the ‘J’ anchor sticking out of the completed caisson.

So how does it work?

The footing ensures a sturdy and strong deck even in harsher weather. They make sure ‘live’ and ‘dead’ weight is evenly distributed across the deck’s surface. Footings are an extremely important part of your decking especially if you have a larger and elevated deck. 

What is a Concrete Footer?

The above process is one of the most common footing installments for decks and is what’s called a concrete footer. 

The digging and the time-consuming process might take a few days and a lot of effort, but by using concrete footers you will thank yourself in the long run for the durability and longevity of this type of footer. 

Here are a few advantages of using concrete footers for your deck:

  • Can support larger items and more weight. 
  • Can be used for larger decks by area size. 
  • Sturdy and durable for longer-lasting deck support. 
  • Permanent, strong, and weather-resistant. 

What Size Footings do I Need for a Deck?

The size, shape, and number of footings you need for your deck will depend on the size and shape of your finished structure. 

Typically, most deck footers will not be spaced more than 8 feet apart. Larger footers for bigger decks can cope with more space between them. To ensure safety and sturdy decks, many builders will place the footers approximately every 4 feet apart, but it will really depend on the size and shape of your planned deck.

Here are a few options for deck footers that you might consider depending on the type of deck you’re keen to build:

  • Poured concrete footers. 
  • Pre-cast cement blocks. 
  • Buried post footings/footing pads.
  • Stackable cement piles. 
  • Screw piles.

You can find everything you need to know about deck footings and spacing here in the International Residential Code, Significant Changes to Deck Provisions.

What is the Frost Line?

When we refer to the ‘frost line’, we’re talking about the point at which the depth of the inground soil can freeze. The frost line can freeze and thaw depending on climatic changes and that’s why it’s important to ensure your footing is below the front line. 

To avoid your deck moving or ‘heaving’ as we call it from thawing and freezing soils, we dig and place the deck footers below the frost line. 

The frost line in Colorado is approximately 36 inches below ground level although some colder areas in Colorado can be as deep as 48 inches. 

To confirm the depth of the frost line in your area you should call your local building department to check. If your deck requires a permit, you’ll need this information handy on your application form too. 

What is Sonotube used for?

We mentioned hollow cardboard tubes earlier. For construction purposes, these are called Sonotubes. They are large, hardened, hollow, cardboard cylinders or tubes that are specifically designed for pouring concrete into them once placed in pre-dug holes. 

At TNT Home Improvements we use Sonotube for caissons that need to extend further out of the ground for permit reasons. They ensure a cleaner finish to the deck footing and are an easy way of keeping the post and cement directly where it’s meant to be to ensure weight coverage for the decking. 

Sonotube comes in a variety of sizes and lengths making it easy to buy or cut to measure with little waste. 

Because they’re made from reinforced cardboard, Sonotube is lightweight, cost-effective, easy to work with and they provide a perfect column-shaped footer for a more attractive design to the bottom of your deck. 

They also help to make measuring the pre-dug hole easier as well as keeping the cement and post in place, to the desired measurements.  

Conclusion

Ensure your deck is safe, stable, and secure by installing the right footings for your dream deck. If you want to ensure the safety and stability of your deck by having the footings installed accurately, you might consider hiring a professional company to build the perfect deck for your home. Here at TNT home improvements, we’ve dug thousands and thousands of caissons and have the expert equipment to make this part of the job a breeze.  

If you are located in the Northern Colorado/ Southern Wyoming area, then give us a call today at 970-663-2868 or fill out the contact form to make an appointment to discuss your next deck or home improvement project.

What is a Ground-Level Deck? The Benefits and Features

Have you ever wondered if you could build a deck directly on the ground? And if so, how long would the deck last? If you’re wanting to spend more time outdoors and want to landscape your yard to a cost-effective budget, you might consider a detached, ground-level deck to add conveniently usable space to your yard.

A ground-Level deck is a freestanding deck that’s constructed less than 30 inches above the ground. Any deck higher than 30 inches requires guardrails, stairs, and possible permits. If your ground-level deck is not attached to your house and is less than 200 square feet, you do not need a permit. (With some exceptions on a per county basis).

How nice would it be to have a secure and stylish deck in the middle of your yard just under that shaded tree you’re so fond of? Or tucked away in a corner behind some shrubs for some morning coffee privacy in your pajamas? You can build a ground-level deck anywhere in your yard and the best part is that it’s easy to build in a day if you have the right equipment on hand.

Read on to find out more about ground-level decks, the benefits, and some ideas that might fit your budget, your time constraints, and your backyard. 

Ground-Level Deck Benefits.

You might hear of ground-level decks also being called floating decks, free-standing decks, island decks, or platform decks. This is because of their proximity to the ground and because of their detachment to a house or dwelling. 

Although the names are commonly used together, you might find some differences in these decks across different companies and construction businesses. 

You can legally build a ground-level deck anywhere in your yard as a type of platform or floating deck as long as you adhere to any easements and setbacks to your property line. 

There are numerous advantages to building a ground-level deck that make them a popular option for homeowners across the country. 

If you’re just starting to research good options for a backyard deck, here are the benefits of building a ground-level deck that might help you to decide:

  • Ground-level decks are cost-effective.
  • You don’t need stairs or railings
  • Less risk of injury from height-related incidents.
  • No permits are required if the deck is detached from the house and not used as a house entry, is less than 30” from grade level, and in some cases can not exceed certain square footage sizes. (Check your local guidelines for confirmation on the acceptable area)
  • A ground-level deck can legally be built anywhere in your yard. (You still have to follow the rules in your county concerning easements and setbacks from the property lines)
  • Less time-consuming than elevated decks. 
  • Frost-depth footings aren’t required. (Although here at TNT we overbuild everything so we still recommend following your local caisson depth requirements to avoid future issues.)
  • They’re generally easier to build because of their closeness to the ground. 

You can read more information on the Building and Construction Code and Standards here for any permit and construction queries you might have. See Section 105.2 “Work exempt from building permit”. Alternatively, here’s an easy-to-read PDF brochure from Larimer County Community development on residential deck information for your property

Do I Need Footings for a Ground-Level Deck?

At TNT Home Improvements we recommend using footings for every deck, even ground-level decking that “hugs” the ground. What you don’t need for ground-level decks are the typical frost depth footings for higher-built decks, depending on your area of the country. 

Footings provide the foundation of a solid deck. Ensuring that the deck doesn’t quickly rot, fall, or tip, and blow away in strong winds. You need one footing and/or support block for every angle of the deck.

12 inches below ground is the recommended and required depth of the footings for ground-level decks. Some platforms and free-standing decks can be supported by concrete blocks instead of footings. 

At TNT Home Improvements we recommend using footings to support the overall weight of the decking as well as to maintain the structure longer and to avoid fast rotting by being so close to the ground. 

Ground-Level Deck Ideas

There are a few options that you can choose from to support your ground-level or free-standing platform deck. 

You can opt for the traditional footings, dug 12 inches below ground level or alternatively, you can use blocks. Blocks can be DIY or store-bought, either way, if you want a stronger deck, no matter what the size or height, supported decks are stronger and longer-lasting decks. 

Here are a few options that might work for your ground-level deck:

Concrete Deck Blocks/Pier Blocks

One of the cheaper options is concrete blocks. Depending on the style of your deck, these might not be the most attractive option so you might want to spend a little extra on having them covered up. Then again, maybe you like the rugged concrete look!

The pier blocks were designed specifically for floating decks so they’re a popular option. 

Depending on the height of the blocks used, keep in mind that you may need to partially bury them in the ground to ensure your ground-level deck doesn’t exceed the 30-inch limit, resulting in it no longer being a ground-level deck and needing to rethink the whole project. 

Remember, solid concrete is heavy, so you might want to work with a partner on this one if the blocks are a little heavier than you realized. You might also need gravel to support the blocks if you’re needing to dig them into the ground. 

Keep in mind this is the easiest, but the most temporary solution which doesn’t always make it the best; especially over the long run. Here at TNT, we don’t even give this as an option to our customers as it’s more of a DIY solution. Not commonly seen on a professional grade deck.

Wood Post Anchor

A more costly but more attractive DIY option is the wood post anchor. 

A great option to help avoid premature rotting and is quick and easy to install. If you have a good hammer, you can easily install these anchors in the ground without needing to dig or spend any more money on gravel. 

They also come in a few different options, including colors and sizes depending on what your deck requires.  Some, which may be of interest to you and your design style, can be painted. 

You might want to check the hardness of your ground area where you plan to build your deck before going out and purchasing this option as it’s essentially a giant spike that needs forced down into the ground. If the foundations of your land have concrete anywhere underneath, this might not be the best option for you. 

Composite Post Foundation

No need for concrete or gravel, this lightweight composite post foundation is tested by third-party engineering labs, approved and certified by the International Code Council Evaluation Services (ICC) and can provide support for your deck and up to 2355lbs (1068kg). 

Simply dig a hole that fits the footer, flatten the bottom of the hole, place the footer in and attach the decking structure for a wholesome and peace of mind type of ground-level or elevated deck. 

A huge pro is that these footings pads aren’t too expensive depending on how many you require and another bonus is their lightweight design meaning you can carry these on your own.

Concrete Filled Caisson

This is definitely a more permanent, long-lasting solution that we here TNT are more prone to use for the majority of our projects big or small. This solution doesn’t require you to break the bank, but it does require a bit of sweat equity as we dig all of our caissons to at least the 30” frost mark for Northern Colorado. If the deck does require a permit then you will have to adhere to the exact width and depth for your footer holes.

After digging the required (or even non-required) caisson hole size, be sure to ‘bell-out’ the bottom of the holes making it impossible for any future uplift. Then run on down to your local builders’ supply and grab a flat cart full of bags of the appropriately rated concrete mix. With the right amount of water to concrete mix ratio, you can fill your holes and add any required hardware to the top most surface.

If this one sounds too hard/complicated then you may have to make a decision to either settle for a less secure method… or call in the pros. Here at TNT Home Improvements, we’ve got the big-boy tools like giant two-man augers that can make the job of punching 10+ holes in your yard fly by in just an hour or two.

What Timber Should I Use for my Ground-Level Deck?

On every outdoor deck we build, we use pressure-treated lumber for the framing of the structure. Pressure-treated wood is wood that has undergone a process to make it more durable and sturdy, less vulnerable to rot and decay from the elements, and in some cases is even fire retardant. If you are planning on setting your deck framing directly ground (which we don’t necessarily recommend), then you would have to use special ground-contact lumber to further prevent rot for your ground-level deck.

As far as the decking that you pun on top of your ground-level deck, you can go with either a natural wood (like a redwood) or you can choose a synthetic decking material (like a composite or ‘Trex’ material). Keep in mind that referring to Trex as composite material is very similar to referring to Kleenex as a tissue. Not every tissue is created by kleenex just like not every composite deck board is created by Trex. There are many options for composite decking material manufacturers.

Here at TNT Home Improvements of Loveland, Colorado, we recommend TimberTech decking materials to all of our customers. With numerous composite decking options to choose from, TimberTech has a sustainable approach to designing your decks. 

Up to 100% of the wood used at TimberTech is made from recycled materials and since 2001 Timbertech has helped to save over 3 million trees. 

Conclusion

TNT Home Improvements can help you to design your dream ground-level or elevated deck using high-quality materials and dedicated, experienced, professionals in the construction and building field. If you are located in the Northern Colorado/ Southern Wyoming area, then give us a call today at 970-663-2868 or fill out the contact form here to make an appointment to discuss your options for your ground-level deck vision.

How to Cover a Deck For Shade – 12 Ways to Add Some Shade

A deck should be a place for you to sit and relax on a sunny day. But that’s difficult to do when the sun is shining in your eyes. Plus, it will make the deck hot, giving you sunburn. 

The good news is that this doesn’t have to be the case. There are plenty of simple ways that you can add some shade to your deck. Keep reading to learn more about some of the options that you might want to explore. 

Shingled Patio Covers

One of the longest-lasting patio covers is a shingled roof. This is essentially adding an extension of your roof, to cover the deck. This will allow you to effectively block the sun. It will also offer protection from the rain. When you do this, you will often be unable to tell the difference between the shingled patio cover and the original roof.

Underneath the patio, you will be able to enjoy natural wood. This is a stunning aesthetic. You can opt to stain it, protecting it from the elements. Or you might want to paint it, so the color complements the deck. Because of these benefits, a shingled patio cover will be able to last for a long time. As a result, they can often add a lot of value to your home.

Wooden Pergolas

If you like the look of natural wood, you might want to consider installing a cedar pergola. The wood can be stained to suit the surroundings. The pergola will extend from your existing roof out over the deck. The top of the pergola will have a series of rafters going perpendicular out from the house and a series of beams on top running parallel to the house, covering the deck. This is easy to maintain.

One of the benefits of this type of cover is that you can accessorize it to get even more shade or even a certain amount of waterproofing. For example, you can add corrugated plastic to the top to keep the rain off the deck and you can add screens and plants to the sides for added shade.

Aluminum Pergolas

If you don’t want to deal with the upkeep of a wooden pergola, you might prefer the aluminum variety. These have the advantage of coming in a range of colors. This will let you match it to the existing home. The Alumawood pergolas that we offer have a woodgrain pattern stamped into them to make them feel like wood. Plus, they are very durable, lasting for many years. 

Similar to a wooden pergola, you will be able to accessorize the top and sides of an Alumawood pergola. This will offer protection against the elements, so you can still use your deck when it is raining or snowing.

Umbrellas

One of the easiest ways to add a little more shade is by adding an umbrella. There are a few options that you might want to consider, these include: 

  • Table umbrella. These are designed to sit in a hollow slot in the middle of a table. They often aren’t very big and will cover a single table or chair. 
  • Tilting umbrella. As the name suggests, these can be set at an angle. This will offer more flexibility, letting you block out the sun. But they are very expensive. 
  • Weighted umbrella. This option will be held in place by a stand at the base of the umbrella. Often, the stand will be filled with water or sand, holding it in place. 

An umbrella has a few advantages. For example, they tend to be easy to install. You can get them set up in a few minutes. But there are also some downsides to consider. In a strong wind, they will fall over. Or worse, they can be blown away. This type of shade becomes extremely needy as you have to get it out and put it away every time you use it.

Planting Trees

Trees can be a great way of providing some natural shade. If you want to take this route, consider the size of their leaves. The bigger the leaves, the more protection they will provide. This is why many people like palm trees. 

But there are a few obvious downsides. First, it will take years and years for a tree to grow tall enough to provide enough shade. Additionally, if you put it too close you will need to spend a lot of time cleaning the fallen leaves off the deck. 

Louvered Patio Covers

If you are looking for a system that lets you control how much sunlight you let in and can keep the deck dry, consider a louvered cover. On a sunny day, you can open the louvers. This will let the natural light pour into the deck. But if it starts to rain you can close the louvers. This will stop you from getting wet. Better yet, you’ll be able to adjust the angle of the louver, so you can get the right mix of light and shade. If you opt to get the TNT Home Improvement team to install a louvered pergola, you will be able to do this with a handheld remote. 

These are built to last. Almost every piece of the cover is made out of thick gauge aluminum. They come in multiple colors to choose from, so you can pick one that matches the design aesthetic of your deck/house. 

Patio Canopy

There are a lot of canopy options that you might want to explore. This is a good way of getting some shade quickly. You will also be able to take it down and move it when necessary. But, if you’re looking for a long-term option, this might not be the best choice as it won’t handle extreme weather conditions more than once. 

Hanging Patio Curtains

Sometimes you will already have a cover on your deck and will be looking for some ways to get a little extra shade. In this case, you might want to think about putting in curtains. These will hang around the outside of the patio. These will give you a lot of flexibility. You’ll be able to choose elements like: 

  • How thick they are, determining how much light they will block
  • Color
  • Length

A popular alternative to this is blinds. These also offer a lot of creative freedom, with dozens of styles to choose from. Plus, you will be able to control them with the touch of a button.

Growing Vines

You might be able to get a climbing vine. This will have a similar effect to installing a patio curtain. However, the vines will add a more natural feel. Depending on the variety you choose, you might even be able to get one that will flower, adding color and perfuming the air. However, like planting a tree, you’ll need to get a temporary solution in the meantime as it can take a long time for a vine to grow. 

Shade Sail

You might want to install a shade sail. This is a porous canvas cloth, which is available in a range of colors. This will let you get one that will match the style of the space. They are also a good option to provide shade over a large area. You should be able to install them yourself, though you’ll need to get one that will match the dimensions of your deck. 

Awning

If you are looking for a simple solution, you might want to think about installing an awning. They are easy to install because you won’t need to use poles. There are a few options for you to choose from. You might want to have an awning that is always in place. Or you can get a retractable option, that you will need to manually open and close. 

Solid Patio Cover

Finally, you might want to get a solid patio cover. This can be connected to an existing roof or form a standalone structure. It’s solid and will be able to last for a long time. There are a few reasons why you might want to get this type of cover: 

  • It comes in a range of colors, so you’ll be able to pick something to suit your style. 
  • You can install features, like lights and ceiling fans
  • It can be made to custom-fit your deck area

Final Thoughts

Covering your deck is a good way to stop the sun from getting in your eyes and beating the summer heat. Plus, it will block the wind and rain, so you can enjoy the deck in all weather conditions. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for you to choose from. You can get a long-term solution by installing a shingled patio roof, louvered patio cover, pergola, or a solid patio cover. Or you can get something more temporary. Hopefully, you are more aware of your options so you can find the right one for you.

If you’re living in the Northern Colorado area, give us a call today at 970-663-2868 so we can talk about your deck cover project.

What Are Double Pane Windows? Differences, Costs, & Benefits

Many of our customers overlook a simple measure to effectively warm their homes and reduce their electricity bills: double pane windows. Installing double-pane windows can provide many benefits to your home. 

Double pane, or dual pane windows, are windows with two panes of glass glazed to the movable part of the window (sash) and placed in the window’s frame. The glaze insulates the window, and in turn, your home. 

People with older homes should strongly consider the upgrade to double pane windows. Why are double pane windows better? Allow me to explain. 

What Do Double Paned Windows Do?

Double pane windows have a small space between the two glass panes that creates an air pocket. This air pocket keeps the outside elements from affecting the temperature inside of your home. This air space also contains a desiccant that prevents condensation from forming. 

The more energy-efficient windows have argon gas fill between the panes for extra insulation. Argon is a clear, slow-moving, odorless gas that significantly greatens thermal efficiency. 

The large difference between single and double pane glass is the structure. Single pane glass has one pane while double has, you guessed right, two panes! A single pane window costs less, sure, but your heating and A/C bills are going to be steep. You are looking at saving roughly 20% to 30% with double pane windows. Over time, the savings are significant. 

Windows are often the main source of temperature loss for a home. If you have old single-pane or poorly installed windows, you are racking up the electrical bill with little to show for it. If you are not thinking of the long-term picture here, you are going to pay for it quite literally. Over time, double pane windows will pay for themselves, with returns of around 80%

An extra pane of glass also means extra sound reduction from outside noise resulting in a quieter home. Cut down on noise pollution from car engines, loud children, and those noisy squirrels and birds. 

Do double pane windows need storm windows? Luckily for us, they do not. Double pane windows remove the nuisance of putting up and taking down storm windows, an arduous task come spring and winter. The need for extra protection from summer and winter temperatures is therefore removed. Beyond this, think of all the time saved from having to do this year in and year out!

Double pane windows are available in many beautiful styles such as single hung windows, horizontal sliders, and fixed picture windows. Installing dual pane windows in your home will be sure to provide you with a quieter, happier environment for you to enjoy. 

Going Green

When I talk about going green, I am not talking about solar panels and wind turbines here. The average American household spends $1,500-2500 on energy bills and 45% of that cost is for heating and cooling. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) labels are an effective measure of how well a product can retain heat inside of a room, how much air will enter the room through a product, and other important qualities. 

TNT Home Improvements prides itself on providing quality Amerimax window installations in the Loveland, CO area. These windows have excellent NFRC ratings and meet or exceed Energy Star requirements in all climate zones. Beyond that, they are beautiful to look at.

Your Individual Carbon Footprint

Home energy use comprises a huge chunk of your carbon footprint, with estimates that this eats up around 27 percent. It is estimated that replacing single-pane windows with double-pane windows will save on average up to $465 per year.  

Window Films

Window films can be applied to a window after installation. Solar control window film is designed to reflect UV rays. If you want non-reflective and have the cash, ceramic film is an option and is suitable for all climates. Dual reflectivity film allows you to clearly look out your window at night instead of staring at your own reflection as you would see with standard reflective solar control films.

60% Of All U.S. Homes Have Double Or Triple Pane Windows

It is estimated that over 118 million American homes have double or triple-pane windows. This makes up 60 percent of all U.S. homes. However, that means 40% of homes are using old, inefficient technology. Single pane windows can be appealing with the low price tag upfront, but the homeowner will spend much more on utilities with this approach in the long run. 

Improving Double Pane Window Efficiency

Windows are a significant point of energy loss in a home. Here are a few tips to help improve window efficiency:

  1. Use Thermal Curtains: Thick thermal curtains provide great insulation.
  2. Add Window Insulating Film: Thin, clear plastic film will slow thermal loss.
  3. Weatherproofing: Older windows may be opening around the framing. Exterior-grade silicone caulk will take care of this. 
  4. Replace Foggy Windows: Foggy windows between the two panes have faulty seals and gas has leaked. Either the window sash or the entire window will need replacement. 

Why Are Double Pane Windows Better? 

Double pane windows save money and can reduce energy usage by up to 24% during the winter and 18% during the summer compared to single-pane models. With some top-of-the-line models, you can expect up to 50% energy savings. Double-paned windows are good for the environment, and they significantly reduce outdoor noise pollution, especially in busy, urban areas. 

Cons Of Double Pane Windows

There are not really any inherent cons to double pane windows. However, poor window quality and installation can certainly impact your expected energy savings. Ultimately, you get what you pay for! Failed seals or windows that fail can lead to condensation between the panes and other issues. Another downside is that you do not really get the sought-after benefits unless you replace all your old windows. Replacing one window will not change a whole lot. You still have all those other old, inefficient windows, well, being inefficient. 

Poor Installation or A Cheap Product Will Cost You 

Have double pane windows that, despite cleaning inside and outside, remain cloudy despite your efforts? There is a good possibility that you may have condensation. This forms inside double pane windows when the desiccant in the air space between panes becomes saturated. Double pane windows have a thick sealant around the edges. Gradually, warm air (holding more moisture) seeps into the air space and releases moisture as it cools. The desiccant absorbs it until it eventually does not work. At this point, the glass units need to be replaced. 

Cloudiness is a visual issue, not having a huge impact on energy efficiency, but if budget allows for it, consider the switch to double pane. 

The Economical, Environmental-Friendly Choice

Opting for double pane windows, while more expensive upfront, will save you a lot on your annual energy bill and is an environmental-friendly choice. If you do not have quality products that have been installed by established professionals, you are taking a big risk (think leaky sealants, cloudy windows, and noise pollution). Windows are often the main source of energy loss for a home and making the decision to purchase double-pane windows can make a huge difference. 

If you are in the Loveland, CO area, be sure to contact TNT Home Improvements with any window-installation-related inquiries and we will be sure to get back to you in a timely manner. We are Loveland’s premier deck builder, patio cover installer, window replacing, and siding contractor professionals!