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!

Does a Deck Add Value to a Home?

Although there are numerous ways to upgrade your home, adding an attractive outdoor deck allows you to host events and spend some quality time with your friends and family. Adding a deck to your home improves its aesthetics and outdoor décor, making it appealing for your family, friends, and others. 

So does a deck add value to a home? Building a deck is a practical, reliable, and cost-effective way to increase your home value. Research shows that a homeowner can recoup over 75% of return on investment (ROI) by adding a deck to their home. Building a deck allows you to add outdoor living space to your home. 

You can choose from a wide range of design options to create a deck that aligns with your home décor, your lifestyle, and personality. Adding a deck to your home means achieving an additional outdoor space where you can put furniture, grills, plants, etc., to make your backyard more alluring, functional, and enjoyable. 

Many homeowners want to relax on a deck with their friends and family, host a BBQ party, or spend some quality time. Whether you currently have a deck or want to build one, it can add usable outdoor living space and increase your home value. In today’s article, we will give you some more details and answer essential questions like: Is a deck worth the investment? and how much value does a deck add to a home? 

Is a Deck Worth Your Investment? 

The National Association of Realtors Research Group reports that millennials have more tendency toward building a deck onto their homes. Another study shows that a deck and front porch can increase a home resale value and lead to higher returns on investments. 

Because the economy is down due to unpredictable lockdowns and social distancing, many people spend their time at home. The more people stay at home for entertainment, the more enjoyable home amenities, such as a deck, are worth having. 

Homeowners who consider building a deck can look forward to increased home value. The amount of return on investment (ROI) varies depending on your location, the type of deck you want to build, and the company you hire for construction. However, the average ROI is around 75%, making it an excellent return for added outdoor living space. 

Bear in mind that wood or composite decking may lose its value over time. Therefore, consult a professional company like TNT Home Improvements to ensure a deck that stands the test of time, leading to increased ROIs. 

A usable and functional deck is directly proportional to your home’s appeal and comfort. During the summer season, most people spend time outdoors with family and friends while maintaining their home comfort. 

Building a deck is worth your investment because it enables you to extend your living space give you more of that coveted ‘square footage’. Remember, a deck should look and feel like an extension of your outdoor space and not an appendage. 

At TNT Home Improvements, (your Northern Colorado professional deck builder) we recommend elevating your deck to make it a walkout from your house. Whether it is three feet or seven feet above the ground, an elevated living space that lets you walk outside from the kitchen or bedroom adds a perfect finishing touch to your home. 

It allows for a more usable entertaining space and offers an attractive transition from your indoor space into the surrounding yard. An elevated deck constructed by a professional company like TNT Home Improvements will make every opportunity out back into something fun. 

How much Value does a Deck Add to a Home?

According to JLC Group’s Magazine research report, adding a deck can increase your home value significantly. The average cost of constructing a wooden deck is $13,000 with a resale value of $10,080, meaning you can recoup about 75% of the total cost after selling your home. 

Likewise, the average cost of constructing a composite deck is $19,150 with a resale value of $13,000, allowing you to recoup 69.1% ROI. Here at TNT Home Improvements (a reputable and experienced NOCO company with licensed and skilled workers) we recommend re-staining your deck every 2-3 years to maintain it. 

Although the maintenance will cost you around $700 each year, it will keep your deck functional for a long time, leading to increased ROIs. Unlike other home improvement projects, such as a backyard patio and midrange bathroom construction, adding a deck can sometimes lead to 85% of ROI, depending on living space quality. 

Does Adding a Deck Expand Your Homes Square Footage? 

Many people think an outdoor deck is an extra bedroom where they can rest and enjoy their time. Although this is true up to some extent, a deck expands your outdoor space and makes a significant difference in your home’s resale value. 

HomeAdvisor reports that adding a deck to your home is a cost-effective solution to expand your home’s square footage.  For instance, the average cost of building a new 20×20 square-foot room is between $32,000 and $80,000. 

On the other hand, building a 20×20 deck costs you $12,000 to $60,000, making it a more affordable solution to increase your home value and square footage. Not only does a 20×20 deck add 400 square feet to your house, but it also allows you to spend more time outdoors with your friends and family, making it a win-win situation. 

Final Words 

A deck can become anything you want such as a romantic area with a cool tub for those hot evenings, a reliable outdoor kitchen with a built-in bar and grill, a living space with decorative table and chairs, a perfect space for doing your nails and soaking up the sun, or an area with a flat-screen TV to watch your favorite shows or movies. 

No matter what your dream deck is, it is definitely worth your investment with an increased ROI. Contact TNT Home Improvements today if you want to create a durable, aesthetically appealing, comfortable, and cost-effective deck at your home. We are a professional company with a team of licensed, experienced, and skilled workers who follow a step-by-step approach to construct a usable living space.

Living in the Northern Colorado area? Give us a call today at 970-663-2868 or reach out via the contact page. For more information on our services, click here for info about our deck construction services.

What are the pros and cons of composite decking?

pic of a Composite deck built in fort collins, co

More and more homeowners are looking for durable ways to improve their homes. Many want to increase the value of their property by installing decking. The most common version is the traditional wooden decking. However, an increased amount of people is interested in more durable variants, such as composite decks.

Composite decking is gaining rapid popularity. They have greater durability and are easy to clean. They have a longer life span than traditional wooden decks as they are resistant to mold, insect damage, and the elements. Composite decking is more expensive but definitely worth the money.

In this article, I will take you through all the advantages and disadvantages of this durable version of decking. I have no doubt that after reading this article, you will have all the necessary information you need to make a well-considered decision.

What are the advantages of composite decking?

If you are a homeowner who’s looking to improve their home with a durable deck, you might wonder, what are the advantages of composite decking? I listed the most relevant advantages down below. 

  • Less maintenance

Nowadays, people are always busy. They are working around the clock and want to spend the time they have left with their loved ones. Therefore, it is extremely valuable to have decking that requires as little maintenance as possible. No wonder that this is one of the biggest advantages when it comes to composite decking.

As wooden decking is very prone to mold and rot, it needs lots of maintenance. On the contrary, composite decking is very resistant to rot and is therefore easy to maintain. The material doesn’t require repainting or resealing. However, it is good to regularly clean the composite deck. This can easily be done with water and soap. 

  • Durability & Lifespan

We want every part of our house to be as durable as possible. Therefore, composite decking is an excellent choice. To put it easy, the material is a mix of wood and plastic. As this material is resistant to rot, it is an extremely durable option. Its lifespan is also a lot longer compared to the wooden variant. Where traditional wooden decking can last up to 15 years (with proper maintenance), composite decks can last up to 30 years. This is double the lifespan!

Composite decking does not fade or stain, which makes it the most comfortable option for families with kids and pets.

  • Slip-resistant

We all know these winter mornings, where we have to be extremely careful when going outside due to the danger of slipping. When having little kids, composite decking is the perfect solution. You don’t have to worry that anyone might slip, as most composite decks are slip-resistant. 

  • Resistance to weather conditions


The traditional wooden decks can get discolored and weakened by extreme weather conditions. Composite decking withstands these circumstances better and causes your decking to have a longer life span. You no longer have to worry about frost, rain, or extremely high temperatures. Your composite deck will survive it all! 

What are the disadvantages of composite decking?

In order to make a well-considered choice, you should also be familiar with the possible disadvantages of your purchase. So, what exactly are the disadvantages of composite decking? Below I listed the disadvantages you should be aware of.

  • Price

Something that might be seen as a disadvantage of composite decking is its price. As it is approximately double the price of a traditional wooden decking. However, considering the fact that it has double the life span, we could conclude that it is definitely worth the investment. Besides that, considering all the costs you save on maintenance, a composite deck ends up paying for itself over the years. Also, a good quality composite deck can even increase the value of your house, as the next homeowners will be able to use it for many years more.

  • It’s not natural

Another disadvantage that some people might mention, is the fact that the materials used for composite deck boards are not natural. Therefore, some people have the opinion that they lack the natural look and color. However, for most people composite decking is famous for its striking resemblance to natural wood. I guess we could say that it is a matter of personal preference and taste.

  • Scratches

Composite decking is made of a combination of plastic and wood. This blend increases the life span of the deck. However, it is good to remember that the material is not indestructible. There is still a risk of scratches when replacing outdoor furniture. Handle your deck with great care, to enjoy it for a long time.

What is composite decking made of?

As mentioned before, the two primary ingredients of composite decking are wood and plastic. The materials have often been sourced from recycled materials. Therefore, it is an eco-friendly choice. The blend of these two materials provides more stability and better performance.

TimberTech

A well-known company providing composite decking is TimberTech. Their deck boards are made of 80 % recycled materials. The core is a blend of wood fibers and composite material coated in a protective cap. The materials used, result in decking with all the beautiful features of natural wood, but without the risk of mold, insect damage, and maintenance costs. The deck boards won’t rot or weather, as the traditional wooden version tends to do. 

Read more about the advantages of TimberTech composite decking

Does composite decking get hot?

Many people are afraid that composite decking is more sensitive to temperature than wood, and therefore gets hotter. So, the question is, does composite decking get hot? 

Like any surface that is exposed to direct sunlight, composite decking might get hot. However, while the early composite decks were very sensitive to high temperatures, the newer versions are much more resistant to heat. Good quality, modern composite decking won’t become any hotter than the traditional wooden boards.

If it’s important for you that the deck remains as cool as possible, it is wise to choose a light color of decking boards. As with any other product, black attracts more heat than white. Therefore, it is wise to choose a light color of composite decking, as this will reduce the temperature during summer. 

Is composite decking worth it?

If you are thinking about installing composite decking, you might wonder if it is worth the cost. We understand that you don’t want to be spending a lot of money on something that might not be worth it. As you are going to spend almost double the price of a traditional wooden decking, it is understandable that you want to make sure that it is worth the investment.

Taking all of the above pros and cons into consideration, we can conclude that composite decking is definitely worth its price. After all, in this case, double the cost means double the life span. So, you are not actually spending more money. As mentioned above, with all the money you save on maintenance, the deck actually pays for itself! Besides that, many disadvantages are not valid anymore due to new designs and techniques. 

We would definitely recommend composite decking, as it is the best way to improve your house in a durable way. To learn more about our deck construction services click here. If you live in the Northern Colorado, area give us a call today at 970-663-2868 to talk to someone about your next outdoor project.

Do You Need a Permit to Build a Deck in Colorado? Rules Cost and More

Have you got a big decking project in mind? Good for you! Getting a deck built or building your own deck can be a source of pride and joy for many homeowners. If your question is whether or not you need a permit to start, then do I have the info for you. Everywhere is a little bit different, but it’s good to have a look at the rules you need to abide by. That’s why we’re taking a closer look at the permit process in Colorado.

You will need to obtain a building permit to build a deck in the state of Colorado. You may require additional permits if installing a feature that has a connection to water, electricity, or gas. However, a small free-standing deck that is no more than 30 inches in height does not require a permit.

The process of obtaining a building permit for your deck is fairly similar across Colorado. There are also costs involved and consequences if you build without a permit, which I will explain.

Colorado Building Permits for Decking

After all the effort of planning and building a deck for your home, you definitely want to make sure it is up to code. Permits are required by law to ensure the safety of your home for you and any subsequent homeowners.

A four-year study revealed that, of all the injuries involving decking, approximately 19,690 cases were caused by structural failure or collapse. The local government is keeping up to date with the latest safety standards so that they can pass these standards onto homeowners when they apply for a building permit.

Each permit will be slightly different depending on what city you are living in. There are state guidelines for Colorado, but these guidelines branch out into each county and city. The best thing to do is to type into Google ‘building permit for a deck in [insert your city here]’, or browse your city’s government website.

The following is based on permit law from Fort Collins in Larimer County, however, all permits are derived from international standards. These are outlined in the International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Building Code (IBC), written by the International Code Council (ICC).

What You Will Need
The following list outlines what is required for the permit to be reviewed. It is your responsibility to gather these documents and provide them to your city council with your application form. 

  • Permit application form
  • Homeowner affidavit
  • Deck information/materials used
  • Site plan (where the deck sits on your lot)
  • Floor plan (house and decking)
  • Side view/elevation plan (shows the foundations and wall attachments if relevant)
  • Connection details (how you are connecting to the wall)
  • Photo of area where you plan to build the deck

This checklist has been taken from the Fort Collins Residential Deck Guide. Just remember that your specific city may differ slightly. In Fort Collins, these documents are all provided for you to sign and fill in. For the drawn plans of your deck, they give examples of what details you should be providing.

Cost
The cost of the permit depends on many factors. On average, you’ll be looking at somewhere around $225-$500 in Colorado.

Permit prices are based on the value of the deck as well as the services required during the inspection period. For example, if you need an inspection outside normal working hours, you will be charged around $50 per hour for the inspector. Or if you fail an inspection and need to repeat it, you will again be charged per hour for the inspector to come out.

You will also require additional permits for any gas, electricity, or water services.  For example, you may want to gas heater on the deck. These start at approximately $25 per permit.

The Process
Here is a step-by-step process of what you can expect when applying for a permit.

  1. Draw up plans for decking.
  2. Prepare all documents mentioned previously.
  3. Submit the application form with supporting documents and payment.
  4. Application is reviewed, including Historic Preservation review if your home is over 50 years old.
  5. Permit is issued and valid for 180 days. You can request one free extension period of a further 180 days. This should be displayed somewhere near the construction.
  6. Begin construction.
  7. First inspection when the setback and footings are established.
  8. Second inspection when the foundation is complete (the concrete piers and pillars are in place)
  9. Third inspection when the frame and any utilities are established (minus flooring of the deck).
  10. Final inspection when the deck is complete.

Rules for Building a Deck
There are many things to consider when designing your deck. By studying the rules specific to your area, you will save yourself the hassle of failing inspections and repeating each step of the building process. Below are a few of the rules you might find.

  • Guardrails: essential if the deck is more than 30 inches above ground. Guardrails should be a minimum 36 inches in height.
  • Stairs: Must be at least 36 inches wide. If more than four risers, stairs must have a 34-36 inch handrail. Risers can range between 4-7 ¾ inch and treads should be at least 10 inches. Stairs must be illuminated.
  • Piers: Concrete piers must be a minimum of 30 inches deep and 8 inches in diameter. Concrete should protrude at least 8 inches above ground. Anchor bolt should be embedded at least 7 inches into concrete. Wooden pillars must be treated to prevent corrosion.

These are the major rules regarding the construction of your deck. These rules may change as the ICC updates their codes every three years. There are also many finer details covered in the ICC’s building code, such as handrail specifications and joists. I suggest you look up the rules specific to your city immediately prior to planning so that you have the most up to date building codes.

Building a Deck without a Permit

Building a deck without a permit is risky. I’m sure there are people who have done it before, but rules have been tightening to ensure that those who have built without a permit are caught. Being caught means paying a hefty fine as well as other consequences.

However, if you are building a floating or ground-level deck, you do not require a permit. The floating deck must be free-standing (not attached to the house), no more than 30 inches high, and have less than 120 feet of flooring.

Regular decking that is not up to code may be reported by anyone. The deck may cause serious harm to someone, leaving you liable for their injuries and open to being sued. This is going to cost far more than getting a permit and having regular inspections.

Your insurance company will also refuse to pay for damages if they found out that your deck was built without a permit. So if you were to be sued, you’d be paying for everything yourself.

Decks that are up to code, but built without a permit, might go unnoticed. However, if you were to ever try to sell your home, you might be required to provide proof of obtaining a permit. 

Some financial institutions will insist on an inspection report before the purchase can be made. If there is no evidence that the deck was built with a permit, there’s a high chance you will be asked to dismantle it and start again. There’s also a chance that the value of your home will be forced down if buyers find out about it.

If you already have a deck that does not have a permit, you can obtain one for the existing structure. This process involves drawing up all the plans for the deck as if you were building it yourself, applying through your local city, and having an inspector look at it. 

If it is not up to code, which may have changed since it was built, you will be required to tear down the sub-standard sections and rebuild as directed by the inspector.

I’m sure the reason you’re reading this article is because you want to do the right thing when you build your deck. I hope you’ve found the answers you were looking for and enjoy the process of building your very own deck.

Click here to visit our Deck Building Services page to learn more about what we do.

Hey NoCo, interested in talking to someone here at TNT today about your project, give us a call at 970-663-2868. You can also reach us right here on the website for instant chat (bottom right) or email us at sales@tnthomeimprovements.com

How To Build A Second-Story Deck

Adding a second story deck to your home is not only a great home improvement idea, but it can increase the living and entertainment space of your home and also increase its value. Decks can be at ground level but can also be constructed for other house levels as well. You may wonder if a second-story deck is right for your home and how to build a second-story deck.

Building a second-story deck on your home requires special consideration for the design, structural engineering, and material choice for construction. The structural requirements and design are more complex than ground-level decks and usually require professional construction and advice.

Building a second-story deck has some additional considerations to be mindful of over a ground-level deck. The support requirements will be different, as well as the design aesthetics and the costs involved. The support of the upper-level deck is of particular importance. It should not be neglected at the design phase of your planning.

Considerations For Building A Second-Story Deck

Building an upper deck is a project that many homeowners choose to undertake because of the benefits a deck provides to increase the home’s living space and increase its value.

Suppose you are planning on building a second-story deck. In that case, you may want to consider the following before you embark on the project.

  • Aesthetics of the deck. How is the deck going to impact the look of the outside of your house? The designs of some homes do not lend themselves to the construction of a second-story deck.
  • The support of the deck. Because of the deck’s height, there are additional code requirements and engineering requirements to factor in to ensure the deck is sturdy, safe, and will last a long time.
  • Access to the second-story deck. You will need to modify a second-story room to allow access to the top deck, which will involve structural changes to your home that you need to plan for and factor in as an additional cost to the deck’s construction.
  • External deck access. Suppose you intend to add stairs to the deck to make it accessible from the outside. In that case, you need to design the stairs carefully to minimize the visual impact they will have on your home and any lower-level windows or access point. Stairs also need specific types of support to make sure they are safe and robust.
  • Additional taxes. A deck adds value to your home, and as such, you will pay more in taxes for your home once the deck is complete.
  • Insurance costs. You may want to consult your insurance provider to determine any insurance risk requirements and costs before going ahead with your second-story deck project.

Some of these points of consideration can be tricky to decide on and get right from a code and structural point of view, and that is where we at T-N-T Home Improvements can help you out.

Deckbuilding is one of our specialties. We have in-house engineers to help you with designs and structural concerns, as well as advice on the best materials to use for your deck construction!

How To Support A Second-Story Deck

Structural support is certainly one of the most important considerations for an upper-level deck. The deck’s height will be a dimension that will dictate the type, structure, and distance between the deck’s supports.

Supporting a second-story deck has different requirements to be remembered, not only for the deck itself but also for the house.

Some homes have a gap between the ceiling of the ground floor and the floor of the second-story to accommodate air conditioning and heating ducting, electrical wiring, and bathroom plumbing. This height difference between the two stories must be factored into the deck’s final height calculations and how the deck is to be secured to the house.

The support posts of the deck need to be sized correctly for the height of the deck. Generally, a 4×4 post is recommended for a deck that is 8 to 9-feet above ground level, but if your deck is going to be higher than this, then the 4×4 posts will not be the best choice to support the deck.

If your deck is higher, you may need 6×6 posts or even 8×8 posts. These posts are significantly thicker and thus more expensive than 4×4 posts, so to design your deck cost-effectively, you need to know what the right size posts are to use for your deck. This is easily determined by our on-site engineer, but if you don’t have one of those, you will need to read up on the requirements and building codes in your area. 

Using unnecessarily thick posts can lead to unnecessary expenses. While using posts that are too small could result in a deck that is dangerous or that will not last long.

You may opt for a different support material altogether in certain instances, such as structural steel support or even giant glulam beams. But these are usually found on very custom decks and not as common as just 4×4 posts and 2×8 joists.

The footing (or caisson) for the posts is also important. As is the connection hardware between the post and the caisson.

Second-Story Deck And Patio Ideas

If you are considering adding a raised deck to your home, you may have a basic idea of what you want but not sure of a design that would fit in with your house layout and design.

Often, the biggest problem is visualizing the design and seeing it in your mind’s eye and how it affects your house’s look.

A good idea is to get a CAD drawing done of the deck and your house, which will leave you in no doubt about how the design will look in real life and how it will affect your home’s appearance.

T-N-T Home Improvements can render a 3D CAD drawing of your proposed deck so you can get an excellent feel for what your proposed project will turn out like.

Design aspects for your upper deck that you should also consider include: adding a roof for the deck and the railing design around the deck.

A roof could provide you with shade, shelter, or both and improve your deck’s usability across the different seasons and the weather they bring.

The deck railing is not only a safety feature but also an aesthetic element that needs to fit in with the style and décor of your home.

The material you choose to build your deck will determine how it fares and weathers over the years and ultimately how it makes your home look. The material used will also be a factor determining how much maintenance will cost you over the years.

An excellent way to get some ideas for second-story decking is to look at what some other people have included in their deck designs to see what could work for you. Take a look at our T-N-T Home Improvements deck gallery to view some of the projects we have completed for our customers.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Second-Story Deck?

The cost of building a raised deck is subject to the material you use, the height of the deck, and the dimensions of the deck.

The material used is a factor that affects the initial cost to build the deck and the ongoing maintenance costs of the deck. Synthetic materials have a higher initial price than natural wood. Still, they have a significant saving in the long run on maintenance and replacement costs.

Natural lumber has a cheaper entry-level cost to get the deck installed. Still, the deck will require annual maintenance costs that will significantly increase your home’s maintenance cost. 

In certain applications, wood works better than synthetic materials, and you may still want to go the natural material route. 

Finding a contractor who can give you practical advice from experience with both materials could quite possibly be the best choice you can make in the construction of your deck.

Conclusion

The decision to embark on a project to put a second-story on your home is a good idea to add outdoor living and recreational space to your home and increase the value at the same time.

While a second-story deck is a little more complicated than a ground-level deck, it is not beyond the reach of most homeowners and adds an attractive and functional feature to your home.

Wherever possible, use an experienced contractor who specialized in deck construction to give you valuable input on the design, materials, and construction of your deck. 

We at T-N-T Home Improvements can not only offer advice on design and materials but have in-house engineers to advise you on the structural aspects and choices of your deck. We can assist you from design to engineering and construction of your deck to make sure you have a professional outcome and the deck of your dreams!

What Type of Window Is Most Energy Efficient?

Windows come in as many varieties as the houses they illuminate. However, just like houses, not all windows are created equal, and some are significantly more energy-efficient than others. Your windows’ energy efficiency should always be considered when upgrading or building your house for the first time.

In terms of windows that can open, casement windows perform the best to prevent air leakage, making them an excellent energy-efficient choice. However, consider the u-value of any window that you intend to purchase and the material it is constructed from. Those factors will also determine its overall energy efficiency.

As you might expect, choosing the right window for your home involves taking many different aspects into account. Something that you should review if you are planning to get your windows replaced.

What Should I Look For When Buying New Windows?

Buying new windows for your home is an excellent opportunity to improve your house’s overall energy efficiency and bring in a fresh feeling at the same time. The sheer amount of choices when buying windows can be daunting. However, taking the time to understand what each term and style of window really means for your home can go a long way in preparing you for making that major purchase.

The following is a break down of many of the more popular materials and styles available for the windows of your home. This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you an understanding of many of the factors that go into deciding the right windows for you.

Window Frames

This option may seem like a negligible one in terms of importance. Still, the frame that your window is housed in will significantly contribute to your house’s energy efficiency and determine the amount of maintenance required.

Aluminum & Metal Frames

Frames made of aluminum or other metals are expectedly very durable and require little to no maintenance regularly. Unfortunately, this type of frame also conducts heat very quickly, making it a poor insulating material choice. To make them as effective as possible, aluminum or metal-framed windows must include a thermal break between the interior and exterior of the frame and sash of the window that will help maintain insulation.

Wood Frames

Wood frames are the most traditional style of framing that has existed for hundreds of years. This material insulates exceptionally well but can require significant amounts of maintenance depending on climate and humidity. Generally, wood frames function better and require less maintenance in drier climates as there is less chance of mold and rot.

Fiberglass Frames

Fiberglass frames are a durable option that is thankfully not prone to warping and will also have air pockets that can optionally be filled with insulating material to improve their already impressive thermal properties.

Vinyl Frames

Window frames made of vinyl have excellent moisture resistance, which gives them a leg up in humid climates. Like their fiberglass counterparts, these frames’ hollow cavities can be filled with insulation, giving them even more excellent thermal resistance.

Glass & Glazing

Unlike the window frames of your house, which will likely be uniform due to climate and visual considerations, the glass inside those frames may differ depending on their orientation, environment, and building design. The glass and glazing you choose will significantly affect your home’s energy efficiency and should not be overlooked.

Insulated Panes

When shopping for new windows for your home, you will undoubtedly run across the term insulated more than once. For windows, insulated refers to windows that have two or more panes of glass that are spaced apart and hermetically sealed, which leaves an insulated air pocket between them.

Low-Emissivity Coatings

Low-emissivity coatings, commonly referred to as low-E coatings, lowers the u-factor of your windows, which translates to about a 30-50% greater energy efficiency than windows without this coating. The coating itself is a microscopically thin layer of metal or metallic oxide that is almost invisible. It is usually applied during manufacturing but is available in DIY kits for homeowners to apply to their existing windows as well.

Spectrally Selective Coatings

Technically speaking, this is another form of low-e coating. It is designed to filter out the infrared spectrum of light, which reduces the heat that transfers through your windows by 40-70% without compromising the visual spectrum of light. This style of glass coating is essential in scorching and sunny climates.

Gas Fills & Spacers

While this element may seem unusual, it is essentially an improvement to the double-pane spacing mentioned earlier. Instead of just using air between two glass layers as insulation, using inert, transparent, odorless, and non-toxic gasses like argon or krypton can offer tremendous insulative properties. Both options are excellent choices; however, it should be noted that krypton is the more expensive of the two.

Operation Style

The operating style of your window is simply the term used to describe if and how it opens and closes and in what manner it seals. Alongside the other factors mentioned above, the style of your window will contribute to its energy efficiency.

  • Fixed / Picture – This term describes windows that do not open or close. This style is notable because if it is installed correctly, it will be completely airtight.
  • Casement / Awning / Hopper – Each of these window styles are exceptional at sealing with minimal air leakage because the sash of the window closes by pressing against the frame. Each of these windows are hinged and swing open from the side, top, and bottom, respectively.
  • Single Sliding / Double Sliding – This style refers to windows where the sashes slide horizontally. There is only one sash that slides in a single sliding window, whereas both sashes slide in a double sliding window. While this style of window is prevalent in many homes, it suffers from significant air leakage due to the design of its sashes.
  • Single Hung / Double Hung – This window style is essentially the vertical version of the sliding variant listed above. Similar to that style, only the lower sash slides in the single variety, whereas both sashes slide in the double-hung variety. Also, these windows have significant air leakage issues like their counterparts.

Can I get a tax credit for installing energy-efficient windows?

Federal and municipal governments encourage many energy-efficient improvements to homes, which often leads to questions about whether tax credits are available for energy-efficient windows. While many places offer tax credits in differing amounts for these kinds of changes, it varies heavily from country to country and even from region to region within countries.

Reach out to your local or federal government to inquire whether you can earn tax credits for making energy-efficient upgrades to your windows. While these improvements can sometimes be costly, you can save money on your heating and cooling bills. If tax credits are available as well, that can further subsidize your costs.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Windows are a massive part of nearly every home on the planet. Taking the time to learn about the different options available to you when you are making upgrades to this essential feature will pay down the road fiscally and in terms of comfort. Whether you need to fix a single problematic window or you want to upgrade all of your fixtures, ensure that you have experts by your side every step of the way.

Check out our energy-efficient window solutions for your home and reach out to us with any questions or concerns that you might have.

How to Cover an Existing Deck

I love spending time on my deck, but during the summer months, it’s way too hot to stand on and somewhat unusable during the rainy and snowy seasons. That’s when it’s time to look into a patio cover.

To cover an existing deck, you’ll want to meet with local builders to see what options are available to you and at what price you can expect them. The builder will need to look into things like If they can tie into the current deck or what structural options are available to your specific project.

Adding a layer of protection to your deck is easy by simply adding a cover. But how can you make sure that you’re doing this correctly? What types of deck covers are available? In this article, we’ll answer all these questions, telling you everything you could want to know about covering your deck. 

Can You Cover an Existing Deck? 

If your deck has started to lose its shine, an ideal option is to cover it. This will keep it looking great for many years. It will also reduce the amount of time you need to spend maintaining and caring for the wooden decking boards. Also, adding a roof will allow you to use the deck throughout the year. But once the deck has been built, is it too late to cover it?  

Thankfully, just because you’ve finished building the deck doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to enhance it with a roof. You will still be able to put in a cover. The first step should be consulting with your local deck builder. (If you live in or near Northern Colorado, then consider us your local builder. That goes for you too, Southern tip of Wyoming.) 

See what type of construction you’ll be able to get approved. A builder will be able to help you do this. They’ll be able to point out any potential roadblocks that you will face when you are building the cover. 

When you meet with the builder, they’ll be able to give you a rough quote. You can use this to budget for the rest of the project. Don’t forget to factor in a little extra money, in case you hit any unexpected roadblocks along the way. 

What Types of Covers are Available? 

For most of us, the most exciting part of the project is planning it out. There are so many possibilities that you’ll be able to explore. This will give you confidence that you’ll be able to find the perfect cover to suit your style. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular deck covers

First, you might want to have a retractable awning. You’ll be able to put these out whenever you are using the deck. When you’re not using it, you’ll be able to put the awning away. Most modern awnings will extend and fold back with just the push of a button. These tend to be the cheapest option and will be the easiest for you to install. 

Another option is a pergola cover. This is the most traditional look and tends to have the most stylistic approach. It has joists and beams going one way, and then smaller 2×2 slats going the opposite direction letting a set amount of light through.

With this design, you’ll be able to use wood like cedar, giving your roof a more natural appearance. Suppose low maintenance is high on your list. In that case, an alumawood all-aluminum material has the look of wood without the yearly upkeep.

Finally, you might want to consider a shingled hardcover. These are essentially a full roof that ties in with your house and has matching roofing materials to the house. It can be a gabled roof cut into the main roof or a lean-to style roof coming directly off one side of the house. The contractor should be able to take a small shingle sample to get a color match.

Though these are some of the most popular types of covers, there are still plenty more for you to choose from. Often, your builders will be able to present a portfolio of work that they have done before. These might spark some design ideas. Check out our project gallery by clicking here .

How to Put a Roof Over An Existing Deck? 

Hopefully, you now have a clear idea of what the finished deck cover should look like. But now comes the hard part. Taking it from your imagination into the real world. 

The way that the deck cover is built will often depend on the type that you selected. It will also depend on the type of building codes that are in place. For example, in some cases, you will be able to bolt the cover onto the existing deck structure with heavy-duty screws. This can be a great way of saving time. However, in other cases, you will need to put in new structural support posts and caissons. 

Once you’ve got the support posts and beams in place, you’ll be able to start installing the rafters. This is what will hold the roofing in place. They will be cut at an angle. This will create the pitch of the roof, stopping the rain from accumulating on it. 

Finally, the roofing will need to be attached. There are a few types of materials that you’ll be able to use. Some people might prefer to use wood or aluminum while others will want to use corrugated polyvinyl. When you’re putting in the roof, be sure to use all the correct fasteners that will get you signed off on an inspection. This will secure the roofing for years to come. Overlap the roofing materials slightly. This ensures that the roof won’t start to leak. 

How Much Will it Cost to Cover an Existing Deck? 

The amount that you can expect to pay will often depend on the type of materials you will use. It will also depend on the size and style of deck covering that you select. Don’t forget to factor in the costs of manual labor. 

As a general rule, though, you will want to budget for between $3,000 to $10,000. When you meet up with your builders, they’ll be able to go into more depth about how much you can expect to pay. Suppose you plan to install electrical elements, like fans or lights. In that case, you’ll need to pay extra and coordinate that work with the deck cover contractor. 

Also, you might need to change the insurance policy to accommodate the new deck covering. This can mean paying a little extra each month. 

How to Style the Cover of your Deck? 

Finally, you’ve built the cover, and now you’re ready to start decorating/styling it. This will add the final finishing touches that make it feel like yours. There are hundreds of ways that you’ll be able to do this. Let your imagination run wild. 

A popular way of styling the covering is by adding some lights. Some people prefer to use one or two large bulbs, while others like to use several smaller recessed lights. You can also decorate with string lighting to create atmosphere. 

A third popular option is to hang some baskets from the edge of the rafters. This adds a little greenery. If you are planning on making a barbecue area, you will be able to add some herbs. You can also paint underneath the roof. If you have a bigger budget, you might want to put a fan under the covering. 

Final Thoughts

Choosing to cover your deck is a great decision. You’ll be able to reduce the amount of time you need to spend maintaining it. Also, you’ll be able to enjoy it all through the year. Building the cover doesn’t need to be an intimidating process.

 As long as you get a good builder, they should be able to guide you through, making sure that everything is being done properly. So, all you need to do is pick out the perfect design, then sit back and watch as your dream deck cover comes together. 

Give us a call today to talk about our specific options and how we can help you out at 970-663-2868, or visit the contact page to send us an email. Click here to learn more about our deck covers.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Wood Deck With Composite?

A deck on a home has many advantages and can add value to a home in so many ways! The traditional material used for decking is wood, but this material is high maintenance. Wood is beautiful as a decking material but needs constant care, which often puts homeowners off from making the decision to add a deck to their home. The alternative to wood is using composite material for decking. It has many advantages over wood and may allow you to improve your home with a low maintenance deck.

Replacing the wood on your deck with composite material will cost you between $15 to $25 per square foot. There may be other factors that can add to the replacement cost, such as the type of composite you choose, the shape of the deck, the amount of labor required, and the time of year.

Adding a deck to a home expands your living and entertaining area. It makes the house seem larger and gives you a place to enjoy the great outdoors with all the comforts of home within arm’s reach. One of the factors that you may be concerned about when considering installing a deck is the cost.

Why Composite Decking?

Houses across the US have been constructed from wood for hundreds of years, and likewise, decks have been made from the same material. This has been the material of choice because it is readily available and relatively cheap.

Wood, as a decking material, is exposed to the elements continuously. Sun, wind, rain, snow, freezing temperatures all take their toll on natural materials like wood, especially in our high altitude in CO. As a result, significant time needs to be spent on maintenance and repairs to keep your wood deck in great shape. This requires not only a time investment but also the costs for the wood treatments.

For some homeowners, the beauty of natural wood is worth the maintenance effort and time. Still, for others who may not be DIY inclined or just want a deck that requires less maintenance, there are alternative options.

A composite material is an answer to many of these concerns for the homeowner who wants to install a low maintenance deck.

Composite material is manufactured from a mixture of wood fibers, plastics, and adhesives to hold it all together. Composite material has several advantages over wood, particularly in harsh climates where temperature fluctuations and high humidity are detrimental to wood.

  • Composite material looks like wood and has the same workability as wood.
  • Composite material is less likely to delaminate or split, which means less wastage.
  • There is no need to sand, stain, paint, or varnish composite material. It comes finished from the manufacturer.
  • It is more water-resistant than wood.
  • Requires less maintenance than wood.
  • It does not fade as rapidly as wood.
  • Insect resistance. Insects such as termites don’t eat this material.
  • Easy installation with interlocking systems.

Wood is still a popular material, but here at TNT Home Improvements, we have noticed a growing popularity for decks made from composite material.

But let’s get onto the reason you came here in the first place. How much financial commitment is it going to take to replace your wood deck with composite material?

The Cost Of Composite Decking

Suppose you are looking to replace your wood decking with composite material. In that case, we are assuming that the substructure that supports the deck is already in place and is in good condition.

The substructure consists of the beams, posts, and joists that support the actual surface decking boards. They provide stability for the entire deck structure. It is therefore important that the substructure is in good condition.

If you are not sure whether the substructure is sound or not, that is where TNT Home Improvements can help. We have a certified engineer on staff who can advise you on the structural soundness of the substructure.

When you choose your composite decking, you need to be aware that not all composites cost the same. Composite decking ranges in quality from entry-level decking, costing you approximately $15 per square foot to install. Versus the premium composite products, which will run you in the region of $20 – $28 per square foot to install.

On average, you can use a middle of the road estimate of $18 to $22 per square foot to replace the wood deck with composite material.

There are a couple of pricing aspects that you will need to bear in mind when replacing your wood decking with composite material.

  • Size of the deck. Obviously, the larger the deck, the more it will cost.
  • Angles, corners, and shapes. The more angles and non-rectangular shapes you have in your deck, the more cutting will be required. This can quickly hike the price of the labor bill.
  • Removal of old Decking. Remember to factor in the labor cost of removing the old decking. Unless you are doing this part of the job yourself, it will incur a labor cost from the new decking installer.
  • Railings. Many people forget to include the cost of the railings when they work out the pricing to replace their decking material.
  • Extra fittings. Suppose you have a hot tub or built-in lighting. In that case, you may require the services of a plumber and electrician to re-route or refit the plumbing and electrical wiring.
  • Timing of the replacement. Suppose you decide to replace your deck surface at a time of year when everyone has the same idea. In that case, the labor costs can increase as well as the cost of the material if it is in high demand. Springtime is when most people decide to tackle this task, so it is at this time that it is most expensive to get this project done, it’s also going to have the longest wait time to get permits and get materials delivered.

If you need work done on the substructure to support the deck, you should add another $5 to $15 per square foot to cater to the additional costs.

Cost Summary

To give a summary of the costs you can expect, let’s gather all this information into one place to provide you with a ballpark idea.

  • Replace decking – $15 to $25 per square foot.
  • Labor costs – You can work on an average labor cost of $50 per hour, and to give you an idea, a 12-foot by 24-foot deck should take about 35 hours to install from the ground up.
  • Railings. Depending on the type of materials you choose for deck railing, you can work on an average of $45 per linear foot for wood or $85 for composite.
  • Substructure. If you need some modifications or repairs done to the supporting structure, add about $5-$15 per square foot to the cost, depending on the scope of the repairs needed.

These are estimated costs that do not consider any specific requirements that you may have for your deck. The only way you will get a precise estimate would be to get a professional to come out to examine your deck. Here at TNT, we offer free consultations, so do not hesitate to give us a call at 970-663-2868 to talk to someone about your deck project.

Professional installers know what to look for in the way of potential unknown costs that you may not contemplate as a possible cost factor.

Even though composite decking is more durable and long-lasting, you may want to factor a few extra boards into the purchase cost. Consider if your composite deck sustains any damage such as chips, nicks, gouges, or surface scratches that it cannot be sanded down and refinished. The board will probably need replacing.

Ordering a few extra boards in the same style and color will help ensure that you can match the boards should you need to replace a few over time.

Conclusion

Composite decking can be slightly more expensive than installing a decking surface made from pressed wood or cedarwood. Still, the composite material’s longevity and its reduced maintenance requirements will make for a cheaper cost in the long term. By the time you pay someone to stain your deck the first two years, you’re about even with an entry level composite, and you’ll be saving time and money every single year after that!

TNT Home Improvements can assist you with all your decking needs, from wood decks to composite decks. We can install decking for private residences and business applications.

We operate in the Loveland area in Colorado, which includes Fort Collins, Greeley, Windsor, Campion, Berthoud, and Johnstown, CO, as well as Larimer, Jackson, Boulder, and Weld Counties, CO. 

We are more than willing to answer questions, address any concerns, and offer advice regarding your deck, whatever material it is made from.

Give us a call at 970-663-2868 or email us at sales@tnthomeimprovements.com. If you want to research more about our deck building services click here.