What is the Difference Between a Balcony and a Veranda?

Nothing could be worse in the home-improvement world than confusing the various styles and terms of outdoor extensions. For example, telling your contractor you would like a balcony when you actually wanted a veranda. But, what’s the difference? How can you be sure of which one you want? It would help to know what makes them different from each other.

A balcony is an open platform connected to the side of a building, always on the second floor or up. They are never installed at ground level. Balconies have many purposes when installed, such as creating an open space that allows the owner to enjoy scenic views and relax. A veranda, or verandah, is a ground-level platform connected to a house that is roofed. It creates a well-ventilated room that is protected from the direct light and heat of the sun to take advantage of space that might not normally be useable in areas with intensely hot months. 

To better understand the differences between balconies and verandas and other important distinctions, such as their purposes, read on!

What is a Veranda?

Verandas are platforms that are always constructed on the ground level and connected to the adjoining building. They are always roofed structures and have traditionally included round arches in between the supporting pillars or intricate ironwork. A good example of how older verandas looked are Creole townhouse-styled houses or apartments. These are common in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Verandas don’t have to be a small section on one side of the house. They can be wrap-around porches that surround the entire building too. So long as the extension is roofed, that’s basically what a veranda is. 

Verandas are also known as open-air porches and compared to loggias, which are roofed exterior galleries (rooms with open sides). They’re similar because they are both open-sided extensions to a house and have similar uses because they share their structures so closely. That brings us to the question, “what is the purpose of a veranda?”

What is the Purpose of a Veranda?

The word “verandah” is said to have originated in India and was adopted by the English. In any case, they do have their modern style rooted in Australia during the 1850s. They were perfectly designed for environments that were hot during the summer months or warm all year round, like Australia, because they are always roofed. They created a shade oases that allow breezes to come through freely and are flooded with natural light, easily making them some of the most pleasant spaces in the house, especially when electricity wasn’t available. 

Many of the European-styled houses that were in Australia suffered from the lack of fresh air and didn’t have enough windows to brighten up the interior. So it was common to have an enclosed veranda to be a guest room during the hottest times of the year, with plenty of fresh air breezing through the space and offering merciful shade. 

Today, when they aren’t being used as fancy aerated bedrooms, they’re used for entertainment in between the outdoors and indoors. They make great dining and sitting areas that provide a change in scenery and open space that guests might not be able to enjoy indoors. 

What is a Balcony?

A balcony is a platform connected to a building by its ledgers, surrounded by a railing or balustrade, and supported with console brackets, or sometimes with columns. They require support because they are always on the second floor or higher. Unlike verandas, they are not roofed, except with a very specific style. The word we get “balcony” from is the Italian word, “balcone,” which means “scaffold.”

A unique feature of balconies is that, unlike verandas which are accessed by a side door or back door, balconies can be accessed by the floor window as well as a door, depending on what the owner of the building wanted, or if the window was constructed first and the balcony later. 

So what is the purpose of balconies? Balconies have numerous uses, today, but their original purpose was to introduce better circulation of air in ancient greek homes and to bring in much more natural light. 

Today, balconies are fantastic spaces that can provide more storage space, be a private escape, provide a place to relax and enjoy the scenery around you, enjoy outdoor dining, create a private garden, and more. The original purposes still stand true too! You can enjoy much more natural light and ventilation than with windows alone. The best part is that balconies come in numerous distinct types so that there’s one for every taste.

What are the Different Types of Balconies?

Naturally, if you have determined that you want a balcony constructed and not a veranda, then you need to know which kind of balcony you want to be built. There are plenty of options to choose from. 

There are about 8 different types of balconies, not including the different styles, such as Juliet and french balconies:

  • True balconies
  • False balconies
  • Faux balconies
  • Loggia balconies
  • Cantilevered balconies
  • Hung balconies
  • Stacked balconies
  • And Mezzanine balconies

True Balconies

True balconies are what you immediately think of when someone says the word, “balcony.” They are wide deck spaces outside a second-story (or so) window or door that have a railing and sufficient structural support. They can be set into small alcoves in a building and come with a small roof, but the point of a true balcony is that it’s useable. 

They’re called “true balconies,” because of that fact as there is a type of balcony that can’t be used as balconies are typically intended, called false balconies. Since these balconies are supposed to be used, their structure is much more carefully constructed with user safety in mind and will even include added support such as metal support brackets below the deck. 

False Balconies

False balconies are so-called because they are meant to adorn the building but not actually be used space. As a result, they aren’t constructed with the same level of structural support as balconies that are actually used and need the support in order to hold the weight of several grown men and furniture. 

Since their one purpose is to decorate the building, they usually have ornate wrought iron railings or dazzlingly colored stucco designs and don’t protrude from the walls very much. Usually, they only extend out at six inches, tops. Juliet and French balconies fall into this false balcony category.

Faux Balconies

Faux balconies are like false balconies in that they are strictly for decoration purposes, but unlike false balconies, they don’t even include a deck. They’re just highly elaborately decorated railings. You may be wondering why anyone would bother with a faux balcony when there are already false ones, but the benefit of faux balconies is that they eliminate the possibility that anyone could mistake it for a real one and get hurt.

Loggia Balconies

Loggias aren’t just extensions to a building like a balcony, enclosed with only a railing or balustrade. Loggias actually have sidewalls, as a house does. Most of the time, they are just part of the building’s exterior wall as alcoves instead of extending out. In either case, only one side of the loggia looks out and serves more like a thinner sunroom. This does make it a little more secure than a common balcony but naturally takes longer to construct and more materials. 

Cantilevered Balconies

These are balconies that are designed with large beams that are only supported at the wall they are connected to but have no support on the side furthest away from the building. In other words, there are no visible support systems. This option is usually chosen because it’s very visually appealing due to the fact you can’t see the supports and it’s the simplest to construct but can become dangerous with age at those support points, making regular inspection more or less required. 

Hung Balconies

Hung balconies are named by the supporting structure you see. Stainless steel cables are fixed to the wall of the building and attached to the far edges of these hung balconies, then a large plate connects to the building at an acute 45 degrees. These balconies may be the least commonly seen, but they are safer than you might think. Their design fully utilizes the strength of the bolts used, using 50% sheer force and 50% pull-out force.

Stacked Balconies

If you have ever seen a bunk bed, you have a general idea of what stacked balconies look like. These are some of the simplest balconies to install and they have the lowest load implications on buildings. Stacked balconies are exactly what they sound like, they’re balconies on top of each other from floor to floor, supported by pillars that reach from the top balcony to the ground. Naturally, as a homeowner, you’re likely not going to need more than one balcony on the same wall.

Mezzanine Balconies

Unlike every other balcony type in this article, a mezzanine balcony is constructed inside large buildings. In appearance, it’s a lot like a common balcony by extending away from the main wall, having the large deck and rails, and being made to be walked on with proper supports, but it’s built-in exceptionally large buildings like hotels, enormous malls, and other similar structures.

What is on a Veranda?

Back to verandas. What do homeowners normally place on a veranda? How are they decorated? Verandas are still entertainment spaces, so most will place comfortable sitting areas with small coffee tables. Rocking chairs, couches, or wick chairs are very common choices for this. If the veranda is large enough, you can place a whole dining area on it. 

Like we talked about earlier, verandas were originally used as outdoor bedrooms in climates like Australia has, so there would be a bed, nightstand, curtains, etc. Since they are always covered, you can easily decorate the space with even more lighting, such as hanging lights.

Added lighting sources and potted plants are often found on verandas to brighten the space (literally) and make the atmosphere more comfortable and homey. If it’s decoration ideas you’re looking for, there are some ideas here. I’m the engineer on the team for goodness sake, not the decorator. It’s not really my forte unless I’m truly inspired.

What is the Difference Between a Patio and a Veranda?

Ultimately, the difference between a patio and a veranda is variety. Patios have a defined structure but deviate from it very often with the features that they may or may not have, depending on what the homeowner would like. Sometimes they’ll have rails, sometimes they don’t, among other features. 

Verandas, on the other hand, have a defined structure that they never deviate from. They are ALWAYS connected to the house, they always have rails, they are always roofed, etc. Here are the primary differences between the two.

Patios

  • Patios can be found sometimes connected to the house or entirely separated from it.
  • Patios are not commonly roofed but they do often include a fabric overhead shade, at least in part, but not a more permanent or durable roof structure unless the patio is paired with a gazebo above it. 
  • Patios are designed to help residents enjoy being outdoors as wide outdoor living spaces that are open and useful for a range of activities because it’s not limited by size. Since they are made for entertaining groups they will often include outdoor kitchens or BBQ areas.
  • They can be raised off the ground to stay flush with an entry door.
  • Patios might come with rails, especially when off the ground for safety, but not always.
  • Patios are only typically constructed on only one side of a building, most commonly the backyard since it’s usually the designated outdoor entertainment space and has the room for the patio.
  • Patios can be constructed out of pavers as well as wood.

Verandas

  • Verandas are always connected to the main building structure. They are designed to be more like an outdoor room extension to a house; a refuge from intense heat and sun that doesn’t close off the outdoors entirely.
  • Verandas always have a roof over them.
  • Verandas always have rails and at least two pillars to support the roof. 
  • Verandas can wrap around a house to connect the front and back entrances or even be wrapped around the entire building. 
  • Verandas are always at ground level.
  • Modern verandas are partly constructed out of aluminum. Since they are often constructed in locations with hot and humid conditions, they are made with composite wood, stone tiles, treated wood, and/or vinyl. 

As far as outdoor extensions go, verandas and patios have similar functions, primarily as entertainment spaces, but are constructed differently according to climate, need, or desire. 

Is There a Difference Between a Patio and a Balcony? 

Just like with verandas, there are plenty of differences between patios and balconies. Sometimes verandas are even called ground-level balconies. 

When it comes to their purpose these two outdoor structures aren’t very different. They are both used for relaxing and enjoying the fresh outdoor air and the outside world, but they do differ in how many can enjoy the structures and what can be done on them. You’ll probably never see a balcony have a dining table or a BBQ set-up on it. This is because structurally, balconies and patios have major differences.

Balconies are usually very small, meant only for two people to enjoy the space comfortably. Balconies will always have a railing or balustrade wrapped around them while patios might not unless they are off the ground. There’s also the primary difference in that patios are always on the ground floor, while balconies are always at least one floor above the ground. 

Before we sign off in our classic way, I’ll leave you with this: regardless of which structure you choose between balconies and verandas, they are both complicated to construct, which is why you should let a team of professionals help. It’s even better when that team includes an engineer who triple checks every measurement, so consider contacting my crew at T-N-T Home Improvements before planning this big project. 

Conclusion

Both verandas and balconies are exquisite additions to your home and are guaranteed to bring years of entertainment and relaxation, and hopefully, now you know which one suits your house the best. There are a lot of things to know about choosing outdoor house extensions, so the next time you’re trying to make up your mind between a porch, balcony, veranda, gallery, terrace, patio, loggia, pergola, or lanai, let us help you with understanding what you really want. If you are located in the Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming areas, go ahead and give us a call today at (970) 663-2868, or fill out our contact form on our website home page so that we can walk you through everything you need to know about your balcony/veranda project.

Can You Paint Vinyl Siding and What Paint Should You Use?

close up of home siding

Replacing vinyl siding is a very costly aspect of house maintenance for a homeowner so of course, we want a better way of keeping the outside of our homes tidy and protected. One way homeowners, like yourself, can save some money is by painting vinyl siding instead of replacing it, but is it really cost-effective, or even possible to do?

Property owners can absolutely paint vinyl siding as a normally cheaper alternative to replacing the siding and as a regular form of maintenance to existing siding. When painting, homeowners should use acrylic and/or latex urethane-based paints, not water-based paints, because water-based won’t stick to vinyl or be durable against the elements.

If you would like to learn more about painting vinyl siding, and what it would take to make it work well, then please read the information below. 

Can You Paint Vinyl Siding and How Long Does it Last?

Experts from professional companies in the siding or paint industries such as Sherlin Williams or T-N-T Home Improvements will tell you that, yes, you can paint your vinyl siding. There are a few factors that will help you determine whether or not it would be a good decision for your house, but commonly, repainting vinyl siding is actually part of recommended regular maintenance for vinyl siding. 

Vinyl siding normally lasts for 30 years before any serious work has to be done to it to maintain it or replace it. Once you have repainted the siding, you can expect the paint to last anywhere from 5-10 years before it’s time to repaint again, based on the quality of your vinyl siding and the severity of the weather in your area.

What’s the Best Paint for Vinyl Siding?

When it’s time to paint your vinyl siding, you need to use “vinyl safe” paints. The best vinyl-safe paint to use is exterior acrylic latex paint, made with latex urethane and acrylic resins for its stretch and durability. Paints that are acrylic-based tend to stick to vinyl the best because it will expand or shrink according to the weather just like the plastic siding will, while latex urethane both stretches and is chip-resistant, acting as a shield for the paint.

If you can, try to find the color you want with a satin finish instead of matte or high gloss. This is because satin mimics the original finish that vinyl siding comes with the best. Of course, if you don’t want to replicate the original vinyl finish, the other finishes should adhere to the siding just as well. 

Lastly, try to design your home in a similar or lighter color, NOT a darker one. We’ll flesh out the reason for this in the cons of painting vinyl siding, but for now, I’ll just say you will likely only do more damage to your siding than if you left it alone.

Does Vinyl Siding Need to be Primed Before Painting?

The reasons for using paint primer, especially on plastic surfaces, are

  1. To cover a dark color if you intend to replace it with a lighter one. This saves you time and money, sparing you from having to apply coat after coat of the actual paint color you wanted. 
  2. To cover stubborn imperfections like mildew stains or permanent markers that tend to show through the paint.
  3. To smooth out porous surfaces for a smoother finish
  4. To help the paint you use to bind to the painted surface better. It would be devastating to put in all the time, energy, and money into painting your whole house, only to see the paint chipping away in a few weeks. 

Primer isn’t a requirement when painting vinyl siding, but if your siding is quite old and has divots, pits, and has become porous because the original finish is long gone, primer is just the thing to smooth out the surface. 

Also, because vinyl is plastic, priming is a wise thing to do to make sure the paint you use sticks to the vinyl. While priming isn’t entirely necessary, washing the siding thoroughly IS, so keep that in mind.

What are the Cons of Painting Vinyl Siding?

If you have a warranty on your siding, read it again carefully. Many warranties won’t allow you to repaint your vinyl and keep the warranty because it would violate their rules on maintaining the siding. Manufacturers will also commonly have certain stipulations about redesigning vinyl siding, such as what kind of paint you can use, and even what color you can paint it. Do you live in a suburban neighborhood? You’d better double-check the Homeowners Association (HOA) to see what colors and materials they allow you to use, as well. 

If your current siding is old and extremely worn out, it won’t do you any good to try to repaint it because there comes a point when the paint just won’t stick to the vinyl. I would say after 20 years vinyl should just be replaced.

If you live in an area that frequently has harsh weather conditions, such as many areas of the east coast, your siding will inevitably endure much more severe damage, to the point where repainting won’t improve the damage or extend the life of the siding. 

The next con is that you don’t have the choice of every color when you repaint. Vinyl is plastic and dark colors absorb much more heat than light colors, so if you choose a color that is very dark, you may overheat the plastic beyond its limit and cause the siding to warp noticeably in places. 

Finally, we must acknowledge the fact that painting is a much more temporary solution than a full replacement, especially if you have thin, lower-grade vinyl siding. You will absolutely extend the life of your vinyl if you use the right paint, but if repainting will only give you a few more years before you have to repaint it again or replace it, or if repainting is almost as costly for you as replacing the vinyl, it would be better to replace it the first time.

How to Fix the Problems With Vinyl Siding

Quite honestly, most of the cons associated with vinyl siding come from poor quality. That’s why it’s a good idea to ask for help from experts, like my team at T-N-T Home improvements, who can give you advice for your home improvement project. Or, even better, we can install quality siding for you. Why should you call my team?

Because we can solve ALL the common problems with vinyl. Without being too proud, our siding services are second to none as we have the best siding contractors, and our obsession with quality is dynamite. You can be assured that we will install a vinyl that resists extreme weather, exterior damage, and will stand the test of time.

This way, you don’t have to invest in a more expensive material and you don’t have to worry about costly maintenance or repairs. There’s no risk in calling us either because we offer free estimates. 

Conclusion

In short, painting vinyl siding is a very practical thing to do to maintain it and protect it against the sun and the elements, to an extent. If you don’t use quality siding the first time you are doomed to spend time, money, and effort on frequent maintenance and repairs. Don’t accidentally install a money pit, let us help! If you are located in the Northern Colorado/ Southern Wyoming area, you can give us a call today at 970-663-2868 or visit our siding services page and fill out the contact form to make an appointment.

What Are Patio Heaters? And How Do They Work?

So you have a lovely patio to host parties and gatherings. But there’s one thing that stops you from doing so. It’s simply too cold to have a party outside. 

This was probably the situation before patio heaters were around. Nowadays, you see a lot of these outdoor heaters in restaurants that offer outdoor dining. But what exactly are patio heaters?

A patio heater is an appliance that radiates heat in an outdoor space. It comes in different forms and fuel types. Likewise, you can also find patio heaters powered electrically emitting infrared radiation. Either way, a patio heater provides warmth similar to what you get when you stay under the sunlight. 

Get to know more about patio heaters as we look closer into this highly functional and aesthetically pleasing device suitable for your outdoor space. 

What Are Patio Heaters? 

Patio heaters are exactly what their name suggests – a heating device for patios. The only thing is that you can use it not just on your patio but on your deck and all around your backyard as well. 

Simply put, you can use your patio heater in any outdoor space provided that it doesn’t pose any danger in the area. 

Likewise, patio heaters are sometimes called mushroom or umbrella heaters due to their form and the fact that they emit heat via a radiant heating method. 

One advantage of patio heaters is their ability to spread heat in the area. This means you don’t have to flock on one space the same way you do with fire pits making it a suitable device for gatherings, outdoor dining, or hangouts. 

Do Patio Heaters Keep You Warm? 

Yes, absolutely. Patio heaters are designed specifically to keep you warm. And we’re not just talking about providing heat for only one or two people. 

Patio heaters can provide heat to a group of people outdoors, depending on the size and form of the appliance. But of course, this depends on the type of heater you have. 

How Do Patio Heaters Work?

Patio heaters rely on radiant heating to provide warmth. Radiant heating is when heat travels through the air in multiple directions. 

Fuel-generated patio heaters derive the heat from open-air combustion while electrical patio heaters are set to reach a specific temperature to emit heat in the form of electromagnetic waves. 

With both types of patio heaters, the heat is released from multiple sections. Therefore, you can feel the warmth from a specific distance. 

However, the amount of heat distributed by the patio heater will ultimately depend on its BTUs.

But what exactly are BTUs?

So, BTU stands for British Therma Unit. It is used to measure the amount of energy required in heating one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Simply put, BTU represents the thermal energy needed to heat a space or item. 

In the context of patio heaters, the BTU capacity is the specification you need to check so you can get the heat coverage of the device.

For example, if your patio heater has an average output of 40,000 BTUs per hour, it should suffice to heat up an area with a circumference of 20 ft.

You can go for patio heaters with higher BTUs if you have a larger area. However, it could be a better choice to simply have two patio heaters with the same BTUs for safety and efficiency reasons.

Different Types of Patio Heaters 

Patio heaters typically come in three forms. They differ in design, capacity, and sometimes coverage. 

Free-standing Patio Heaters

The free-standing patio heater typically looks like a giant umbrella or mushroom that has four distinct parts.

First, you have the base that keeps the entire structure fixed on the ground. It also houses the tank for propane-fueled patio heaters.

Then you have the pole that supports the heat source. It is extended to ensure that the heat spreads out across the area.

The third part is the heat source or heater itself, responsible for naturally dispersing the heat.

And finally, you got the reflector. This component goes on top of the heater preventing upward heat loss by reflecting the heat back to the scope of the heater.

It’s easy to distinguish a free-standing patio heater not just due to its form but because it is pretty common in outdoor bars and dining areas.

Likewise, given the size of these patio heaters, you can expect free-standing patio heaters to have higher BTUs.

Tabletop Patio Heaters

If you’d like a patio heater that can also double as a table centerpiece, then surely the tabletop patio heater is something you can highly consider.

A tabletop patio heater is a smaller version of its free-standing counterpart in terms of crucial components. It can be powered by propane or electricity.

But aside from the size, there’s also the difference in terms of form and designs. Some tabletop patio heaters even work as lamps marking a three-point functionality.

Wall-mounted Patio Heaters

Not all patios and outdoor areas are spacious enough for a free-standing patio heater. So, as an alternative, you can go for the wall-mounted patio heater.

Simply install this heater on the wall or post of your patio using the bracket that comes with it. You can adjust the heat source by tilting the bracket.

Wall-mounted patio heaters produce infrared waves and thus, use electricity instead of fuel.

How Are Patio Heaters Powered?

Heat, as you know, is a by-product of energy use. The same principle applies to patio heaters. It needs to have a source of energy first before it could disperse the necessary heat to warm up the patio. 

In this sense, you can rely on three types of power sources required to operate patio heaters.

Natural Gas

Larger free-standing patio heaters sometimes use natural gas to generate higher BTUs and produce heat enough for a crowd. But this is only feasible if you have a natural gas outlet. 

The good thing about this power source is that the natural gas continues to flow once the heater is ignited. So you don’t have to think about sudden interruptions due to a sudden need for fuel replenishment. 

Propane

A typical home patio heater uses propane to supply the heat. It comes in a portable tank which is kept hidden in the base of both a free-standing and tabletop patio heater.

If you run out of propane, you simply take out the tank and exchange it for a filled one, usually in grocery stores or gas stations (if they are available).

Electricity

Electrical patio heaters are already making rounds in various homes. They are easier to install and operate as you simply plug in the heater. 

But of course, you need to take extra precautions as not to expose the electric patio heater to water or moisture. It could damage the device beyond repair. 

Do Patio Heaters Work in Winter? 

Yes, patio heaters work during winter. In fact, it can effectively combat the cold weather brought by the season, keeping you warm even outdoors. However, the amount of heat produced by the patio heater will naturally depend on its type and power source.

For example, electrical patio heaters tend to provide less warmth than propane heaters. This could be due to the limited energy produced by the electricity as opposed to the increased heat generated by propane. 

Nevertheless, you can rely on a patio heater to keep you warm. This allows you to spend more time outdoors instead of cocooning inside your home throughout the season, which isn’t exactly ideal. 

Will a Patio Heater Melt Snow?

Infrared heaters are known to melt snow. Since patio heaters use infrared, there’s a good chance that they can also melt some snow depending on the amount of heat they release and how much snow there is.

However, prolonging the heater to snow exposure can cause damage, so you also need to be careful and use good judgment when using the heater outdoors.

If you’re hoping this device is going to get you out of having to do snow removal duty, sorry but that’s probably not the case. You’re still going to have to shovel snow off your outdoor space.

Do Patio Heaters Work in the Wind? 

Yes, patio heaters can withstand steady wind in the open space. But if it exceeds 10 miles per hour, that’s the time you turn off your heater. 

High winds can potentially knock down your patio heater or significantly reduce its performance. Hence, keeping it on is simply futile. 

But if it only involves light to moderate wind speed, you can still make use of your patio heater, especially if it comes with tip-over protection. Still, even with a regular free-standing patio heater, the weight and form of the base can suffice and withstand wind strength. 

Can You Use Patio Heaters in the Rain? 

Yes, you can use your patio heaters to resist the cold of the rain, but only if it is well protected from the water. 

For example, if your patio has a working cover, you can place your heater inside and still hang out in the area while it’s pouring outside. With your heater around, you don’t have to worry too much about the cold. 

On the other hand, if you lack the necessary physical protection against the rain, it’s best not to expose your patio heater. Water can cause some damage to the device, especially with electrical patio heaters. 

And on the subject of protecting your patio, if you live in the Loveland, CO area you can easily have a patio cover installed by TNT Home Improvements. A patio cover can add aesthetics to your patio and keep the space functional even when it’s raining. 

Can You Put a Patio Heater on the Grass? 

No, it is highly recommended that you do not place your patio heater directly above the grass or lawn. This is to reinforce safety and protection while using the device.

Your lawn is usually not a stable surface that can support the entire patio heater. As a result, it opens up the risk of the free-standing or floor patio heater tipping over and then hitting the ground.

Nevertheless, if you’re adamant about placing your patio heater on the lawn, there is an apparent caveat. Just place it on a flat solid surface like bricks that will serve as a barrier between the base and the grass.

Can I Leave My Patio Heater Outside? 

Despite being an outdoor device, leaving your patio heater outside when not in use is not recommended.

If you do so, you will be exposing your patio heater to elements that can cause drastic deterioration, such as moisture.

Most patio heaters are made of durable materials. However, regardless of these materials, overexposure to factors that cause damage, such as corrosion, will reduce the longevity of your patio heater.

Moreover, it could even get worse with electrical patio heaters. Moisture can corrode wiring, which eventually leads to short-circuiting.

What Safety Measures Should I Consider When Using a Patio Heater? 

Using a patio heater is not necessarily complicated. As long as you follow the steps and keep it far from harm, you can enjoy a warm night with family and friends.

Nevertheless, it couldn’t hurt to take extra precautions when using a patio heater, so here are the tips you can follow.

  1. Keep the patio heater stable.
  2. Place the patio heater in an area free of a potential hazard. 
  3. Handle the fuel operation with care and according to the manual.
  4. Do not move the patio heater when it’s turned on. 
  5. Keep children from directly touching the patio heater.

How Close Can a Patio Heater Be to the Ceiling? 

Patio heaters should maintain about 2 to 3 feet of distance from the ceiling of the patio cover. However, this will still depend on your patio cover, the type of patio heater you have, and its BTU capacity. 

Naturally, patio heaters that have higher BTUs will need more space for heat circulation. 

Likewise, if you have pergolas for your patio covers, you get more ventilation as it has open spaces in between. This can be ideal for your larger patio heaters. 

On the other hand, you need to be extra careful with the vertical clearance if you have a solid patio cover, as the structure can be limiting when it comes to heat circulation.   

Can Electric Patio Heaters Be Used Indoors? 

There are electric patio heaters designed for both outdoor and indoor use. If that’s the case with your device, then you can safely use the heater indoors. 

However, if it’s not indicated in the product that you can actually use it in an enclosed space, it’s best to keep your electric patio heater outside. As a good safety measure, you should consider most patio heaters are designed to be used outdoors only.

It is imperative never to use a patio heater running on propane or natural gas indoors. This could cause some unfortunate consequences. 

These types of patio heaters are designed for well-ventilated open spaces to allow the free flow of gas. 

If you bring it inside a closed room, the gas may circulate in the air and affect the health of those around. 

For example, one of the gases it can generate during combustion is carbon monoxide. If humans inhale this gas, it can have severe medical consequences. 

Is the Patio Heater Worth It?

Yes, having a patio heater is worth it, especially if you’re into regular outdoor family bonding or social gathering. But even if you’re not, having a patio heater allows you to spend more time outdoors and enjoy the natural atmosphere. 

You can catch some daylight outside with a patio heater set up in the backyard or on your deck during the winter. That way, you can tolerate the cold while basking in vitamin D from the sun.

Naturally, a patio heater is not just useful during winter. It’s highly functional all throughout the year. You can hang out anytime outdoors without worrying about the cold. 

Summary 

Patio heaters are great additions to your outdoor space, deck, or patio. They provide warmth and encourage outdoor stay for you and your social group. 

So, the next time you’re thinking of reinventing your patio, consider getting a suitable patio heater. 

And if you are planning for a major patio or deck renovation, let TNT Home Improvements help you with everything you need for this project. 

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

What Type of Decking is Best Around a Pool?

deck

Decking around your outdoor pool is more than just an aesthetic choice that takes your home from a level 5 in impressiveness to an 11! Decking allows you, your family, and your friends to enjoy sunbathing and cooking outside without having to walk on dirt and mud, tracking it behind you wherever you go, even into the pool water. Pretty messy and uncomfortable. The question then isn’t should you get decking around your pool, but what kind of decking surface you need. 

Textured surfaces with low-heat retention are the best materials for pool areas for their non-slip gripping capabilities and burn prevention while being under direct sunlight. Composite decking will prevent the growth of algae while the stones in stone or concrete pavers are entirely waterproof.

Keep reading below to find out more about decks that prevent any slipping, will stay cool, what the big deal is about “composite decking,” and who can help you with all of this. 

Non-Slip Deck Surfaces

The non-slip capabilities of your deck will depend on the amount of texture the surface of the material you choose has. Around a pool, you don’t want so much texture that you’re scraping your feet, but not so little that everyone just, well, slips. That would defeat the whole purpose.

When it comes to non-slip options, my crew and I at TNT have often used textured candidates like,

  • Composite decking
  • Stone patios
  • Concrete patios
  • Ceramic tiles

Composite decks are more slip-resistant than traditional wood options and will even prevent slippery hazards such as algae from building, thanks to the material. 

The next non-slip option you have is stone. Stone, granite, or sandstone pavers (to name a few) have naturally textured surfaces that are beautiful and resist fading from the sun.

Patios paved with stone or colored and textured concrete will give you the wonderful and safe textures you want, is completely water-proof, and like wood comes in a wonderful variety of shapes, sizes, and colors so that you can really complement the architecture of your home and make your pool area something special. 

You might not have expected ceramic tiles to make it as a non-slip option. After all, ceramic tiles have been traditionally much smoother than any other material, but today include non-slip options. Ceramic tiles are very commonly seen as the border around the pool so that it’s easier for you and your guests to climb in and out of the pool, but there are other benefits too. 

Just like the composite, ceramic tiles resist the growth of mold, mildew, and unhealthy bacteria, accomplished thanks to the fact that the water can’t be absorbed into the tile, and with nowhere to hide from the sun, is forced to evaporate.  

Pool Deck Materials That Stay Cool

In addition to non-slip surfaces, you should consider materials that won’t burn you after climbing out of the pool. Some materials will have high-heat retention, they will absorb heat, store it, and build up the heat they are absorbing until it’s completely inadvisable to walk barefoot on the decking or patio. So what are the pool deck materials that actually stay cool, or at least don’t burn you?

Materials That have Low-Heat Retention

Concrete pavers made with precast concrete are an excellent patio material if you don’t have much shade around your pool area. Materials like concrete and brick have high thermal mass, which means the heat will neither escape or be absorbed easily; it takes a long time to heat up these materials, but once the heat from the sun is taken away, it also takes a long time for them to cool down again. 

Which Materials Retain a Lot of Heat? 

Most composite decking options retain a considerable amount of heat, but this is not usually a problem for residential properties like yours because there is almost always enough shade from trees, overhangs, and various covers that will keep the decking from getting too hot.

TimberTech does have a composite option, called Azek, that is 30 degrees cooler than competing boards and 40% more slip-resistant, which makes it a fantastic option for getting a well-functioning deck. 

Are There Any in-the-Middle Options?

Your everyday wood timber is actually a good in-between option in heat retention but will require much more maintenance to avoid hazards like splinters, warping, and just fading. Wood can get really hot, but even several hours directly under the sun won’t burn anyone. But keep in mind that putting wood decking next to a pool will require a lot of maintenance like restaining or refinishing way more often to keep the moisture out.

Regardless of which material you choose, a common rule-of-thumb is that the darker the color of the material around your pool, the more heat it will absorb, which means the hotter it will feel on your poor feet. 

Composite Decking Around Pools

Many decking materials are prone to damage, such as water damage or termites, around your pool if not properly cared for. But that includes a lot of work! Just think of the layers of sealing and resealing you could look forward to doing. These are a couple of reasons why it’s often better to choose a material that resists the wear and ruin that decking is prone to. Enter composite decking!

Composite decking, instead of being composed of everyday lumber, is a composite – that is, made up of various elements – where the elements are wood fibers and plastic film mixed together with bonding agents. 

What you get is a beautiful, water-proof, durable deck around your pool because composite decking is much more durable than the standard lumber option. You can even boast about how environmentally friendly your deck is since it’s made of old, recycled wood and plastic and won’t have to be replaced as quickly as traditional options. 

Just know that different composites will require different levels of maintenance. High-grade composites require the least amount of fuss. Timbertech is renowned for their composites that are not only high-grade but look the most like wood that can be fashioned into numerous patterns and sophisticated designs. We should know. We use them a lot here at TNT Home Improvements. 

deck

What Material is Best for Above Ground Pools?

Above-ground pools can be a real eyesore with their cheap-looking walls, so building decks are a very nice solution to that problem. However, above-ground pools do require a little more attention to detail with decking material than ground-level pools.

You need to consider how much decking or patio you want. Do you want a combination deck, a side deck, or a full-surround deck around the pool? These options and the material you really want or need to use around it will significantly influence the cost of the project.

The best material for above-ground pools still needs to be water-resistant at least, resistant to weather changes, durable against everyday wear, and beautiful to behold. These reasons are why I would suggest composites or Redwood planks. Pavers and concrete patios are very nice, but it isn’t practical to use these materials for above-ground pools. 

Again, composite decking is naturally elegant, sturdy, resistant to the weather, and you won’t have to worry about routine maintenance. 

Maybe the biggest thing you’ll have to decide is whether you want your deck done professionally or not. There are plenty of hidden costs DIY deckers don’t necessarily know about, such as fencing as per state regulation, or even how the pattern of your deck affects the cost of materials. 

Conclusion

Are you located in the Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming areas? You’re in luck! Give us a call today at (970) 663-2868 or visit our decking services page and fill out the contact form to make an appointment for a free consultation with us. Together, we’ll discuss your pool project and make your dream deck a reality that will last you for years to come.

How Do You Heat an Outdoor Patio in the Winter?

When you have a gorgeous patio, all you want to do is use it all year round. But during winter when it’s just too cold to stay outside, chances are you’ll spend more time indoors, leaving your patio unused for a while. 

But that won’t be the case if you have proper heating in your outdoor patio.

To heat your patio, put up a patio heater or heater lamps. You can put in a customized fireplace or even a fire pit. 

If you have a sufficient budget, you can also install a patio cover for added protection and insulation. On the other hand, if you have a deck, you can go for heated floors to keep you warm on your toes. 

Whichever direction you go, you can always benefit from a professional consultation here at TNT Home Improvements. 

But just to give you an idea of how these outdoor heating solutions pan out, keep reading as we look closer into the details. 

How Do I Make My Patio Warmer in the Winter? 

You get the most of your patio when you have a heater around. Whether it’s a heating lamp, furnace, or patio heater, the warm air becomes inviting for those who long to spend more time outdoors. 

Naturally, since sunlight is either limited or overshadowed by the cold, you will have to rely on the above-mentioned devices to keep your patio warmer. 

Likewise, you need to prepare your patio or deck for the winter season by having the right furniture and items that promote insulation.

If you’re planning for a patio or deck renovation, this would be the right time to add support structures that could invite more heat to the outdoor space. 

In the meantime, check out these heating solutions for your patio during winter. 

Put in a Fireplace or Fire Pit

If you want something traditional for heating your backyard space, go for a furnace or a fire pit. 

A furnace or fire pit is often seen indoors. But you can have one customized in your deck or patio. Outdoor furnaces are designed with resistance against wind and other elements that can interfere with fire.

An outdoor fireplace can burn wood or be run off of gas and come in a few different shapes and sizes including the fireplace, fire pit, fire table, fire column, fire bowl, and chiminea, just to name a few.

You can gather around the fire to keep you warm during those cold nights. 

Pros and Cons

Having either a fireplace or fire pit is a perfect conversation starter. Aside from getting more heat, you can gather around these structures and get even closer with friends and family. You can have smores and hot cocoa outside.

Also, with a fire pit, you can use it not just for warmth but for grilling barbeque as well. It can become a fun place to have treats like cooking smoors.

One downside of a firepit or a fireplace is that they may not provide enough heat for a larger group of people. 

Moreover, the heat will most likely be concentrated in a smaller area. So, you will have to get closer to keep yourself warm. 

Furthermore, an open fire can be hazardous without supervision. 

Add a Patio Heater

If you’ve been dining in outdoor restaurants or hanging out in an outdoor bar, you may notice these mushroom-type patio heaters in the vicinity. 

But patio heaters are not just for commercial use – at least not anymore. You can get one for your patio. 

It’s highly effective as a heating device, considering the heat travels evenly in the air. Plus, it’s perfect for keeping your patio warm during social gatherings or group hangouts. 

Pros and Cons

One clear advantage of a patio heater is convenience without sacrificing its effectiveness as a heating device. 

Whether you have a large-size free-standing patio heater or a wall-mounted one, you can easily place and operate the appliance without much assistance. In addition, their mechanism is pretty straightforward. 

For example, if you have a propane-fueled patio heater, you simply make sure that the tank is in place inside the base. Then simply turn on and ignite the heater, and it gives off heat within your patio area. 

It’s even more incredibly simple with electrical patio heaters since all you have to do is plug it into an outlet. 

On the other hand, patio heaters are sometimes regarded as unsustainable, considering the level of combustion involved in producing high BTUs of heat. 

When propane and natural gas patio heaters operate, they derive the energy to power the device by burning gas. Unfortunately, this process leaves carbon that can accumulate in the atmosphere. 

Also, it produces carbon monoxide that can be deadly when trapped in an enclosed area. This is why it’s recommended never to use a patio heater indoors.  

Nevertheless, if you regulate your use and follow exactly the manufacturer’s guide, you can still enjoy using your patio heater. If you want to produce less carbon footprint, you can go for electrical heaters instead.  

What Are the Different Types of Patio Heaters?

If you look into local and physical shops for patio heaters, you’ll see different options based on your needs.

Patio heaters are mostly recognized as mushroom or umbrella-type devices emitting heat in the air through radiating heat methods. 

The principle is the same throughout all the types, but the scope, BTUs, or the amount of energy needed for heat production, size, and purpose vary. 

Nevertheless, patio heaters provide heat in the form of infrared, which is not far off from the heat produced by the sun. 

Check out the different types of patio heaters based on form and power source.

  • Free-standing patio heater

The free-standing patio heater is very distinguished because of its form and design. A typical structure for this heater contains the basic parts, which include the base, pole, heating source, and reflector.

The base is larger than the other components. It provides a foundation for the free-standing patio heater, but it also keeps the tank hidden so as not to distract people with a free-roaming tank of gas. 

The pole supports the heating source or heater and connects it to the tank. This is the typical setup for mushroom patio heaters. With other designs, the heat source and the pole merge as one. 

Naturally, the heat is dispersed through the heat source. Then, a reflector above the heat source prevents heat loss by reflecting the upward moving heat back down. 

However, not all free-standing patio heaters have reflectors. But for those who do, it’s an efficient component.  

  • Tabletop patio heater 

The tabletop patio heater is similar to the free-standing patio heater, only it’s smaller and intended for table use. You may even see some of these heaters looking like a lamp. As a result, they are also used as a centerpiece. 

A tabletop patio heater provides heat for people conversing around the table. Hence, it’s a perfect heat source for small gatherings. 

  • Wall-mounted patio heater

A wall-mounted patio heater is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a heater you install on the wall with adjustable brackets. 

Unlike the other two, this patio heater is electrical, considering the potential flame hazard near the wall. 

But since it produces less heat, it would not be enough to warm a crowd. Nevertheless, it could be enough to provide heat for the family, depending on how many you install. 

You can buy patio heaters that need the following power source to operate:

Propane

Propane-fueled patio heaters are perhaps the most common type. You simply have to secure a propane tank and place it inside the base of the heater. Then, once it’s empty, you can have it refilled or exchanged for a full one in the grocery store. 

Natural Gas

Larger patio heaters sometimes use natural gas if an outlet is available at home. With this power source, you don’t have to worry about running out. Instead, as soon as the ignition cues in, the gas flows continuously, providing high amounts of heat. 

Electricity

Electrical patio heaters are becoming a trend in many homes. If you have a small patio or deck and only need to entertain a few people, this patio heater may be enough. Just plug it in and enjoy your patio in the winter. 

Install a Patio Cover

The structure of your outdoor space matters as far as heating is concerned. For example, if you have a patio, you get better insulation and protection from the snow if you have a patio cover. 

A patio cover is essentially a roof covering for your patio, which allows you to use the area even during slight weather changes. But of course, this would depend on the cover you have 

installed. 

The patio cover becomes even more useful during winter as it adds a thin blanket of warmth by entrapping the heat from your heat source. 

Pros and Cons

If you put up a patio cover, not only will you get additional protection from the snow or rain, but during summer, you also get the necessary shade against the sun. 

Moreover, patio covers can significantly improve the aesthetic of your overall outdoor space. With that, it increases the house’s value if ever you decide to sell it in the market. 

On the other side, putting up a patio cover means you can’t move the patio elsewhere anymore. It’s there to stay unless you reconstruct in another area. Likewise, patio covers can be high maintenance due to their susceptibility to moisture damage. 

Nonetheless, you can avoid accelerated deterioration if your patio covers are built using quality materials and fine work. Leave it to experienced patio cover builders to construct the cover so you can get the assurance that the structure will withstand multiple winters. 

Types of Patio Covers for Winter

If you want a patio cover that could give you extra protection during winter, choosing the materials is a critical step. Here are some of the patio covers you can consider that suit the winter weather.

Aluminum Patio Covers

Aluminum is a reliable material when it comes to roofing and patio covers. It is highly resistant to corrosion and other critical damages. However, you may have to consider a fitting design for this patio cover to ensure that it matches the look and appeal of your outdoor space. 

Acrylic Patio Covers

If you want something low maintenance but still does the job, perhaps the acrylic patio covers are for you. Acrylic is resistant to damage, typical with wood and other materials. You also get different choices when it comes to color and patterns.

Wooden Patio Covers

A wooden patio cover is a classic one that you can design and embellish according to your outdoor theme. While wood is prone to damages caused by moisture, insects, and molds, given the right amount of annual maintenance, you could have the patio cover around for a long time. 

Add Heated Floors

If you have a deck, then you would benefit from items that encourage and provide heat in your space. 

To start with, if what you have is a composite deck, you’d be pleased to know that composite materials can absorb heat which makes the deck comfortable to walk around on. But during winter, it may not be adequate. So, one alternative is using outdoor heated floor mats. 

On the other hand, if you renovate your deck, you can opt for extra insulation underneath the floorboards. Likewise, you can go for radiant heating or outdoor hydronic systems. 

However, this may cost you lots of money considering the elaborate design of the system. Nevertheless, if you have the cash to spare, then by all means, go for it. 

Pros and Cons

If you have a deck with heated floors, it becomes easier to spend time there during winter. 

For one, having heated floors can ensure equal heat distribution. If ever you have a social gathering on the deck, you can rest assured that your guests are kept warm in the area.

A huge downside of heated floors is that they are incredibly expensive. In addition, the installation will have to be done by a professional if you want everything to be in place. 

Likewise, if something gets damaged, there goes another bout of expenses for repair. 

Moreover, heated floors can also take time to warm up, so you will have to schedule your deck use after the floors are entirely heated. 

Nevertheless, if you are adamant about renovating your deck and installing heated floors, it’s best to consult with expert deck builders first. That way, you can get the best plan that suits your budget.  

Use Heater Lamps

Winter heater lamps are a cheaper alternative to patio heaters. They are relatively smaller, but they use infrared lighting, which gives off the necessary heat the same way that patio heaters do. 

They are portable, so you can bring them in and out of the house if necessary. 

A heater lamp may be enough for a small patio or deck, especially if you’re only a couple in the house. But for larger families, you may need to add more lamps to supply adequate heat.

Pros and Cons

Heater lamps are less costly than other heating devices or structures. 

Likewise, it’s electrically operated, so you don’t need to exert much effort to set it up. Instead, just plug it in and enjoy the warmth. 

Also, since you don’t use any gas in heater lamps, you can use it indoors without risking your health. 

On the other hand, a heater lamp may not be enough if you are hosting a large party outdoors. Your guest will remain cold and would prefer to stay inside if that’s the case. 

Conclusion 

Heating your outdoor patio during winter is not a complicated task as long as you know your options. And now that you do, consider other factors such as your budget, the number of households members you have, and the intensity of the cold weather in your area during winter.

If you wish to renovate your patio or deck, don’t forget to consult with experts to help you out in ensuring quality and safety all the way. 

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

What are the Most Common Types of Windows?

picture of tall new windows

Windows are more than just a way to let some light into a room. They can be a styling choice, allowing you to show off a picturesque view. They can be used to increase ventilation and airflow. So, what are the most common types of windows? 

Single-hung, double-hung, picture, jalousie, and skylights are some of the most common options. But they aren’t the only window varieties to choose from. You might opt to get arched, bay, casement, egress, or garden windows. 

If you feel like you just read a list of made-up terms, don’t worry. Choosing the right type of window shouldn’t leave you feeling overwhelmed. Keep reading for a quick overview of some of the ones that are available on the market. 

Single-Hung

This is a relatively common option. It is comprised of two parts. The upper section will be fixed.  You will be able to move the lower section up and down. This is most commonly used for areas that you want to ventilate. Because of this, it’s most common to see it being used in powder rooms. 

Double-Hung  

As the name suggests, this is a variation of the single-hung window. In this case, both the bottom and the top panels are sliding windows. This is better for adding ventilation to bigger rooms. You can have cooler air flowing in through the lower window and hotter air flowing out the upper window.

Picture Windows

If you want to highlight a feature, like a stunning view or a manicured garden, you should consider getting a picture window. These are larger, often taking up a significant portion of the wall. They are ideal for providing natural sunlight to the room. They can also help protect you from air leakage as no part of this window opens. 

But, if you are considering this option, you will need to make sure that the windows are glazed. Otherwise, heat will be able to seep through this window, warming your house during the summer months.   

Sliders

These windows will be opened by sliding them horizontally left or right. This can be a good way of controlling airflow.  Plus, this style is contemporary, making it a great addition to modern homes. Sliders are a popular form of replacement window as they require fewer internal components than windows that slide up and down. Because these windows are so popular, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Awnings

These windows are a popular choice for apartments. They have a hinge at the top of the window. You will open it at the base, swinging it open. Sometimes, you will need to use a winder, cranking the handle to open it. With this option, it’s easy to control the amount of ventilation you want. This comes in particularly useful on a rainy day. 

Skylight

These are embedded into the roof. Not only will they give you a beautiful view of a cloudy sky, but they’ll also allow you to bring in plenty of natural light. And you’ll be saving on your electricity bills. Most commonly, these will be rectangular or circular, but you can get more creative shapes if you want. 

Arched 

If you are looking to make a statement, this is the type of window you need. These half-circle windows can be found at the top of doorways and large window arrays making the window reach farther up into taller rooms. They are usually a solid window much like a picture window, but the shape resembles a sunset, sunburst, or rainbow and can really add a lot of character to a large wall. Not to mention, letting in a ton of natural light into your space.

Bay 

If you want to create a showstopping architectural feature, bay windows are the way to go. These are large windows that work in a set of three to bump out of the house. This is like creating a small ledge. There are plenty of ways that you can use this small extension of the room. Some people prefer to use it as a reading nook. If you add a mattress, it can function as a daybed. Either way, it’s an incredible feature, which adds plenty of natural light to the house. 

Casement 

These types of windows have hinges on the side of the frame. On a clear day, you will be able to throw them open and get an unobstructed view of the area. This is a great way of getting more airflow through your house. Plus, as the hinges are on the outside of the window, it’s easy to take care of. 

Egress 

If you have a basement, you should consider using egress windows. These often have a small enclosed area outside. These windows are designed to serve a few functions, including: 

  • Allowing natural light into the basement
  • Improving airflow and stopping the build-up of humidity
  • Creating a means of escape if there is a fire. Because of this, there are strict safety measures that need to be followed. 

Garden 

If you have a green thumb, you might want to install garden windows. These are a variation of the bay window. But rather than making an enclosed area big enough for a human, the garden window just needs to be a shelf. This is enough for you to channel the light and heat onto your plants, creating a tiny greenhouse within the space of the window. 

Jalousie

These are a popular choice for media rooms, as they operate a little like a set of blinds. There is a lever at the side, allowing you to set the angle the windows are positioned at. This determines the amount of light coming into the room, as well as the breeze you are getting. 

Round Circle

Finally, you might consider using round circular windows. Most of these will be fixed. Though some will contain hinges so you can add more ventilation. Whether these windows are a good choice will depend on the style of your home. For example, they tend to go well with a Gothic theme. But they might look out of place in a coastal or postmodern home. 

Finding the Right Type of Windows For Your House  

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of some of the types of windows that you can choose from. But how will you know which one you should be using? Here are some of the things you should think about: 

  • Budget. Some of these windows will be more expensive to purchase and install. For example, a picture window will be more costly than a single-hung window. 
  • Size and location of the space. This helps determine whether installing the window will be practical. 
  • Style. Think about the type of house you want to create. You don’t want your new window to look out of place. It can be a good idea to look through social media accounts, like Pinterest, to get some design ideas. 
  • Purpose. Sometimes, you want the window to be an architectural feature or help show off some aspect of your property. At other times, though, it will be more functional, intended to bring more ventilation to the area. Or you can do both. 

Final Thoughts

There are dozens of types of windows available for you to choose from. Each of these can be used effectively in your home. Now, the job becomes narrowing down the right choice for you.

If you are still struggling to decide what type of windows you should get and you live in the Northern Colorado/Southern Wyoming area, give the TNT Home Improvements team a call. We’ll be able to do a free consultation, talking you through every step of the window replacement process and helping you find the right windows for you.

For more information, visit our Window Services page and fill out the contact form or give us a call at 970-663-2868.

What Makes a Good Outdoor Living Space?

pic of a wood deck built in Loveland featuring built in seating and lighting

Your outdoor living space is probably the closest spot you’ll get to having a daily vacation. It’s primarily designed to be cozy and relaxing, where you can lounge with friends and family. 

But this idyllic setup only pans out if you have the necessary elements. 

A good outdoor living space comprises sturdy flooring, ample shade, comfortable weather-proof furniture, and greeneries. Add a grill and some cooking and you have yourself the perfect spot for weekend hangouts all year long. 

However, you will have to invest in these things. 

For example, building a high-quality patio could require a bit of an investment. Nevertheless, it’s going to be worth it, but only if you have it made the best possible way. This is why having a professional contractor build your outdoor living space is always recommended.

On the other hand, if you are a skilled builder, you can turn it into your next big project. 

Either way, you’ll need to know the basics of making an excellent outdoor living space. So, to save you from trouble, just check out this guide. 

What’s Considered an Outdoor Living Space?

Outdoor living spaces are designated areas outside the main house or building for lounging or gathering, such as a family barbecue. It typically consists of a deck or patio and can include things like furniture, a garden, and even a pool.  

Some modern types of outdoor living spaces include weather-resistant dining sets. While others even include televisions, speakers, and other entertainment systems.  

Moreover, you can choose to have a completely or partially closed or open outdoor living space depending on the environmental conditions of your home.  

Simply put, your outdoor living space is like an extension of your living room and kitchen outside. It’s the perfect area to bask under warm summer weather.  

What Do You Need for Outdoor Living? 

Creating an outdoor living space requires meticulous planning.  

First, you have to consider the size of your backyard. Then, prepare a layout that serves the purpose of your outdoor living space.  

For example, if you plan to use your backyard for entertaining or holding dinners and parties, it would be wise to allocate ample open space.  

On the other hand, if you’re thinking more of a lounging area, you have to choose the right spot that receives less of the sun’s harsh heat.  

If you’re living in a house with multiple floors or levels, you may want to consider building a deck. 

But regardless of which type of outdoor living space you want for your backyard, you won’t fail to enjoy it if you have the following elements. 

The first part outlines the essential elements of a spectacular outdoor living space. But if you want to take it up a notch, make sure you check our optional but undoubtedly brilliant additions to your backyard.  

Let’s dive right in! 

Essential Elements

Patio or Deck

People often interchange a patio with a deck when they are two different parts of your outdoor space.  

A patio is directly situated on the ground. It’s a paved area extending from the house or detached from the main building. Patios are often opened with covers that provide shade and breeze. Patios can be just a slab open to the elements or feature a patio cover.

On the other hand, a deck is an elevated outdoor area attached to the house. They can be something you walk directly or into from a kitchen or even an upstairs bedroom.

Both a patio and a deck can include a covered roof. Some examples include a shingled patio cover that matches the house or a pergola that can still let in 50% of the sunshine and fresh air.

If you have a spacious backyard, you can go for a patio. But if you’re living in a small but elevated area, you would want to go for a deck. It would give you access to some view and breeze.

Whichever you prefer, what matters most is that the materials you use to construct your outdoor living space are high quality. Otherwise, it’s money down the drain, 

For example, if you’re looking for something affordable and requires low maintenance, you can turn to composite decking. Nowadays, it has become a trend in many houses due to its flexibility and undeniable durability.  

Decking products such as those offered by TimberTech are designed to last for decades.

Landscape

Outdoor landscapes add an element of serenity to your backyard. It adds another layer of beauty and comfort for those who love staying in the backyard.  

Having a garden or landscape provides closer proximity to nature. In addition, it helps you relax and get settled in your outdoor living space.  

You have plenty of choices when it comes to greeneries. Moreover, you could match your landscaping or garden to that of the architectural theme of your house.  

For example, if you have a Spanish revival home, you can go for plants like bougainvillea to invoke the atmosphere of Spain.  

On the other hand, if your backyard is petite, you can still put up some plants. For example, you can install a vertical garden and fill it with hanging plants or succulents. 

Furniture

You can’t simply put any typical living room furniture in your outdoor living space. That’s a general rule of thumb when designing your patio or deck.  

Fortunately, there are different furniture sets appropriate for outdoor conditions. For one, they are weather resistant which means they can withstand the harshness of summer’s heat and are able to handle moisture and other sorts of weather.   

Nonetheless, the first thing you have to consider when buying outdoor furniture is the ease of maintenance.  

Then make sure the pieces you choose are durable. Ensure that the fabrics used in your pillows and sofa can resist mildew and mold growths.

Moreover, if you’re adding a dining set, choose those that don’t break easily under the changing weather. Alfresco dining is always a huge hit for anyone, but it’s the consistency and maintenance you must look after.

Open Areas

Open spaces are like a canvas for any gathering or hosting occasion. If you’re interested in spearheading social activities, a large area for parties is necessary. However, aside from size, the surface is also a critical factor.

With patios, you have plenty of choices when it comes to surfaces. You can just keep your lawn or clear it out, giving way to surfaces made of gravel, flagstone, pavers, cut stone, tile, or pavement.  

If you have a deck, the entire structure can be your open space. However, if you plan to add furniture, you can allot a portion for entertaining. When it comes to deck floors, wood or composite floorboards are pretty standard.   

Optional Elements

Pool

If you have more than enough budget, you can always add a pool to your outdoor living space. It lets you cool down during the summers and pretty much anytime.  

You can opt for an above-the-ground pool, concrete, vinyl, or fiberglass pool. 

Not only does it increase the appeal of your outdoor living space, but it also increases the value of your home by 4% to 6%. 

Fire Pit

Outdoor living spaces are not just for daytime use. You can also hang out there when evening comes along. But only if you have enough heating. This is where fire pits become helpful. 

Imagine having an evening cookout around your fire pit or backyard camping. There’s a lot you can do, and you never have to worry about the cold.  

You can choose to build your fire pit or get one of those propane fire pits.  

Cooking Area 

The backyard is for barbecues and Sunday afternoon gatherings. That’s pretty much what many Americans associate with their outdoor living space.  

Hence, it is no surprise that many homeowners designate a cooking area to install a grilling space. This way, you can concentrate all the activities outside, eliminating the need for rigorous use of your kitchen. 

Conclusion 

An ideal outdoor living space provides nothing short of comfort for anyone using it.  

But more than the aesthetic features and the charms brought about by this area, you need to ensure its quality first.  

All materials used should be durable and resistant to any type of expected damages.  

And in the subject of creating a high-quality outdoor living space, consider hiring professional builders who are skilled and knowledgeable in this type of project.  

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

What Should I Put Under My Second Story Deck? -Underdecking!

Patios and deck spaces are every home entertainer’s and family’s dream! There are so many ways you can utilize the space and, like the sunrooms of old, you can thoroughly enjoy nature all year-round while enjoying total comfort. But as great as these spaces are, they aren’t very useful if you can’t keep unwanted elements out of your newly refurbished space, like rain. So what should you put under your second story deck to keep it warm and dry?

In order to stay dry, underdeck systems have to redirect the rain and snow runoff. This can be done in a number of ways such as with deck membranes, underdeck ceilings, and waterproof deck flanges. 

If you’d like to know how you can keep water out from under your deck, and who can help you with it, I invite you to read the information below. 

How do I Keep Water Out From Under My Deck?

We know as homeowners and as a construction company that the solution is NOT to close up the spaces between patio boards. You’ll end up rotting your entire deck because the water from rain and snow has nowhere to go until it’s all evaporated. 

Both homeowners and companies alike have three common ways to prevent water from coming into your underdeck area:

  • Deck membranes
  • Waterproof deck flanges
  • Underdeck ceilings

All three of these methods focus on redirecting the runoff away from the area under your deck, but some methods work better than others. I’ll explain the first two methods briefly, but it’s the ceiling I’ll really focus on. 

Deck Membrane

A deck membrane is a large, thick plastic tarp that is attached intermittently between each gap in your deck’s flooring with waterproof tape. They act like troughs that collect the water and then typically lead it to downspouts, which then lead the water to the gutter and then the ground.

Deck Flanges

Waterproof deck flanges are the simplest option but function pretty much the same way. They’re inserts that you stick within the gaps of your deck to be both your deck spacers and deck troughs. They lead the water to the edge of your deck and throw the water out. 

Now we can get to my favorite option.

mobile-fort-collins-wood-deck-underdecking

What is an Under Deck Ceiling?

As a construction company that specializes in decks and patio covers – among other services – we prefer to utilize under-deck ceilings with our clients for their effectiveness, their clean and professional appearance, and their durability. 

An under deck ceiling works as a ceiling should, but underneath your second story deck (hence the name). Not only does it block water from falling into the area underneath, but it also collects the water through the gaps of your deck and is tilted slightly to lead the water to gutters on the side which then drop the water away from your house via gutter downspouts. 

Gas stations have often used a similar design. We prefer this method too, because of a few reasons. Unlike the membrane, which tends to look ugly and out of place, the ceiling looks like an intentional part of your home. And the new systems these days can even be made to look like a natural wood material despite actually being made of a durable aluminum.

We also prefer the underdeck ceiling over the flanges because the gutters and pipes lead the water to the ground instead of only leading it to the edge of the deck and creating a terrible splash zone. 

The ceiling option is definitely the most labor-intensive, but the results are worth it, and the labor isn’t so bad if you have a good team to help you. In fact, If your second story deck was constructed by us at TNT Home Improvements, you don’t have to worry about water ruining your new extended living space. 

Why Choose TNT Home Improvements?

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of treating each house the same and doing the exact same process for each home that may or may not work as though we’re trying to use some kind of one-size-fits-all kit. Unless you’re living in a cookie-cutter suburb, your house is going to be shaped a bit differently from anyone else’s, leaving a lot to be desired from anyone who just throws a ceiling together. 

I and my team really prefer the personal approach. We like to carefully take the specific measurements of your home to make sure everything fits perfectly and meets all specifications and needs. 

We’re a mid-sized local company here in Loveland, CO who are tired of overrated big-name contractors or unlicensed friend-of-a-friend contractors giving the rest of us a bad name! You have our word (and other proofs) that we are licensed and insured, with photographic proofs of our handiwork, 150+ glowing reviews, and a list of references available on our site

When you consider us for your next home improvement project, you can rest assured that all of our projects are engineer approved because we happen to have an engineer on our staff who is responsible for overseeing our work to make sure it’s done right the first time.

But as much as I love to praise my team toot the TNT horn, I think I’ll let Margaret, a previous customer, do that for me.

“Would recommend to anyone in Northern CO! Every single person we dealt with was just fantastic. The work was top rate and the pricing was very affordable. Most of all we appreciated knowing the job was being done right by a local company. The work was done on time and even came in under budget.” – Margaret S.

What Can I Put Under My Underdeck Space?

Once you have your new outdoor living space, what can you do with it? What can you put in that expanse of space? Plenty of things, if you’re creative enough. 

Underdeck systems are fantastic solutions for problems like the lack of space in the rest of the home, no proper entertaining area, or the severe lack of a BBQ area that you can actually use more than a few months out of the year. They’re almost like sunrooms, but for modern-day homes, and you can do more than put some chairs and plants in it. This outdoor living space holds potential for numerous applications, such as:

  • Outdoor kitchen with year-round BBQ
  • Outdoor dining area
  • Entertainment area with sofa, bar, and TV
  • Storage for the really big toys
  • Kids’ play area
  • And more

But none of these ideas can work if water from the patio above the space comes in to drench everything and everyone in it. That is why it’s crucial for deck spaces to be covered with an underdecking system or with a patio cover, which we also do.

In Short…

Underdeck systems are wonderful solutions to common household problems and are beautiful extensions of the home that can allow you and your family to enjoy quality time together and with friends in perfect comfort, especially with the right materials and the right team to help you waterproof the space. 

If you don’t live in Loveland, that’s okay. We serve Larimer County, Weld County, and even get up into some parts of Southern Wyoming. If you’re located in the Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming areas and want to discuss your next home improvement project, then by all means, 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. We look forward to talking with you.

How Much Does It Cost to Reside a House?

Residing your house is a major project that can increase your property value and curb appeal. And if you do it right, you might be looking at a home that can sustain its impressive exterior look for years and years to come.

But how costly is it to replace the siding on a house? The average cost to reside a house is around $2 – $50 per square foot. It can go higher or lower depending on the size of your home, the number of stories, and the siding materials you choose.

Nonetheless, it is a pretty huge investment. But despite the substantial financial demand, it also has great returns considering how much it upscales your home. With that, hiring reliable professionals to reside your house is your best option to make sure you get your money’s worth.

If you’re planning to reside your house, here’s everything you need to know regarding costs, materials, and installation.

What Is the Purpose of Residing a House?

There are essentially three major reasons why you should reside your house.

1.      To upgrade exterior protection.

Your house’s siding or wall cladding is not just for show. It has a critical role in protecting your home. A durable siding can keep your house away from the damages caused by weather changes or other extreme conditions like hurricanes or tornadoes. In addition, it keeps the entire structure sturdy along with the primary foundations.

2.      To improve your house aesthetics.

Everyone loves a beautiful house. And with beauty comes higher value.

You may choose to reside your home if you want to update its exterior design. It could be out of preference, or you may want to put your house up for sale.

3.      To repair deteriorating sliding.

If your house is 30 to 50 years old and the wall cladding is clearly hanging on for dear life, then residing your house is a much-needed home improvement project. It could improve the structure’s integrity and increase your house’s appeal.

Siding that starts to deteriorate creates holes that can let in moisture and even unwanted critters.

How Long Does Siding Lasts?

A house siding can last for an average of 50 to 60 years. However, the specific lifespan of siding depends on its materials.

For example, bricks and stone siding can last for up to 100 years. At the same time, vinyl and fiber cement can stay in good condition for 60 years.

Of course, this is mainly dependent on the quality of installation. If it is done haphazardly, you can expect minor to major defects in the future. But if it was put up impeccably, then you’ll have to wait decades before the next residing.

How Much Does It Cost to Reside a House?

You can reside your house with a budget ranging from $2,500 to $16,000. The average expenses would run at $10,000, give or take. Naturally, this would include all the construction materials for residing and labor.

However, the exact cost to reside your house depends on the size, type of siding, and design you wish to adopt. Check out the specific estimates for residing depending on the house size.

1000 Sq Ft House: A 1000 square feet house often needs a budget of $1,000 to $3,000 for residing.

1500 Sq Ft House: It will cost you at least $3,000 to reside in a 1500 square feet house.

1,800 Sq Ft House: You have to prepare more or less $4,599 for residing if you have a 1,800 square feet house.

2000 Sq Ft House: The cost of residing a 2000 square feet house is between $4,300 to $15,800.

2500 Sq Ft House: If your house is about 2500 square feet, prepare a budget between $5,750 to $32,500. The type of material primarily impacts the overall expenses along with labor.

How Much Does It Cost to Put Siding on a 2-Story House?

The average cost of residing a 2-story house is about  $7,000 to $16,000. That is if you are planning to have vinyl siding. The expenses will most likely increase if you go for wood or stone siding.

Aside from the materials, the installation cost is another critical element of the budget. Again, you might find it pricier if you opt for removing and replacing the existing siding.

In some cases, you can simply ask the contractor to put new siding on old ones. But this is conditional and requires a thorough assessment of the existing siding first.

How Does Vinyl Siding Increase Home Value?

Vinyl siding boosts your home value by 63% of the project’s cost.

You can associate this increase with the added and updated look and protection of your home. Not only will it enhance the exterior protective layer of your house, but it will also ensure its durability and longevity.

Moreover, adding new siding improves the house’s aesthetics, making it more appealing to potential homeowners if you are trying to sell your house.

What Should I Look for When Residing a House?

When planning to reside your house, factors such as type of siding materials, your budget, the overall theme, and the architectural design of the structure should be considered.

Since residing is a major home renovation, it requires considerable planning. Part of which includes choosing materials that suit the weather and climate in your area.

Likewise, you have to assess if said materials fit the general design of your home, unless, of course, if you’re planning to change your home’s style. For example, contemporary houses can use wood or vinyl sidings.

Nonetheless, you’ll have plenty of options for siding that might fit right for your exterior. Check out some of the most popular siding options below.

Types of Siding

1.       Vinyl

If it’s practicality you’re after, then a vinyl siding would be on top of your list. Materials for this type of siding are low maintenance and incredibly affordable, with average prices that go between $3 to $8 per square foot. 

Moreover, vinyl siding has a longer lifespan of 30 – 40 years. So, it should last you a while before needing to be replaced.

Despite their synthetic nature, you can find many vinyl sidings mimicking wood, stones, and other styles. You can also find vinyl sidings in different colors and designs. They can also be shaped like fish scales or arranged in panels, shingles, and more.

2.       Wood

Wood is a perfect choice if you’re going for traditional siding. It comes in different styles and has an inert versatility that gives you plenty of options for design. The average price for wood siding is between $5 to $14 per square foot.

Likewise, its natural looks and charm stand the test of time. Plus, it’s pretty easy to install.

However, one huge downside of wood is that it needs high maintenance as it is prone to water and weather damages.

So, it is absolutely important to choose the right wood. Or better yet, consult an expert so you can avoid colossal mistakes.

3.       Brick

Are you looking for sidings that could last for a century? Then, you can never go wrong with brick sidings. You can have your house exterior installed with full brick sidings that typically cost about $14 to $30 per square foot. But if you go for brick veneers, the costs could be lower.

Brick sidings are also low maintenance. However, the installation may be a bit pricier, considering how intricate the process is.

4.       Stone

If you have a luxurious taste that leans more on a classic design, then you might find stone sidings to be appealing.

You can choose different types of stones like granite and limestone. That is, if you’re going for a natural, earthy look for your façade.

But aside from aesthetics, stone sidings are also effective in protecting your home from any damage caused by the weather.

However, just like bricks, stone can also be expensive, costing around $30 – $50 per square foot. Stone veneers are less pricy in the $4 to $10 per square foot range.

5.       Metal

Metal sidings are often associated with retro houses. But these durable exteriors can match any other design depending on how you plan to style it.

Nonetheless, metals sidings are durable and reliable in protecting your exterior from damages like insects and physical damage.

Just make sure that you choose the right kind of metal and have it installed by professionals. Otherwise, you might encounter rust in the future. If you’re going for the long-term, stainless steel often leads the pack.

You can expect to spend an average of about $4 to $8 per square foot if you choose a metal siding.

6.       Concrete

If you’re living in an area prone to hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires, then having a concrete exterior can be a great way to defend your home. 

Concrete is a mixture of cement, water, and gravel that turns into a paste. The paste hardens over time, fortifying the wall. 

One of the many strengths of concrete siding is its longevity. You can expect it to last for generations. 

The estimated cost for concrete siding is between $3 to $6 per square foot. Installation could be pricier compared to other types of siding.

7.       Fiber Cement

Choosing a siding that you like can be tricky, especially if budget and style conflict. Or if you want a natural look but don’t want the maintenance of wood. 

Fortunately, you can still get the natural looks of wood siding without the yearly upkeep, thanks to fiber cement.

Fiber cement is an artificial exterior cladding made of cement, sand, and some wood fibers. 

The form and bits of its texture copy that of wood. Fiber Cement can come with different styling options and costs an average of $6 – $13 per square foot.

What Type of Siding Lasts the Longest?

Bricks and stone sidings are known to last the longest among different siding materials. They can even last for a hundred years provided that they’re maintained well. This is pretty obvious with comes Victorian houses that withstood the test of time. 

However, the issue with these natural sidings is that they can be significantly expensive.

If you’re on a budget but are looking for siding materials that can last for decades, then your best option can be vinyl or fiber cement siding.

A vinyl siding is cheaper, but if you’re going for the durability of concrete, you’ll have your best chances with the fiber cement.

What Color Siding Fades the Least

White is known to fade the least when it comes to color siding. However, more often than not, lighter colors don’t fade fast.

On the other hand, darker colors tend to go dull over a long period. This can result from sunlight exposure or weather changes that diminish the paint or the embedded color of the siding.

Therefore, when choosing a siding material, it is best to consider factors such as the type of weather you have in your area. If fading is inevitable, you can always go for siding materials that can be repainted instead of replaced entirely.

What Color Siding Has the Best Resale Value?

You can get the best resale value if your siding has a neutral, lighter color. It could be in the shade of gray, blue, beige, light brown, or taupe. White is also a great option if you want to increase your home’s value.

These colors are a hit in the market because they give an inviting, relaxing vibe. You can also mix and match depending on the exterior design you like.

On the other hand, strong outdated colors only interest a few people. So, it’s best to stir clear from swatches that include mustard yellow, pink, orange, and purple.

Nonetheless, there’s a slight caveat with this rule. If you can design the colors tastefully, it might give you high resale value. But this would take a lot of work and creativity on your side.

How Is Siding Installed?

The difficulty level of installing siding on your house’s exterior will depend on the type of materials you have.

For example, if you go for vinyl siding, you will notice that each panel has built-in slots where you can hammer the nail that attaches the vinyl on the wall.

However, there’s more to installing wall cladding than nailing them onto the wall. First, it needs proper leveling and cutting of angles. Not to mention the very job-specific equipment needed to get you and the siding up into the air beside your house safely.

Hence, if you’re inexperienced in this task, the best way to ensure that your residing project remains fail-proof is to hire a contractor like us right here at TNT Home Improvements to do it.

Can You Put Siding Over Old Siding?

Yes, in some circumstances you can opt to cover your old siding with new ones and use it as a substrate. But you can only do this if the existing siding is in good condition, free of wear or any critical damages.

However, you must have an expert looking into the quality and condition of the existing siding before you install new siding over it. When you assess it yourself, you might miss some damaged or deteriorating parts, leading to horrible incidents concerning your siding.

Simply put, even though it is acceptable to put new sidings over existing ones, without professional assessment, it can lead to further damages that may cost you more than the average residing expenses.

Is It Better to Remove Old Siding?

It is always better to remove old siding than have it covered with new ones.

Although the former is cheaper, retaining your old siding and having the new one sit on top of it has some drawbacks.

For example, if the old siding could have undetected water damage and placing new siding on top could potentially collapse the entire structure in the future. Likewise, wood rot can happen without knowing it, as the old siding is hidden completely. Similarly, it can be prone to pests and insect damage.

Some siding manufacturers will actually void the warranty of their product if you install it over the old siding and not just directly to a good quality OSB.

Moreover, it is cleaner and smoother to remove the old siding first. Keeping it around can lead to sloppy installation, compromising its look altogether.

Summary

Residing your house may be a big investment, but because you are upgrading the outermost layer of protection and aesthetics, the payoff always justifies the upgrade. This is because your property value increases, plus you get to live in a house that looks and feels good.

With the considerable budget it requires, it is best to hire professionals to install your new siding. This way, you’ll have the confidence that the residing project is done with care, precision, and quality in mind.

If You Are Located in the Northern Colorado/ Southern Wyoming Area, Then Give Us a Call Today at 970-663-2868 or Visit Our Siding Services Page and Fill Out the Contact Form to Make an Appointment to Discuss Your Next Home Improvement Project.

How To Maintain a Wood Deck?

a pressure washing wand cleaning off a wood deck

Like it or not, your wood deck will need maintenance to keep it in the best shape possible.  As well as general wear and tear, your deck is exposed to the elements such as snow, rain, and UV rays from the sun.  Maintenance is a vital skill for anyone owning a deck who wants to avoid expensive repairs and replacements down the line.  Neglecting a deck can cause problems in terms of appearance and overall use.

There are quick ways, wrong ways, and correct ways to carry out maintenance on your deck.  Make sure you carry out regular checks on your deck to keep the condition as high as possible.  Regular cleaning and sweeping are quick ways to keep your deck looking at its best as well as repairing any minor damages to avoid them becoming larger problems.  Applying a protective coating to your deck annually or bi-annually is also a great way to protect it against the elements.  

Many people go to great expense and effort in having an amazing deck installed and then fail to maintain it for a couple of years or protect it in the wrong way.   Reacting to a problem is almost always far more costly compared to being proactive.  Taking regular steps to protect, clear and repair will mean that the time spent looking after your deck will be minimal.

How do you take care of wooden decks?

Before any kind of maintenance can take place, you must make every effort to understand what needs to be done.  If your deck is in a shaded area, surrounded by greenery, then you should be protecting against potential moisture and mold from fallen leaves for example.  A deck that is in a sun trap will need a totally different product applied to it such as one that is designed to protect against UV rays. Just make sure that when you are selecting a sealant, you are taking into consideration what you are protecting against.

Why should I maintain my deck?

Installing a good quality deck is a big expense so looking after it makes sense.  People spend a fortune on a car and maintain it so that they don’t need to replace it every year.  The same is true of your decking area, no matter the size.  Your deck will last far longer and stay in a far better condition with proper maintenance.  Using suitable products helps keep mold, mildew, and stains to a minimum. Wood and moisture are not a good mix so make sure you seal up your wood deck to protect it.

Are you prepared?

Choose the time of year carefully for any maintenance or cleaning.  You need the outdoor temperature to be above 50°F during the day and night and for it to be a dry forecast.  This stops the wood from contracting in the cold or swelling in the damp.  Also, check that you have all the tools and equipment on hand.  There is nothing worse than starting a task and then realizing you are missing a tool or a tin of oil.  

How do I make my deck last longer?

In short, look after it!  Regularly sweep leaves and dirt off the boards and deal with stains from food or drink quickly.  All these little jobs will make a huge difference to the life span of your deck.  Remember, a new deck should be left untreated for at least 60 days to allow it to settle and expand naturally. Painting or sealing before the 60 days is up can lead to cracks appearing.  

How do you take care of a wooden deck?

This will depend on whether you have chosen a hard or a soft wood.  Hardwood decking boards are generally more resistant to mold than softer woods, but this doesn’t mean they should be cared for any less.  Hardwoods tend to be oilier in their make up so choosing a suitable sealant is important.   It is advised that hardwood be left untreated for a period of 2-3 months to allow for oils to leave the wood naturally.

This is not the case with softer woods.  These need to be treated quickly and on all sides to make them more resistant to rot, mold, and UV rays.  When the initial seal is applied, it needs to be left for 24-48 hours before an oil or paint is applied to it.  Applying this early will mean they will not bond with the wood and will crack.

How often do decks need to be sealed?

Sealing your deck should be repeated every 1 – 3 years.  This will depend on the condition of the deck and what weather conditions have been like.  A mild winter for example won’t have affected your deck as much as a harsh winter with snow and ice. 

Choosing not to seal your deck won’t cause immediate damage such as rot and splintering but the overall appearance of your deck will diminish.  Luckily, you can seal your deck later which brings out the natural grains of the wood again.   Sealing your deck will help restore its natural color. 

Should you pressure wash a deck?

There are mixed opinions around the use of pressure washers on decks.  Some people love them, and some people don’t.  If you are going to pressure wash, it is important to remember you will have to do something else once the washing has been completed.  Pressure washing mold and mildew from decking boards is very effective, but it does leave spores behind.  These need to be swept away as they can grow back very quickly indeed – and they look ugly!

It is also important to consider the strength of the water.  Too strong a jet and you risk damaging the wooden boards.  This can lead to an unnecessary expense of replacing part of the decking.

Is it better to sand or power wash a deck?

Sanding is better for the deck compared to power washing.  Power washing is far quicker than sanding but is also the quickest way to damage your deck.  A slight splinter or crack can be made into a major problem with a power washer as you run the risk of damaging the appearance of the wood.  Sanding is more beneficial and is a more natural way of maintaining the wood.  Sand with the grain to avoid unsightly scratches and sweep away any saw dust that is generated.  Removing this dust is critical as the next step will be to apply a sealant to the wood.  Any dust that is still there will spoil the finish of the boards and mean that the sealant will be less effective.  

To paraphrase an old saying, look after your deck and your deck will look after you.  Decks are a fantastic addition to a home and create brilliant outdoor spaces.  Maintaining them properly shouldn’t be a chore and should be completed regularly.  The little and often approach to deck maintenance is the best way to operate rather than waiting for a huge problem to develop which could involve an expensive repair.

If staining and sealing a deck once a year isn’t something you want to do it may be time to think about upgrading to a composite deck. Composite decking is a wood/plastic hybrid mixture that creates a product that is almost completely maintenance-free. I say almost because you still will want to clean it off every once in a while but you won’t ever have to sand and stain it.

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 Services page and fill out the contact form to make an appointment to discuss your next home improvement project.