Features You Can Add to Upgrade Your Deck

Features You Can Add to Upgrade Your Deck

One of the most cost-effective home improvement projects homeowners can do is the addition of a deck. It is one of the few additions that has a high return on investment should you decide to sell your home.

You can ensure you’re getting the most from this smart investment with low-cost add-ons and special features that increase your deck’s appeal, and that will make your deck one of your home’s most enjoyable living spaces.

Hidden Fasteners for Decking

For years deck screws have been the preferred method for fastening deck boards together. They come in a variety of colors that blend in with various decking materials, don’t corrode, and secure boards extremely well. But, even with all of these benefits deck screws can develop splintered edges and trap dirt.

Hidden deck fasteners are a great alternative to deck screws because they hold deck planks down without being seen and leaving the deck surface looking sleek. There are plenty of deck fastener options available to match all the different types of decking materials. Hidden deck fasteners fall into three categories. One category fastens to the framing of the deck with a screw and grips the side of each plank. Another one fits into a groove in the side of the plank and is then fastened to the joist. And yet another type fastens from underneath the deck securing the decking onto the joists.

Installing hidden fasteners is extremely labor intensive so they are more expensive than deck screws. Although they may cost a bit extra many homeowners find that they are well worth the investment especially if you want your deck to have a seamless appearance. Tiger Claw hidden deck fasteners are a uniquely designed fastener that enhances the appearance of wood and is designed to install faster and easier than other fasteners.

Add a Sense of Flair with Planters

Give your deck character with planters. There are various shapes and sizes of planters that you can add to your deck to give it some color and quality. You can have built-in versions of planters that are often made of the same material as the decking and can be used as a way to separate certain areas of the deck from others. Built-in planters will need some means of drainage which means you will have to drill holes in the bottom of the container and any excess water will drain out the bottom of your planter. Along with planters there are also ceramic or cement pots that can be decorated in any fashion.

Make Your Deck More Visually Appealing with Cable or Glass Railings

Any deck that is more than 2 feet above ground is required to have railing in order to be considered up to code and safe but that doesn’t mean that if your deck falls below 2 feet you can’t add railing to your home for aesthetic appeal. There are many types of railing options available and one great railing type is cable railing. It is a thin stainless steel cable strung between wood or metal posts. Cable railings will also allow you to keep an amazing view of your landscape.

Another great option to keep your breath taking view is glass railings.  Glass railing, like Invisirail, is a low-maintenance railing that will not degrade over time and will protect you from your environment while lasting throughout all season types. It is easy to install and a perfect option for those who live near windy places like the ocean or open areas.

Shield Yourself From Harsh Rays With an Awning or Shade Sail

If you live in an area that gets a lot of sun then overhead structures like awnings can help shield your deck from the sun but they can be pretty expensive to install. Another alternative that is more eye-catching are shade sails. They are a UV-resistant polyethylene knit fabric that comes in a variety of colors. They provide shade by cutting the glare of sunlight while still letting a little light in. They not only provide shade they are also an aesthetically pleasing feature that many homeowners enjoy watching as they rise and fall in the breeze. Since shade sails are attached to the framing of your home it is highly recommended that you hire a professional to install it for you.

So if you’ve been looking at your deck for a while and feeling like a change is needed here are three ways you can easily upgrade your deck and make it look brand new.

Deck Staining Tips

Deck Staining Tips

As the days start getting warmer it becomes quite apparent that summer will be here before you know it. If you’ve decided that your deck needs to be stained or sealed, then it is very important for you to take the time now and learn how to do it right as well as the best stains or sealants available to you that will work with the decking material you have so you can enjoy your deck with all it’s beautiful features. With all of the activity your deck will see this summer, you will want to make sure that it is properly protected from the foot traffic, barbecues and harsh elements it can be exposed to. Check out these helpful tips that will ensure that you will be able to stain your deck and achieve professional-looking results, without paying professional-looking fees.

#1 Rule When Staining Your Deck: Start With a Clean Deck

The wood must be clean, dry and free of contaminants. If you try to apply stain or sealer over damp or dirty wood, then it won’t adhere properly and will have to be redone. Make sure there is no mildew as well. To achieve this, use a wood cleaner and thoroughly wash and scrub your deck. If there is still residual signs of old sealer, then you may need to wash your deck with a wood stain/sealer remover. The next step is to use a wood deck brightener, since wood cleaners and strippers can cause wood to darken. Let your deck dry thoroughly for a few days before you begin staining or sealing. Depending on the type of stain or sealer you choose, it is important to follow the application instructions. Some are designed to be applied with a brush while others can be applied with a roller, stain pad, or a sprayer. Pick the method that is best for your deck and its surroundings.

Some of the most common staining and sealing mistakes are applying too much and leaving marks. Avoid over-application by back-brushing any stain or sealer that has not been absorbed by the wood over the span of a few minutes. A swipe with an absorbent rag will work as well. Otherwise, the excess stain or sealer will leave a puddle that will drip or eventually leave a shiny spot that can flake off. To avoid marks, coat one complete board at a time, only moving on to the next board once the previous has been finished.

Some other helpful tips to keep in mind are:

  • During the prep phase, never use wire brushes or steel wool. This could imbed metal fragments into the wood which could rust and stain in the future.
  • Choose a quality product. Why take shortcuts in quality that can result in you having to repeat the process all over again?
  • Wear old clothes that you don’t mind ruining.
  • When washing your deck, protect any outdoor outlets you may have.
  • Protect surrounding plants and bushes with a breathable tarp during the cleaning and staining process.
  • Protect any paving stones and concrete around the deck from getting stain on them. It may not be possible to remove the stain if he gets on them.
  • Stain any vertical surfaces like railings first and floor surfaces last so you won’t have to walk over it to try and stain anything else and can just leave it alone to dry.
  • If you will need to use more than 1 gallon of stain, mix them all together before staining to make sure you will have a good color consistency.
  • Allow your deck finish to dry completely before replacing the deck furniture or allowing anyone to walk on it.
  • If you aren’t completely sure about adding a stain to your deck remember that there are some hardwoods like Red Balau Kit and Red Balau Batu that when left unstained age to a beautiful silver finish so you don’t always have to add a stain to your deck.

Staining your deck is a fairly simple task and it can keep your deck looking vibrant year after year. If your deck needs to be stained there are plenty of resources available to show you the proper technique and the best products to use. There are video tutorials as well as online articles available. You can even go down to your local home improvement store and see if they are offering any classes that will show you the proper technique to use. The quickest and most straightforward way to stain your deck is by first taking all your furniture and anything that can be moved on your deck off of your deck and pressure washing it. Once it is bone-dry you can apply your stain, making sure you don’t apply too much. Then simply sitting back and relaxing while your stain dries leaving you with a beautiful, shiny finish making your deck look brand new.