Category Archives: Deck Design

Night Lights for Your Deck!

We’ve already discussed fire pits and how they can make a great addition to your deck and outdoor living space, but the fire pit alone may not be enough to create the idyllic environment you’re aiming to create. In order to maximize the evening hours and to make your deck even more inviting, the addition of lighting is very important and will prolong the evening ambiance while keeping everyone safe.

Staying Warm in Fall with Fire Pits

Fall is fast approaching and in many parts of the country, the temperatures are starting to get lower at night. This can mean only one thing: Fire pits. The fall fire pit is part of a tradition that gathers people around a warm area to sip a cup of hot coffee, chocolate, or tea and to enjoy each other’s company.

Your patio or deck is already an area where people naturally gather, and during the summer, it was the place to be! Now, by adding a fire pit, it is also an ideal gathering place to be during the fall.

When choosing your fire pit, be very mindful of the style of your home and / or deck because the style of your outdoor space will determine whether or not the fire pit you choose will be the center of focus, or will seamlessly blend in with your deck and surrounding structures.

Now, here are a few of our suggested fire pits to choose from that will allow your outdoor space to remain “the place to be” during the fall.

Traditional Fire Pits

Though “traditional fire pits” don’t necessarily have a standard look, they do share some very common design choices. The common design has a rectangular or square shape and is made from brick and cement. Usually these designs will go well with a deck that uses wood balusters, and a home with classic designs such as sliding windows, roofs with pitches, and wood siding (or any variation of each).

A traditionally built fire pit incorporated in the back yard
A traditionally built fire pit incorporated in the back yard

Modern Bowl Fire Pits

The bowl fire pits are now synonymous with a modern design. These bowl designs are typically made from concrete or metal and are filled with fiberglass crystals or lava rock and use gas as fuel. The simplicity and minimalistic design suits modern homes and some can even be placed on a deck after it has been built.

Deck Designs
Small or large, these modern fire pits create a more elegant solution that can be easily incorporated on any deck

Portable Fire Pits

These fire pits are the most cost effective and the easiest to acquire. These fire pits are perfect to add that warm, welcoming fire to any place in your back yard or deck and are especially ideal if you don’t have much space. Most of these are constructed of metal and come in various shapes and sizes so they are suited to blend with any outdoor space.

These metallic fire pits are perfect for small back yards.
These metallic fire pits are perfect for small back yards.

Whatever your choice is, remember to make your fire pit extra inviting this fall by adding comfortable chairs and pillows, and don’t forget to have hot beverages on hand for your family and friends to enjoy during the many hours you will continue to spend in your outdoor area.

Ipe Deck NY

Why You Should Build Your Deck in the Fall

With summer winding down, many people think decking season has come to an end. The days get cooler and shorter, so it’s time to focus on the indoors.

Not true! It turns out the best time to build a deck is in the fall. Here’s why:

Better Contractors

Construction crews are busy during the spring and summer. Come autumn, however, demand for their services starts to slow down. This means better contractors are more available, and they often offer lower “off-season” pricing.

Less Damage to Your Landscape

Spring and summer weather is unpredictable, bouncing between sweltering and stormy in a matter of minutes. The more consistent fall weather, on the other hand, dries out the terrain, making it easier to build without causing excessive damage. Summer construction is also more likely to ruin your plants while they’re in full bloom, whereas most flowers have passed their peak come autumn.

Faster Construction

On the topic of weather, fall weather is easier to account for. You’re less likely to encounter surprise thunderstorms, resulting in fewer delays. Also, cooler temperatures make for a less tiring work environment. If you’re a do-it-yourself-er, that means more energy and fewer breaks.

More “Up-Time” Next Summer

People enjoy their decks most during the spring and summer, but if you wait until then to build your deck, you’ve already lost half the time. By getting your project done in the fall, you make the most of next year’s season.

What If You Already Have a Deck?

Even if you aren’t looking to start a new construction project, autumn is still a great time to perform some maintenance. With all the summer parties behind you, you can focus on preparing your deck for winter.

Start by clearing away plants and furniture. Be careful not to drag items across the deck, as this can cause splintering or scratching. Check for any deterioration such as rot or corroded screws, and replace parts that pose a hazard. Clean up any mildew or dirt buildup and give your deck a full sweep.

Specialty deck cleaning products exist if you need a deeper scrub; just be sure to follow all manufacturer’s instructions. Continue sweeping throughout the fall season to prevent leaves from accumulating.

Building a deck in the fall can save you time and money, as well as position you to make the most of next summer. So don’t put off that project just because the temperature is dropping; take advantage of the best time to create your outdoor space!

3 Reasons To Buy Extra Decking and Not Exact Amounts

We get it, exotic hardwoods are expensive. It’s natural for you to want to save your pennies and order just the right amount of material for your deck, but this is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

Materials like decking aren’t made to fit exact specifications; they are crafted on-site by cutting each board to meet the dimensions of your design.  It’s these characteristics that necessitate ordering extra material just in case something happens. The extra material ordered is normally between 10% and 15% of your original amount and is referred to as “waste.”

If you’re not convinced that ordering waste is important, here are 3 reasons that’ll change your mind.

  • Save time just-in-case boards arrive damaged from freight. Sometimes packages, including large items, get damaged during delivery. If you have some extra material to immediately replace the damaged ones, you can continue your building without having to stop.
  • Have extra material just-in case you measured wrong. Sometimes building a deck on paper doesn’t translate to the actual deck you’re building and you can end- up ordering less than what is needed. If you order extra amounts, you won’t have to worry about being short and being forced to stop construction.
  • Accidents like breaking boards or cutting the wrong length boards are not unusual. If these accidents happen and you only ordered exact numbers, an accident can cost you both time and money.

Sometimes saving money up-front can ending-up costing you more later down the road. Spending that small “extra” amount so you can have a comfortable buffer of extra wood during your project will alleviate the pain of possibly having to wait for more wood, or needing to have your contractor come back at a later date. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy your beautiful new outdoor living space without any setbacks!

Why is hardwood ideal for Modern Designed Homes and Exteriors?

Sleek, sexy, contemporary, and chic are a few words used to vividly describe modern design homes and exteriors. Los Angeles and New York City are iconic cities for these new home designs.

Why wouldn’t they be? New York City is the fashion mecca, and Los Angeles is known for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Designers are constantly looking to take aura of these cities and the warm feel of a home, and incorporating them in their modern designs. Perfect blends of such qualities lie within the exotic Brazilian hardwoods, which has become the dominating feature in modern designed homes.

Typically when a person thinks of wood, they think of mahogany, pine, or cedar. Limiting yourself to only those woods is a costly decision because there are better hardwoods that provide characteristics unmatched by any previous material. The Brazilian hardwoods are some of the densest materials in the world with a variety of colors from deep browns and golden yellows, to tiger striping and rich reds.

These colors will match perfectly with any furniture or decoration and provide the subtle nurturing feel that a home needs. The variety and durability of these woods will add a unique aspect and distinguishing factor to any home.

Ipe and stainless steel where the ideal materials for this modern coastal deck

Sometimes designers will look for the patina grey of a perfectly aged wood but this often causes structural issues. However unlike other hardwoods, exotic hardwoods will mature to a patina gray without any splinters, cracks or splits making it the perfect wood for the application. If you wish to maintain the color of the wood throughout its lifetime, all it needs is a coat of Ipe Oil every other year and some simple washing.

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Plastics can be alternatives, but unfortunately they peel, crack, mold and fade like an over washed shirt. For a modern designed home, they don’t provide the warm qualities that Brazilian hardwoods do; instead they only bring cold and fabricated textures that stray from what a home should look like.

When it comes to modern design, there is no substitution for a natural material. Don’t sell yourself short. Opt for the truly sustainable, one-of-a-kind material of Advantage Hardwood Decking.

Four-Inch Decking Changes a Deck’s Entire Look

Out of all the dimensions of decking, the most commonly used are boards of 6” width. This is what everyone has, and it’s what everyone looks for. However, imagine for a second that you spent a lot of money for your own unique deck only to notice that every other deck looks almost exactly the same.

That realization can be a little devastating, but this is where careful planning and deck design comes into play. Using different width decking, such as 4″ and 6″ is a great way to create a unique and strong deck.

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Using a mix 4″ and 6″ boards gives you beauty and unique structural advantages. Narrower boards are less prone to cupping or twisting and spaced out gaps will provide better airflow and water drainage for your 6″ boards, creating a more stable deck.

Don’t limit your deck to looking only a certain way, using a combination of widths can create an elegant and very structurally sound deck that’ll last a lifetime.

Looking for Cost-Effective Exotic Hardwood Decking? Check Out Tigerwood

The alluring pictures of beautiful decks and other outdoor retreats have driven many homeowners to rethink and remodel their outdoor spaces in order to create the ideal escape within their own backyard.

The pictures show an idyllic retreat made with beautiful, uniform wood. Typically, the woods used in the pictures resemble the look of Ipe and more often than not, it is Ipe. The bad news is that Ipe is an expensive wood but lucky for you, there are other equally beautiful alternatives like Tigerwood.

Tigerwood-2

Unlike many of the woods that are uniform and may make many decks very similar in appearance, Tigerwood is a lot more unique in character and grain pattern. Tigerwood decking is the very definition of exotic with dark streaks lining the boards that provide an amazing contrast to the grain colors that range from light-brown to orange. You can see the look for yourself here:

The most important thing, and the reason why you’re reading this, is that Tigerwood gives you an amazing value for the money! For many, Ipe is an excess, a luxury that comes at a steep price for a 75+ year lifespan that you may not even really need.

Tigerwood on the other hand, offers a more modest lifespan of 30+ years, but it’s a lifespan that’s much longer than most other “typical” decking woods or synthetic materials and still provides a unique and exotic beauty not found in any other decking product.

Tigerwood Decking
Tigerwood Decking

This lifespan is sufficient for most homeowners that have lived in their house for many years, or those tired of replacing the same old pressure treated or redwood every 5 years, or simply for people looking to resell their home later down the line. After all, an exotic hardwood deck significantly raises the value of a home.

Amazingly, despite the much lower price of Tigerwood when compared to Ipe, it still retains all the wonderful properties of an exotic Brazilian species such as rot resistance, bug resistance, mold and fungus resistance, and slip resistance. Strength wise, it’s about 3x harder than your typical decking woods and almost 4x as hard as Redwood or Cedar!

It’s easy to get lost in the mesmerizing beauty of pictures in magazines, but instead of being dissuaded by the cost of woods like Ipe, look for alternatives that’ll give you the best value for your money while still maintaining the properties of an exotic Brazilian hardwood.