Homeowners who install a high deck have some decisions to make in regards to what to do with the space underneath the deck. Some homeowners are sure what to do with that space and end up covering it with lattice or surrounding it with bushes. In this blog article, we would like to suggest some alternative ideas for your ‘under deck’ that can add value to your home.
A great idea for your under-deck area is to create a low maintenance garden. The first step in creating a low maintenance garden is to prevent weeds from growing up through your plants by covering the area with heavy duty black plastic and then spread gravel over the area. Gravel comes in a variety of textures and colors to create exactly the look you want for your garden. The next step is to plant your under-deck garden with low-maintenance plants which will need to be shade loving plants. Shade plants come in a variety of colors and textures so your garden design options are endless. When selecting plants for your under-deck area you will want to be careful to select plants that won’t grow too large or tall. Your local nursery will be able to help you select the perfect mix of plants that will thrive in your under-deck area. Depending on the height of your deck, you may also want to consider hanging plant baskets.
If you deck is tall enough you may want to consider using your under-deck as more usable, livable space garden space by creating a patio area. Another great idea would be to possibly combine your patio with some garden space, depending on the size of the area. Ideas for patio designs are virtually endless, you can use patio pavers, stone or even stamped concrete to create a beautiful under-deck living space and double the entertaining space that your deck creates.
When you and your deck contractor are designing your deck, be sure to include plans for your under-deck area so that those plans can be incorporated into the overall design and installation process. Our deck installation experts are ready to get started when you are! Give our office a call to speak to one of our many experienced deck designers so that we can get started on your dream deck!
It’s true that pressure treated wood is insect and water resistant and therefore makes a wonderful material to build a deck with – however, don’t miss the key word ‘resistant’. Resistant doesn’t mean ‘never gonna happen’… The truth is that even the best pressure treated wood will in fact become increasingly prone to damage from nature over time. Best practice for deck owners is to inspect your deck on at least an annual basis so that you can identify any pest or water damage and repair it quickly before it worsens. Deck boards take the brunt of the wear and tear and typically show signs of damage first and will need to be replaced at some point. If you are unsure if your deck needs repairs or simply needs to be rebuilt, read on for some helpful advice to make that decision.
Signs of Deck Board Damage
Did you know that there are over 40 million decks in the US that are 20+ years old? The older the deck, the more likely it will need to be repaired and possibly replaced in order to avoid causing injury and safety concerns. Proper deck maintenance starts with inspecting it on a regular basis, at least annually. In the Spring, take a screwdriver and probe the bottom of each deck posts where they meet the ground to ensure that there is no rotting wood present. If you detect a small area that has some rotting wood you can apply a wood preservative to stop the rot from spreading and advancing. In addition to the deck posts, it is important to inspect the railing system, the ledger and the joists and beams. Once those areas of the deck have been inspected for rotting wood it is also important to inspect each deck board. If some boards are soft or warped, typically as a result of water damage or rot, then the board is not longer structurally sound and will need to be replaced. Other forms of deck board damage include drying, splintering and cracking.
Replacing Wood Deck Boards
If your deck inspection reveals that your deck has no structural damage you can extend the life of your deck by replacing current wood deck boards with more resilient products like composite decking or polymer decking boards. Replacing wood deck boards with capped polymer or capped wood composite deck boards may seem like a pricey project at first, however when you consider the low-maintenance and longevity of these products the initial investment tends to make a lot of sense in the long-run. Polymer and composite decking boards are resistant to rot and weather damage.
Other Reason to Replace Deck Boards
In some cases, it make sense to replace deck board that aren’t damaged. Maybe you need to alter your deck layout or design to accommodate a new swimming pool or maybe you are extending your deck to make it larger. These are the perfect scenarios to replace weathered and worn deck wood deck boards with newer technology decking like capped polymer or capped wood composite deck boards to improve the overall quality and stability of your deck. New deck boards on a deck remodel will also provide a more unified look which is much more aesthetically pleasing than mis-matched deck boards.
Structural or design changes made by your local zoning board may also come into play for older decks. You may be required to make certain structural changes or replace damaged deck boards to bring it up to code compliance. This typically comes up when a homeowner is trying to sell their home. It’s no fun to spend additional money on a house that you are trying to sell, however keep in mind that the upgrade to polymer or composite decking will also increase the market value of your home making it easy to sell and a higher return on your investment.
If you need help inspecting, repairing or replacing your existing deck please give our team of experts a call! We have the knowledge and experience to get the job done right so that you have the peace of mind knowing you have a structurally sound deck that is safe for family and friends to enjoy.