Tag Archives: patio

Deck inspections

More than 2 million decks are built and replaced each year in North America.  InterNACHI estimates that of the 45 million existing decks, only 40% are completely safe.
Because decks appear to be simple to build, many people do not realize that decks are, in fact, structures that need to be designed to adequately resist certain stresses. Like any other house or building, a deck must be designed to support the weight of people, snow loads, and objects.  A deck must be able to resist lateral and uplift loads that can act on the deck as a result of wind or seismic activity.  Deck stairs must be safe and handrails graspable.  And, finally, deck rails should be safe for children by having proper infill spacing.  
(read full article on InterNACHI)

Creating an outdoor oasis for your home

What makes outdoor living so appealing? Being outdoors allows for a connection with nature as well as allowing homeowners to fully enjoy all of their property. It can provide an environment promoting relaxation and comfort, and even extend the useable area of a home.

To make the most of those outdoor opportunities, creating an exterior oasis can be done with some forethought and a few crucial elements. One that is often overlooked, but can really make a difference, is screening. Mesh screening stapled to the underside of the deck (if this area can be accessed) will prevent bugs fr-om crawling up through the deck’s floor. Mosquito netting or other screening around the upper portion of the deck can also provide privacy, while serving double-duty as insect prevention. Since mosquitoes and other insects can really spoil cocktail hour, here are a couple of other tricks that may keep them at bay. Strategically placing waterproof fans on the deck or outdoor patio will ‘inhibit mosquitoes for a couple of reasons. The wind stirred up by fans may make it difficult for mosquitoes to smell humans as well as making it difficult for mosquitoes to fly and maneuver. Planting flowers and other plants that are known insect repellents can also help. Some 0f these plants include basil, marigolds and lemon grass.

Comfortable seating is important, including getting rid of rickety, plastic lawn chairs. Today’s outdoor furniture is designed to be attractive, easy to lounge in a_nd weather-resistant. Adding a fire-pit is almost guaranteed to draw attention and company. Cool fall nights are nights to look forward to when there is a warm fire glowing.

There are a number of home fixes that can make the interior of the home appear to extend seamlessly to the outside. One may be the installation of sliding glass or French doors, which allows for easy entrance to the outdoor realm, as well as allow site lines that beckon outside.
Another trick is to install matching flooring from inside to the outdoors. For example, the use of the same weatherproof flooring-such as stone tile­ outside as well as indoors will unify the two spaces.

While the sun and natural light will take care of daytime lighting needs, to keep the party going into the evening requires the help of some exterior lighting. In fact, when prospective buyers are queried about outdoor features, exterior lighting is one of the most frequently mentioned requirements. Adequate outdoor lighting makes outdoor areas safer, more accessible and allows for more outdoor living. Uplighting (a bulb or light set in a cylinder or container at ground level with a beam of light directed upwards) can be used to create focal points, highlighting trees or other outdoor details. From a practical standpoint, solar or other landscape lighting will illuminate walkways, railings, stairs and doors for safe and unrestricted movement. Scones or pendants can light up patio or deck areas used for entertaining
or grilling. And strings of lights add a sense of warmth and celebration to any evening.
Finally, in an electronic age, no outdoor area can be considered finished without accommodating the needs of texters and tablet-users. To keep everyone connected, online, wireless outdoor Wi-Fi antennas can provide an extra boost of service, and solar USB charging stations will ensure all devices -as well as their owners-remain charged up. While not overtaking the market for indoor flat screens, all-weather outdoor televisions keep the games on alongside the grill.