Decks, patios are outdoor living environmentsEven though it is still winter, we still have the urge to get out into the yard. The lack of snow in the region does not help that urge either. The sooner the warm weather moves in, the more time we can spend outside where we can ingest the fresh air and scent of the flowers blooming in the garden.
By: John Zvirovski, The Jamestown Sun
Even though it is still winter, we still have the urge to get out into the yard. The lack of snow in the region does not help that urge either. The sooner the warm weather moves in, the more time we can spend outside where we can ingest the fresh air and scent of the flowers blooming in the garden.
Getting out into the yard does not always mean that there is work to do. Sometimes, just being out in the yard and relaxing is enough from time to time. Once in awhile you should take time out to sit back and enjoy the serene space you have created for yourself.
Most of the time, we are fortunate enough to have a deck or a patio we can retreat to from our indoor spaces. The difference between a patio and a deck is that a patio is usually a paved or solid surface on the ground level, whereas a deck rises above the ground, typically out of wood or a composite material.
If you do not have one of these amenities and are planning to add one, this is the perfect time of year to start that planning process. Since we have very little snow on the ground, go outside and measure your spaces now and write them down. Start going to the lumberyards and garden centers and see what types of materials they have and how much various products will cost. If you can get the idea down on paper, along with the materials you want to use and the size you are envisioning, you will have all the elements to shop around for the best prices.
Construction of these projects will not begin until the first part of May in our area, so that gives you two full months of planning and shopping for the items that meet your needs. The key thing to remember is that if you get all your planning out of the way now, you can spend up to six weeks working and finishing your project just in time for the summer solstice celebrations in June. From that point forward, I would suggest you find some time each and every week of summer to have gatherings, BBQs and time to lay back and relax with friends. It will be a summer well worth enjoying!
Patios are designed with many different materials. They can be as common as a concrete slab that may have an imbedded print to as elaborate as a detailed design of pavers. The concrete slab may be the easiest to create as you just make a level foundation, add some forms and when you are ready, pour and let set.
If you choose to go the paver route, be prepared to have allot of patience and time on your hands. Unless, of course, you hire out to have it done, then be prepared to have some extra dollars on hand! Pavers can sure make a unique design when complete. Definitely something to fit the personality of anyone you designs with them. Many projects that I have seen have completely put me into a state of awe with their intrinseque details. Once a patio is put in place, there is very little maintenance from that point further to keep it looking good.
When planning a deck, there are other variables involved. Decks need supports that are stabilized in the ground to keep the deck itself from shifting after it is complete. There are decisions to be made if a deck is coming off a second story, a bi-level position or a ground level where it is only a few feet off the ground. Of course, if it is a lofty deck, these also require the addition of stairs and railings.
Most decks are made out of wood, aluminum or a low maintenance composite material. If using aluminum, be careful to watch for wear and tear, as you do not want to encounter any upturned corners or sharp obstructions that may injure the user. It can also get quite hot in the summer sun, so make sure to wear protective footwear. It is, however, easy to keep clean and looking good through the years.
Wood is the most common of products and can last a long time with the proper types and maintenance. If using a poplar wood, be prepared for your deck to deteriorate quickly. If you use pine, you will start to replace parts of it after five years or so as these are soft woods. Using wood materials, such as cedar, redwood or mahogany can have a life span of up to forty years with the proper care. Not to mention they look good each and every year with periodic staining or with the application of a waterproofing oil to protect the wood.
Composite material, usually created out of a hard, compressed plastic with a wood-look, us to be touted as maintenance free, but that is not quite the case. Some colors have been proven to fade and they require periodic cleaning to keep the material from getting moldy in time. The cleaner used for this type of decking can cause damage to the look of the product, so make sure you do your research before pursuing these materials. Some products are superb where others may be a bit inferior. There are plenty of articles to help you make the proper decision.
Keep in mind, that with decks, there are many regulations you need to follow. Decks and stairs that rise in excess of 30 inches above ground typically require railings. Railing spindles typically cannot be spaced more than 3 1/2 inches apart and the railing itself is suppose to be able to support up to a 300-pound person leaning up against it without moving more than one inch for stability and safety measures. All deck and patio construction projects also require a building permit in most areas, so check with the city before starting a project.
This is the time to start planning these projects, because before you know it, summer will be here and we will want all of our big projects out of the way so we can enjoy the great outdoors without too much more work involved. A deck or patio is the perfect extension of your living space from the indoors to the outdoors for complete enjoyment. Get started today!