You know how at the beginning of spring you start counting down the weeks to bathing suit season and adjust your eating habits to meet that summer slim down goal so you can feel confident on full display? Insert shuddering noises here. Well, think of getting your deck summer-ready using a similar schedule so you’ll feel totally confident about entertaining during the approaching dog days.
1. Clean your Gutters
Now I know everybody has a system, but working from the top down is a great place to start. By cleaning the gutters first, in early spring, you don’t end up with clumps of leaves, pine cones, and other messy, wet debris on an already cleaned deck.
2. Cut Overgrowth
If your deck is surrounded by trees and lush landscaping, that means you could have tree sap, limbs, and other rubbish falling on your deck and staining it.
Next, I clean the windows that look out over my deck. If you have a PVC deck material like Inteplast Building Products Deck or other similar materials, I always use natural, eco-friendly cleaners that are safe for the deck should I get any on it.
4. Fix Leaks and Prevent Water Damage
If you have a water hose or a faucet on your deck, check to make sure you don’t have any leaks or drips, which can lead to discoloration and staining over time. Also, if you’re like me, a deck just wouldn’t be a deck without pots of bright flowers throughout the summer. To keep your deck free of water stains, use a pot riser to keep your deck surface clean.
5. Inspect Deck Flooring
Because I have an Inteplast Deck, I don’t have to worry about warped, loose, or splintered boards. But if you have a wood deck, you’ll want to take care of those problems, as well as stain it and reseal it if needed.
6. Wash the Deck
Now I’m ready to wash the deck, right after all of the pollen has fallen. Because all decking materials aren’t created equal, it’s important to choose the cleaner that’s appropriate for the materials on your deck. I give it a good sweep first—I’ve even been known to drag the vacuum cleaner outside a time a two!
7. Outdoor Furniture
I have large pieces of wrought-iron deck furniture that I love to liven up with brightly-colored cushions during the summer. Deck furniture can scratch you deck, so put some gliders or some felt ‘feet’ on the bottoms of the furniture to protect your deck.
For our family, summer just isn’t summer without grilling out several times a week. Although our Inteplast deck is highly stain resistant (it has a 25 year stain warranty) to foods and oils, you still want to clean them up as soon as possible using warm soapy water and a soft bristle brush.
Instead of putting all of your energy into thinking about how much better you could look in a bathing suit—because you look beautiful no matter what—focus on how much better your deck can look! Hope these tips help! Until next time, I’m Andrea, thanks for reading!
Hello all, it’s Martin with you this week. I’m fresh from my travels to the Southeast and I’ve got some cool things to share with you. During my visit with friends, we found some unique sites to see like the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibition called Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Back Yard. I know some of you are thinking what a lame thing to do on your vacation. Well, if you read my posts, you know I spend just as much time on my back deck as I do in my house. So when the opportunity came up to learn about the evolution of the modern patio, well, geeky me bought my ticket and got a history lesson on the birth of the DIYer and backyard living spaces.
Here’s the professor Martin synopsis of what I learned: After World War II, the American middle-class took shape, and with it, a need to keep up with the Jones’ so to speak. Which meant a lot more entertaining—specifically outside on patios with the latest BBQ grill, swimming pool, lush landscaping, and patio furniture. The new glossy lifestyle magazines with their full-color pages of groovy (yep, I just used that word) backyard outdoor “rooms” caused Americans to go gaga over the outdoor products from unexpected materials like metals, aluminum, and plastics. And if homeowners couldn’t afford the high-end products, they recreated them themselves from materials that were marketed to consumers, giving rise to the do-it-yourself generation. Check out this photo from the October 1954 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine marketing translucent plastic panels for the DIYers to make a patio sunshade—a less expensive alternative to the large metal patio awnings.
All of this got me thinking about the modern products we use today to build our own outdoor living rooms. Those mid-century modern plastics and metals eventually gave way to natural wood in the 70’s and 80’s, and we seem to have come full circle back to more durable, rot- and mold-resistant products like PVC and vinyl. That’s the attractiveness of deck and porch materials like those from Inteplast Building Products. They’re lasting, lightweight, low-maintenance, and moisture resistant so you can even put them pool side. But they still have the look and workability of traditional wood. What makes them really groovy (I promise, that’s the last time I’ll use that word), is their variety of colors and grains to fit any design style and taste.
One thing is for sure, the popularity of outdoor living rooms is as strong as ever. I think now we’re not so much concerned with showing-off like that crazy Jones family, but instead we like being outdoors because we’re more focused on the environment, natural spaces, and fresh air. But of course we still enjoy gathering with friends and family.
That’s it for me this week. Thanks for indulging in my brief tour down memory lane, and have a gr—eat day (I almost said it). As always, let me know what I can help you with!
Martin (and Harley)
Hello all, it’s Andrea, and I am not ashamed to admit this: I still like to dye Easter eggs. It doesn’t matter that everybody is too old to hunt for them, I’m still gonna color them! There’s just something so inviting about the candy-colored pallet of Easter with its fuchsias, teals, oranges, purples, yellows, and blues. I get giddy, and I get in the mood to make over my deck with bright fabrics and colorful flowers. You don’t have to go all deranged Easter bunny to achieve a fun spring décor (but we’re not stopping you). Here are some ideas to get you started.
Brightly colored patio umbrellas are a great way to infuse color into your outdoor living space—not to mention it’s functional to make those afternoon weekend lunches outside more enjoyable. Add beautiful spring-to-summer blooms like the ones in this image from DIY Network and you’ve got yourself an Easter oasis.
Adding a brightly colored rug to your outdoor deck is the perfect way to make it feel like it’s a natural extension of your living space. It turns a deck into a room. Another way to achieve a color balance is painting an old piece of furniture a bright, complimentary color for a focal point.
Now this says Easter! But in a tasteful way that transitions directly from the holiday all the way through spring and summer. Adding fun, polka-dot throw pillows to a blue patio cushion like this image from Home Depot, creates a whimsical outdoor space that’s inviting and entertaining ready. Top the look with a bright fuchsia potted plant centerpiece on the table.
Even if your furniture has a dark colored cushion or fabric and you’re not into changing it, you can still accomplish a spring pallet with some lighter, brighter cushions. Here you can see this dark blue love seat gets softened with lime greens and oranges and some white furniture pieces.
Flowers aren’t just for the garden. Add colorful pots of flowers and arrangements to your deck so you can enjoy them in full view. You can use typical vase planters or something imaginative like this wagon planter. If you do put pots on your deck, make sure you have a water pan underneath to keep your deck clean and stain-free.
Of course, starting with the right deck gives you a foundation to build your outdoor lifestyle around. Inteplast Building Products has a wide array of color choices, applications, and accessories to fit every style, function, and budget. And you can use their online visualizer tool to “see” what your dream deck could look like by switching colors, options, rails, etc. Play around with and see what you can come up with! Enjoy your Easter weekend with friends and family. I’m off to color some eggs!
Jennifer here this week with some patio history and some great reasons why you should consider adding your own outdoor kitchen to your deck. You can’t step into your outdoor living space and not thank the mid-century baby boomers for inspiring the concept of a backyard as an extension of your house. After World War II, Americans were looking for a way to move on, relax, and enjoy life with family and neighbors. Their backyards gave them a place to do that. Spending time on the patio grilling and entertaining led to the advent of today’s modern outdoor kitchen. If you’ve thought about adding a kitchen to your outdoor space, but you’re unsure if it’s right for you, here are some benefits of an outdoor kitchen that might help you make the decision.
Expands your living area
First and foremost, adding an outdoor kitchen can increase the square footage of your entertaining space if you find yourself hosting crowded family holiday dinners and neighborhood parties. And, if you add a roof or awning, you’ve got yourself an all-weather addition you can use even if it’s raining or the sun is intense.
Perfect for entertaining
Not unlike the baby boomers in the 50’s entertaining on the patio around a charcoal grill, a backyard stove and kitchen area gives you an automatic gathering space for an evening of games, conversations, and celebrations. The benefit of an outdoor kitchen provides a central space, allowing the cook and the guests to all hang out together.
Adds value to your home
Outdoor kitchens can add value to your home, and it may also help your property move quickly when it comes time to sell. Of course many factors will determine the ROI of an outdoor kitchen addition like local climate, number of features, and the materials you use.
Lets you keep smelly dishes outside
One of my husband’s hobbies is beer brewing, and before we built our outdoor kitchen he stunk up the house brewing on the stove top. What he considers a pleasant yeasty, fruity smell, I consider an unpleasant odor. So having the outdoor kitchen has solved that problem.
Gets you outdoors
For my family, we love the outdoors, so building an outdoor kitchen space on our deck was a natural choice. We get to have great food while enjoying the fresh air, the sunlight, the birds, the sounds, and nature in general.
Of course, outdoor kitchens can be an investment, so you want to build it on a lasting foundation like an Inteplast Building Products Deck. Their decks are engineered to be durable, lightweight, low-maintenance, moisture resistant, and fire retardant. Even just as important, they are beautiful products with a color and pattern to meet anyone’s style choice. I hope this helps you see the benefits of an outdoor kitchen. Thanks for reading!
How to answer that age old question: which came first—the deck or the landscaping? Ok, maybe the question doesn’t date back that far, but I’ll bet I’m not the only one who’s asking it! Whether you have a clean slate with a new deck on bare land or you’re building a new deck around established vegetation, your options are wide open when it comes to blending your deck with your landscape.
Considering that your deck just might be the most important connection between your house and your property (whew, talk about pressure!), you ideally want your landscaping and deck to work together rather than compete with one another. No matter if you’re building around existing landscaping or starting from scratch, here are some landscape suggestions to make sure your deck looks like it’s a natural part of your property.
Build your deck around existing landscaping. What do you do when you want to build a new deck and there’s a magnificent 200-year-old oak tree right in the middle of your back yard? Build your deck around it of course, making the tree the focal point of your outdoor space.
Incorporate flower boxes and planters. Maybe your deck overlooks a beautiful English garden with sweeps of color like black-eyed Susans, pink climbing roses, or lush purple lavender. You have a moral imperative to plant some of those flowers on your deck too! Carrying through the theme of your garden onto your deck in flower boxers or planters is a great way to blend the property with the deck.
Transition with concrete edging. If your deck abruptly ends in a grass yard, consider using concrete curb edging to easily blend the edge of the grass with the deck platform. You can also use river rocks, pea gravel, or mulch to help define the area.
When your backyard is water. Not all homes have a backyard to step out into. And that’s a good thing! You can incorporate some plants and flower boxes on your deck for some vegetation options. A crisp white railing adds an extra nautical flavor to your design to appropriately blend with your water view.
During the deck and landscape design phase, always keep in mind the view from your deck, and make sure you position the deck so you can look at your landscaping from all sides—be it water or land! Thanks for reading!
Happy Friday everyone, Jennifer here with you this week. With the official start of spring just ten days away, there is no better time than now to think about what you want to do with that outdated, faded, splintered deck you’ve been secretly hoping would collapse for the last few years.
The first question to ask yourself: should I start from scratch or just resurface what I’ve got? If you’ve inspected all the parts of the existing deck and there is no rot or structural damage that you can see, you can probably get by with resurfacing. But if it’s beyond saving, or you just want a new, modern outdoor living space, maybe it’s time for a totally new vivid, natural wood-like, worry-free low-maintenance deck from Inteplast Building Products. If so, the second question to ask yourself: how do I find a good contractor to make my outdoor dream deck come true?
Choosing a contractor to build your deck is a big decision because you want to trust they’ll build the deck you want—and the deck you paid for. But rest assured, we’ve got some tips to help you find the perfect contractor.
One the best ways to find a good contractor is word-of-mouth. Talk to people you trust, whether its family, friends, or associates to get their honest opinions on a contractor they’ve used in the past. If someone in your neighborhood has a deck that you envy, start there first and get their experience, and whether or not they would recommend their contractor. Online services like Angie’s List, Home Advisor, and Houzz are good ways to connect with contractors in your area too. No matter the source, take lots of notes, and get contact information. If the contractor has a website with photos of past work, take a look at their latest projects.
Once you’ve compiled your list, give the contractors a call, and ask the right questions:
Above all, you want a contractor who is easy to communicate with and one that you feel comfortable with. After you’ve settled on a contractor, get an estimate, in writing, along with a contract. Have the contractor go over the entire contract with you, and make sure it specifies all costs, and they’re itemized. You want to know where your money is going. On average, material cost is 40% of a total project. Keep in mind, the cheapest quote isn’t always the best quote. You want the one that can make your dream deck a reality.
Inteplast Building Products has a ton of resources to help you get started on your deck, including free design plans, product visualizers, material calculators, installation instructions, and DIY tips. Thanks for reading!
Hello everyone, Jennifer here with you this week. I don’t know about you, but these unseasonably enjoyable temperatures have me double-checking the calendar just to make sure I didn’t sleep right through February and wake up in spring. If you are in the market for a new deck this year, now is the time to get started so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy it throughout the warmer months.
These days, a deck isn’t just a deck. Our outdoor living spaces are just as well-planned and appointed as our interior spaces. And for this reason, designing the right deck can be a bit overwhelming. Sure, you want something that reflects your family’s personal style, but you also want a deck that’s functional, meets your entertainment or leisure needs, and is low-maintenance. So with all of these considerations in mind, where do you start?
The best place to start is at Inteplast Building Products online Deck Visualizer tool where you can conjure up your ultimate outdoor living space with the click of a few buttons. The versatility of Inteplast’s products offer a wide range of options and applications to suit any deck dream you may have.
Inteplast Building Products has a wide array of color choices, applications, and accessories to fit every style, function, and budget. With their visualizer tool you can:
In addition to “seeing” what your dream deck could look like, you can also share your designs with friends and family members, as well as email them to your contractor.
The versatility of Inteplast Building Products offers an unlimited range of options for application in a variety of environments. From decks and porches, to rail and trim, use the tools in this section to help you realize your design dreams. With a deck from Inteplast Building Products you get all the beauty and style you want in an outdoor living space, plus the durability and low-maintenance you need.
It’s just the right time to get started on that new deck. So let these warm days be the inspiration you need to find your inspiration. Until next time, thanks for reading, and as always, share your ideas with us!
Hi all, Martin with you, and it’s my first chance to wish you all a happy New Year, so happy 2017. All I can say about the start of this winter season is Brrrrrrrrrrrrr! And I’ve had enough snow and ice here in the Pacific Northwest to last for decades. I know it’s probably the last thing on your mind right now, but protecting your deck from the layers of snow and ice is a must. If you have a PVC deck from Inteplast Building Products like I do you don’t have the year-round maintenance and worry of a traditional wood deck (you know, water damage, mold, mildew, rotting, splitting, warping, and decay) but there are still some measures you should take to care for your deck, especially properly and safely removing snow and ice.
Just like any other surface material, snow can melt and freeze on an Inteplast PVC deck. And once it piles up beyond the point of being able to easily sweep it off, it’s time to grab a shovel. But not just any shovel. Make sure you use a plastic shovel with round, smooth edges. I can’t repeat this enough: Do not use metal shovels or tools with sharp edges, nuts, or screws because they can scratch or gouge your deck. These types of scratches aren’t typically covered under your product warranty.
When it comes to products to melt ice on your deck, it’s a good idea to stay away from rock salt that’s typically used to melt snow and ice on roads because the coarse texture—especially when crunched by foot traffic— can actually scratch your deck.
Products for melting ice that are safe for metal and concrete like Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) are the safest to use on your Inteplast Building Products deck. It’s also the least harmful to children, pets, and vegetation. Eco-friendly But keep in mind, CMA only works at temperatures above 20°F, so basic calcium chloride de-icers may be necessary for below freezing temperatures.
The most important tip I have for you: Do not use hot water to melt the ice on your deck. Oh, it’ll melt the ice…until it refreezes and you have to start all over again!
As for some quick clean up and easy maintenance once spring arrives and the ice is gone, all you have to do to get rid of the left-over white residue is to spray off the deck with a hose and a warm soapy water solution with a soft bristle brush. It may be tempting to use a pressure washer, but Inteplast generally doesn’t recommend that method because improperly using a pressure washer could damage the deck surface and result in loss of warranty coverage. However, if you choose to use a pressure washer, make sure you don’t exceed a maximum washing pressure of 1400 PSI, and spray in the direction of the brush/grain pattern so you don’t damage the deck. For more information on Inteplast Building Products Deck maintenance, visit here.
That’s it for me this week. I wish you all happy deck de-icing! Catch you next time.
Martin (and Harley)
Hi all, Martin here again with what I think is a most awesome, if not the most awesomest (if that’s not a word, it should be) project for gardeners, landscapers, homeowners, and business owners of all types. Really, it’s for everyone because we should all be stewards of the earth. It’s a compost bin. Did you know that nearly one-third of landfill waste is made up of compostable materials? What is compostable you ask? Compostable materials are a mixture of decaying organic matter like yard debris, grass clippings, leaves, and vegetable peels that become nutrient-rich matter for fertilizing soil. This compost bin project uses Inteplast Building Products PVC decking material, which is perfect because it’s rot- and insect-resistant. So let’s get started.
Materials You’ll Need:
First, pre-drill the 2-in. screws on the 24-in. long Inteplast deck board about a ½-in. from the edge of the board. Do the same thing for the 22-in. long Inteplast deck board.
Next, join create a rectangle using the two 24-in. pieces and the two 22-in. pieces by joining them at the corners.
Then, cut a 1-1/2-in. wide Inteplast Corner Board to use as a jig. Place the 1-1/2-in. wide corner board jig at the corner, and then place a deck board underneath to ensure that it’s level with the deck frame.
Now, place the 7-in. Inteplast Corner Board on top of the jig and attach each corner with 1-1/2-in. screws.
That’s it. Now just stack the finished tiers to create your compost bin. This unit is 24-in. x 22-in. x 28-in., but you can make more tiers to increase the height of the bin to suit your needs.
The best thing about this bin is that you don’t have to physically turn the compost, which can be a real chore. You only have to lift off the top tier and set it on the ground next to the bin fill it with compost. As the compost pile gets lower, move over the next tier, and put more compost in it. Just repeat.
Composting is a great way to condition your soil, recycle your kitchen and yard waste (which reduces land fill waste), introduce beneficial organisms to your yard, and eliminate the need for alternative chemical fertilizers. To find Inteplast Building Products in your area, visit our store locator here. Catch you next time.
Martin (and Harley)
Hello all, Martin here with some fall deck maintenance tips. No doubt you’ve enjoyed your deck all spring and summer with cookouts, pool parties, and just relaxing under the stars with friends. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of enjoyment to be had in the fall as well, but now is the time do some upkeep before ole’ man winter pays a visit. Lucky you though if you have a PVC deck from Inteplast Building Products because fall maintenance just got a lot quicker.
I can still remember those days when I had to maintain my natural wood deck. It was a beauty, but it was a pain. This time of year I would have been sanding splinters, cleaning it, staining it, and resealing it, which means I couldn’t really enjoy it the rest of the season for fear of getting dirty or stained after all that hard work. But since I’ve upgraded to an Inteplast Deck, which is just as beautiful and performs better than real wood, my maintenance routine is reduced to basic checkups like inspecting and replacing any loose or worn hardware, sweeping up Harley’s fur, and using a hose and warm soapy water with a soft bristle brush. You can use other eco-friendly products, but just be cautious because any cleaning product could lighten the color of PVC deck. I recommend testing a small amount of the product in an inconspicuous area. And you shouldn’t use a pressure washer because it could damage the surface too. Inteplast has a terrific customer service center that can answer questions for you about removing stains, and what products you should or should use. For a complete list of Inteplast Building Products’ maintenance tips, visit their website here.
I’m also diligent throughout the summer keeping up with the day-to-day clean ups, which also makes my fall maintenance time easier. Sauces, oils, sunscreen products, and certain insect repellents may have chemicals or ingredients that could stain or discolor your decks, so make sure you clean those up as quickly as possible.
I just want to offer this advice for anyone out there in the market for a new deck, as you consider the type of building material to use, keep in mind the intangible value of your time spent on maintenance over the lifespan of your deck. Going with a PVC deck from Inteplast Building Products means less time spent on upkeep and more time spent enjoying it! Catch you next time.
Martin (and Harley)