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!