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Features to Look for in Child-Safe Decking

November 20th, 2012

Wood HandrailKids love outdoor living areas. On decks and balconies, they can explore the great outdoors while staying within the protective observation of their parents. However, decking can pose its own safety risks for kids. To keep your kids safe, include the following features in your new deck design, or add them to an existing deck.

Check gap sizes. Gaps on handrails should be 3.5 inches or narrower; anything wider is liable to offer an enticing place for tiny heads, hands and legs to get stuck. Check the gaps between vertical slats on wood handrails as well as the gap between your deck surface and the bottom section of each handrail.

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How to Clean Different Types of Decking: Cedar Decking vs. PVC Decking

October 31st, 2012

cedar decking photoLooking down at your cedar or PVC decking, your eye may be drawn to an unattractive sprinkling of stains, built up over months of deck enjoyment: the ketchupy remnants of fallen burgers; the built-up grime of rainy winters; and the Rorschach-esque burgundy blob where you spilled wine last summer. Life gets messy sometimes, and outdoor living can leave your deck looking worn out. Fortunately, cleaning your deck can give it new life.

Cleaning a PVC deck: Between cedar and PVC decks, we’ll volunteer for cleaning a PVC deck any day. That’s because PVC decking (like vinyl fencing) cleans up with just soap and water. An annual wipe-down of your PVC decking will keep it looking like new – especially since this plastic-based material is resistant to scratches and stains. This, along with the fact that PVC decking has no organic material to sustain mold or mildew growth, is a big reason we love working with this material.

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Avoid Pitfalls when Attaching Your Cedar Deck to Your Home

October 16th, 2012

Cedar deckIf the safety of your fence starts at the hole, your deck safety starts at the ledger board. Don’t get us wrong – it’s also important to have a deep, secure footing for your deck. However, in our experience providing top-notch custom fencing and decking across Oregon and Washington, we’ve seen that the most common cedar decking construction problem is a poor connection between the home and the cedar deck. This area is called the ledger board. A well-constructed ledger board is a crucial ingredient for any long-lasting cedar decking.

Salem residents may recall the tragic deck collapse that occurred in Lyons, Ore., in 1999. The wood deck in Lyons (located about 25 miles southeast of Salem) was packed with wedding guests at the time of the collapse. The wedding party had gathered for a commemorative photograph when the wood deck gave way, killing one woman. The daughter of the bride remembered the scene this way: “By the time I turned around, the deck was gone. I saw some legs flying, but the rest of the people were already down.” Twenty-three others were injured. At the time of the collapse, the deck was just five years old and had just passed a safety inspection. Although we haven’t seen a complete report on why this deck collapsed, we’re guessing it was due to a faulty ledger connection, as with most major deck collapses.

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PVC or Composite Decking? Portland Pets Want to Know

September 20th, 2012

Basset on the DeckPVC decking, wood decking, composite decking – Portland and Salem residents may find the number of decking options somewhat dizzying. On a basic level, composite decking is made of recycled plastic and wood fibers, which are mixed together to create a solid form. On the other hand, PVC decking is composed entirely of plastic – specifically, polyvinyl chloride. This composition makes PVC decking entirely impervious to the mold that has been known to grow on composite decking. Salem, Portland and other wet cities are especially susceptible to this problem. Therefore, we recommend that Pacific Northwest homeowners choose PVC decking instead.

PVC decking offers many benefits. It requires almost no maintenance, aside from the occasional washing. It’s strong enough to last for decades. And today, PVC decking is molded to look like real wood – many people can’t even tell it’s plastic until the homeowner points it out!

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Endeck and TigerWood Decking Warm Up Fall Deck Design

August 28th, 2012

Low maintenance is definitely “in” this fall. If it’s time to replace your decking, we suggest two low-maintenance decking options, Endeck and Tigerwood decking, which perfectly match up with current outdoor living trends.

Tigerwood DeckingFor wood deck owners, fall is a great time to tackle deck refinishing. But owners of Endeck and Tigerwood decking don’t have to worry about such intense maintenance. Endeck is a PVC-based decking material, and Tigerwood decking is composed of a tropical hardwood. Neither material will rot under the moist conditions of the Pacific Northwest – Endeck because PVC is rot-proof, and Tigerwood decking because it’s one of the world’s rare hardwoods that doesn’t break down with changing weather. (This is probably the case because Tigerwood is native to rainforests.) Both Endeck and Tigerwood decking are extremely durable, and neither requires more maintenance than the occasional soap-and-water wipe down.

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Water Proof Decking: A Solution for Northwest Homeowners

August 6th, 2012

PVC DeckingHome maintenance is much more difficult in places with extreme weather patterns. Here in the Pacific Northwest, for example, we have to ready our homes for six months of nearly constant rain. Home exteriors must be refinished regularly; roofs and sidewalks must be stripped of moss; and any wooden materials must be refinished routinely in order to stand up to the Pacific Northwest drizzle. In such a damp place, there’s clearly an advantage in anything water proof.

Decking that’s impervious to water will last much longer – and look much better in the long term – than non water proof decking. Pacific Northwest property owners have a range of options when it comes to water proof decking; some of our favorites are named below. All of these products are made of PVC, so they’re low-maintenance and resistant to weather. Read the rest of this entry »

Draw Your Own Plans: DIY Essentials for Portland Deck Plan Approvals

June 28th, 2012

House Plan

If you’re the DIY type – fiercely independent and willing to put in a little extra work to make a project turn out just as you wish – perhaps you do your own taxes, mend your own clothing and grow some of your own food. But did you know you can also design your own cedar deck, even if you don’t have a professional background in design?

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Common Myths about Ground Cloths for Deck Installations

June 5th, 2012

Deck Installation Frame Set and MaterialsThere’s an unfortunate misconception out there about ground cloths – namely that they are the proper application for preventing erosion under cedar decking. Lake Oswego and Portland residents can find plenty of misinformation about ground cloths and under-deck drainage; even a cursory Google search turns up a plethora of web sites encouraging homeowners to install ground cloth underneath their decks. We’re not sure how the idea of using a ground cloth to prevent erosion first came about, but we can tell you why this approach is foolish.

Proper drainage. First, ground cloth actually makes it harder for under-deck moisture to drain away. As evidence, consider that this kind of fabric is often used to prevent weed growth. Landscapers often install ground cloth around their prized specimens to create an impenetrable layer through which plants cannot grow. (In turn, this means that the landscaper has less maintenance work on his or her hands.) Just as ground cloth prevents weed growth, it also prevents quick drainage. In areas like the Pacific Northwest, where rain is common, this can be a real problem.

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Creating an Outdoor Space for Your Retired Parents

June 1st, 2012

Porch SwingCensus data tells us that seniors aged 65 and older will make up 20 percent of the population by 2030. Whether you’re looking ahead to the day when you’ll finally be able to retire, or you’re just hoping to create a comfortable space for your live-in parents, the following will help you design a universally usable outdoor living area.

Outdoor living spaces can add usable, spa-like space to any home, and they can be affordable to add on to current structures. For instance, simply by adding a cedar decking area, you can create a new “room” where Mom or Dad can kick up their feet for some power dozing. Read on for more suggestions on how to create the perfect outdoor living area for your retired parents (or yourself, if you’re into the whole “age in place” thing). Read the rest of this entry »

New Product Overview: Gorilla Decking Materials

May 3rd, 2012

Gorilla DeckingOver the last decade or so, there has been a revolution in decking materials. In the first wave of innovation, PVC and composite decking materials arrived on the scene, providing consumers with low-maintenance alternatives to wood. Gorilla decking represents the latest development in decking materials, in that manufacturers are now honing their PVC and composite deck designs for added strength, durability and ease of maintenance.

Gorilla decking is exclusively available through Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking. We created these groundbreaking decking materials to prevent a few common problems that are encountered by deck owners worldwide: Under-deck drainage issues, and difficulty removing leaves and other detritus from the spaces between deck boards.

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