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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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Creating Year-Round Day Spaces Using Solid Patio Covers

October 24th, 2012

Solid Patio CoverThe rest of the country maintains a common myth about the Pacific Northwest – that it’s basically impossible to enjoy the great outdoors during the rainy season. Well, we’re here to dispel the idea that year-round outdoor living is only possible in places like Southern California. With a little forethought and the following design features, you can create an outdoor area that’s enjoyable year-round.

1. Install waterproof decking. Waterproof decking is the best choice for your year-round outdoor living area because it won’t discolor, swell, check or splinter during the rainy season. And you won’t have to worry about breaking your back to refinish it every year or so – waterproof decking is virtually maintenance free.

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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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Garden Structures in Gresham: Patio Cover, Pergola or Gazebo?

September 26th, 2012

PergolasOutdoor living areas are popular across the Pacific Northwest, from Gig’s Harbor to Gresham. Patio cover and pergola enthusiasts rave about how building an outdoor garden structure has nearly the same effect as adding an entirely new room – and at a fraction of the cost. With the housing market still unpredictable and home values stagnant, more and more homeowners are attracted to the idea of adding an outdoor living area, ideally one protected by a gazebo, patio cover or pergola. Just how to choose between these three options, however, is another question altogether.


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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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Fall Garden Parties in the Tri-Cities: Patio Cover Creates Outdoor Space

September 18th, 2012

Solid Patio CoverSolid patio covers are roofing systems for outdoor living areas, whether in Portland or the Tri-Cities. Patio cover designs vary; here at Rick’s, we install both solid roof designs, which seamlessly match surrounding roofing, as well as translucent covers, sometimes installed over existing pergolas. In other words, if you already have an outdoor structure in place, we can add a see-through patio cover right on top!

Especially in sunny places like the Tri-Cities, patio awning of the temporary variety won’t bring as much ROI as a permanent, solid patio cover. Real estate gurus praise patio covers as a smart home investment, since they basically add another usable room at a much more cost-effective price than you would pay for a full room addition or remodel. And when you get more than 200 sunny days a year, as in the Tri-Cities, patio cover solutions allow you to enjoy your outdoor living area nearly year-round.

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Don’t Become Unhinged When Your Chain Link Gate Won’t Close

August 21st, 2012

Chain Link FenceCertain chain link gate clasps are liable to become sticky or even non-operational over time. Oftentimes, when a chain link gate won’t close, it’s not a problem with the fence design – it has more to do with the passage of time.

As days and nights of extreme temperature change pass, the soil around the gate posts shifts, moving the posts into slightly different positions. This isn’t a problem for “drop fork” latches, which feature a simple u-shape that drops down into place around the closing post. However, for latches with doorknob-style handles, and for latches that feature a bar that strikes closed, this shifting soil can be enough to throw off the vertical alignment of the gate posts, making it difficult or even impossible to close the chain link gate.

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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 »

Fence Design: New Trends in Privacy Fencing

August 2nd, 2012

Vinyl  Privacy FencePrivacy fencing is usually based on a utilitarian fence design, but it doesn’t have to be. Like everything else in fence design, privacy fencing is constantly changing, and today’s consumers have a few new options to consider, such as a vinyl privacy fence installation (as opposed to installing a typical wood privacy fence). Below we explore innovations in privacy fence design.

1. Living Privacy Fencing

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How to Hide Ugly Garden Equipment Using Great Fencing Design

May 2nd, 2012

BirdbathEvery yard has unsightly but necessary items. Your home’s exterior could feature ugly, utilitarian objects such as septic or propane tanks, garbage cans, bulky equipment and pool maintenance gear. Such eyesores can easily ruin an otherwise stunning landscape and fence design.

Fortunately, landscaping and fencing design experts have clever methods of hiding such unattractive objects around your home’s exterior.

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