Archives for August 2013

Maintaining Your Deck

maintaining your deckIs your deck looking weathered and faded?

If your wood deck is peeling, discolored in places, warping, or splitting, chances are your deck is in need of some maintenance. Wood is still a popular choice in deck building materials, but it requires regular maintenance to make sure the wood stays in top condition.

Typically, you will have a choice of two wood products. A chemically treated product (known throughout the industry as green treated) or a natural product (cedar or redwood). Either product will need maintenance to keep your investment looking good. Furthermore, keep in mind that both products will dry out and will need re-staining and re-sealing. It is best to get into a habit of maintaining your deck so you can enjoy it for years to come.

How often do you need to stain and seal your deck?

Each deck is different, and how often you need to restain your deck depends on a number of factors including the type of stain you use, the finish you used the previous time, heavy usage, and exposure to extreme elements. Some stains are more transparent than others, and the more transparent of stain you choose, the faster it tends to wear off. Typically, you can expect to stain your deck every one to five years.

Each time you stain and seal your deck is the perfect time to go through a deck safety and inspection checklist.

  • Split, jagged, or broken boards.
  • Mildew on wood, rust on metal components
  • Loose railings
  • Screws/nails no longer sunk in or flush with boards
  • Check risers and stringers of stairs for decay or instability
  • Attachment to home; any sign of pulling away is an emergency!

If you have questions about the safety of your deck or items that may need repair, contact us at once.


Deck Building Trends and Amenities

trends in decksA there’s no doubt that a deck enhances the beauty and function of your home. Today, home owners find all kinds of uses for decks, making them an extension of the kitchen, dining room, living room and/or rec room. In our fast paced society, finding a quiet space to unwind and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors is important and a deck offers all of that.

Deck Trends

If building a relaxing deck space sounds appealing or you have ideas of enhancing your current deck to make it better fit your lifestyle, then some of the new deck trends may be something you want to explore. Recent innovations offer amenities such as maintenance free materials, lighting, shade, built in seating, and much more.

You don’t have to settle for a boring rectangular deck. Decks can be any shape and multiple levels. They can have water features such as fountains or contain built-in storage areas for cushions and gardening hoses. Many people are adding outdoor kitchens, heating, and view-through railing systems. A decision to build or remodel a deck should take into consideration the amount of time you plan to spend on the deck and how you want to use the space.

We’ve found many customers really love the maintenance free options available with the Trex decking system. A great resource for ideas is available at, and we’ve incorporated many of these into recent projects. We invite you to take a look at some of the deck options available, and then give us a call to discuss your ideas. And of course, never begin a deck project without considering these factors.

What does your future deck look like?


Planning a Deck Project

building a deckSummer is the most popular time to start a deck building project, and each year people tackle this project in two different ways; DIY (Do-It-Yourself) and hiring it done. For DIY’ers who love to have a project to work on in spare time, it’s a great fit. For others, asking us to lend a hand is the preferred route. Either way you choose, there are some considerations you need to make ahead of time.

Considerations for Building a Deck

Shade: You may have an ideal place you’d like to put a deck or raised patio, but consider the direction it faces and your yard. Will your deck be in the hot sun during the heat of the afternoon? What time of day are you most likely to use your deck and is it shaded during that time? Are you able to plant trees or add a landscape elements to provide shade? Is a fire and/or a grill a part of your plan, and if so, you may need to adjust your deck/patio plans to accommodate where these things can be placed according to building and fire codes.

Access: Consider the access to your home, deck and yard. Where do you want to access the deck from your home? What makes most sense? Which way would you want your stairs to run? Will you block windows or other items in your yard with your deck and/or stairs?

Privacy: If you are standing in your backyard dreaming about the day your deck protrudes from the second story, think about privacy. Will you be visible to all your neighbors while sitting on the deck? Which direction will the deck face? How much privacy will you have? Will the deck be above your fence? Do you need to add in a privacy element to the deck and/or landscaping?

Structure: Are you planning to put a spa on your deck? If so, your deck plans need to account for that weight and placement, and it should be something you decide before hand, not after the deck is built.

Building Permit/Building Code: Obtaining a building permit is a critical first step, as you don’t want to invest in a project that doesn’t have prior permission from the city. Secondly, if this is DIY project, make sure that all aspects meet current building codes. (Each year we are reminded of the terrible consequences when construction is done below code standards. A deck collapse can be a very dangerous event.)

Digging: Before digging post holes, uprooting trees, and other preliminary tasks that require digging, you need to call Gopher State One Call and make sure all local utilities are clearly marked. While they are usually fairly quick with requests, it can take a few days, so plan ahead!

If time is slipping away from you this summer or any of the questions raised above have you stumped, give us a call and let us help you build a deck. We can make the process simple and fun!


Larson Builders