Deck Maintenance – maintaining a deck, wood deck, & local pros

Checklist: Deck Maintenance by Jon Nunan

Checklist: Deck Maintenance

Building a deck is one of the most popular home improvement projects in the country. Decks are great places to entertain, cook out, or just relax by yourself; in some areas, building a deck is a project that will not only enhance your home, but will actually increase your property value enough to cover the construction expenses!Maintaining a deck is a necessity if you want to keep it looking good and performing well. Most wood decks will require a fair amount of maintenance over their lifetimes; failure to keep up with your deck maintenance is a sure way to both ruin your investment and be left with an eyesore instead of a pleasant place to unwind.

DIY Deck Maintenance Fortunately, maintaining a deck is something that homeowners can usually do without professional assistance. Though some deck maintenance might get a bit involved (especially if the deck has been neglected for several years), for the most part what you’ll need to worry about is keeping the wood in good shape.

Though some newer deck materials might not require much more than a periodic rinse, most homeowners choose to install wood decks for their appearance, versatility, and cost-effectiveness. Sealing a wood deck to prevent splintering and discoloration is a must, and it should be done annually. You should also give your deck a yearly examination to check for loose boards and nails.Wood decks also need to be cleaned regularly. If you decide to clean your deck yourself, follow the exact directions on the cleaning solution. In some cases, it may be necessary to hose down the deck and surrounding area before applying cleaning solutions. If your deck is near a flower bed or vegetable garden, clean carefully to limit the amount of solution that gets on nearby plants. Allow the solution to sit for the length of time recommended in the instructions. Once you are finished, make sure to rinse the deck thoroughly.

Increase your outdoor entertaining space! Use this link toInstall a DeckHiring a Pro to Maintain a DeckIf your deck is old or hasn’t been attended to in many years, there’s a good chance that the work it will take to get it into shape will be more involved. Removing and replacing rotted wood can be a big job; this is especially true for load-bearing columns or joists. Though handy homeowners might still opt to do this work themselves, many find that hiring a pro for more complex deck maintenance is well worth the price of labor.

Building a New Deck No wood deck will last forever, no matter how diligent you are with your deck maintenance. If you are replacing a deck or are building your first one, it is a good idea to check out what is available in deck materials. Using plastic or composite lumber can greatly reduce your yearly deck maintenance, but are more expensive than traditional wood deck materials. Tropical hardwoods like Ipe are making quite a name for themselves; not only do these products give you the look and feel of natural wood, but they require far less maintenance and hold up better than conventional lumber. Ipe and other tropical hardwoods are difficult to work with because they are incredibly dense; if you are considering tropical hardwood for your new deck, you will almost certainly need the help of a professional deck builder who’s well versed in the material.

Source: Deck Maintenance – maintaining a deck, wood deck, & local pros

Deck Builders | Working with Connecticut Deck Contractors

Working with Deck Builders by Jon Nunan

Though their presence is sure to be noticed, deck building companies are much less intrusive than many other home improvement contractors. Since deck building companies and deck contractors are going to be working almost exclusively outside, the hammering, cutting, and overall mess they’ll bring to your property isn’t likely to affect your daily life as much as a kitchen or bathroom remodeling crew would. While deck contractors are not as disruptive as many other contractors, developing a positive and mutually respectful relationship with your deck building company is still important if you want the project to go smoothly and produce the results you want. The following tips and advice about dealing with deck builders are going to help you establish the kind of relationship you want with your crew, and get you the deck you want with as little headache as possible.

What Deck Contractors Expect from You Dealing with deck contractors is easy when you start off on the right foot! Most deck building companies are well-equipped to do their job without much help from the homeowner. However, there are certain things that deck contractors will need from you, and offering these things up on the first day will make the project start smoothly.

In most cases, deck contractors are not going to bring their own power source, so it’s a good idea to point out any outdoor (or easily accessible indoor) power outlets when your crew arrives. Though it’s not as important in deck building as it is in landscaping, having an outdoor water source can certainly come in handy. If you have an outdoor spigot or garden hose, let your deck contractors know. While some deck building companies will include the cost of a port-a-john rental in the project price, others will not. If you have a bathroom that you don’t mind sharing, offering it up can be a sign of good will that will be both appreciated and noted (though you might want to lay some carpet remnants on the path between the bathroom and the outdoors to avoid unnecessary mess). Also, deck builders are likely to carpool, but having a convenient parking space or three that are near the worksite is likely to make everyone’s life a little easier.Add Affordable Living Space!

Build a Deck What You Should Expect from Deck Building Companies Courtesy and respect are great things to have on any jobsite, but your deck building company is there for a specific purpose: to fill your needs. Now, this doesn’t mean you should have your deck contractors bringing your garbage to the curb or washing your dog! What it does mean is that any house rules you have normally should be respected by your deck contractor. Is part of your property (like a garden or pool area) off-limits? Are smoking or swearing strictly prohibited? Are there any situations dealing with pets, children, or neighbors that you want your crew to avoid? If there are, letting your deck contractors know right from the get-go will prevent any accidental rule breaking.

Set Up Meetings with Your Deck Contractor Now that your deck builders are aware of your rules (and you’re aware of theirs), it is a good idea to set up a regular meeting with your crew leader to make sure that everything continues to go as planned. If your project is extensive, meeting once or twice a week may be ideal; for projects that will be over in a week or two, you might want to make the meetings more frequent. Having these meetings will allow you to check on progress and air any issues or concerns you have with how the project is going (and give your crew leader the same opportunity to voice any concerns he or she has). Your regularly scheduled meeting is also a great time to show some deck contractor appreciation. If you see a good job being done, let them know you’ve noticed their efforts. Some homeowners have gone the extra mile by providing cold drinks on hot days or even pizza for lunch as the project moves along, but you’ll be surprised at how much a simple compliment or two will go to keep things moving and maintain a positive atmosphere!

Source: Deck Builders | Working with Deck Contractors

How to build deck stairs – Connecticut

Learn how to build deck stairs. Use the stair calculator on to determine the number of stairs and the rise and run of each individual step. Watch as professional deck builders layout, cut, and attach stair stringers . Get helpful tips on how to finish the treads and risers to achieve an attractive and well built staircase. Stair Requirements: IRC code requires stairs must be at least 36 wide. A 3 x 3 landing area is required at the bottom of all stairs. In most cases flat ground can qualify as a

How To Build A Deck- Framing/Beam/Joists/Ledger – Connecticut

Video © 2015 SKS Media. Videos produced by SKS Media ( are provided for informational purposes only. The information contained in the videos is intended to give general guidance to simplify DIY (do it yourself) projects. Because tools, products, materials, equipment, techniques, building codes and local regulations are constantly changing, SKS Media cannot and does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained therein. Further, SKS Media will

How To Build Deck Foundations & Footings – Connecticut

How To Build A Deck Part 1 – Footings & Foundations. This video will show you how to properly set up your footings because this sets the foundation for a safe and strong deck. Locating your footings using the triangulation method is best way. Download our “How to build a deck” tutorial to find the proper depth requirement for each post here:
Check out our deck concrete calculator found here…. Get instant calculations on all types of footings like square, walls, sidewalks and patios. Our calculator will calculate the concrete your footing will need in cubic feet, yards and the amount of 60 lb to 80 lb bags it will take. Always be sure you concrete is up to code with your local building department. If you are still looking for deck plans for your new decking project check out our free deck plans found on our website. We have over 80 plans and thousands of different sizes to choose from to fit every size of home. All of our deck plans are free to download at any time. We also offer custom deck design if you arent able to find a free deck plan of your liking.

Best Practices When Hiring a Carpenter – Connecticut Shares Best Practices When Hiring a Carpenter Porch, the Home Network, Highlights What Should Be Included in a Contract When Hiring a Carpenter Share on email May 12, 2015 12:06 ET  the home network, for homeowners and home professionals, shares advice for homeowners looking to hire a carpenter. Carpentry projects usually involve woodworking, building, cabinetmaking or other material construction. You might hire a carpenter for a new addition, a remodeling project, a deck project or handiwork within the home. But as Anne Reagan, Editor-In-Chief of Porch, explains, “Before hiring a professional you’ll want an estimate, bid or quote and by having both parties sign the quote, you’ll have a contract that lays out the parameters of the job. ”Items to be included in the contract: Contracts should include all the necessary information to ensure that both parties know what is expected of them. In general, the contract shows an offer, an acceptance and must be legally binding. The following details should be included in the contract: Contractor’s full business name, address, phone number, license and contact information Scope of project describing what work will be performed and by whom Description of the project in detail including materials, paint or stain colors to be used, and any other specifics for this project Payment schedule and expectation of deposit amounts or percentages Permit information like who will be obtaining and filing for them (if applicable) Projects may have a set of architectural drawings, to scale, attached to the contract

Description of cleanup, removal of debris, what will be done with leftover materials

Equipment rentals and payment of rentalsWarranty information

Clauses and additional information: It’s not uncommon to add clauses or other details to the contract to account for things that may occur during the course of the project. Additional inclusions may include: Maintain building code standards Correct unstable surfaces Release of duties for improper or incomplete work without pay Return funds paid when released from a job Repair any damages during project progression Correct mistakes that do not pass inspection without pay Docking labor wage for tardiness or excessive delays Making changes or canceling contracts: After signing you may need cause for canceling the contract. Read the fine print: you may be allowed to cancel after several day of signing. Be sure you read over your contract before signing and ask questions about what happens if you need to cancel due to scheduling issues, financial problems or change of mind.

When you need to make changes to a contract like adding on to the scope of the project or changing materials, a change work order should be issued and signed and the contract may need to be amended. Have the changes notarized and attached to the original contract.

Source: Shares Best Practices When Hiring a Carpenter

How to Hire a Carpenter – Connecticut

How to Hire a CarpenterHiring a carpenter is similar to hiring a contractor, landscaper, accountant, or any type of professional service. There are a number of things to keep in mind when choosing your next carpenter. Listed below are a few things to consider when choosing the right carpenter.References – Hearing from past clients of a carpenter or contractor is a great way to learn about someone’s reputation, work ethic, and credibility. Anyone proud of their work history will be happy to produce references upon request.Pricing – If the job is very small simply describe the problem and ask for a quote over the phone. If the job requires an in-person visit then ask the carpenter if he charges by the job or the hour. Typical household problems can get completed within a couple of hours if not less depending on the size of the job. If purchasing new product is needed ask for a quote on the product as well as the labor.Experience – Simply ask how long they have been doing this type of work and if they have ever performed similar jobs in the past.Owner or Workers – Ask the person on the phone if they are the carpenter coming to your house or if someone else is performing the work instead. Many carpenters are both the owner and the worker. Try to get the owner to perform the work instead of any potential worker bees of the company.Finding the right carpenter is easy and once you do get the person for the job you are most likely to require their services in the future as a homeowner.

Source: How to Hire a Carpenter –

How to Hire a Reliable Carpenter: Connecticut

8 How to Hire a Reliable Carpenter

Some home projects just cannot be handled alone. These types of projects will require the hands of an expert to finish effectively. Not all carpenters however are to be trusted or will even be helpful in this regards. It is important to choose a carpenter that is agreeable to one’s terms and conditions. This carpenter should also be well capable handling the job at hand. Below are a few simple tips to help with the entire process. Visit cabinet makers Sydney for more information.

Tips for Hiring a Good Carpenter The first option in finding a reliable carpenter is to get in contact with trustworthy friends and family. There are likely to be many people who have in the past required the services of a carpenter for certain home projects. It is these people that can get one into contact with the carpenter they used and whose services they were satisfied with. A good carpenter will have a good reputation with their clients and these clients will only be too happy to recommend them. If friends recommend a carpenter whose services they have used first hand, one should go for it.

Contractors are also another logical and reliable source of information in regards to reliable carpenters. This is because contractors use all types of professionals in their projects from carpenters to plumbers. They therefore have a very reliable network of professionals. Contractors are also obligated to only recommend reputable carpenters because their reputation will also be at stake.

Keeping notes on artworks that one has seen somewhere by carpenters and where one see these artworks may come in handy because one can then ask the owners of the artworks how t locate the carpenters responsible. This is a good way of finding good carpenters because the quality of their work speaks for itself. it also makes it easy to settle on a carpenter because it is easy to tell who can handle a project adequately.

One should also ensure that the carpenter they choose is always on time. If a carpentry service is offering their services at a cheap rate but they appear not to be the type that is punctual and reliable, it is usually best just to reject their services. It is not worth the headache to hire a carpenter with such traits. It could end up derailing the entire project.

Before making any payment, one should have a sit down with the carpenter and run them through the entire project. They should make it explicitly clear exactly what it is they hope to achieve. If a carpenter is not able to achieve the project in the detail and timeframe required, it is better to know and get rid of them from the beginning.

Source: » 8 How to Hire a Reliable Carpenter

Shades of Green

passportBuilding green can be daunting for those of us who are new to the technologies, so Passport turned to building pro Steve Schappert for tips on how to navigate the process.

Not all green construction is created equally, which can make tackling a project a bit overwhelming. The most important elements of renovating green begin with you,” said Steve Schappert, founder and CEO of Buyer’s Trust Real Estate in Brookfield, Conn.  The first step is deciding if you want to lower energy costs and increase efficiency, create a nontoxic environment with natural building materials or achieve some combination of both. Mr. Schappert, who is a home broker and former contractor working on several green building projects in the greater Litchfield County, Conn., area, offers these tips to guide you through the process:

Do Your Homework

Make a wish list of everything you want to achieve with your home – don’t hold back. then asses your home, your needs and your wants and decide what is realistic on your budget. Give your house the equivalent of a physical exam and determine if deteriorated furnaces, siding, windows, shingles and foundations will need improving or replacement. “If your home is more than 30 years old, consider hiring a building inspector for an objective opinion,” Mr. Schappert said.

Visit Town Hall

Before you start any construction, consult  with the various town boards, including sanitation, wetlands and zoning. “If you build too close to your neighbor or your well, you may be forced to tear it down,” Mr. Schappert warned.

Get a sense of Scope

Figure out if you are willing to liaise between contractors or if you prefer to rely on  a project manager. Interview several contractors and request proposals from each. “Your mental health and the financial success of your project will depend on your ability to work as a team with your project manager or contractors,” Mr. Schappert Said “Shades if Green” appeared in the story “Gimme Shelter“. The Litchfield County Times, Passport Magazine.

Text by Julia Halewicz                                          Photos by Robin Gourd

Passport Magazine is a quarterly publication of the Litchfield County Times

Connecticut Carpenters are available to build your next Connecticut carpentry project

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