Fall, also known as “bonfire and hoodie season” is quickly approaching as we close out our first week of September. Family and friends will gather around fire pits sharing stories, laughter, and making unforgettable memories. It is important to remember throughout all of the fun, that safety still has to be top priority.
Safely Using a Fire Pit on Your Deck
It is recommended that fire pits be used in areas that are open and away from decks or homes. With portable fire pits becoming more and more popular, it is becoming more frequent for homeowners to place their fire pit on their cozy deck space. It is important to remember that both wood decking and composite decking are flammable and can be damaged from the heat if your decking space is not properly protected. Here are some steps to take to properly protect your deck from fire or damage.
- Find a safe location away from deck railings, decorations and your home. You
want to be sure that if the wind blows the flames of your fire will not come in contact with anything that may increase the risk of starting a fire.
- Never place your fire pit directly on your deck. The heat from underneath the fire pit can cause damage to wood decking or composite decking. Damage such as warping, discoloration, or burn spots may occur. To avoid this, you can use fire pit pads, or create your own barrier with patio stones. When creating a barrier, you will want to extend it about two feet in all directions from the edge of your fire pit. This will help with embers or in the event the fire pit tips over, your deck will still be protected.
- Start your fire and cover with a fire pit screen. This will reduce flying embers and debris, while still allowing you to enjoy a full bonfire.
Due to the fact that you are starting a fire on a wood surface, it is important to take extra precautions. Something as small as an ember can cause your deck to catch fire. Be sure to have a fire extinguisher and hose readily available in the unfortunate event does occur.
How Heat and Humidity Can Damage Your Deck
Here you can see long term damage that can be done by weather.
Here is the Midwest we are used to crazy weather patterns that can change at the drop of a hat, but our decks? Not so much. Summer heat and humidity can really do a number to your deck, especially if your deck is untreated or unsealed. Composite decks have their own challenges as well.
We always recommend putting a protective layer on your deck, by staining or sealing it with a weather protective layer. This way your deck will have more longevity and be able to stand up to the elements. Or if you want you can negate the whole process by having a Trex Composite deck.
Damage can be done over time from heat, sun, and rain exposure. When it’s hot out wood will shrink and dry out, which make it more absorbent to rain and liquids. This will absorb into untreated wood and cause swelling and buckling. This cycle of shrinking and swelling will cause wood to warp and buckle and can pull nails out from joints.
To prevent this we recommend putting a sealant on your deck every 1-2 years for the best result. This will help keep wood exposed to the elements dry and will minimize the warping.
Mildew and Mold
In the Midwest our humidity levels can get overwhelming, and this can affect your deck. Mold and mildew spores are constantly in the air, and normally aren’t too much of a problem. When rain and high humidity get into the mix, this creates the perfect conditions for them to grow in the nooks and crannies of your deck. When this growth happens you will typically see it as discolorations or stains on your deck. These stains generally look black, brown or green and can spread and grow in the right conditions. This causes what is commonly referred to as mildew staining.
Once the stain has set into your deck you will have to either use a fungicide that is specially formulated for decks, or use a 1:3 ratio Bleach to water solution (vinegar can also be substituted for the bleach if chemicals are a concern) to clean your deck. Follow this wash by sanding and sealing your deck after it has had a good week to dry out in the sun.
If your deck has seen better days or could use a touch up we can help. We work with clients who have decks that have been damaged by the wear and tear these Midwest weather patterns. We’ll even give you a free estimate. Click here to get yours.
Owning a wood deck can add to your home’s outdoor beauty. With its warm and welcoming space, it could be used as the stage for fun outdoor activities. Wood decks have many perks to them, but being exposed to different weather climates can hinder it from being inviting. Learning how to properly take care of your wood deck can help avoid it from becoming weathered and damaged. These helpful tips will help to keep your wood deck in tip top shape.
Wood Deck Cleaning Tips
The summertime brings lots of outdoor events, but also warm, dry weather. Now is a great time to do an inspection around your wood deck. Pay close attention to any planters, downspouts, or anything close to sources of water. When inspecting your deck:
- Look around for signs of rotting-this includes the stairs, the perimeter post, and on top/underneath the deck. Grab a flat-blade screwdriver and gently push it into the area that’s being inspected. If you can push your screwdriver in about a quarter-inch or more, you most likely have rot.
- Do an inspection of the ledger-pay close attention to this, as this is one of the most important pieces of framing because it attaches the wood deck to the house. If a ledger is damaged or broken, there’s a huge possibility that your deck will collapse. Your deck’s ledger should be attached with not just nails, but lag screws.
- Be sure to check the remaining posts, beams, and joists-if you notice that any of the hardware is rusted, please make sure to get them replaced as soon as possible.
- Look for rotted decking boards or cracks-not all cracks are threatening, BUT if you find any damage, replace the piece. If you choose to not deal with it now, overtime it’ll get worse. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Inspect the railing-give your railing a good shake to make sure that nothing is loose. If you notice that your railing is damaged or loose, simply remove the fastener and fill in the crack with an exterior-grade adhesive.
Taking care of your wood deck will help it to look brand new again. Before making any repairs to your wood deck, be sure to properly wash it with a pressure washer to remove any wood fibers or dirt from it. If you are interested in getting a deck installed in your backyard or have any questions about your wood deck, please don’t hesitate to contact us or you can fill out a free quote. Miles Bradley Building and Remodeling enjoys seeing our customers satisfied.
Cedar decks are one of the most popular deck material choices across Michigan. Cedar decks give you that natural beautiful wood look, that many other materials just can’t compare to. Cedar does not absorb moisture as fast as other woods, which helps to prevent future damage such as twisting and splitting. A life span of a cedar deck is usually around 15 to 20 years if treated properly.
Because cedar is durable and reliable material it’s used in other exterior products as well, such as siding, fencing, shingles, gazebos, sheds, out side windows and doors. The only downside to cedar, is it should be stained and treated at least once every couple of years. The four best grades of cedar are architect clear, custom clear, architect knotty and custom knotty.
Benefit of a Cedar Pavilion or Pergola
Having a cedar pergola or pavilion installed in your yard, adds certain benefits for the home owner. One of the first features a pergola or a pavilion adds to your yard is privacy. These structures offer a great place to enjoy the outdoors with out the prying eye’s of the neighbors as a added bonus.
Pergolas and pavilions provide shade and protection from harsh weather. Pergolas also add value to your home. Attractive landscaping to a home can add almost 20% to your overall value of your home.
A cedar deck or a pergola can really improve the over all beauty of your yard, while providing a great area to entertain guests. At Miles Bradley, we have decades of experience with working with and installing cedar decks and pergolas as well as pavilions, three season rooms, and gazebos.
A cedar deck can give your yard the look of beautiful natural wood and last your family for decades. Contact Miles Bradley today for a quote on a new deck installation or give us a call at 248-478-8660 in the Detroit area or 847-665-9301 in the Chicago area, you will be glad you did!