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Spring deck maintenance for your graduation parties and bbqs

Get Your Deck Ready for Spring, Graduation Parties, & BBQs

 NOTE:  This blog was written before the current world health epidemic. With heavy hearts and at the same time hopeful optimism, we’re posting this blog for its useful content for the future. We can still pressure wash or build your deck at this time, but contact us for any updates because things are changing by the minute. And always feel free to call with questions. We’ll get through this together. After we do, we’ll come over and celebrate on your safe, sturdy deck.

 

Keeping your family safe is the most important job year-round. This task becomes more challenging as the weather gets warmer and brings in the season of entertaining on your deck. With spring and summer come graduation parties, BBQs, and many other opportunities to entertain family and friends. With more people using your deck, it is imperative that you ensure your deck is safe for your guests. If you’re planning on entertaining on your deck this upcoming season, here are some spring deck maintenance and repairs you may want to consider.

 

Power washing

Once the weather warms up, it’s important to have your deck cleaned before you attempt any other repairs. The best way to do this is by having it power washed. Power washing will remove any of the dirt, debris, and mold. It also removes anything that has accumulated on your deck throughout the winter months.

On average, you should power wash your deck once a year, and doing it after winter is a great time to get it done. Having your deck power washed prepares it to be inspected for any further needed upkeep or repairs.

Repairing Rot

A common repair that decks may need after a harsh winter is the removal of rot. Whether just early signs of the wood chipping away, mold formation, or a more advanced case of wood rot, you’ll need to have it removed immediately. If your deck wasn’t well-maintained through the winter, rot may have had the chance to form and worsen. Rot is a dangerous condition that can impair the health and structure of your deck. At the beginning of the spring season, we’ll inspect your deck for rot and will take care of it right away before it gets worse.

 

Repairing Boards

Your deck may be susceptible to cracked or warped boards. Cracked boards can break, causing injuries to you and your guests. If the damage is minimal, you can have individual boards replaced to keep your deck safe and beautiful.

An even better solution is to take care of your deck by having it washed, refinished, and sealed on a regular basis. This way you’ll be able to prevent cracked or warped boards and avoid the chore of having them repaired.

 

Checking Joints

Checking the joints is another important deck repair to do before you entertain people on your deck. Joints can rust and corrode over time and they may eventually need to be replaced. Have joints and other hardware checked for signs of wear. If they look like they need to be repaired or replaced, a professional can take care of them.

 

Deck Expansion

If you enjoy entertaining, you may want to be able to fit a large number of people on your deck. If your deck is on the smaller side, you may want to consider expanding your deck’s size. Creating more deck space can involve simply adding additional foundation, support, and deck boarding, or can involve more intricate plans that involve multi-level deck space, built-ins, such as planters, and much more.

 

Deck Staining

Finally, deck staining is one of the most important spring deck maintenance measures you can take. The winter weather can wreak havoc on the wood of your deck. The hot summer sun can dry and discolor your wood or wood composite deck material.

Entertaining throughout the summer can also cause your deck to see a lot of wear and tear. Periodic staining and sealing of your deck will help you preserve the beauty of the materials used to build your deck. If your deck hasn’t been stained in a while, you may want to look into getting it stained to keep it looking great and free from preventable damage.

 

All About Decks Omaha is here to serve you and help with your spring deck maintenance, whether you need deck repair, power washing, cleaning, staining, refinishing, or a whole new deck.

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Examples of Wood Rot

All About Wood Rot

Wood rot is one of the most dangerous hazards for a home. Not only is it bad for the aesthetic of your home, but it can also be hazardous to you and your family’s health and safety if left unchecked. Many homeowners deal with rot every year, but why? What causes wood rot, and how can you stop it from happening?

 

What is Wood Rot? And What Causes It?

Wood rot is a type of mold that seeps into the wood structure of your home. It can be both external and internal, and once it has made its way into your home it can spread quickly. This type of rot is extremely harmful to the integrity of a home.

Wood rot can cause your house to become flimsy and weaken the structure. This can lead to more damage to the home itself, as well as to anyone who is in or on its premises.

 

Types of Wood Rot – Dry Rot and Wet Rot

Wood rot is one of the leading causes of damage in decks, buildings, and homes. Both types of rot require the same things to occur — moisture, wood, oxygen, and warmth. The difference between dry rot and wet rot is that dry rot only needs moisture to form, but then once the moisture content lowers it can still spread and continue to form.

Wet rot, on the other hand, needs a continuous source of moisture, such as from wet weather or a broken or leaking pipe. In order to fix wet rot, the source of the moisture must be contained, then the affected timber can be replaced.

Dry rot is more challenging to remove because it is the most damaging wood-decaying fungus. In most cases, samples of the affected wood need to be tested to confirm that dry rot is present. Once that’s done, a professional should be called in to assess the extent of the dry rot damage.

 

What are Signs of Wood Rot?

If you’re worried you have developed a rot problem in your home, there are a couple of signs you can look out for:

  1. Soft spots in the wood
  2. Black spots
  3. Rings of moisture
  4. Odd or musty smells
  5. Black fungi
  6. Crumbling timber
  7. Cracked wood

If you notice any of these signs, you should have your home checked immediately by a professional. The earlier you can identify and stop rot, the better it is for the integrity and structure of your home.

 

How Do I Treat Wood Rot?

Treating rot can be difficult and is even more challenging when the rot has had time to grow. Always seek professional advice when treating rot. A professional can come in, assess the damage, and take proper steps. These steps may include applying a chemical to stop the rot, removing and replacing the damaged pieces of wood, and creating better ventilation systems to prevent future rot.

 

How Do I Prevent Rot?

Of course, it’s better to deal with a problem before it becomes one. To prevent the formation of dry rot in your house in the first place, it’s important to do a few things. First, make sure you inspect your pipes and water entry and exit points frequently, as leaky pipes can contribute and cause the rot.

Also, make sure your house is well-ventilated to keep moisture from gathering too long. Lastly, maintain your interior and exterior paint, finish, and stain on all wood surfaces, utilizing the services of a licensed painting contractor. Paint is an effective way to prevent rot and maintaining your wood surfaces will help seal them away from moisture and keep the rot from forming.

 

We offer free deck inspections in the Omaha and surrounding areas. Get in touch today and we’ll take a look at your deck and other wood in your home to see if you have any of these easily preventable issues in your home.

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Is My Deck Safe?

Is My Deck Safe?

Have you ever wondered, “is my deck safe?” Having a safe deck is one of the most important parts of owning a deck. Decks are great for entertaining, holding milestone family events, hanging out with friends, and relaxing on in nice weather. However, if a deck is not properly cared for, it can become a liability, and worst case, cause injury or worse to your friends or loved ones.

It is very important to consistently have your deck professionally inspected for defects. Here are a few things your decking professional should look at to ensure your deck is safe to use.

 

Deck Material

Your deck’s material is an important part of maintaining your deck’s structure. Inspect your deck for splitting or cracking wood, which can get worse as time passes. Additionally, your deck may have rot. This can quickly compromise your deck material’s integrity and cause soft spots, warping, and loose boards that can all become dangerous.

The use of plastic and composite-lumber for deck materials is becoming more common. However, the majority of decks are built with pressure-treated wood, cedar, or some other type of wood. Whatever type of deck material you have, be sure to have each board inspected for cracks, splinters, insect infestation, rot, popped fastener heads, warping, or other problems. Have the damaged decking replaced as soon as possible.

 

Ledger and Flashing 

The ledger is the long horizontal board that attaches your deck to your house. The flashing is the piece of plastic or metal that prevents water from getting in between the ledger and house. If the flashing is pulling up from its proper place, has a lot of mud and debris, or is cracking you need to get it repaired.

How important is it to maintain the integrity of the ledger and the flashing of a deck? It is extremely important, maybe a matter of life or death, to make sure that the ledger is not rotted and the flashing is intact. “The number one reason why decks collapse is because the ledger is badly decayed or not properly fastened to the house.” 

 

Hardware

Inspecting your deck’s hardware is another crucial part of keeping your deck safe. If your hardware is showing signs of rusting or wear, you should have a professional come and replace those pieces. Additionally, making sure all the screws and joints are tightly fastened throughout the year can keep your deck from collapsing.

 

Railings

Railings are a very important safety feature on your deck. Any decks taller than 30 inches above the ground, are required to have railings around the perimeter of the deck.

If your railings are wiggling or leaning, that is a sign they may be about to fall or break. Keep an eye on them as the moisture from different weather conditions sets in. This can wreak havoc on your deck’s railings. Sadly, most deck-related injuries are caused by a person leaning on a compromised deck railing and falling.

To inspect a deck’s railings, check to ensure that each rail post is attached to the deck’s frame. Next, be sure that the frame and the railings are free from all types of problems listed above.

Then, make sure that the posts are fastened to the frame with the correct bolts and screws. Each post should be inspected to make sure they’re well-secured and showing no signs of decay.

 

Cleanliness

While cleanliness may not seem important, a dirty deck can hide other factors that will tip you off to a splitting or rotting deck. Additionally, keeping your deck free of mildew is an important way to keep your deck free of rot and mold.

A small amount of bleach (1 cup of bleach per gallon of water) can be used to stop mildew growth on your deck. Use a mop to clean your deck with the solution and then use just water to rinse and let air dry.

 

Environmental Factors

Make sure your deck is also clear of environmental hazards, such as flammable surfaces next to fire pits, low-hanging branches, and shorted wiring. Use common sense and make sure that you are always looking for environmental hazards on or near your deck.

 

Know Your Codes

Lastly, make sure you are up-to-date on the various codes for your county or city. The city of Omaha has all of its residential deck guidelines available online so you can be sure that you have the most current safety features in mind when it comes to your deck.

If it’s time for your deck to be inspected, contact us! We’re happy to inspect your deck for you to ensure your deck is up to code and safe to use all year long.

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Winter Deck Maintenance in Omaha

Winter Deck Maintenance and Preparation

Maintaining your deck is an important part of ensuring that your deck lasts for many years. As the temperatures continue to drop here in Omaha, it’s time to think about doing important winter deck maintenance and preparation work. This will help you maintain the quality of your deck throughout the winter. Here are a few steps you should take now to help keep your deck sturdy and usable through months of wind, cold, rain, and snow.

 

Clean It Up

Bring anything you don’t want to be damaged during the winter into your garage, basement, or other storage areas. If you have planters, chairs, umbrellas, or grills sitting on your deck, now is the time to move them inside. Move furnishings and other items from your deck to a safe place for the winter. Then give your deck a thorough sweep and remove any natural debris or trash that may have piled up throughout the fall months. This will ensure the least amount of moisture is trapped on your deck throughout this season.

 

Wash it Down

It’s not just enough to pick up around your deck. Giving your deck a thorough washing before the winter chill sets in will help keep your deck free from anything that will cause damage. Small amounts of debris can cause abrasions to your decks surface, and mildew will spread through the wet winter months and can cause serious damage.

 

Check for Defects

If your deck has any major repair needs, you should check for those now before winter truly sets in. If you need maintenance, you may not need to wait until summer to get it. Check out our list of deck maintenance tasks you can get done in the winter to see what you can fix now before it gets worse.

 

Shovel the Snow

While tedious, it is important to shovel the snow off your deck throughout the winter months. Use a rubber-tipped shovel (not a steel-tipped shovel) along the grain of the wood. This prevents damage to the deck’s finish. Doing this frequently prevents accumulation. If you have a dusting of snow, consider using a broom instead of a shovel to remove the snow. Avoid salting your deck if possible, as it can ruin the finish of your deck and corrode the fasteners and other metal parts.

 

The wintertime brings the joy of the holiday season and the upkeep of our home’s exterior. This includes the decks we love to utilize during the warmer, dryer months. Take these few steps of winter deck maintenance and preparation now and, come spring, you’ll enjoy a problem-free deck with little or no maintenance needed.

If you live in the Omaha area and all this sounds like a lot of work that you’d rather not do out in the cold, we are your Year-Round Deck Company. We’ll come out and do whatever is needed to make sure your deck can handle all the effects of winter. Reach out today.

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Since deck repair can be done all year round, it's easy to repair decks like this one.

Have Your Deck Repairs Done All Year Round

With Winter rain and snow already appearing on your weather report, it can be tempting to put your deck repairs at the end of your to-do list. However, the dropping temperatures shouldn’t be a reason for you to let your deck continue to rot, wear, warp, or worse, become unsafe. Don’t wait until spring to take a good look at your deck and the maintenance it may need. Deck repairs can be done all year round and Winter is a great time to take advantage of getting this smaller project done for your home.

There are also plenty of things you can do during the winter months to prepare to have your deck repaired. Having your deck repaired now will make it is safe and ready to use as soon as the clouds clear and the weather warms up.

 

1. Preventative Care

With winter ice and low temperatures, it is not possible to do certain preventative care measures. Power washing is an important part of deck maintenance, but can’t be done in snowy or rainy weather. Make sure you schedule that much before the days start to cool.

There are still lots of important preventative measures you can take with your deck during the winter months, though. As long as snow and moisture have not started to stick, you can have your deck stained or sealed. This will make sure that your deck’s materials are prepared for when the moisture does come. Staining or sealing your deck is a great way to help your investment last as long as possible, and help you to do less maintenance in the future.

 

2. Wood replacement

Even in colder weather, replacing the wood of your deck is easy for us to do. You can have pieces of your deck swapped out, giving you a new-deck feel that will be perfect for the spring and summer seasons to come. While chips and warping of the wood contribute to a less-attractive deck, you also want to make sure you are looking out for dry rot in the boards.

If there are areas of your deck that are discolored, spongy, or look like they have been damaged by insects, these are all signs of rot. If you notice any of these, have a professional out right away. Rot in decks can quickly spread and make your deck unsafe for use.

 

3. Railing Repair

Sometimes railing repair is as simple as a couple of new screws. Sometimes it’s a matter of combating rot and mold. Whatever the situation is, you can get railing repairs done during the winter as well. A good railing is essential to making sure your deck is safe in slick and icy environments, so this is not a repair that you want to delay.

 

4. Rusting Fixtures

If you have fixtures or screws that are rusting, the moisture of winter can just make a bad problem a lot worse. If you have rusting hardware, have it swapped out as soon as possible.

Not only will your deck look better, but it will also be safer. Don’t wait for the damage to get worse. Deck collapses, while rare, do happen. Since deck repairs can be done all year round, it is much easier for you to protect both your loved ones and your beautiful deck for many years to come.

Have your deck repaired this Winter so it’s ready for the warm weather in Spring! Contact us to get your free quote for your deck.

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Different materials to build your deck from

The Pros and Cons of Different Types of Deck Materials

If you’ve decided it’s time to have your new deck built this season, one of the first things you’ll want to think about is choosing a deck material that is right for you. There are many different types of deck materials, including pressure-treated wood decks, cedar decks, composite decking also known as “plastic lumber,” aluminum decks, and even decks made with tropical woods.

It can be confusing because there are many choices of deck materials. At All About Decks, we offer three main types of deck building materials, each with their own set of pros and cons. Each can be useful for different types of projects and is good for different budgets.

Pressure Treated Wood Decks

The first type of material we offer for your decking project is pressure treated wood, sometimes known as “green treated wood.” Pressure treated wood is infused with different chemicals through a pressurized cylinder. These chemicals create a resistance to harmful rot and insects.

PROs of Pressure Treated Wood Decks:

  • Least expensive option; easy upkeep as it requires only a once a year power washing and then re-sealing every one or two years.
  • Pressure treated wood is easy to work with as far as cutting and nailing pieces together so your deck can be built relatively quickly.

CONs of Pressure Treated Wood Decks:

  • Splinters can occur when the sealing wears off.
  • The slats may warp or crack over time and require you to spend money to have your deck fixed.

Cedar Wood Decks

Cedar is another deck building material we offer for your deck project. This is an excellent option if you love real wood. The natural variety of cedar trees ensures that your deck is one-of-a-kind. We only use the best part of the cedar tree, the deep-colored heartwood.

PROs of Cedar Wood Decks:

  • Using cedar, especially the heartwood, will keep your deck from absorbing moisture, making it resistant to rot and warping.
  • Relatively inexpensive compared to other wood types like redwood, mahogany, ipe, and tigerwood; cedar decks last longer than pressure treated wood decks, often between 10-20 years.
  • Cedar is considered to be one of the most “green” materials because it does not contain chemicals that could be harmful to the environment.

CONs of Cedar Wood Decks:

  • To keep its beautiful color, a cedar deck requires staining.
  • Cedar is a soft wood, so it is subject to dings and dents more easily than other materials.
  • Annual winterizing, consisting of power washing, staining, and sealing, while not required, is highly recommended to maintain the finish and beauty of the cedar.

Some experts suggest that sealing and refinishing your cedar deck every two years is sufficient. Others suggest needing to do it less often. How frequently you need to reseal your cedar deck depends on weather conditions, whether the deck gets a lot of sun exposure, the deck owner’s tolerance for discolorations, and other factors.

Composite Decking Materials

The type of deck building material that offers an endless number of choices is composite decking. Composite decking is either all synthetic or a mixture of natural and synthetic materials, which makes it more durable than all other decking options. If you are looking for the least amount of upkeep, composite is a good choice of material for you.

PROs of Composite Decks:

  • Composite decks have a low environmental impact, since they’re mostly made of recycled materials that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.
  • Composite deck materials are available in many colors, looks, and textures.
  • They’re stain-resistant, weather-resistant, and splinter-free for those who love to walk barefoot.
  • Maintenance of composite decks is minimal, though some composite deck owners have their deck sealed occasionally to protect against fading.

CONs of Composite Decks:

  • Since composite decks are made of plastics, polyvinyls, and other plastic configurations, they can look, well, plastic.
  • With the latest composite deck technology, however, some composite decks look pretty nice.
  • Composite decking materials are generally more expensive than cedar decks and are definitely more expensive than pressure treated wood.

With so many types of deck materials available, the choice isn’t easy. Going through the pros and cons of the different deck materials will help you decide which material is best for your new deck. If you still need help, reach out and we’ll provide all the information you need to decide.

 

Sources:

Popular Mechanics: https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to-plans/how-to/a3490/4275113/

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deck for entertaining can build in Omaha Year Round Deck Builder

4 Reasons Why It’s Wise to Build Your Deck During the Winter Months

It’s hard to believe that the cool fall weather we’ve been experiencing here in Omaha will soon turn cold and freezing. With winter fast-approaching, it may seem like it’s time to put your deck-building dreams on hold until next spring. However, just because the winter chill may slow down some aspects of the project, this is definitely a great time to work on a new deck project. If you’ve ever wondered whether you can build your deck during the winter months, there are a few things to think about to help you decide if it you’d like your deck building project to get started soon.

Planning Takes Time

As with every major building project, a certain amount of time must be invested into the planning process. After you approve of your deck design, prints need to be drawn up and then submitted to the city to obtain permits. At this point in time, it’s taking anywhere from three-and-a-half to four (3.5-4) weeks to get permits for deck construction projects.

Then there’s the all-important task of selecting the materials you want for your deck, which can be quick if you choose a wood deck because there are fewer selections available.

However, should you choose a composite deck, there are many different selections from which to choose, and it may take you some time to decide and finalize your composite deck finish and handrail choices.

Sometimes the materials selection process takes longer than expected, but the materials need to be obtained before breaking ground on a new deck project. Taking the winter months to make sure all these factors are in place makes it easier to get the new project going and completed on time. This is true whether we wait until the first moments of spring to work on your deck project, or we take advantage of breaks in the winter weather to build your deck.

Spring is the Busiest Season, But Spring Delays Can Occur Due to Wet Weather

Once the weather warms up during the early spring months, a large number of deck-building inquiries are made, as homeowners begin to look toward those sweet summer nights of bonfires and barbeques on their newly built decks. And don’t forget the plethora of backyard graduation parties each year in May, that are only possible because of well-built, party-ready decks that smart homeowners took the time to plan during the colder months before.

deck in the rain Omaha's year round deck company

A well-built deck withstands all weather and traffic conditions

Deck building contractors are busier than ever once the spring hits, and hopefully won’t be slowed down by the often-precipitous months of April and May. By making your inquiries now, you can completely avoid being stuck in the spring rush. If you wait until spring to begin the process, you may be behind and fall victim to further delays in completing your deck due to the spring rains. Having your selections made and permits obtained ahead of spring will make the entire deck building process go more smoothly and give you the peace of mind that your project will be taken care of exactly the way you want it.

Your Landscaping May Be Less Affected on More Solid (Less Mushy) Ground

In any deck project, there is a lot of foot traffic back and forth to your deck location, as we work to construct a new deck or rehab your existing deck. During the spring, this can be especially difficult on the landscaping in your space. Excessive foot traffic, on land that is either soft from precipitation or trying to re-grow grass or other plants, can be detrimental to their growth. When decks are built in the winter, you won’t have to worry about landscaping as much (though we’re still very careful) as plants naturally start to either go dormant or die in the cold. By building your deck during this time, you will see less of an impact on your landscaping, giving your brand new deck the perfect view once spring arrives.

deck for entertaining can build in Omaha Year Round Deck Builder

This beautiful deck can be built in your yard in time for spring or your next graduation party!

You Can Enjoy Your Deck Sooner

Of course, the best part about any new deck is the ability to enjoy it. Getting your family and friends together outdoors can happen earlier than ever if you plan your deck project now. You won’t have to wait for the coveted summer months in order to enjoy your community, and you can be the house everyone goes to for this year’s graduation parties! With a winter deck project, you can be ready to use your new space just a few months into the new year, if not sooner. If you factor heaters and other comfort amenities into your build, you won’t even have to wait for the weather to improve before you can start using your deck.

Tell us about your deck project, what you’re looking for and when you’d like it completed. Let us know if you want to build your deck during the winter months.

Dave Ehrenberg

dave@allaboutdecksomaha.com

 

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Brrrr Its Cold Out There!!!

Here we are the end of January and the coldest days of the winter yet. Thankfully we are working inside. If you didn’t know this, we do have another line of work that we sometimes do called, material handling. This is work in warehouses where we install conveyor systems, storage rack, shelving, carousels and mezzanines. Currently we are moving a chain link fence (35 feet high) from one part of a warehouse to another. We also had a small out of town job up in Minnesota the first of January where we took the whole crew to set up some rack. So it has been a nice variety of inside work for everyone.

We are really thankful to be booked full until the 3rd week of April and that is if there is no lost time due to weather!

If you are planning on replacing or repairing your deck this spring, now might be a good time to contact us and get it scheduled as we usually get many more calls for quotes as the weather begins to warm up in a few weeks.                                                                                                                Stay Warm!

Dave Ehrenberg

dave@allaboutdecksomaha.com

 

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Gun Deck

We are done with our part of the deck! Just talked to the person who is installing the roof and he has just a couple of more things to pull together before he does the install, so a couple of more days waiting on the roof, the the electricial being finished up and the fire pit installed and it will be done!

The stain is a dark walnut on everything except for the underside of the gazebo which we clear coated where we just wanted the beauty of the cedar to show.

This was a fun job but we wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of others, so a big  THANK YOU!!! to Stein Construction and Handyman Dan.

Final Pics once roof, electrical and fire pit are installed!

 

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Quick update

The floor is coming along really well today! If all goes well (rain in the forecast for tomorrow), the floor will be done!

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