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Should I invest in deck lighting?

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Adding a beautiful deck is an amazing way to upgrade your outdoor space and add to the living space of your home. With the right deck lighting, your deck will not only look beautiful after the sun sets, but it will also allow you to get the most enjoyment out of your deck after dark. If you’re currently designing a new deck you may like to add lighting to your designs or if you are looking at repairing your current deck you may want to think about the addition of lighting so that you can take the full advantage of your deck after dusk.

What are the benefits of home deck lighting?

Safety and security while enjoying your deck

An appealing benefit of having deck lighting is that safe and secure feeling of having it lit up after dark. If your deck includes stairs, or you have quite a bit of outdoor furniture, the last thing you want is yourself or a guest being injured by tripping in the dark. In addition to general hazards, deck lighting can help prevent crime as burglars are less likely to approach an area that is well lit up.

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Added beauty and aesthetics to your deck design

Adding deck lighting will add beauty and aesthetics to your deck design as well as enhancing the ambiance of your outdoor living area. You can create and change the mood of your outdoor area based on your lighting. Whether that be a romantic evening for two, or a vibrant birthday dinner with friends and family. It will also enhance your street appeal and add value to your home.

Entertaining guests on your deck

Your deck is your outdoor living area and an extension to your home. It is the perfect place to entertain guests all year round with the right lighting. Lighting will enhance the ambience, create the desired mood and make your home appear more inviting. Adding some coloured lights can even add some fun and festivity to your occasion.

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Using your deck day and night

One of the biggest benefits of deck lighting is it gives you the opportunity to enjoy your outdoor space not just during the day, but also at night.

Being able to use your deck for more hours of the day all year round adds more value to the investment you have spent in your home.

Adding Deck Lighting to Your Deck Design or Existing Outdoor Space

There are many benefits to adding lighting to your home deck and outdoor space. If you are budgeting to build a new deck or adapt the one you have be sure to include it in your design plans as it will give you the best end results. If you are just looking to add some ambience and spark to your existing deck, lighting can be a simple solution.

If you’re looking for a patio and deck builder with expertise, contact us at Amazing Decks and we will be more than happy to have a look at your ideas today.

What should I do if my deck is rotting?

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Wood is the number one choice for deck building in Australia. It’s beautiful, it’s hardy and lasts a lot longer than many other decking materials. Although wood is strong and beautiful, it is not immortal. There a many reasons why a deck can cave in to the dreaded rot and we will look at a few in this article.

Why do wood decks rot?

You may take all the proper precautions to keep your deck clean, including cleaning between the boards regularly. Some types of wood last longer, and some do not. Some common reasons that wood decks can rot are:

Wood that is untreated
Building a deck with untreated wood means that is it more susceptible to the weathering elements. Heavy rains, lots of sun, and depending on where you live – even snow! When wood is cold it expands and can cracks can appear, which if filled with moisture, when they contract again can cause a big problem as moisture can become trapped inside the wood, breaking it down from within its interior. Untreated wood certainly has a hard life, and eventually if not taken care of properly it can break down and rot.

Messy debris caught between boards
Leaves, dirt and other debris can easily become caught between boards. If not cleaned out regularly the debris can sit to rot and grow mould in between your decking boards which will eventually eat away at the wood.

Termites
Cause big problems for wood as wood is their food source. While you can treat your wood deck to be resistant to termites, you can’t guarantee the deck to be safe without proper precautions – more on that in another blog.

Standing water
If your deck is not completely level in all areas, water can pool in certain spots. The longer that water sits, the higher the chances of wood rot. Water can seep into tiny cracks in the wood and cause problems from the inside.

How to repair a rotting wood deck

Prevention is better than cure, so it is much easier to prevent your deck wood from rotting than it is to actually repair the damage once it is done. If rot is caught early it is more likely to be repaired without having to replace your whole deck!

So what are some ways we can prevent further rotting? Remove any rotted boards and replace them with new, treated ones. Apply a water-resistant coating over the whole deck, including the supporting joins. Lastly, even out any spots that create water pooling when it rains and move pot plants around frequently so that moisture is not building up underneath over long periods – even better, don’t keep pot-plants ON your wooden deck.

Contact Amazing Decks for wood deck rot repair

The secret to being able to successfully treat rot damage is catching it early before any true damage has been done. Sometimes unfortunately that is where the biggest problem occurs, by the time you see signs of rot, it has been silently working its way through your wood. Professionals like our team at Amazing Decks are trained to know the signs of an invisible rot problem. They are also trained to know what works best on the type of wood you have to make it stronger and less resistant to rot.

Give Amazing Decks a call and we can have one of our professionals come out to do an inspection on your wood deck. If we find you have an issue, we can repair your deck to prevent further damage. If you have no rot, we can help you put in place measures that will prevent needing rot repair in future.

How to Prevent Mould in Your Outdoor Area

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A mouldy deck or outdoor area is not nice. It looks terrible, smells terrible and just detracts from enjoying your outdoor space. Often we are faced with mould inside our house. But what about when the mould is outside? High concentrations of mould spores can be found right in your backyard. Some frequent outdoor areas where mould loves to grow is on timber decking, pathways and in decomposing leaves and vegetation which are often found under trees, in compost piles, uncleaned gutters and discarded lawn clippings. Attending to these areas regularly will help to reduce mould growth in your outdoor area.

What are some ways we can help keep mould under control outside and away from our decks?

  1. Keep your roof guttering in good working order to ensure storm water is directed to an appropriate outlet, not left to run down your walls or into your ceiling cavities. Any cracked guttering should be fixed or replaced at your earliest convenience.
  2. Ensure your gutters are regularly cleared out of any leaves and general debris, eliminating a food source for mould to grow and preventing backflow of stormwater.
  3. Ensure water drainage is diverted away from your house with the help of a landscape drainage expert.
  4. Have your pathways and decking pressure cleaned regularly and refinish where necessary on a regular basis.
  5. Trim bushes and trees regularly and rake and dispose of leaves dropped by trees and left to accumulate.
  6. Don’t leave grass clippings on your lawn after mowing, put in your green bin at as soon as possible.
  7. Manage your composting appropriately.
  8. Keep a lookout for mould in pot plant soil and change if needed, this can definitely spread to your decking.
  9. Try not to water your lawn or gardens too late in the afternoon too often. This leaves the soil and vegetation quite moist and dark overnight, perfect conditions for mould growth. The best time for watering is early morning.
  10. Clean your deck regularly – early in the morning, so it has plenty of time to dry out in the sun.

If your house happens to be for sale, in the same way that graffiti can turn off property buyers, so too can outdoor mould. Not only does it look unsightly, but quite often the potential buyers will be thinking “Well if there’s mould outside, then what on earth could be lurking inside….” Also quite often, when a buyer is looking at your home, they are looking at the full package including the outdoor living space – not just the interior. Ensure that your outdoor area is fresh, clean and mould-free!

A mouldy outdoor area can cause decking timber to rot, as well as ruin outdoor furniture. If you’re too late and mould has struck, then we recommend an expert like www.mouldpro.com.au giving your outdoor area some expert mould removal TLC.

If the worst has come and the decking timber has started to rot, then give us a call at Amazing Decks – We can replace any rotting timber and get your deck back to looking as good as new. Your outdoor area is an extension of your living areas, it’s part of your home. It’s best to take preventative measures to ensure the care it deserves.

Ideas for outdoor fireplace designs

When it comes to thinking about fireplace designs for your outdoor areas, like on your deck or patio, it all depends on how you want to use it. Professional deck design specialists and contractors are dedicated to helping homeowners create their own unique backyard entertainment paradise. A great deck builder will work directly with each client to help them envision what type of ambiance they desire. This is ideal when it comes to incorporating a deck or patio fireplace into your outdoor design.

I want a deck or patio fireplaces to fit my style and my budget

When creating a unique outdoor fireplace for your deck or patio, it’s important first to consider your needs versus desires. If you are just looking for something to sit around and keep warm under the ambience of a flame, then there are many affordable options for your outdoor area. If you are looking for something that is more of a statement piece that integrates seamlessly within your decking and landscape design then it may need a bit more thought and budget allocation.

Here are some different options for outdoor fireplace designs that you may like to consider –

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Patio Fire Pits

Designing a stone fire pit on your patio provides the fun feel of a campfire setting with views from all vantage points as each person can casually sit round the fire and enjoy the ambience of the flame. Fire pits can sometimes be the least expensive option as they can be constructed out of recycled materials or bought inexpensively when made out of metals. Stone fire pits can look very beautiful and can still be a statement piece if desired.

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Built in Fireplace

A small built-in fireplace integrated with your deck is an excellent choice for small groups in an intimate setting. Whether you want to build up some romance or entertain a small group, incorporating a small hearth fireplace design into your deck or patio can add to that intimacy. Add to it a nice variety of moveable seating that fits within your budget and the style and you’re set.

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More Examples of Unique Outdoor Fireplaces

When it comes to incorporating a unique fireplace design into your deck or patio, don’t let your design ideas be limited by budget. Employing small added elements to re-create representations of styles and themes can be an inexpensive way to give the illusion of a more elaborate and costly design that may give you a similar look and feel.

Simply incorporating a beautiful iron Chiminea to your deck or patio can provide an equally unique feel that is amplified by beautiful furniture choices to create an alluring setting for one or two people.

If you are able to work with a larger deck or patio budget, consider incorporating your outdoor fireplace as the centre statement piece of your patio or deck design to impress your guests and create a warm intimate environment. The design of your patio or deck along with the outdoor fireplace should compliment and work within the style and design of your home itself.

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Ready to Add an Outdoor Fireplace to Your Deck or Patio?

No matter what type of ambiance you want to achieve, there are thousands of outdoor fireplace designs to use as inspiration. Keep in mind that when you begin to explore ideas for outdoor decks, seeking design experience from experts like Amazing Decks can help you realise your vision for your outdoor area while still working to fit within your budget.

I want a new deck, where do I start?

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So you’ve decided you want a new deck for your home. The thought of outdoor leisure and beers around the barbie with friends and family is too great to resist. It could be a brand new deck, or an old deck being replaced. There is now so many things to think about – Where will we build it? What will we build it from? How much will it cost? What will the local council say? These are all great questions and things you need to consider.

Location and inspiration

Whether you want to build a brand new deck or replace or extend an existing one, a great place to start is to look around for inspiration for your newly decked area. Firstly think about where you would like the deck to go – Will it be at the front of the house? The side? Or the back? Round the pool? Will it need stairs and how many? Will you need balustrades? Will you want a privacy screen? What will the orientation of the deck be? The list goes on!

A lot of people don’t have the slightest clue where to start, design-wise. We suggest looking at as many photos as you can, of as many different styles as you can. This will give you more inspiration, and let you see first hand what certain colours and styles work well together and within different areas of different types of properties. Remember, the more information you can give to your deck building company up front, the easier and quicker the process will be for you from start to finish. You can begin your search for inspiration by looking through our Amazing Decks website gallery, or other great places to find inspiration are Instagram and Pinterest.

Do you have a budget in mind?

The price ranges of different decks can vary dramatically, depending on all sorts of factors like size, material, location and more, so you must always keep your budget in mind during the initial design stages to ensure the project stays inside a realistic price range. If you are prepared with your desired ideas and sizes before you contact your deck builder, they can often provide you with a fairly realistic quote straight away (sometimes even over the phone if you are really prepared and handy with a tape measure!). Of course, you won’t be able to provide every detail as each project is completely unique, but the more information you can provide, the more realistic your initial budget can be. Don’t forget other things to include in your budget are council approval costs, and the possibility of needing extra sets of stairs and balustrades as per council regulations.

Professional design services

Building the right deck for your home can be a very complex and time consuming process. Choosing the right design, colour and materials can sometimes be a bit of a headache if you’ve never had any experience in doing so. Here at Amazing Decks, our team can assist you right through the whole process from quoting and design through to finance and final construction.

A great deck building company like Amazing Decks will offer clients a design and drafting service that will enable them to design their new deck, patio or outdoor area. We have a professional drafting service for designing a creative plan with the latest innovative designs. Our team of designers are up to date with all town planning and approval issues in your area so there is no guesswork when designing your special project.

Amazing Decks believe our designers are the best choice to help you design the perfect deck, all the way from the rough concept to finished construction drawings ready for our carpenters to build. If you already started designing your deck, pergola or patio we can still help to turn your preliminary plan into a full set of finished plans ready to build.

Our designers start by modeling your new deck using a CAD system. This lets you really explore your new deck design well before construction. We believe this is a much better system in the long run. These plans are designed to clearly and simply communicate the design to the carpenters building your deck and council authorities so that your project goes as smooth as possible.
At Amazing Decks we believe your outdoor area should be a reflection of you, your family and your lifestyle and we are committed to helping you design a deck or outdoor area that is perfect for you.

If you would like to give us a call to discuss your decking, we would love to help so that you and your family can relax and enjoy having a beer on your new deck very soon.

What type of decking material would suit my home?

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A deck is a wonderful addition to your home. An area to entertain, to relax and to enjoy the space you have created. There are many options when it comes to decking material for your home, but FIRST – there are questions you must ask yourself.

  1. How much maintenance are you willing to do?
  2. What kind of elements will it need to withstand?
  3. Is choosing an environmentally conscious material a priority for you?
  4. How much are you willing to spend?

Natural Timber

Wooden decks are just beautiful. They add a warmth to your outdoor living area and look fantastic. Timber for decking comes in many different types and colours, and there is something to suit every budget. From the time old classic pressure treated timber (which is very economical) – to imported tropical hardwoods (they’re imported so obviously not cheap, but very beautiful).

The downside to timber decking is that wood will fade, warp, crack and splinter if not properly cared for. This will mean staining and sealing your deck regularly. Not the most fire resistant of materials so if you live in an area where this is an issue, then probably not the best option for you.

Composites

Composite decking materials are made from wood fibre and plastic. (If you are environmentally conscious find a composite that is made from recycled plastic and sawdust by-product)

There is no need to stain and seal composite decks as they come ready to go straight from the manufacturer. Composite decking is designed to mimic the natural grain and finish of wood, they’re not a perfect match yet but are still very good looking. They are a more expensive option in general than natural timber, but they require less maintenance, are easier to install and will usually last longer.

Composite decking usually weathers in the first 6 months, which helps to give it more of a classic wood finish. There are types of composite decking which are fully sealed – making them a great choice for decks surrounding a pool.

Aluminium

Not the first type of material that comes to mind when imagining a deck. Certainly not the warm natural feeling that wood conjures up. Very expensive compared with other types of decking material. BUT… hear me out.

Aluminium decking will not warp, rot, splinter, crack, grow mould or mildew, or peel, and it comes with a slip resistant powder coating finish. Surprisingly, aluminium is actually better than wood at keeping cool in the summer heat which is certainly something to consider in these hot Aussie summers. Tolerates extreme heat and cold well. They are also brilliant as an upper story deck because they will prevent water from dripping down below.

PVC or Synthetic

These materials will not rust or support mould and mildew. This is ideal if you live in a moisture rich environment. It is lighter than wood or composite, making it easier to handle. However, since it needs special fasteners it is harder to install.

They are designed to be scratch and stain resistant and are very low maintenance. This is a material that is designed to withstand a high volume of traffic, so if it is a busy area that you plan on decking, then this might be for you.

Although this type of deck can have a higher initial outlay when building your deck, studies have shown that over 20 years it costs less than a third of the price to maintain than wood.

Are you interested in adding a deck to enhance the outdoor area of your home? Contact us, the decking experts to discuss your options.

Top tips for keeping your deck looking great all year round

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Decks are exposed to weather all year round. From the time you build you new deck or move into an established home with a used deck, it is best to plan out a routine schedule to care and maintain your deck. Prevention is better than cure, so you want to keep your deck looking great and ward off any expensive repairs.

Keep you deck clean

An un kept dirty deck is an invitation for mould and mildew to grow – which in turn can cause rot. Start by removing debris from between the decking boards. A putty knife is a great tool to use. If you have pot plants and outdoor furniture on the deck, move them elsewhere whilst you thoroughly sweep your deck.

You need to choose an appropriate cleaner for the type of decking boards. For a wood deck you can use a standard deck cleaner. A composite deck will require a cleaner formulated for that material. You can use a commercial degreaser and detergent to remove any grease and oil marks. For vinyl decking you will only need warm mild soapy water to remove any mould, mildew and dirt.

Once the deck is thoroughly clean wait two days before sealing.

Sealing your deck

When choosing a deck sealant there are a few options to choose from. You can choose a clear sealer that will let the wood’s natural colour and grain show through. Or you could use choose a toner that adds a bit of colour but also reveals the grain and provides some UV protection against sunlight. Another option is a semi-transparent stain that tints the wood but lets some of the grain show. Lastly you could choose a solid stain and opaque colour that seal up weathering damage and also cover the grain. Clear sealers and toners will need to be re applied annually, whereas the others can be done every other year.

When sealing your deck you should ensure it is clean, then give the deck a light sand where needed. Have a look and replace any missing or popped nails and screws. Then when ready apply the sealer or stain with a roller where possible and ensure the sealant doesn’t puddle and spreads evenly.

Regularly inspect your deck for needed repairs

The summer season is a good time to give the deck a close inspection to see if any problems have arisen or repairs are needed. Pay close attention to parts of the deck that are close to sources of moisture such as downpipes, pot plants or air conditioning units.

Check for signs of mould and rot. Check the stairs, followed by the stringers, and each perimeter post. If needed you can probe the wood with a screwdriver – If it penetrates a centimetre or more you may have some rot – if that is the case, it is best to get a professional in to take a look to provide advice and remedy the situation.

Regularly inspect the ledger – this is the part of the deck framing that attaches to your house. A damaged ledger can be the cause of many deck collapses. The ledger should be attached with screws, not nails. The capping on the ledger should always be rust and hole-free so that moisture can not penetrate and cause damage. Ensure you check the the joists, posts and beams. Also probe these for any signs of rot. If you aren’t sure of anything, call in a professional.

Next check for cracks and rotten decking boards. Cracks can get worse overtime, so if you find a damaged board it’s best to have it replaced. Always check your deck railings – Give them a shake to ensure they are not loose or damaged.

Preventative Action

Trim nearby bushes and trees that are close and overhanging your deck to ensure that no mould, moss or rot occurs. Don’t let leaves and other debris pile up and gather on your deck, sweep regularly. Move your pot plants and outdoor furniture around on a regular basis to avoid discolouring or moisture buildup. Lastly keep nearby gutters clear and downpipes in good working order.

If you are not sure of anything to do with deck repairs and maintenance – call a professional. Here at Amazing Decks – we know how to take good care of a deck and have it looking great all year round.

Prepping your deck for Christmas

It’s November and you’ve just been told by your Mum that it’s your turn to host Christmas day. So many things to do and prepare; the windows need cleaning, the garden needs tidying up, the barbecue needs servicing, and the deck….. Ah it’s been too long since you’ve even looked at the condition of the deck! Oh dear.

Well we can’t have Aunt Janice commenting on how awful the deck looks – so in this article we are going to talk about how to have your deck looking in top shape for Christmas, and beyond.

Preparation is key

Preparation is key in achieving amazing results. All wood needs to be well cleaned before staining, whether it’s a brand-new deck or an older deck that’s been out in the weather and needs to be re-stained. On an older deck; dirt, graying from the sun, mould/mildew, and old stains all need to be removed prior to re-staining. Sodium percarbonate wood cleaners, also known as oxygen bleach wood cleaners, are a good choice for this step. They are highly effective at cleaning the wood while being green and pet-friendly.

A build up of old stains on the deck adds a little challenge, though does not make the job impossible. Instead of a sodium percarbonate cleaner you may need to use a stain stripper. Strippers are more caustic so be careful and follow the directions carefully. They work great and will remove most weathered stains in one easy application. Lastly, if there are small spots of stain that won’t come off during the cleaning process, a palm-type sander should remove them easily after the deck has dried. If those spots of stain are left on the deck, they will show through the new finish and affect the deck’s final appearance. Some stain manufacturers offer a free instructional video to help walk you through this entire process. They’re a wonderful tool to use to ensure that you do the job right the first time.

Lastly remember all types of chemicals used in the cleaning process need to be rinsed of well after use. If left in the wood they can resurface over time and affect the new stain. Once deck is cleaned, rinse thoroughly to remove all chemicals out of the wood.

Consider a Wood Brightener

Within your process of re-staining your deck, consider this process. Wood brighteners are so easy to apply and will have a dramatic effect on the final results. The way a wood brightener works is, they open up the surface of the wood to improve penetration, neutralize any stain strippers that were used, and restore the presentation of old and weathered wood to look like new again. To use them, simply spray them on, wait a few minutes, and rinse them off.

Use quality products and always follow directions

Always make sure the deck is completely dry after cleaning before you get ready to stain. When looking for a stain always choose quality products, and keep in mind better ingredients will cost more money. If you want top results, then you’ll need to buy a premium product. Quality differs when it comes to resins, pigments, mildewcides, and many other materials that make up a wood stain. So stay away from the cheap stuff if you want a lasting result.

Always carefully read the directions on the can as every product is a little different. It only takes a few minutes and it will ensure that you have all of the right instructions before you get started. Pay attention to how many coats of stain to apply, how long to wait between coats, how long to wait after cleaning, and how long to allow wood to weather. Read the instructions first and you’re likely to get it right the first time.

Decks are best stained with a semi-transparent wood stain that allow the natural grain of the wood to show through. They also allow the wood to naturally breathe, and are easily cleaned and reapplied. Take a careful look at the directions and don’t over apply these types of products. If too thick a finish, it will most likely peel off over time and this does not allow the wood to breath. Only ever apply as much stain as the wood can easily absorb.

Use a trusty Paintbrush

Deck stains can be applied in several different ways. Using a pump-up garden sprayer and roller are two popular methods. Regardless of how you apply your wood stain, keep a paint brush at hand. A paint brush will work the stain deep into the pores of a board. The agitation and friction caused by a paint brush will cause the wood to absorb more stain. So if you are spraying or rolling the stain, always back-brush it in with a brush while the stain is still wet; you’ll achieve much better penetration into the wood.

Last tips

  • Let your deck dry out really well for at least 24 hours before walking on it and putting outdoor furniture back in place.
  • Wash your deck regularly – Just as you would wash your car. It’s worth it to keep leaves and dirt from damaging the finish, a little maintenance goes a long way.
  • If the deck shows signs of losing it’s colour – add a little wood brightener and a light coat of stain.

So there you go, Christmas is coming and so is Aunt Janice – So go visit your hardware store and get your deck prepped for the holidays this weekend.