Category Archives: Decks

Living Lavishly Outdoors with 2018 Trends

As many families prepare to ramp up their time spent outside, it can be helpful to keep the latest trends in mind while planning for outdoor living spaces.

According to research from the International Casual Furnishings Association, many people use outdoor rooms for things they can do indoors – from using cellphones for calls and games to working on computers, watching TV, eating, exercising and, of course, relaxing.

Since 70 percent of survey respondents said they enjoy spending time in an outdoor living space more than inside, it’s fitting that the 2018 furnishing trends address the outdoor lifestyle experience.

“Whether enclosed or open-air, outdoor spaces have come into their own as legitimate rooms in American homes,” said Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance and executive director of its outdoor division, the International Casual Furnishings Association. “Today’s outdoor rooms have it all – somewhere to dine, to relax and be entertained – with furnishings that function like they would for any room in the home and with style and flair that distinctly fits outdoors.”

Dining tables and chairs top many people’s outdoor shopping lists this year, followed by lounge chairs, lighting, fire pits, umbrellas and sofas. Leading the list of trends in the dynamic dining category is ultra-comfortable seating and a wide variety of table options.

Extra-large dining tables are popular for entertaining groups and al fresco dining. Yet manufacturers understand not everyone has a large outdoor space, so they also offer selections for small spaces, including dining sets suitable for apartment- and condo-size balconies, as well as sizes in-between.

The research also shows 68 percent of people use outdoor spaces several times a week in seasonally appropriate weather. Comfort, spaciousness and style were the most important factors in encouraging people to spend more time outdoors, which is why deep-seated chairs with high backs for relaxed comfort rank high on wish lists.

Often accompanying these group seating options are fire tables or pits, which continue to increase in popularity, according to the survey.

“We are seeing that fire of some sort for outdoors is topping many consumers’ wish lists again this year,” Hirschhaut said. “You just can’t beat a fire element for creating ambience.”

Much like spaces indoors, outdoor rooms are leaning more toward mixing rather than matching, both in individual pieces and in groups of pieces. To help meet this trend, try looking for pieces that incorporate several different elements such as aluminum, wicker and teak, as well as groups that pair, for example, wicker seating with iron or wood tables.

On the color spectrum, the survey found that after years of brown as a dominant color, shades of gray are increasingly peeking through as a more popular finish.

For more tips and information about creating a stylish outdoor living space, visit icfanet.org.

Deck Design 101

Large deck being used by people

Tips for planning a perfect outdoor oasis

Timing can be everything, especially when it comes to planning an outdoor living space. By getting a jump-start on planning, you can afford yourself time to complete the process with maximum creativity and minimal stress.

Try these expert tips and tricks of the trade to help make your dream deck a reality.

Lay a Solid Foundation
Don’t skimp on the substructure. Often overlooked, the substructure can have tremendous impact on performance and appearance. For maximum strength and stability, opt for steel framing over wood in order to achieve a consistently flat decking surface. Wooden substructures can split, warp and shift over time, leading to an uneven surface in the deck boards. Dimensionally stable steel offers durability benefits over wood, plus greater design flexibility, sustainability, safety and fire resistance.

Get the Right Tools
In addition to magazines, TV shows and social platforms offer outdoor living ideas and inspiration. There are also a number of online tools designed to help guide you through the planning process, such as the Trex Deck Starter, which can help anyone at the outset of their deck building adventures. It provides a user-friendly way to experiment with various deck configurations and design combinations. In three simple steps, the tool can help you choose the right materials for your project and design a customized outdoor living space before ever raising a hammer.

Choose the Right Materials
When selecting materials, invest in decking that can hold up against the harshest weather and messiest cookouts. High-performance, low-maintenance composite decking offers superior durability and long-lasting looks. Wood is a timeless and beautiful alternative which does require regular maintenance. Solid man-made materials are often a cost effective low maintenance alternative as well.
Upper level Wood deck w/railing

Add Safety and Style with Railings
Railings can be one of the most visible parts of any deck so it should be considered at the same time as the deck boards. A good rule of thumb is to use the “three C’s,” which are: coordinate, contrast, customize. For example, crisp white posts and black aluminum balusters coordinate beautifully with gray deck boards, delivering an elegant look and feel. For a beachy vibe, opt for a contrasting look with all-white railings. Or go completely custom with sleek, black aluminum railings to create a space that’s both modern and inviting.

Deck Stair w/rock and wood

Incorporate Personal Touches with Accessories
Have fun exploring the many design elements that are available for customizing your deck. Things like built-in seating, planters and storage, as well as add-ons such as a pergola or outdoor furniture, which can add comfort, character and convenience to your outdoor living space. Further personalize your space with a variety of deck and landscape lighting fixtures. Set up path lights to brighten walkways and use spotlights to showcase trees and architectural features.

Designing your outdoor space

Before any work can get done on the deck of your dreams, designing comes first. It’s important to have a plan in mind before diving in so that you have a vision of what you want your deck to become.

For example, you might envision your deck as a spacious place to host family and friends with room to mingle, while others may prefer a small, quiet space for reading a book or enjoying the peace of the outdoors. Different sizes, shapes, colors and other factors can all have an large impact on the final look of your deck, so take all factors into account before getting started.

Try these starting points for the ultimate deck design:

Choose a Deck Plan
From classic rectangle to beveled-edge to scenic overlook, an online tool like the Trex Deck Starter features a library of proven, ready-to-build deck designs. For a space that defies pre-made plans, you can also opt to create a custom deck plan to fit the layout of your home. Contact Padilla Construction for expert local help with ideas for your deck.

Choose Your Color
The right decking color can enhance your yard’s scenery, complement your home or make your deck stand out. Match your surroundings with natural tones, blend in with your home’s exterior by matching the trim or consider bold colors like a spicy red for a deck color that pops.

Frame Your Space
The right railings can pair with your decking to safely frame your space, enhance your view and open even more design possibilities.

Fun with Pressure Washers

Remember, you must adjust the nozzle and the distance you hold it from the surface depending on your particular power washer and what you’re washing. You don’t want your power washer to turn into a wood or paint chipper.

  • Garage floor
  • Driveway
  • Vinyl or brick house exterior
  • Fencing
  • Cars and trucks
  • Concrete or tile patios
  • Wood decks
  • Walkways
  • Patio furniture
  • Grills
  • Swimming pools
  • Lawn mowers
  • Mountain Bikes/ATVs
  • Chainsaws
  • Tillers
  • Gutter/Downspouts
  • Scraping Paint
  • High Windows

And finally, maybe a power washer is just the thing to get that ball out of the tree it’s been stuck in since last summer!

Summer’s Coming – It’s time to get all decked out!

chair-1218344_1280Wouldn’t it be nice to walk out onto a brand new or updated deck to sit in the sun and enjoy quality time with family and friends? Here’s some info to help you get started.

Decking material

There used to be really only one choice for decks, namely wood. You could choose from a few wood varieties but other than that, it was pretty much cut and dried (so to speak). Today there are many more choices, some of which increase lifetime and reduce maintenance. Even if you are a traditionalist who prefers wood, it’s good to know all your choices.

Pressure treated wood – The most widely used decking material (about 75%), pressure treated wood can be a maintenance chore as it is usually made from low grad pine or fir and is susceptible to splitting, warping and cracking. It is, however, the low cost solution of the lot.

Cedar/Redwood – Natural tannin in these woods help protect against rot and insects. It should be protected with a sealer to help ward off splits and cracks. If unsealed both woods will turn a light grey color with age.

Composite wood – These are a range of products made from some combination of wood and recycled plastics. They are virtually maintenance free and won’t crack, split or rot.

PVC and polyethylene – These plastic alternatives are lightweight and maintenance free but they tend to sag more them other choices and require more support. Make sure you choose ones with non-slip surfaces as many can be slippery.

 

Deck Railing

Railings come in all the materials listed above and others. Metal railings, for instance, can look great on a wood deck.  You can also choose clear glass like inserts to further protect access to and from the edges of your deck. There are so many variations for railings that the best thing to do is search the web for images as inspiration. Many configurations are possible.

 

Additional thoughts

Multilevel decks add interest and style. Rounded corners or flowing edges can also make your deck unique and more enjoyable. Flower boxes and planters integrated with your deck can help create an outdoor oasis you can be proud of.