Category Archives: Tips

How to Build a Deck: 5 Tips From the Pros

Did you know that adding decking to your house could be 80% cheaper than you think?

Houses that have good quality decking installed often rise in value up to 80% of the cost of the decking. 

Of course, that is only installing the basic wood structure. After you install other items such as outdoor furniture its appeal rises further.

You may want to make your house look even better, but have never installed decking before. If you want to ensure that you are investing well, what should you look out for?

Check out our list of 5 tips on how to build a deck.

1. Choose Your Design Carefully

Experts say that you should not build decking that is 20% of your house’s square footage.

If you decide to go with this, you will need to plan carefully how you use each square foot. Will you use your decking area mostly for ornaments, or will you host garden parties?

Some add to the beauty of their decking by building more than one level. Perhaps they have the main seating area and a smaller area that is lower and tapers down to a yard.

When designing your deck, plan for your decking to be a few inches below door level. In winter leaves may pile up against the base of the door and, if the same level, the out-swinging storm door will push them into the decking.

This is not only ugly but can cause damage in the long term. Leaving this gap will also keep leaves out of the house.

2. Think in 3-D

If you are building substantial decking, you likely have favorable weather and want to sit outside and enjoy it. To shield you from unwanted sunlight you have a range of options. 

If you want to read in peace, you can go with a pergola and sun rays that creep through the wooden slats. To stay out of the sun completely, install an awning. 

Once you have shade in place, and a superstructure to hang things from, only your budget limits what you can do.

Elaborate lighting systems, heating systems to allow you to enjoy the decking all year round, TVs, audio systems, Barbeques – the list is endless. 

3. Choose Quality Materials

Depending on the weather where you live, your decking may take a pounding. Direct sustained sunlight in summer, followed by lashing rain in winter means you need to pick enduring materials if you do not want to replace timbers each year.

You have a choice between natural wood and composite boards.

Natural Woods

Natural woods such as Redwoods and Red Cedar are historically the most popular choice for checking materials. They are naturally resistant to decay, insects, and rot.

There are many other natural wood solutions available at a lower price to artificial solutions. However, it is true that they will show their age with just a few years.

Artificial Solutions 

Before you discount the non-natural materials, think of what they can offer you. 

Composite boards are a blend of recycled plastic and wood. This gives them incredible durability. They often come with a warranty of up to 25 years.

Since they have a plastic coating their finish is also guaranteed and will not significantly fade during this time. In fact, the time saved by not needing to maintain composite often persuades people to spend the extra money needed to purchase it. 

The appearance of the composite boards is engineered to look exactly like genuine wood and people often find it difficult to distinguish between them. 

4. Choose Your Fixtures Carefully

Even if you go for a long-lasting wood decking solution, this could still be undermined if you choose the wrong fittings. Choosing screws and other fixtures will damage the wood surrounds.

Choosing fixtures that will rust quickly will mean you have to take up the boards to replace the fixtures even though the wood may be fine. 

If you plan to use stainless steel nails or screws, we recommend 305-grade stainless steel or higher. A lower grade may discolor the wood surrounding it. 

A safe solution is the CAMO® Hidden Clip System. Rather than driving the screw into your decking panels, this system uses an unseen clip that sits in-between the panels. This houses the screw and protects the wood from discoloration. 

5. Choose the Right Finish

When your decking is in place you are ready to apply the finish. You basically have three options:

  • Paint
  • Stain
  • No finish

Painting

Painting a new wooden deck may seem unorthodox, but it does have its advantages. Depending on the color that you choose, you may not have to clean it as often as other finishes.

A good quality paints job is easier to clean by simple washing. It is hardwearing and will not fade easily. 

However, this is also a negative. Paint is very hardwearing. This means that one you have painted your decking, there is little chance of successfully going back to a natural wood look. 

Staining

Staining allows you to retain the natural beauty of the wood. If your wood has a naturally beautiful grain pattern, you may even be able to accentuate it with the right stain. 

The downside is that stain is less hardwearing than paint. Depending on the quality of the stain that is applied and the number of coats, it may not last many years. Particularly in areas of high traffic will it age more quickly.

No Finish

This is a surprisingly good option. Not only are you able to make immediate use of your decking, with correct maintenance and cleaning, the wood can also last for decades. 

If you took the option to use Redwoods and Red Cedar, you may be able to leave the surface of the wood completely untouched thanks to its natural resistance to bugs and decay. 

Of course, over time this type of wood will discolor, however, unless it is under very severe weather conditions it will not change in any way other than appearance. 

How to Build a Deck and Many Other Projects

These are the top tips on the subject of how to build a deck.

If you are planning to add a deck or any outdoor timber to your house, why not check out our blog to see what practical advice we have to offer?

Make sure to contact us today for a quote on the best wood you can buy!

 

The Secret To Maintain Your Tigerwood Decking: What You Need To Know

If you have purchased Tigerwood decking then you are probably very pleased that you will shortly be the envy of your friends, family, and neighbors.

However, to ensure your decking looks the part and stands the test of time it is important you properly maintain it. As well as creating a proper routine for cleaning and repair, there are some specific tips and tools that are useful for cleaning Tigerwood decking. 

Here’s what you need to know.

What is Tigerwood Decking?

Tigerwood is a special type of wood from Africa or South America. It has an orange hue and dark vein stripes. This gives it an exotic and mystic feel that is unlike any other wood that can be used for decking. 

It is also known as Congowood, courbaril, zorrowood, bototo, muiracatiara, Brazilian Koa or African walnut. 

These trees dominate the forests in which they grow, reaching as high as 80 feet, and becoming so valuable that some African nations have placed export restrictions on them. So you are very lucky if you have managed to get hold of some Tigerwood.

One of the reasons Tigerwood is so popular is because it has a much stronger resistance to rot or decay than other decking woods. 

Tigerwood is also a lot more capable of taking footprints and scratching than other types of wood. So, although it is more expensive than other types of decking, it should stand the test of time. 

It can be a great addition to a garden if you are considering upgrading your porch or patio this summer.

However, even Tigerwood will decay eventually if it is not installed properly and then cleaned and tended to on a regular basis. 

Installing Tigerwood

To prevent problems with Tigerwood in the future there are a number of tips and trips you can follow during the installation process

Be Careful About Surfaces Where You Install Tigerwood

It is important to make sure that Tigerwood doesn’t touch any surfaces that might allow moisture or damp to collect underneath it. These include roofs, concrete or wood that has been green treated. 

Ignoring this advice can lead to the Tigerwood bending and contorting in ways which might eventually lead to you having to replace some planks. 

Avoid Direct Contact With Iron

Iron can create oxidation when it touches with wood and this can leave horrible black marks over your beautiful wood. If you are having a garden party then be sure to insist your family and friends use non-metallic coasters for placing their drinks down on the floor. 

If you are using a barbeque made from iron then be careful that it doesn’t have prolonged exposure to the wood. This should not be too difficult if the wheels are made from a different material. But to be on the safe side move the barbeque away from the decking and onto the grass. 

A Simple Cleaning Routine 

Some wood decks need a variety of tools and chemicals to ensure they get cleaned properly and do not end up damaged. 

Tigerwood has a straight forward cleaning process. A regular power wash of perhaps once a week is all your Tigerwood needs to look the part again. There is no need for re-stains or bleaching

Deck Oil

One crucial part of the cleaning ritual for Tigerwood is the application of deck oil twice a year for the first few years after installing it.

Deck oil is relatively easy to come by. You can find it at most DIY or hardware stores. It is also straight-forward to apply.

After a few years of twice-annual coats, you can stop applying deck oil as the wood will have been broken in enough that it can handle normal everyday weathering. 

Moisture Content 

The most important thing to consider when maintaining your Tigerwood deck is ensuring that no water has got in between the cracks. This could see your Tigerwood start to rot. 

Often the moisture won’t be easy to spot, particularly if it is just a few drops. But there is a scientific way of checking this. The sooner you catch any moisture, the sooner you can put a stop to it, stemming any long term damage. 

Tigerwood will generally be dried by the manufacturer before it reaches you to reduce any natural moisture. However,  the wood has been taken out of its natural climate in the forest or jungle and this will no doubt affect it. We are looking for a natural balance, known as relative humidity.

One way of checking this is with a wood moisture machine. Often these machines will have programmable settings for Tigerwood to ensure you get an accurate reading. 

Tigerwood – Worth The Money? 

Tigerwood is a premium product that can really make your garden stand out amongst the crowd. 

It costs more than most wood used for decking. This can put many customers off. But it is important to remember that it lasts a lot longer than ordinary wood decking and you do not need to hunt for complicated products to properly maintain it, such as bleach. 

Tigerwood is therefore worth the investment. However, only if it is installed properly and you understand that it will need extra attention in the first years after installation. 

Taken from the forests of Africa and South America, it is important to understand that Tigerwood is being imported from a completely different climate and will need to be tended to as it adjusts to your garden.

But after this process has taken place, Tigerwood decking becomes a breeze to maintain. 

If you are interested in purchasing decking be sure to check out our price list today.  

KEEPING YOUR IPE WOOD LOOKING GREAT

A Lifetime Investment

The great thing about choosing Ipe wood for project(s) is that it’s one and done.  Whether it’s decking, siding, fencing, or any of many other options, Ipe lumber is so tough, and durable resistant to water damage and molds, that replacing it is the last thing you’ll have to worry about. I mean it’s so tough you need to hold a hardcore hockey match on it for it to see much damage.  Or else drop a bowling ball from about ten stories high on to it.  (You may just break the ball instead.)  You spent the time to research costs and pricing, made your decision, and there it sits, the apple of your eye, and maybe the envy of the neighborhood.  If you’re lucky, you’ve just become the Jones’s that everyone is working to keep up with.

But even a lifetime investment needs attention to stay looking as good as it did the day you first put it in.

Choices

You’ve got a couple choices when it comes to your Ipe decking (let’s stay with decking just for the sake of convenience, but this applies to whatever you’ve used your Ipe wood for.)

You can either let it just age without staining it.  If that is the case, it will ultimately fade to a silvery grey, shade much like teak.  Even that choice will require you to reseal it once every year or two.  (Don’t go any longer than two years between resealing.)  Yes, Ipe is amazingly impervious to water damage and rot, but it still needs to be treated with care.

The other choice is to restain the lumber.  Restaining the Ipe wood will keep it looking beautifully dark for ages.

You can’t lose either way.  It’s just of question of what you prefer.

KISS

Always stick with the KISS formula:  Keep it short and simple.  You need to start with the basics.

No matter which way you go you will have to clean your Ipe decking before either restaining or resealing.

To clean the deck you’ll need to use some bleach to get all the junk off.  It’s easy to do and you can find a formula for it here.

Don’t use a sprayer to wash your Ipe deck.  Go old fashioned and get down on your hands and knees.  Make sure you don’t forget your knee pads when you’re doing that.

Once you’ve cleaned the lumber, let it dry for at least a day.

When that’s finished stain or seal away to your heart’s content.

You can’t lose no matter what choice you make.