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Category Archive: Composite Decks

When you are spring cleaning the exterior of your home, restaurant, retail store or commercial business, you want to ensure that the deck work is as sparkling clean as the rest of your property. Despite this, it can be labor-intensive to scrub a composite deck and get rid of all of the grit or algae that is growing in the cracks of the wood. To get a better idea of how you can make sure your deck is ready for spring (if it is made from composite wood), keep reading.

 

Composite wood is the easiest to clean

When you are in the process of buying composite wood for the deck, part of the advantage is the convenience. For example, on many of the websites that sell composite wood, they give advice about how it should be cleaned, and they count this as an advantage to buying their product. Truthfully, composite wood is one of the easiest types of outdoor building materials to clean, but it does require specific types of equipment.

 

The best way to clean composite wood

When composite wood is purchased to be used in the outdoors, it is often touted as being affordable and also, easy-to-clean with pressure washing. Nonetheless, the settings on your pressure washer will need to be fine-tuned, or else you could end up damaging the surface of your composite wood. For example, many composite woods have a coating that keeps them from losing their luster due to sun exposure or weather. Obviously, if the pressure washer is set too high, it can remove this finish or damage it. This inevitably means that your composite wood will start to deteriorate at a faster rate and also, may lose some of its capabilities to look new.

 

Using chemicals to remove stains and microorganisms

When you have a serious stain on your composite wood deck, you will need professional help to remove it. Outside of the usual staining culprits such as tannins from old decayed leaves, paints or red clay mud, another issue is build up from certain types of mold, algae, lichens or other microorganisms. Despite being plant-like, these microorganisms can stain composite wood. Removing stains involves degreasers and other types of chemical solvents that require using special techniques.

 

What to expect from full-service outdoor composite wood spring cleaning

Before the warm weather hits, it pays to have your composite wood deck completely cleaned to remove all of the gunk that fall and winter weather bring. For example, you will need to have all of the old leaves and mud removed from the deck. After it is scrubbed, deck brighteners might be applied to get rid of mineral buildup from snow or ice removal salts. The next step is to work on any oil or grease stains that might need to be removed from the composite wood. The final stages involve removing all the remaining stains with careful pressure washing.

 

If you need professionals to help you preserve the beauty of your composite wood deck, we are here to help. We are available to residential, retail, and commercial property owners in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area. To get started, please give us a call today.

 



Backyard DeckYour deck has seen its better days. Boards are bowed and splinters make going barefoot a hazard. Some boards have rotted through. The place where family used to gather and chat while the grill sizzled is now an eye-sore. It is dangerous and does not function anymore. It is time to replace the deck, but do you use wood again? Composite deck boards seem like a better option, but are they?

Let’s consider some facts: In the blistering summer sun, a composite deck will not fade. This is great when you consider that the deck will be outside, year after year, baking in direct sunlight. A wooden deck will fade and split in the same sun. Composite decking is made to be UV resistant. The colors will not fade. Your deck will be as pretty in year 10 as it was when it was new.

Being able to withstand summer heat, hail and thunderstorms, are more reasons to consider purchasing composite decking instead of traditional wood options. Since composite deck boards are mainly plastic, they are virtually weatherproof. Summer can rage on, bringing her afternoon thunderstorms and golf-ball sized hail. Your deck can handle it.

Today’s composite boards have come a long way from the first ones that were brittle and ugly. Now, a deck can have a variety of color and pattern options. The composite looks so much like wood that it is very hard to tell the difference. The materials used to make the composite are designed to last for generations.

Composite is easier to maintain than wood. No more staining and sealing every two years. The composite deck only needs to be washed occasionally to keep away dirt and mold. Specialty spacers ensure that the deck has proper spacing between boards for contraction and expansion. This way, boards will not crack or peel when the weather goes from hot to cold. The spacers also allow air flow so that the composite does not gather water, which could rot the wooden foundation of the deck.

With guarantees of 10, 15, and even 20 years, composite decks are worth the extra money it will cost to build them initially. The lower maintenance will balance out that cost in just a few seasons. Add to that the time that you will save not having to strip, seal or repaint your deck, and composite seems to be the obvious winner.

Whether you live in Ann Arbor MI or Austin TX, decks made from composite materials will hold up better and last longer than traditional wooden decks. They will get hotter than wood, so beware when choosing your colors. A dark deck will get hotter than the lighter colored options. Maybe this will not be such a factor in cooler climates like Ann Arbor MI, but it will definitely be something to consider if you live in a hot state like Texas.

Before you begin tearing out and replacing rotted wood, consider composite materials. Your deck (and your back) will thank you.

Outdoor PatioYou are trying to decide between composite and wood decking for your backyard, and, although you love the look and feel of a natural product, the benefits of choosing a composite deck are definitely appealing. Some of the advantages of purchasing composite materials over wood include that these materials are:

1. Attractive and Uniform
Composite materials look very similar to their wood counterparts but are much more uniform. They do not have the flaws and damage that may cause a person to discard many of the boards for the deck. There are also no nails or other hardware visible to take away from the appearance of the beautiful surfaces. Many cannot even tell the difference between composite and wood decks. And know that you are contributing to the environment when you choose this attractive option. Even though composite is not a natural wood product, most manufacturers do their best to utilize recycled materials in the manufacturing process to contribute to a cleaner, better world.

2. Easy to Clean and Maintain
Composite decking rarely shows dirt or stains and can be easily wiped, mopped, or hosed down. It is easily replaced in the case of damage and can be quickly found in many national and local home builder venues. There is never any need to apply paint, water sealant, or stain to the surfaces once it is put in place, and future upkeep is usually nothing more than quickly cleaning it with a mild soap and water.

Outdoor Living Area3. Available in Many Stains and Colors
When it comes to composite stain and color choices, they are virtually unlimited. Take samples home with you to hold up against the wood or siding of your home to get a complementing match. It is much more uniform in color than natural wood and has so many to select from. Extras such as railings, posts, and post caps are readily available in matching tones and colors also.

4. Holds Up to the Elements
Composite materials will not fade, splinter, warp, or split. They will hold up to the heat of the sun as well as the winter snow and sleet that Ann Arbor MI is so often covered with. They do not attract mold or mildew and will not rot over time, even in the most humid of environments.

5. Increases Home Values
The addition of composite decking can add great value to your home. This can be a real asset if you ever decide to sell your Ann Arbor MI residence. The better shape the desk is in and the larger and more usable the decking is will greatly impact the final selling price of the entire residence.

As is clearly evident, a composite building product is clearly the best route to go if you are seeking an attractive, durable material for your deck. Although it is initially more expensive than woods such as cedar or other woods, the long-term benefits will bring the costs down over the years as there is virtually no upkeep required.

Deck patio

The winter season is different than every other season of the year. While every season has its unique characteristics, the winter season is by far the most unique. The cold weather that typically comes with the winter season is the most well known characteristics of the winter season. The cold weather that embraces the winter season is interesting because some people enjoy the cold weather. However, a significant number of people dislike cold weather.

Winter Season And Deck Surfaces

Winter is a time of the year that affects things differently. One particular area where winter presents unique challenges is maintaining deck surfaces. Conditions such as snow, ice, cold temperatures, and sleet can have a negative affect on deck surfaces. While many people typically use wood products to build decks, there has been a shift by some people over the past few decades to use other products for building decks.

Composite Deck Products

One of the most popular products other than wood to build decks is called composite. In general composite is a decking material that is comprised of plastic and wood particles glued together. The vast majority of the materials are recycled materials.

The use of composite products for building decks has become very popular, especially over the past decade. The main reason for the popularity is due to the enhancements that have been made to composite products. The products quality, performance, looks, and feel have improved tremendously over the past decade. In addition, the composite products’ appearance is moving closer and closer to a wood appearance.

Reasons Why Composite Products Handle Winter Better Than Wood Products

During the winter season, deck surfaces are affected by winter conditions. Composite deck products tend to fair better than wood during the winter season for a variety of reasons. Some of the main reasons why composite products handle winter conditions better than traditional wood include:

1. Composite products do not require as much maintenance as natural wood products.
2. Composite products are made primarily with recycled plastic materials, which make the product more durable.
3. Composite products have built in slip resistance.
4. Composite products do not split or splinter.
5. Composite products can be heated and bent into circular patterns.

Decks have always been a popular home area. Decks provide a variety of uses for homeowners. The method used to build decks has changed significantly over the past few decades. Many people are now using products other than wood to build their decks. One of the most popular products is composite. The use of composite products provide advantages that wood cannot offer. In addition, some of these advantages are even more noticeable and beneficial during the winter season.

The winter season is tough on deck surfaces; the winter conditions usually impact the surfaces in a variety of ways. However, composite products that largely contain plastic recycled materials tend to handle winter conditions better than wood products. People in Ann Arbor MI or the areas surrounding Ann Arbor MI who are interested in composite products can contact us for additional information.

Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

Outdoor PatioEveryone dreams of a gorgeous deck that is made from an exotic wood that truly stands apart from every other deck in the neighborhood. You may have visions in your head of a deck made from teak or cherry. The deck in your head is beautiful, exotic woods will not stand up to extreme temperature changes in Ann Arbor MI. A composite deck will stand up to the weather changes you see in the northern United States, and the deck is much easier to maintain from year to year.

#1: Weather Changes

Composites are created from an amalgam of other woods that was pressed together from other woods in the factory. The composite decking you use has no natural grain, and there are no gaps in the wood that will allow for cracks. The extreme weather changes in Ann Arbor from winter to summer will crack a normal deck, and a deck made from exotic woods would fall apart. You can avoid problems with the deck by using composites.

#2: Painting And Staining

A composite material is much easier to paint than traditional wood, and the wood takes stain much better than a traditional wood. A natural deck takes three or four coats of stain, but a composite structure will take the stain in one or two coats. Paint sticks to your deck much more easily, and you can choose any color you like. Problematic colors for traditional colors can be used with composites, and you will have an opportunity to decorate your home any way you like.

#3: Maintenance

A deck made from composites does not accept dust and dirt as easily as natural wood. Natural wood has grooves and grains that will get dirty easily, and it is very hard to clean up the grains in the wood. Composites will sweep clean easily, and you will learn quickly that the deck does not need heavy cleaning. You can avoid pressure washing your deck, and you can bring out a broom once a week to sweep.

The snow that falls in the winter will not seep into the wood, and the color of the deck will not change unexpectedly. You can expect the deck to be the same color as it was last summer, and you can sweep away snow quickly from the smooth surface.

#4: Damage Potential

The furniture and foot traffic on your deck will damage traditional woods easily. Some hardwoods are not that hard at all, and the furniture alone will cause indentations in the wood. A composite material will not break down under the strain of consistent use, and you can keep your furniture on the deck all year. Let all your guests on the deck, and enjoy using the deck all year without reservation.

Your home in Ann Arbor MI deserves a composite deck that will stand up to consistent use every year. You can paint your deck, clean it up and maintain it with almost no effort. Your neighbors will love visiting, and your family will have an outdoor haven to relax in.

Construct the perfect deck, patio, walkway or porch with custom hardscaping services from Twin Oaks Landscape. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

In July, we installed this rooftop composite deck in a downtown Ann Arbor Condo, creating a little piece of tranquility with a city view.

 

 

 

Choosing between a deck and a porch can be a debilitating decision; however, there are plenty of criteria that you can base your decision on. Here areBakyard With Patio Area And Play Yard For Kids some of the ways that you can determine the best fit for your home.

– Is your home low to the ground or not?

This can make the decision for you in some instances. One of the best parts about building in Ann Arbor MI is that most of the residential land is flat, so you do have a legitimate choice. For the most part, if your terrain is rocky enough to put your house on a hill above your land, you will have to go with a deck regardless.

If your house is low to the ground, then you have a choice that you can make according to the look that you want to achieve. Keep in mind that you can also use a porch to even out certain slight terrain differences; however, it requires more hardware and materials and may cost a bit more than your other options.

– Should your outside area be a part of your house or a part of your yard?

In general, your Ann Arbor MI deck is going to be a part of your house. It will continue the aesthetic as well as the materials of the indoor part of your home. The floor will likely be elevated so that there will be no break between your door and your outside area.

If you choose the porch, then the materials that your outside area will be composed of will be more natural. For instance, most porches are made of crushed stone, a surface of a slightly different kind of stone and a layer of bedding sand. This is one of the reasons that structures like these are known as hardscapes.

Depending on the materials that you use for your outside area, you will also pick different furniture for that area. This will only add to the dichotomy, as the furniture will match the materials that you pick for the base of the area.

– There are legal considerations as well.Bluestone Patio And Stone Grill

A raised area is considered an extension of a house that requires a proper permit in order to create. They will be inspected in order to make sure that they are compliant with municipal standards. In contrast, if you are building an area that is not raised, then you are exempt from all of these rules. There are no extra taxes or inspections that you have to go through.

This becomes especially important if your house is located near any sort of wetland. Believe it or not, whether your outside area is raised are not can affect the water flow around your house as well as rainwater runoff.

The above considerations are some of the most prevalent when you are deciding what kind of area that you are building outside of your home. Make sure that you are compliant with all government standards as well as your own standards when you begin to build.

Keep your lawn looking beautiful with maintenance services from Twin Oaks Landscape. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

Homeowner Deck Safety

We all want to get out and enjoy our decks. Beck maintenance means so much more than just cleaning your deck. It means making sure your entire deck structure is in good, safe order. Just like your car, you need to evaluate, tune up, and keep your deck in a safe operating condition on a regular basis. The following checklist can help you do just that.

 Outdoor Patio

Key areas to check:

  1. Test railings and banisters. Assure the security of these key pieces of the deck by gently pushing on them to assure they are firmly attached with no “give” that could indicate failure. Then, get a yard stick out. Most codes require a 36” high railing (and usually encourage 42” high railings) with rail placed no more than 4 inches apart (measured from the inside of the rails) to keep small children and pets from squeezing through.
  2. Search for split of decaying wood. Check several different areas of the deck to be sure the wood is still sound, including the ledger board (where the deck attaches to the house and a common source of deck failure), deck boards, railings and stairs. Look for soft, spongy areas in the wood that can indicate insect damage or decay.
  3. Step carefully. Check each step to make certain of security and lack of decay. If an area behind the stair treads is open, this opening should be no more than 4 inches high. A fast tip is to also keep stair pathways clear of planters, décor, toys and other items that can present a tripping hazard.
  4. Check your fasteners. Over time, fasteners may “pop” from wood, loosen or even corrode. Check nails, screws or anchors and reinforce or replace anything that looks suspicious.
  5. Clean up debris. Make it a priority to clean away leaves, branches or other debris from your deck. When left in place, these can be slippery and promote mildew. If you’re already seeing mildew on the deck, or the deck coating has worn away, now is the time to clean and apply a new waterproof coating. Your deck and stairs should pear even without sagging, and should not sway or move when tested. Plus it is important to check on anything used on the deck, such as grills, lighting, storage and furnishings. Making these easy evaluations part of your yearly springtime maintenance can help keep your entire family safe.

 

 

Hardscapes add dimension and beauty to your outdoor space and require consideration in their design, construction and maintenance. Ideally, each hardscape item (i.e., pavements, decks, patios, retaining walls, fences, benches, gazebos, fountains, birdbaths, trellises) should be made from materials that are sustainable.pulver 5

Choosing Sustainable Materials For Your Hardscapes

There are several principles that define sustainable materials. The following list provides an easy guide to help you make your decision:

1) Look for sustainable materials that are located in Ann Arbor MI, are reclaimed or quarried.

2) Research the product’s impact on the environment. Choosing permeable materials such as gravel, stepping stones or interlocking pavers, reduces the occurrence of runoff by allowing more stormwater to soak into the ground. Also, make sure your materials don’t contain toxic chemicals like lead or arsenic that could leach into the ground.

3) Educate yourself about the frequency of maintenance using a certain material. Due to its composition, wood needs to be resealed or repainted every few years to repel termites, wood boring beetles,etc., and withstand the outside elements.

Concrete

Concrete is a great choice if you want to install a patio, because it requires no maintenance, except for the application of a sealer and a powerwashing every three to five years. Concrete blocks as opposed to landscaping timbers can be used to build retaining walls, since they only need powerwashing every few years and provide a more long-lasting, ornamental barrier. You can also choose paver stones to create a walkway which requires that the project be done in stages. The homeowner only needs to remove the damaged pavers from the base of a section and replace them with new ones. All three jobs are best done by professionals to ensure they are done properly.

Cedar

Cedar is a great composite material to build decks and fences since it has a lifespan of 10 to 15 years with proper care. Another great material to build decks and fences is a tropical wood called Ipe, widely known for its rot and insect resistance and has a longevity of up to 50 years. Plastic/wood pressed composites (WPCs) are also great choices for constructing decks and fences since they are very durable and only require powerwashing every few years and an application of a sealant to preserve the material’s color if necessary.

The right landscape design can maximize your outdoor living space and almost always increase your property’s value. So, decorating it with sustainaBackyard Deckble composite materials makes sense when considering how much time you’ll spend outdoors. Although more costly, these materials are growing in popularity all across the country. Whether you just want to find some place to relax or use as a space to host BBQ’s and garden parties, consider how all of your structures will tie-in with one another. Additionally, consider hiring a professional to do complex projects. If you want ornamental, low maintenance structures for your outdoor space, consider using the above sustainable materials by contacting a comprehensive landscaping company in Ann Arbor MI.

Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.

 

You want to put a new deck on your Ann Arbor MI house, but you are not sure what kind of material to buy. You like the look of a wood deck, but you might not have the time or money to care for it properly. Though it might be a little more expensive, a composite deck could be what you are looking for.

Low Maintenance

Back Porch

Composite decks require far less care and maintenance than wooden ones. They are made of a combination of wood fibers and plastic that resists impact damage and will not split or shrink with the passage of time. They are also far more resistant to sun damage and fading since the color is a part of the material. The only regular maintenance that you might have to perform is an occasional power washing to remove the built up tree sap, dirt and grime that comes with the passing of time. This lower maintenance will save you money when you do not need to strip, sand and refinish your deck every few years.

Choose A Look

When the composite materials first came out in the mid 1990s you had your choice of grey or grey. The industry has since discovered that there is a large market for it and have been working hard to improve your options. You can find materials that have been molded using actual wood as a pattern in a range of wood species that include cedar and walnut. These are available in different colors that resemble the stains that you would have used on wood. Their are also styles available that have ridges or other patterns that give better traction and help with water drainage from the deck.

Environmentally Friendly

Most composite decks are made from recycled materials. Sawdust, plastic bottles and jugs, and used grocery bags are all a part of the mix that makes it up. In fact, every 20 feet of decking has about 30 pounds of material that has been recycled. With the current popularity of composites this adds up to millions of pounds of material recycled each year.

Long Lasting

Deck - After

Since the material is made with plastics, it will hold up to those harsh Ann Arbor MI winters with no problems. Moisture will not soak into it and make it rot. There is no risk of it drying out so it will warp and twist. Insects will not develop a taste for it and infest your deck. A composite deck is likely to stand for as long as your house does. This will leave you free to enjoy it worry free for years and years to come.

Putting that new deck on your home will give you a relaxing place to spend those lazy summer afternoons. It can also increase the value of your house if you decide to sell it. Using composite decking for that deck will ensure that it looks good for as long as you own your home.

Get your yard looking its absolute best with custom landscaping solutions from Twin Oaks. Find us online at http://twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.