One of the easiest, and the most inexpensive, ways to gain living space for your home is by building a deck. Because unlike a patio a deck usually has a wood frame and can be placed at ground level, flush with your second-story bedroom, or as high as the roof-line of your home. It can be a small, useful space for your enjoyment or a massive testament to style and recreation. And an already-existing deck can be enlarged, resurfaced, or re-colored with a weekend's contribution of time because it's just wood.

A deck is also one of the very few builds or renovations that can be accomplished within a budget. If the ground is stable a contractor can usually come in at a definite price because the material prices and labor costs are fairly stable. In other words, if the deck estimate is $3600 you can pretty well be assured that the final cost will be the same. This is because there are very few variables to move the price around.

However, before building your dream deck there are a few considerations you might want to address:

Shapes, Size, and Levels

This is actually a very important consideration because the shape affects both the usage and the cost. For example, a rectangular deck in front of the home with diamond-shaped end pieces will require extra cutting and shaping to get the right effect. A good carpenter will take more time to make sure that the shape and angles are right and this will cost more.

Now, add to this the levels. Many decks are built into spectacular structures of two or three levels with grilling and cooking stations as well as spas. Fireplaces with large chimneys are finding their way out to the decks allowing a great deck life even when the weather gets cold. To fill this space homeowners are adding posh, waterproof furniture and TV screens just like in the den.

If you live in an area that is very hot in the summer a misting system, fine water drops propelled by a fan, can take the heat away.

Railings and Posts

Decks have railings mainly for safety. But just like window trim and shrubs set off the front of the home, railings and posts define what is otherwise a flat, boring platform. Railings are the functional supports and the balusters, although providing protection, are structural decorations. In older-style homes, the posts are a 4 X 4 carved, Victorian-style column with matching carved balusters whereas a modern deck may have tempered-glass panels between the posts. The former is more for decoration but the glass, although modernistic, is protection from the wind.

One of the breakthroughs in railing design is the type of materials. Rather than the high maintenance that wood railings require, these long guard rails are now being made from powder-coated aluminum, composites, and vinyl. In addition, these railings can come in 4' and 8' assembled panels that can easily be attached to posts bolted into the decking. These are more expensive but you can recoup most of the price from the labor savings over the installation of wooden posts and balusters. And then there is the saving in time and money you would have had to invest in painting.

Below Decks

One of the newest movements in deck building is to provide a usable space underneath the deck. This means instead of a dead space where water trickles down between the decking boards the area is used for storage. Of course, to make this area functional the surface of the deck would have been at least 6' high, or 4' if you don't mind bending over.

The decking is covered with waterproofing to divert the water into a small gutter system and away from the home. In many cases, the deck wood can be used as a platform for fiberglass sheeting which is then saturated with the epoxy to make it a hard surface. Then this surface is painted with non-stick paint or covered with an outdoor carpet. For a more realistic deck waterproofing is stretched over the joists and then vinyl or composite decking is placed down over that with a sealing solution on the bottom sides.

(Original Article from Trusted Pros)

It is warming up and we are celebrating with this perfect rosy pink. Time to be bold! It's representative of all the flowers blooming right now. We are also sharing colors that complement our color of the month to help you think about a theme for your home. If you have any questions regarding our color of the month, please feel free to email us at

Our favorite compliment to Coming up Roses is a pale but bright green. We think Picnic (6731) by Sherwin Williams is an excellent fit for some complementary colors to the perfect pink of Coming up Roses.

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What does "quality" mean, and what benefits do high-quality paints provide?

Painting is an investment for your client – in time, money, and labor. You may have heard your contractors tell you or your clients that it pays to spend a little extra to get a high-quality, long-lasting finish. But what does "quality" mean, and what benefits do high-quality paints provide?

A high-quality coating starts with ingredients that allow the paint to apply more easily, look better and last longer. The following four key ingredients affect the quality of paint.


Two types of pigment go into a can of paint. First are "prime" pigments. These provide color and hide. Second are low-cost "extender" pigments. They add bulk to the product but add little value in terms of color.

Higher-quality paints have more of the all-important prime pigments, which provide easier application, greater durability, and better color retention.


There are a variety of binders used in today's paints. Latex paints contain either 100 percent acrylic, styrene-acrylic, or vinyl acrylic binders. Oil paints typically contain linseed oil, soya oil, or modified oils called alkyds. The type, quality, and amount of binder affect everything from stain resistance and gloss to adhesion and crack resistance. Higher-quality binders adhere to surfaces better and provide enhanced film integrity and longer-lasting performance. This makes them more resistant to cracking, blistering, and peeling.


The liquid provides no added performance benefits. It's simply the vehicle that allows you to get the paint from the can to the surface. Top-quality paints have a greater ratio of solids – pigments and binders – to liquids.


Additives are ingredients that give paint a specific benefit that it might not otherwise have. Common additives in higher-end paints include:

  • Rheology modifiers to provide better hide through flow and leveling of the coating.

  • Mildewcides to keep mildew in check.

  • Dispersing agents to keep pigments evenly distributed.

  • Preservatives to prevent spoilage.

Cost per Year of Service

Before you specify paint based on price, consider this: Lower-quality paints require more coats to cover and, because they aren't as durable, need maintenance much sooner. This is especially true with exterior coatings.

So, to get a true idea of costs, look beyond the initial price tag and compare the cost per year of service. For example, say you're painting a home that requires 20 gallons of exterior latex. You have two options:

  • Buy a lower grade paint at $20 per gallon with an expected life span of six years.

  • Buy a high-quality 25-year paint at $35 per gallon.

In the first scenario, your out-of-pocket cost would be $400. Since the paint is expected to last six years, the cost per year is $67. In the second scenario, your material cost is $700. But because the paint has a 25-year lifespan, your cost per year is only $28.

By choosing the higher-priced, higher-quality paint, you actually save your customer $39 per year in paint expense. And that's just the material cost ¾ add labor into the equation and the money your customer saves in the long run increases significantly.

When it comes to selecting paint, quality does matter. Whether you're looking at interior or exterior paint, and whether you're considering adhesion, durability or hiding properties, a better-quality paint will give you better service – both short and long term.

(Original Article by Sherwin Williams)

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