Why It’s Important to Inspect Your Deck

deck maintenance

If you take the right precautions – cleaning frequently, sealing properly, directing water flow, using outdoor woven rugs, and more – your deck should be a comfortable and enjoyable place to spend time. But it’s essential to check and fix damages quickly.

Poke around with a screwdriver to see whether any boards are loose or have small holes, which can indicate rot. For more details, check out https://deckbuilderscharleston.com/.

Check the Flashing

The flashing is a vital part of your deck that keeps water from penetrating your home. It’s an L-shaped piece of metal that is often found on the bottom side where a deck meets the house. In order for it to work properly, it must be sealed well. When flashing is missing, the results can be catastrophic for both the deck and the home.

This is especially important when a deck has a sliding door. If the opening is not sealed properly, moisture can cause rotting of the door jamb set and sheathing that can lead to failure of the deck ledger board. A failing ledger board can allow water to leak into the ceiling, walls and rafters of the house, causing extensive damage.

To check the flashing, walk underneath your deck and use a screwdriver to probe areas of wood that appear soft or spongy. The wood should feel firm, but if it’s spongy, it’s a sign of dry rot and needs to be replaced. You should also check joists and posts for spongy, soft or broken wood as well as corroded fasteners.

If you notice any of these issues, be sure to contact a qualified contractor for repair and maintenance. A quick inspection can prevent major problems that could cost you a lot of money and possibly your deck.

Proper deck maintenance also includes trimming bushes and other plants that touch the deck. This not only helps to keep the boards from becoming spongy, but it also makes it more difficult for insect infestations to occur.

Decks should also be inspected for rotted and decaying wood in areas that are exposed to the elements. Using a screwdriver, probe these areas to see if they are spongy or easy to penetrate. If this is the case, the area should be repaired and replaced.

It’s best to inspect the deck in a calm, dry day when there is no rain or wind. This will make the job much easier and will help you to spot problem areas more easily. A good time to do this is during the fall or spring when the weather tends to be more stable.

Check the Nails

Many homeowners and multi-housing units have decks for relaxation, dining and entertaining. It is important to do a periodic survey of the deck to make sure that the deck boards, joists, fasteners and connectors, as well as the stair railings and handrails are sound and in good condition. Inspecting these areas will help you avoid costly repairs or replacements as well as the health and safety issues that come from a neglected deck.

A quick visual inspection may reveal popped nails protruding from the surface of the deck or even empty nail holes. Popped nails are a clue that the wood in the deck is rotting and should be replaced. Resist the temptation to simply pound the popped nail back in place, as this would only provide a temporary fix. Instead, use a screwdriver to probe the area. If the screwdriver sinks in more than about 1/4th inch, the wood is rotting and needs to be replaced.

Another common cause of deck failure is improper attachment to the home. Older decks often had the ledger board nailed to the house, which is not a durable connection. Modern codes require that the ledger board be structurally connected into the home using lag bolts or lag screws.

While it is tempting to use nails at all locations, there are a few places that they should never be used. Joist hangers, for example, are designed to be screwed into the joists. Nails in joist hanger nail holes can corrode and lead to deterioration of the wood, as well as a split between the joist and the hanger that may allow the joist to come loose from the deck.

It is also a good idea to switch from nails to screws when constructing a new deck or rebuilding an existing one. Screws can be less expensive and have a higher tensile strength than nails. Moreover, they can be driven into wood with a power tool without drilling pilot holes, which can help speed construction and reduce labor costs. Screws should be corrosion resistant and long enough to reach the joist on either side.

Check the Railings

A broken railing is the most common cause of deck related injuries. Often, these are due to improper installation and fasteners when the deck was first built. During the inspection, look at each railing to see if it’s securely attached to the post. If the railing is loose or splinters when you touch it, it should be reinforced or replaced as soon as possible.

Look for signs of pest infestation and rot as well. You can also use a screwdriver to poke the surface of each board and feel for soft wood, which could be an indication of dry rot. Infestation and rot tend to spread quickly, so checking frequently will allow you to nip these problems in the bud.

You should also check the ledger board, which connects the deck to your house or other anchoring structure for your deck. Check to ensure that it’s securely fastened and has adequate flashing to protect it from moisture.

The railings and stairs should be free of debris, including leaves and other organic materials that can promote mildew. The stairs should be sturdy and free of splinters and have a smooth, non-skid surface.

While you’re at it, check to see that all the fasteners and nails are secure. Loose screws or nails can lead to rot and other structural damage, especially in areas with high traffic.

If you’re planning on staining your deck, prepare by taping and covering all the hardware that shouldn’t receive stain, such as metal rails, screws and brackets. Then, lightly tap each post and railing with a painter’s tool to see if it feels solid enough to support your weight.

Check the Stairs

During your inspection, look for any signs of structural damage or safety hazards. Carefully examine the joists and beams, looking especially for areas that may have water damage or that seem sagging or uneven. If you find any issues, be sure to address them immediately to prevent future problems and maintain the strength of your deck.

Stairs and railings are the most common areas for deck related injuries. Broken railings can fall and hit people below, while unstable stairs are a hazard for falls. These safety hazards can be easily fixed with a little effort and a trip to the hardware store.

Examine each stair riser and stringer to make sure they are securely fastened to the joists. Replace any nails that have popped up, as well as any splintered or warped boards. Check that handrails are properly fastened and secured to the balusters. Heavily weathered wood should be sanded to remove splinters and ensure the handrail grips are free of any looseness or cracking.

Don’t forget to inspect the guardrails and posts as well, and that they are secure and solidly attached. Stairs should also be inspected to make sure they are secure and free of any rot or sagging. Guardrails and post should be firmly fastened to the foundation or footings, and all of the connections should be tight and solid.

Remember to always use quality paints, stains, and sealants on your deck. The best products will help to repel moisture, protect against mildew and mold, and screen out harmful UV rays. For best results, apply a fresh coat every two to three years.

Keep in mind that new decks require a 60-90 day weathering period before they can be stained or sealed. During this time, the wood will settle and adjust to the environment in which it will be used. After this period, you can apply a fresh coat of stain to your deck. Cover nearby plants with a tarp or plastic sheet to protect them from any overspray from cleaners and stains. Before beginning a deck cleaning project, it’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast to ensure clear and sunny conditions.

How to Budget for Bathroom Remodeling

bathroom remodeling

A remodel can save money on a water heater, reduce the amount of electricity used to run appliances and fixtures, and even improve your home’s energy efficiency. Researching materials, comparing prices at basic home improvement stores, specialty shops, and online markets, and planning ahead can help with budgeting for the project.bathroom remodeling

No matter what type of remodeling you plan, there are always unforeseen expenses that may increase the cost. That is why it is important to have a budget and stick to it. Also, remember that the cost of materials will vary from location to location. This can add a few thousand dollars to your overall project. If you need some help from the experts, contact J&R Construction now!

When making a budget, you will need to consider what features are absolutely necessary for your bathroom. For example, adding a walk-in tub or replacing your existing one will be more expensive than simply installing a new shower. Other features to consider include lighting, ventilation, and storage space. It is also a good idea to think about who will be using the bathroom and what their needs are. For instance, if you have children, you will want to make sure there is adequate storage and space for bath toys. If you have family members with reduced mobility, you will want to ensure the bathroom is ADA-accessible.

Finally, don’t forget that you will likely need to get a permit for your bathroom remodel. This is especially true for any significant changes that require demolition and/or new plumbing lines. Obtaining a permit is often a complicated process and can add to your overall project costs. It is important to choose a reputable contractor with experience working on bathroom projects who can help you navigate the permitting process.

Don’t overcomplicate things.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when planning a bathroom remodeling project. There’s just so much to consider: paint colors, tile styles and textures, fixtures, layout, storage, and accessories, just to name a few.

One of the most common mistakes homeowners make is trying to do too much in a remodel. This often leads to a rushed job that ends up costing more in the long run.

When it comes to bathroom remodeling, a little bit of planning can go a long way toward keeping costs down and ensuring that the project is done right the first time. So take your time when planning a remodel, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional if you need it.

An experienced contractor will know exactly what it takes to make your vision a reality and avoid costly mistakes along the way. They can do exploratory work to sniff out any issues before they become a problem, such as investigating the vent stack above your bathroom to see what it’s made of and to figure out how to access it when you need to change a fixture. They can also plan ahead and ensure that all the work is completed in a logical order so that the bathroom can be used again as soon as possible. This will keep the project running smoothly and avoid workflow-disrupting delays.

Start at the top.

There are a lot of ways to increase the value of your bathroom. You can add a new paint job and install modern fixtures that give it a sleek look. This type of upgrade reflects positively on your home’s overall value and could even boost your credit score.

You can also improve your bathroom’s functionality by incorporating design features that are friendly to people with disabilities. These types of upgrades are referred to as “universal design” and are becoming increasingly popular. They can help people with different physical abilities enjoy the benefits of a fully functional bathroom, regardless of their age.

The other big way to add value is to make structural changes. This level of remodeling goes far beyond simply changing the fixtures and can involve major layout changes that alter the footprint of the room. This can be quite cumbersome and expensive, but it can be done if you’re willing to work with a contractor that can handle the complexities of such a project.

The decision of whether to remodel or renovate your bathroom can be a personal one based on your financial situation and goals for the future. It has to be made from a realistic perspective, however. You should always keep in mind that your home is an investment, and it needs to be properly cared for in order to maximize its potential.

Do a “full gut.”

Bathrooms are one of the most-used rooms in a home, and the right remodel can transform them from a utilitarian space into a spa-like oasis. In addition, updating a bathroom can help increase your home’s value and make it easier to sell.

However, the cost of a bathroom remodel can be prohibitive for some homeowners. Fortunately, there are many ways to save money on your remodel without sacrificing quality or style. You can choose cheaper materials, do the work yourself, or shop around for contractors. Choosing a contractor with experience in bathroom remodeling will also ensure that the project is done correctly and won’t require costly corrections later on.

The size of the bathroom is another major factor in determining the cost of the remodel. Large bathrooms will generally cost more to remodel than smaller bathrooms, and adding features like walk-in showers or dual sinks can significantly increase the price tag.

Depending on the scope of your remodel, it may be possible to keep some existing elements. For example, if your bathroom door matches the other doors in your home, it may be less expensive to reuse it than to replace it completely. However, if your bathroom is in need of an entirely new window, a replacement can offer increased energy efficiency and provide a more modern look to the room.

A mid-range bathroom remodel can usually be completed for $75,000 to $100,000. This type of remodel is an ideal option for homeowners who want to update their bathrooms with new materials but don’t need a complete overhaul. This type of remodel will typically include a new tub-shower combo, sink with vanity, toilet, premium Caesar Stone quartz countertops, pre-finished cabinets and hardware, premium paint, and applied design techniques to create a more spacious feeling.

Plan for adequate lighting.

A properly planned lighting arrangement can make a huge difference in the overall look and feel of a bathroom. It can transform a room from one that’s just functional to a true oasis for relaxation.

When planning your bathroom lighting, consider incorporating a mix of task and ambient lighting. Task lighting is ideal for areas like the vanity, where you’ll be applying makeup or shaving, while ambient lighting can help create a relaxing atmosphere. You can also use accent lights to add some drama or highlight a specific decorative element.

Another important consideration is to ensure that your bathroom has enough outlets for all of the electrical devices you’ll be using there. This includes things like hair dryers and electric toothbrushes.

Finally, don’t forget about the importance of lighting fixtures that can withstand moisture and humidity. Many fixture, switch, and bulb upgrades can be done on your own, but you should always hire a qualified electrician to perform any wiring or work that needs to be completed to code.

Another great way to save money is to upgrade your bulbs to LEDs. These bulbs use significantly less energy than traditional bulbs, and they have a much longer lifespan. This will reduce your utility bill and save you from having to replace your bulbs frequently. This will also help reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a greener home.

Plan for new accessories.

No bathroom remodel is complete without a few new accessories. From towels, wash clothes, and soap dishes to mirrors and towel racks, all can enhance the function and style of your newly remodeled space. When choosing your accessories, take the time to consider size, material, and color options so they coordinate with the rest of your décor.

It’s important to think about all the items that will be included in your bathroom and plan for their installation early on in your project. This helps ensure that all the pieces work together seamlessly and avoids costly rework or additional construction to get the look you’re hoping for.

For example, it is often best to install the vanity before installing the bathtub or shower. Similarly, it is typically best to install the flooring before the walls.

This not only allows for proper installation but also minimizes any dust and debris that could impact the finished product.

It’s also a good idea to plan for a variety of fixture innovations as you shop, such as anti-scald guards and digital displays that indicate the temperature of water. Additionally, it is a good idea to plan ahead for the possibility of future accessibility needs by including blocking between wall studs for grab bars or other support fixtures. This is especially true in bathrooms with showers and tubs that are 33 to 36 inches high from the floor.