Our Current Blog Articles
March 13, 2018
Patio and Deck Cover Options
If you’re already planning for summer, let’s talk about your patio and deck cover options. At Carefree Decks and Patio Covers in Parker, Colorado, we have some great ideas to help you out. Take a look at some of these fantastic options for sprucing up your outdoor space and getting some respite from the hot sun and sudden showers.
The simplest, most budget-friendly of the many patio and deck cover options is an umbrella. The great thing is they offer needed shade and add a bright splash of color to your outdoor space.
Freestanding umbrellas are helpful as they can be moved around. This comes in handy when you have a versatile sitting area, so that you can adjust the umbrella’s position as the sun moves throughout the day. Some styles can be tilted to block the sun as it moves and others have an offset base that keeps it out of everyone’s way. You can even brighten things up a bit by adding LED lights to your umbrella which sets the mood nicely for a romantic evening in your backyard.
The downside is that umbrellas are not very big and they only add shade in the immediate surrounding area. Also, while you can put that shade exactly where you want it, you have to go to the effort to move it around. And it still shades a relatively small space. Your space will also be hotter in general because of the reflected light from the areas where the umbrella does not cast a shadow.
A step up from an umbrella is to hang up a cloth shade, or sail shade, over your patio space. You’ll have to put a structure in place to hang it from, but this isn’t very complicated. Just make sure that you hang the cloth at an angle that allows rainwater to run off where you want it to. Otherwise, you’ll end up with either a cloth sagging in the middle from all the water or a drainage point right in your walkway.
A light fabric will cast a lovely shadow without overly darkening your space. Cloth also typically allows for excellent airflow. But if the wind picks up a lot, be careful. It could easily tear down the fabric. You’ll also have to deal with taking the cloth down and storing it during the winter. Rainwater may run off, but snow is not as accommodating and the fabric will not stand up to it very well. So, while it can be great for the summer months, don’t plan on it protecting your patio during the winter.
To protect your patio space all year round, you’ll typically want to look into more permanent patio and deck cover options. Next, we’ll talk about two great choices that are excellent for all types of weather.
Aluminum Patio Covers
Wood patio covers look fabulous, and many people love them for their aesthetics. However, they tend to require a ton of maintenance, and even if you keep up with it, they will need to be replaced at some point or another. The wood begins to rot or warp and split within a few short years. The paint may start to crack or peel even faster depending on conditions.
To avoid this problem, but still get the great look of a wood patio cover, we recommend Alumawood patio covers by Amerimax. They are made to look just like wood but are virtually maintenance free.
Most importantly, of all the patio and deck cover options, Alumawood products last for years and are sturdy enough to handle the harsh weather conditions that we often experience here in Colorado. To give you an idea of what we mean, they can handle 30 pounds per square foot thanks to steel reinforced cross beams. That’s plenty, even for heavy snowfall. And winds will have to blow well over 110 miles per hour to cause damage to these covers.
You can choose to have a solid cover for full protection from the sun and rain, or go with a lattice design. The lattice can cut the temperature by an impressive 15°F, but you still get a bit of sunshine to brighten up your patio space.
Louvered Patio Covers
If you can’t decide between a solid or lattice aluminum cover, a louvered patio cover by Equinox may be the ideal of all patio and deck cover options. When it’s raining, just close the louvers to give your patio the optimum protection. You can also close things up on the hottest days when the sun is intense.
Other days, you may want to let a bit of sunlight into your space. Grab your remote and set the louvers to be partially open. This will offer a bit of shade and cut down on the heat without making your space unnecessarily dark. In the spring and fall, it may be cool enough that you want to let in all available heat and light. In that case, you can simply open the louvers all the way to let in plenty of light. These covers have a 160-degree range of motion, so you can position them however you want for the perfect balance of light, ventilation, and shade.
If you need any help with understanding your patio and deck cover options, feel free to reach out to us. Our staff here at Carefree Decks and Patio Covers is always happy to help answer questions and address your concerns. We have been running our family owned and operated business for over 23 years and have gained quite a bit of experience in that time. Our goal is to offer our customers quality products and service, as well as deliver the backyard space you’ve been dreaming about all winter.
To get started on creating your perfect patio space, give us a call today to discuss your ideas and goals. Our friendly experts will help you select the perfect patio and deck cover options for your home and budget, then set up your installation. Get ready to take your backyard barbecues to the next level!
February 19, 2018
Do You Need a New Deck?
Because that beautiful deck won’t last forever, you need to know how to tell you need a new deck. Carefree Decks and Patio Covers in Parker, Colorado offers these signs to watch out for. Inspect your deck at regular intervals, at least at the end of each season, looking for these signs of damage.
How to Tell You Need a New Deck
With certain problems, you can simply complete a little maintenance or make a quick fix to extend the life of your deck. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Here are signs that it’s time for a new deck.
- Posts are rotten
- Improper post connections
- Railings are shaky
- Loose ledger boards
- Leak in ledger board flashing
- Wobbly deck boards
- Does not meet current regulations
Now, let’s take a closer look at each possibility and what you should be looking for with your deck.
Posts are Rotten
Back in the day, they built decks by placing the posts right on the footings. The problem with this is that the wood becomes more prone to sucking up water, especially if it is not pressure-treated. Wet wood means, of course, that it will rot faster. To avoid this problem, most new decks are built with an added bracket that keeps the wood up off the ground. This drastically lowers the possibility of water getting in there and causing rot.
If your posts were built in this old-fashioned way, they might already be rotting. Check them out to see. If you find that the posts are rotting, you definitely need a new deck and sooner rather than later.
Improper Post Connections
Even if the bottoms of your posts are looking good, don’t forget to check the top. Examine where the post connects to the deck. They should always be sitting under the rim joist or beam of the deck. Some builders put them on the side, but that is not a very strong construction. It’s even worse if a builder only used nails to attach everything. If your deck was built in this way, consider replacing it, or you will be at risk of having your deck collapse.
Railings are Shaky
Admittedly, shaky railings aren’t as bad as rotten posts, but this is still a hazard. Imagine if someone was leaning against your railing, and it decides to give way? This is even more dangerous if there are young children around or your deck is high off the ground.
A lot of old railings are attached with nails only. The problem with using nails is that they will eventually slip. A deck contractor can replace nails with bolts or screws to ensure the railing holds. However, if the wood around the nails is splintering or falling apart, you may need a new deck.
Loose Ledger Boards
Ledger boards are another critical piece of your deck. These are the boards that support the deck on the side where it is attached to your house. These are weight bearing, so it’s essential for them to be in good shape. If you notice that your ledger boards are not secured properly or showing signs of deterioration, it’s time to replace them. Until you do, you run the risk of the deck falling away from your house.
Leak in Ledger Board Flashing
Sometimes the ledger boards can be okay, but you’re still at risk that the deck could pull away from the house. This happens because the rim joist of the house itself is rotting and will eventually fail.
Typically builders install a metal flashing around ledger boards to prevent this from happening. The flashing helps keep water from getting down inside, thus preventing rot. Sometimes this flashing may not have been installed correctly, or a small leak developed over time.
Even a tiny leak can lead to mold and eventually rot. It’s a good idea to inspect the flashing every once in a while to ensure that it is sealed tightly to the side of the house. No water should be able to get down in there and start causing problems.
Wobbly Deck Boards
Loose or rickety deck boards are usually indicative of more severe deck issues. In many cases, boards become wobbly as they rot and the screws or nails loosen. Do the boards feel spongy as you walk across them? This is another indication that the interior of the board is rotten.
To make matters worse, termites love to feed on rotting wood. If your wood is getting soft, they’ll start tunneling their way into it and accelerating the process of degeneration. If you notice their wings lying around on the ground near your deck, that’s a good indication they’re inside.
Also watch for visible rot on the ends of your deck boards. If you see this much rot, your structure has likely seen the last of its useful days and you may need a new deck.
No Longer Meets Regulations
As regulations change and become stricter, your old deck may not meet the new regulations. Those regulations change for a reason, so your deck is due for an update! Safety is very important, so every effort to ensure that your deck is safe. You deserve a comfortable place to enjoy backyard barbecues without having to worry about your family’s safety.
So now that you’ve learned a bit about how to tell you need a new deck, what do you think? Has the time come? Shopping for a new deck can be an exciting endeavor. It can also be a little overwhelming with all the options that are available these days. There are many things to consider. What kind of material do you want to use? What color would look best? What style would fit best with your home? Will your new deck add resale value to your home?
Give us a call here at Carefree Decks and Patio Covers, and one of our team will be happy to walk you through the options and help you decide. Once you pick out your new deck, our staff will work quickly and efficiently to get it built. With over 20 years in the business, we can build the perfect deck for you and your family's needs.
January 17, 2018
Deck Pattern Options
Today, our experts at Carefree Decks and Patio Covers in Parker, Colorado offer some excellent deck pattern options. This can be a great way to dress up your deck and add some interest, especially if you have a smaller space but want to make a huge impact.
With over 20 years of decking experience, the Carefree team has the expertise to build all deck pattern options. We can even set up a beautiful inlay that will be sure to be the talk of the neighborhood. Check out these ideas to get started.
Placing your boards horizontally is one of the simplest and most common deck building patterns. There is virtually no extra work involved, and waste is minimal. That makes it a popular option.
The downside is that the pattern itself is not very interesting. If you are looking for a way to spruce up your space, this might not provide enough flair. However, if you want a simple design that accentuates your deck length, this is the right fit for you.
One of the easiest ways of changing up your deck pattern is to put the boards on a diagonal. You’ll have to install the deck boards at a 45-degree angle across the joists. This has the bonus of being a stronger build structurally.
This technique will require a bit more work since you’ll have to cut the ends of all the boards at an angle. That also means that there is a bit more waste. You can minimize how much with the right planning and preparation, something we excel at to ensure a greener build.
The herringbone style of decking is an interesting step up from diagonal decking. Half of your deck will be diagonal one way, and the other half will be diagonal the other way. This will create a “zipper” effect that looks pretty snazzy. And if you already have a herringbone design in your kitchen or bath tiles, taking the same look outdoors to your deck will create a wonderful sense of cohesion.
This type of pattern requires significant planning, as well as added blocking to the frame because the deck will need the extra support. Make sure you choose a reputable deck contractor for the job.
Inlays in Decking
Adding an inlay to your decking is a bit more complicated. Well, honestly, it’s a lot more complicated. But the payoff is worth it if you want to use different angles to create interesting shapes. You can pick fun patterns like stars, compass roses, octagons, or even curved designs if your installer is talented. You can also change up the colors to make your inlay pop.
Depending on your design, added vertical blocking is needed to ensure that your deck is structurally safe. It will take a lot more time to complete, and result in a lot of waste, but the result will be stunning.
Carefree Decks and Patio Covers is a family-owned company dedicated to making our customers happy. We like to give everyone a unique experience and build the backyard retreat they’ve always wanted. Give us a call and talk to one of our experts. We can discuss and help you pick the deck pattern options that will work perfectly for your home and yard space.
January 2, 2018
Deck Railing Choices
Today, Carefree Decks and Patio Covers in Parker, Colorado discuss your deck railing choices. The purpose of deck railings is twofold. First, they are there to keep you and your guests safe, so be sure to select a sturdy one. Second, they are there to look good, so it’s important to choose a stylish option.
Let’s take a look at the more common materials that comprise your deck railing choices.
Wood is a classic choice for deck railings. It looks great, isn’t too expensive, and is easy to customize for the perfect look. With wood decks and railings, you can paint them, or stain them in virtually any color of the rainbow to add a great accent piece to your home.
The only downside is the upkeep. Wood will eventually rot, splinter, warp, or fall victim to insects. You can stave off these unwelcomed effects for a while, but it takes a bit of work.
Aluminum is a great choice for the homeowner who doesn’t want to have to worry about maintenance. It’s still a relatively inexpensive option, and there are lots of styles to choose from. You can also paint it any color you want just like wood.
Aluminum also usually comes with a lifetime warranty. That’s a handy feature. Plus, you know that you can expect a long life out of your deck railing. Aluminum decking, however, is less customizable than wood. You are more restricted to ready-made options, but there are plenty to pick from.
Vinyl railing looks nice and is an excellent option for many deck railing applications. A properly-built vinyl railing is sturdy, will last a long time, and requires little to no maintenance. It can even stand up well against the elements.
Your customizing options are quite a bit more limited with vinyl deck rails. Even the colors are limited, and you should expect to pay extra for anything other than basic white.
If you’re looking for a durable railing, particularly for a second floor, be careful. Sometimes companies use recycled products that are not as strong and may not hold up as well as you expect.
Steel or wrought iron railings are a very elegant option. The material is very strong and can come in thinner profiles. This is great when you don’t want the railing itself to be a focal point or block the background. It is highly customizable and easy to add elegant scrolling and other designs.
Depending on where you live, metal deck railings may require a bit more upkeep. While they won’t rot or fall prey to insects like wood, the enemy is rust. Living in a snowy area like Denver means exposure to the salt used to control ice. So, you’ll have to keep it clean and sealed to prevent it from rusting.
While this is a simplified version of your deck railing choices, you’re welcome to contact one of our friendly representatives here at Carefree Decks and Patio Covers to find out even more. We can help you choose and install the perfect option for your home.
December 19, 2017
What's a Good Size Deck for Entertaining?
Here at Carefree Decks and Patio Covers in Denver, we’ve heard our customers wondering what’s a good size deck for entertaining. Today, we’re going to give a few tips and point out a few things that will help you decide what the perfect size deck is for you.
Where Should You Put It?
Before you can decide what size deck is perfect for you, you will have to determine where you should put it. Take some time to look at your backyard and think about what will work in your space.
If you want to build a good size deck for entertaining on the ground, it may be better to go with cement or a stone patio instead. Decks are designed to be raised, even if it’s just a foot or two. They can be built on the ground, but it’s more complicated and more expensive than using patio materials.
Take a look at where you have a door from your home, or where you could put one to provide the best access to your deck. Most of the time, there is already a door from the kitchen or living room that leads to the backyard. This is typically a good access point for your deck.
You can get creative with your access point as well. With the growing number of people working from home, some are putting an access point in their home office. That makes it easy to step outside on nice days and enjoy the sunshine while still getting some work done.
Some even put an access point in the bathroom and add an outdoor shower. It’s like having a little mini-resort spot in your own backyard.
Decks don’t always have to be built right next to the house. You can position your deck around or next to a focal point, somewhere in your yard, such as a pool, pond, water feature, or spa. If there’s a spot on your property that offers a beautiful view, consider strategically building your deck to take advantage of it. Simply, run a path from your house to your deck and you’re set.
Now you have the perfect backyard oasis for relaxing and entertaining.
How Big Should It Be?
Now that you know where you want to put your deck, you can start thinking size. First of all, your deck will have to fit in the spot you picked. So, the deck size will be partially dependent on how much space you have available.
But if you could build a deck whatever size you wanted, what’s a good size deck for entertaining? That question isn’t as easy to answer as it sounds. The truth is, it depends on what your definition of entertaining is. How many people do you usually like to have over at one time? What are the activities that you enjoy doing? Are you planning to have an outdoor entertainment center set up for watching the game? Do you need space for an outdoor fireplace or kitchen area? What about a refrigerator or cupboard space?
To give a rough idea, space for a table and chairs for 4-6 people requires about 144 square feet of deck space. To have enough space for 10-12 people you’ll want to up to 288 square feet.
However, that will be just enough space. If you want ample room to be able to move about comfortably, you’ll want at least 392 square feet. This is a good size deck for entertaining for most people. Of course, it still depends on what kind of entertaining you want to do.
What Shape Should Your Deck Be?
A good size deck for entertaining comes in a variety of shapes. Sometimes, a deck has to be shaped creatively in order to fit into the space available. With plenty of space, you have free reign to decide how you want your deck.
There are various options when it comes to the lines of your deck. You can have them follow the lines of your home. Alternatively, you can contrast the lines of your home with some curves. Or you can get really creative and use both straight lines and curves to create an interesting design.
Keep in mind that straight lines give a crisp feel to your deck, while curves add softness and interest. Not sure how to choose the right shape for your home? That’s okay. You can talk to one of our experts here at Carefree Decks. We are happy to help you create the perfect deck design.
How Comfortable is the Spot You Chose?
Another factor to consider when positioning your deck is the comfort of your guests. Is the deck positioned directly in the intense sun? Are there a lot of insects in the area? Does the wind blow often or strong? Is the deck in a spot that provides privacy?
Be careful when choosing the spot for your deck. These comfort factors can make or break the success of your new entertainment area.
There are fixes for these problems, so be creative. For example, if your deck is directly in the hot sun, consider installing a patio cover. Our louvered patio covers are ideal for offering shelter from the sun (and rain) while still allowing the option of opening up the roof and enjoying the sunshine on warm spring or fall days. Alternatively, if the wind is the trouble, consider planting trees or installing a beautiful trellis as a windbreak.
Ready to Take the Plunge?
Now that you have a clearer idea of what’s a good size deck for entertaining and how to position it, you’re probably getting excited about your new deck. And even though winter is just hitting its stride, right now is the perfect time to get the planning stages out of the way. Feel free to give us a call here at Carefree Decks and Patio Covers, serving all of metro Denver, to help you plan your new outdoor space. We have over 20 years of experience helping people design and build the deck of their dreams.