Author: Michael Regan

Top Reasons To Build Your New Deck In The Winter

Beautiful composite deck with some snow on it in the winter time

If you’ve been thinking about adding a deck to your home and are considering waiting until the spring, you might want to reconsider. It makes sense as to why people think building decks in the spring and summer are ideal since those are the times of the year when they’ll use them most. However, having your deck built in the winter can give you some hidden advantages.

Can I Build My Deck In The Winter?

The short answer is yes. And it’s not only possible to build your deck in the winter, it’s much more ideal than waiting until spring. Any call you make to deck companies will likely give you the same answer. You might think it’s too cold to take on such a project like building a deck, but deck contractors disagree. Here are several reasons why you should have your new deck built in the winter.

Your Deck Will Be Ready To Use In The Spring

If you wait until the spring to build your deck, then you could be missing out on a few weeks of using your deck. On the other hand, if you build your deck in the winter, then you might not be able to use it immediately since it’s cold outside, but it will be ready for use when the temperature warms up. This gives you time to purchase furniture and other decor to personalize your deck so you’ll be prepared to host outdoor gatherings as soon as spring arrives.

Staining A Wooden Deck In The Winter Leads To Better Results

Many deck contractors also suggest building a deck in the winter if you plan to stain the wood. The dry air is ideal for staining compared to the humid air in the spring and summer. Wood will absorb moisture from the air and potentially lead to cracking or peeling in the stain. Plus, if it’s too hot outside, the stain could dry too quickly and lead to streaks or watermarks.

Twisting And Splitting Of Wood Is Less Likely

The pressure-treated wood used by the best deck and patio builders is designed to last a long time. However, pressure-treated wood needs a couple of months to dry, and winter conditions are ideal. If the wood has to dry during the heat of the summer, the humidity could cause it to take even longer to finish the drying process. And direct sunlight on the wood during the summer can cause the wood to twist and split while it’s drying. These are issues you don’t have to worry about during the winter.

You Could Save Money On Material Costs

Sometimes the companies where deck contractors get materials will lower the prices during the winter since the demand is not as high. The best deck companies will then pass those savings on to their customers to make it more attractive for them to complete their project now rather than waiting.

Labor Costs Could Be Cheaper

Some deck and patio builders often lower their labor costs during the winter since it’s typically not as busy for them. So when you combine the potential lower material costs with the lower labor costs, you might be able to have your deck installed for much cheaper than you thought without sacrificing quality. And since most contractors aren’t as busy in the winter, you can be more selective when choosing deck contractors to ensure you hire the right company for the job.

Your Yard And Landscaping Won’t Be As Damaged

If you’re worried about your yard and landscaping getting damaged because of heavy foot traffic while building your deck, then completing the project in the winter can prevent it from happening. Your grass should be dormant and the ground is firmer so you can expect minimal yard damage. And the best deck contractors will be mindful of any landscaping you have and do their best to work around it so you won’t have to start over in the spring.

Get Your New Deck Built Quicker In The Winter

When deck companies aren’t as busy in the winter, they can focus more on your project rather than bouncing back and forth between projects. So what normally could be a three or four-week project could be done in about two weeks as a result. This isn’t a guarantee, but it’s worth talking to your deck and patio builders about so you can have proper expectations.

Building a deck in the winter can potentially save you money on material and labor costs, get it built quicker, make it look better, and it will be ready to use when the temperatures warm up. These are great reasons to get started on your deck building project and Regan Total Construction is ready to help. We build decks year-round and have specialized in residential deck projects for more than 20 years. Our experienced deck builders can customize any deck to fit your specifications and we always strive to exceed your expectations. Now is the perfect time to get started on your project, so contact us today to learn more about our company, our quality of work, financing options, and to get a free quote.

Filed under: Decks

Three Key Differences Between Composite Decks and Natural Wood Decks

composite decking next to wood decking for comparison

Adding a new deck to your backyard can instantly improve your lifestyle. And if you already have a deck that’s been there for several years, it might be time for a deck replacement. Regardless of your situation, deciding between a composite deck and a natural wood deck is one of the most important things to consider. There are some major advantages and disadvantages of each material to help you make the best decision. We’ve discussed those here for you.

Consider The Durability Between Natural Wood And Composite Decking

Natural wood decks are often the top choice for homeowners because wood is durable and can last up to 30 years when maintained properly. However, composite decking contractors will tell you composite decks are even more durable and can last for around 50 years if it’s cared for.

When natural wood decks are exposed to harsh weather elements, they can eventually splinter, warp, rot, and even attract termites. So if your wood deck will be rained on, then you’ll have to deal with these issues over time. Wood decks will also fade when intense sunlight hits them, so you’ll constantly need to stain and protect them. Generally, composite decking contractors agree you don’t have to worry about those issues with composite decking. The long-lasting and durable materials are designed to be long-lasting no matter the weather elements where you live.

Understand The Maintenance Required

Whether you’re looking at a deck replacement or installing a new deck from scratch, you should understand the maintenance required for each type of material. While a natural wood deck looks amazing when it’s first installed and for many years, it takes a lot of work and maintenance to keep it that way. It’s important to clean the deck of any debris as soon as possible when it looks dirty, and many people choose to lightly pressure wash it a few times each year. And since decks tend to have a lot of foot traffic, you’ll also have to repaint or stain it every couple of years to keep it looking nice.

With a composite deck replacement, you don’t have to worry about having to repaint or stain it. And as far as cleaning goes, sweeping it off when needed and scrubbing it with soap and water a couple of times each year is all that’s usually required to ensure it remains in great shape. Most composite decking contractors see people choose composite decking over natural wood primarily because of the less maintenance required.

Cost Considerations

Cost is always a consideration whether you’re looking for composite decking contractors or comparing deck materials. When you’re building a new deck, you don’t want to opt for cheap labor or materials because you likely won’t be satisfied with the end product. And it likely won’t last as long as you’d like.

While there’s nothing wrong with a traditional natural wood deck, it’s enticing for people because the materials are less expensive upfront. However, what many people don’t consider is the investment you have to make to maintain it. The cost of paint and stain can add up over time, not to mention the hours you have to spend every year keeping it clean. On the other hand, composite decks are more expensive to install, but you shouldn’t have to spend much more on maintaining them in the future. So if you’re on a budget now, then a natural wood deck can offer great value. But if you have a little extra money to spend, then it’s worth it for most people to invest in a composite deck.

Are Composite Decks Better Than Natural Wood Decks?

There are some clear advantages to composite decks over natural wood decks. Composite decks don’t require much maintenance and have a lifespan of nearly twice as long as natural wood decks. Combine this with the durability of composite materials and many homeowners believe the extra cost is well worth it.

However, this doesn’t mean natural wood decks should be avoided completely. Some people aren’t worried about having to maintain a wood deck and enjoy painting or staining it frequently to change up the look. You can enjoy both types of materials just the same. As long as you know what it will take to enjoy each type of deck for years to come, then you can make an informed decision and feel confident with it.

The Right Contractor Can Help You Make The Best Decision

When you search for “composite decking companies near me,” you’ll likely see multiple results. Not all composite decking contractors are the same, though, so it’s critical to find the best option. Interview multiple companies and have them come to your house to provide an estimate and talk about their process. Cutting corners is not an option when building a deck, and that’s what many contractors will do if they offer you a low cost estimate.

Regan Total Construction specializes in building custom decks homeowners can enjoy for years to come. Choosing between a natural wood deck and a composite deck is a difficult decision for many homeowners and we can help present you with facts to help you make a confident decision. We use only the best materials and our professionals will never cut corners during a project. If you’re ready to start the process of your deck replacement, contact us today and we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Filed under: Decking Material, Decks, Trex Composite Decks, Wood Decks

How to Design an All-Season Deck

Luxury All Season Deck

Homeowners who don’t have an outdoor deck at their home might not fully appreciate the benefits until they have one. On the other hand, people who currently have a deck might not use it year-round because various weather elements keep them inside. The good news is both situations can be solved when you work with local deck contractors to design an all-season deck for your home. An all-season deck is designed with all weather elements in mind so you can enjoy it year-round, rather than just in the spring and summer months. We’ve discussed some of the basic deck renovations to consider if you have an existing deck or new design ideas for your new custom deck.

Use Durable Materials

Most people believe wood is the best option when it comes to building a deck. While it’s a strong material that will last many years, it also requires a lot more maintenance and can wear down depending on how harsh the weather elements are in your region. A better alternative is using composite decking materials, which are the strongest and most durable available today. Composite materials won’t wear down as quickly when dirt, leaves, and debris collect on them throughout the year, and you won’t have to worry about the materials splintering over time. The maintenance for composite materials is low as well, so you’ll be able to preserve the like-new look for years to come.

Incorporate Shade Whenever Possible

When completing deck renovations, think about where the shade will come from. One reason why shade is important is it will protect your deck from intense direct sunlight. Another reason is so you can enjoy being on your deck when it’s hot outside and still feel comfortable. If you don’t have any trees nearby to provide adequate shade, then local deck contractors may suggest installing a retractable awning or maybe even a pergola. The benefit of a pergola or awning is it provides shade as well as protection if you want to sit on your deck while it’s raining.

Create A Partial Enclosure

Local deck contractors understand what weather elements you’ll typically see throughout the year. Sometimes this means creating a partial enclosure when designing an all-season deck. Partial enclosures are often in the form of a screened-in porch, but there are several options your local deck contractors will discuss with you. The goal of a partial enclosure is to keep you comfortable no matter what the elements are outside. A screened-in porch can protect you from bugs in the summer, snow in the winter, rain in the spring, and any other elements that could create an uncomfortable environment.

Don’t Forget About The Winter Season

Many homeowners completing deck renovations don’t think about how they’ll use the deck in the winter because they’ve never used their deck in cold weather before. When you work with experienced local deck contractors, they’ll provide you with plenty of ideas to make your deck useful even when it’s frigid outside. This could include building in a fire pit or other heating device. Or it could even be installing an HVAC unit in your partial enclosure to ensure you stay warm in the winter. You have a lot of custom options available, so think about how you would like to enjoy your deck in the winter and your local deck contractors can help you out.

Invest In Weather-Proof Furniture

The furniture you choose for your all-season deck is an important decision as well. You don’t want to choose furniture that you’ll have to replace every year because it can’t withstand the elements. Weather-proof furniture is the best way to go for all-season decks since it can withstand harsh UV rays, heavy rainfall, snow, dirt, and any other elements you encounter. In addition to comfort, you want your deck furniture to look great as well, and weather-proof furniture is the best way to accomplish this.

Work With The Best Local Deck Contractors

When you’re ready to start designing your custom all-season deck, you’ll notice you have plenty of options when it comes to deck builders. A simple search for “home deck builders near me” could yield dozens of results, which could be overwhelming to think about. One thing to note is that you should find a local contractor that specializes in deck building. Building codes have increased annually for several years and many general contractors do not keep up with all of the changes. Everything from fasteners to framing layouts must be done a specific way or the deck could have issues and warranty will not cover those issues. Protect your investment by working only with local deck contractors that specialize in deck building.

Regan Total Construction has specialized in custom residential projects for more than 20 years. We know exactly how to design all-season decks that will last a long time and fit your budget at the same time. An all-season deck is not something you want to have to replace every few years. Selecting quality materials and working with experienced contractors is essential in this regard. We take great pride in our work and turning our customers’ visions into a reality. If you’re thinking about designing an all-season deck, contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help.

Filed under: Decks

The Importance of Quality Decking Material

Beautiful composite deck with inground pool

When you’re ready to start spending more time in your backyard sipping lemonade and taking in the views, a quality deck is a must-have. Over time, decks continue to evolve and become more accommodating with their design and build. The planning process determines the lifespan of the feature and how much use you get out of it in the coming years. There are a few reasons you should consider investing in quality decking material instead of cutting corners when you hire deck contractors.

Protect Your Safety

You can’t put a price on the safety of your family, especially when they spend time at home. Investing in quality decking material will offer peace of mind and reduce the risk of accidents or injuries as your loved ones spend time on the deck. Lower-quality materials that come with a cheaper price tag are prone to collapsing as they age and deteriorate. Frequent exposure to the elements can weaken the parts and make them more susceptible to damage, making it necessary to talk to deck companies about the best options available.

Although you may want to save more on cheap decking materials, it can come at a higher price in the future. You can end up spending a lot more on medical bills and the trauma that comes with a deck collapsing. Deck companies can recommend the best materials to ensure they last longer and hold up well in different types of climates.

You can spend your hard-earned money on a deck that is on par with current building and safety codes and is safe for both children and adults to use year-round. You also won’t have to trip over popped out nails or avoid cutting yourself on the materials because they won’t come loose over time.

You’ll also end up spending more money to perform repairs or build a new deck with the help of local deck companies in the area. Spending more upfront while hiring top rated deck builders can offer peace of mind and avoid potential headaches in the future.

Upscale Appearance

Quality decking materials like PVC and wood will enhance the look of your deck and allow it to appear more attractive. This can transform the look of your backyard and even increase your home value. In addition, the deck will look beautiful year-round when you select quality materials rather than resorting to pressure-treated pine or chemical-treated wood.

The deck will continue to look new for many years to come because the materials won’t wear down as quickly when exposed to the elements. If you need assistance selecting the right material, search for “top rated deck builders near me” to get professional help from reputable deck companies in the local area.

If you choose composite materials, they have a natural appearance that will make your guests assume you have a real wood deck. This can allow you to attain a specific look without compromising on the quality. The materials are visually appealing and don’t have any visible nails to create a more professional look.

A Longer Lifespan

Most homeowners don’t want to spend a significant amount of time and energy building a new deck only to redo the process in a few years. Those who choose cheaper decking materials don’t think about this and only think about the money they’re spending. With quality materials used the first time, the deck can last a lot longer. The most durable decks can hold up for 40 years with proper care and maintenance. When working with top rated deck builders near me, you can also obtain warranties to protect your investment.

It’s a lot more cost-effective to invest in better materials upfront rather than spending even more in the coming years to rebuild the deck multiple times. You’ll only need to hire deck contractors once every few decades instead of paying for their labor every ten years.

Fewer Repairs

It’s no secret durable materials hold up better and are less prone to wearing down and breaking as quickly. You can spend less on repairs and hiring deck companies to fix issues if you invest in better materials when the deck is built. This means you don’t have to deal with hiring a professional to replace a post or deck board. The railing will be a lot more sturdy and won’t crack or snap in the middle of a storm compared to cheaper materials. You can spend more time enjoying the outdoor feature rather than performing frequent maintenance.

Save Time and Energy

Deck contractors will tell you that one of the most frequent types of maintenance on low-cost decking materials is staining the wood. The wood is prone to fading with regular sun exposure and can quickly look old and dingy the longer it’s outside. Staining your deck or repainting it is a weekend project that no one looks forward to due to the work involved.

There are many options to consider regarding the quality and cost with the materials you select for your new deck. Each material available varies with the benefits and drawbacks, making it necessary to do some research to determine the best choice for your property. By choosing any type of wood material, it will require maintenance to prevent the wood from aging or looking old. However, some wood materials like pressure-treated wood will require on-going maintenance and care their entire lifetime to ensure they can hold up well in different climates and seasons. Specialty hardwoods, like different types of mahogany or oak, will stand up to the elements better, but if they are not regularly maintained, the color shade will quickly start to fade and look gray. Composite, vinyl, and aluminum decking materials are durable enough to hold up well in any type of weather or climate. Contractors recommend cleaning them regularly to enhance their appearance, but this isn’t essential to maintain their durability or color shade.

When you want a deck you can show off and get more use out of, the Regan Total Construction team is here to build the deck of your dreams. Contact us today to get started on building a maintenance-free deck.

Filed under: Decking Material

What Does a Deck Inspector Look at During an Inspection?

Regan Total Construction being built, almost ready for inspection

An outdoor deck is one of the most common additions or renovations homeowners make. It’s a place where you can enjoy some extra space for grilling, playing with kids, hosting events, or simply relaxing at the end of a long day. If you’re considering installing a deck, it’s important to work with a licensed deck contractor to ensure the materials they use are high-quality and the workmanship is top-notch. Many contractors claim to be expert deck patio builders, but they don’t know all of the components a deck inspector looks at. And if you have an existing deck, maintaining it for safety purposes is important. Here’s what you need to know about deck inspections so you can ask patio deck contractors when you’re interviewing them.

Stairs

Deck inspectors will look at the stairs of your deck to see if there are any obvious signs of decay or cracking. They will also check the riser height and tread depth, as well as the width of the stairway, which should be greater than 36” wide. If handrails are used for the stairs, then they must be at a height of between 34” and 38” and should be easy to access. If a deck inspector finds any major issues with the stairs, then you might have to have a licensed deck contractor come and fix them.

Footings/Deck Supports And Posts/Columns

The support structures for an outdoor deck are critical for obvious reasons. Your deck should be able to sustain significant wear and tear over time and should be built to last for many years. Things deck inspectors look for in this category include post size and post height, how posts are connected to footings, how posts are connected to the beams, whether proper fasteners are used, and if the fasteners are in good shape.

Beams And Joists

If you worked with licensed deck patio builders, then you shouldn’t have any problems with beams and joists being an issue on your deck inspection report. The deck inspector will ensure that the beam splices have at least 1½” of bearing and that there are connections where the joist bears on top of the beam. They will also look at the joist size, spacing, and span to ensure the specifications are up to standard.

Ledger

Sometimes the ledger cannot be thoroughly inspected by a deck inspector. Depending on the design of the deck, there could be obstacles preventing a deck inspector from examining the ledger thoroughly. In these instances, a licensed deck contractor might have to be called to evaluate the ledger connection. This is one of the trickiest parts of a deck inspection, but it’s also one of the most important categories that need attention.

Deck Boards And Surface

Deck inspectors will look closely at the deck boards or other surfaces to determine the condition. They will evaluate the type of wood used and whether there are any obvious signs of deterioration, cracking, or decay. They also look closely at the fasteners used to confirm they are holding the materials securely. Rusted nails or screws could create an unsafe area so they will likely suggest replacing them if found.

Handrail Assemblies And Guards

There are a lot of details in handrail assemblies and guards that homeowners should be aware of. Deck inspectors will look at whether a guard is used if the walking surface is greater than 30” above grade. The guard has to be at least 36” tall for residential decks, and proper fasteners and posts must be used to transfer the load into the deck framing. Bolts and lag screws alone usually aren’t effective enough to meet the deflection and load criteria, and notched posts don’t meet proper standards either.

Miscellaneous Deck Features

The great thing about outdoor decks is they can be customized to fit the needs and desires of homeowners. Some patio deck contractors are more experienced than others at including customized features, so it’s ideal to ensure they’ve worked on similar projects before so they understand the standards to pass inspection. Deck inspectors will look at areas where you might have a hot tub, a special spot for a barbecue grill or other outdoor cooking area, any under-deck finishing, floor lighting, or other customized features. Any of the features you have on your outdoor deck must meet building codes and specifications as well, and deck inspectors will note any issues that must be fixed on their report.

Regan Total Construction has a team of experienced and qualified patio deck contractors to build the deck of your dreams. Each of our contractors is knowledgeable about building codes and safety standards to ensure every deck we build is as safe as possible. Many deck patio builders will offer cheaper prices to make their companies stand out, but the reality is the quality of materials and workmanship aren’t up to par. When you build a custom deck, you should have peace of mind knowing it was built securely and will last for many years without any major issues. We are ready and able to build your custom deck, so contact us today to receive a cost estimate.

Deck Evaluation Checklist

Deck Evaluation Checklist
Filed under: Deck Inspections