Tag: deck installation

  • Porch 101: Porch Styles and Types

    Porches are a great place for relaxation.  A place where you can be outdoors without being too far from home.  So, it only stands to reason that we take a lot of time to make our porch look nice.

    There are many different porch styles that can fit your home.  Here are some explanations of these different styles so that you can see what will work best for your home, courtesy of BobVila.com.

    Farmhouse Porch StyleCourtesy of BobVila.com

    Farmhouse Porch Style
    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    FARMHOUSE PORCH STYLE
    It doesn’t get much more inviting than the old-fashioned farmhouse porch, with its expansive wrap-around layout and unpretentious style. Initially created to help cool the home’s interior and provide a comfortable respite at day’s end, these covered porches are practical, comfortable, and simple in their trim and design.

    Country-style porches generally open to the yard, and many are so low that you can safely step off the side to the ground. Raised designs typically feature wood railings and decorative lattice underneath. Screen porches are a nice farmhouse option, and these can sometimes be fashioned using salvagedscreen doors. Or opt for a semi-screened look by adding trellises and railing planters between porch posts. Finish out the space with stained or painted wood floors and ceilings personalized with paint or pressed tin. Choose furnishings for comfort and personal style. Wicker is a traditional favorite, but wood, cast iron, and repurposed found objects also work well. Finally, don’t forget the nostalgic finishing touches—a porch swing and a slamming screen door.

    Colonial Style PorchCourtesy of BobVIla.com

    Colonial Style Porch
    Courtesy of BobVIla.com

    COLONIAL STYLE PORCHES
    America’s Colonial period brought a melting pot of home design ideas, which in turn produced Dutch Colonial, French Colonial, and other styles. Generally speaking, homes of this era were two stories and symmetrical. As settlers moved onward, however, the style was modified to suit the environment. For instance, in the steamy South, generously sized porches with bold, classical columns were added across the entire front of the house to help people beat the heat. The result? A coveted retreat for Southerners and the birth of one of America’s most beloved porch styles.

    Colonial porches keep to the architecture’s overall principles of symmetry, formality, and elegant restraint. Columns accomplish much of the visual design work, from massive two-story pillars to simpler paired columns stretching across the home’s facade. If used, wood or aluminum railings typically showcase tasteful Chippendale-style fretwork or herringbone patterns. A central door with fanlight and sidelights add balance.

    As for palette, crisp white, gray blues, and tans depict classic Colonial colors, as do ceilings that are brushed in haint blue. Furnishings should be gracious and plentiful, including rocking chairs, settees, planters and even lighting. Chandeliers sparkle on grand porches; period-appropriate lanterns and sconces enhance more modest and Early American houses. To ensure a pleasant breeze, you might also consider adding one or more ceiling fans overhead.

    Queen Anne Style PorchCourtesy of BobVila.com

    Queen Anne Style Porch
    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    QUEEN ANNE PORCH STYLE
    Echoing Victorian-era tastes, Queen Anne architecture reflects a penchant for personal expressiveness and over-the-top decoration. Forget any notion that “less is more.” The ornate wraparound porches and recessed second-story retreats adorning the asymmetrical fronts of Queen Anne homes were designed to impress. Propitiously, advancements in woodworking machinery in the late 1800s made previously expensive ornate porch pieces suddenly affordable, meaning homeowners could now pile it on with eclectic abandon.

    Among the fanciful options: delicately turned posts with beveled corners and attached fretwork, railings with flat-sawn balusters, elaborate spindle work, finials, spandrels, corner brackets and friezes. (Victorian millwork is still readily available, but if you want to avoid the painting upkeep of these intricate patterns, consider porch pieces made of high-density urethane instead.) Other embellishments include walls covered with fish-scale shingles or patterned masonry and doors and windows of etched or stained glass, enhanced with generous decorative trim. Bold paint palettes further the busy look.

    Fortunately, all the fuss on a Queen Anne porch is put to good use, as the space is considered an important outdoor room for entertaining. Look for wrought iron and wicker pieces to seat guests with old-fashioned charm. Containers and colorful plantings add a nice finishing touch, too.

    Bungalow Style PorchCourtesy of BobVila.com

    Bungalow Style Porch
    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    BUNGALOW PORCH STYLE
    A notable departure from the mass-produced elements and design excess of the Queen Anne style,Bungalow architecture grew out of California’s Arts and Crafts movement. These affordable cottages with low-pitched roofs feature expansive front porches that open to the yard and garden, expanding the home’s modest living space while also encouraging a strong connection with nature and the neighborhood.

    In general, Bungalow craftspersons utilize natural and handcrafted materials. The prominent oversize porch columns or pillars, for instance, are usually crafted from brick, wood, or stone (such as local river rock). Also common are battered, or tapered, posts atop a raised brick, stone, or wood pier. Concrete-capped brick knee walls or low, simple railings link the columns.

    Decorated as though an extension of the adjacent living room, Bungalow porches can be fairly rustic with earthtone palettes, twig or Mission-style furniture, and artisan lighting. Floors are typically wood, plain concrete, or concrete overlaid with ceramic tile, bluestone, fieldstone or brick.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your deck building, deck installation and help you choose the best of these porch styles for your home.  Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate!

     

  • Projects to Add the Most Value to Your Home

    cost-v-value-wood-windows_d49c9108082fef3f5df17f115614eacf_3x2_jpg_570x380_q85

    HouseLogic did a photo slideshow recently on the home projects that will add the most value to your home.  not surprisingly, most of these projects involve your home's exterior siding, windows and entryways.

    Here are some of the projects they mentioned and how they will add value to your home:

    Vinyl Siding

    Famous for its durability and reasonable price, lightweight vinyl siding also is easy to install, which cuts labor costs. Manufacturers keep coming up with new colors that won’t fade, so there are more choices than ever. Good-quality vinyl siding will last 30 years or more.

    National average cost: $11,192
    Value at resale: $8,154
    Percent of investment recouped: 72.9%

    Fiber-Cement Siding

    Fiber-cement siding is a popular choice for replacement siding. Although its initial price is higher than many other types of siding (it’s heavy and labor-intensive to install), the durability and stability of fiber-cement means less maintenance in the long run. It takes paint well, so you can have your choice of exterior paint colors. It’s also fireproof and rot-resistant.

    National average cost: $13,083
    Value at resale: $10,379
    Percent of investment recouped: 79.3%

    Steel Entry Door

    Replacing an older entry door with a new steel model is the most cost-effective project in the 2013 Cost vs. Value Report. A steel door costs less than half of a similar fiberglass door. The steel outer layer is susceptible to denting; a brass kickplate (shown) helps protect the door from accidental dings.

    National average cost: $1,137
    Value at resale: $974
    Percent of investment recouped: 85.6%

    Wood Deck

    A deck is a cost-effective way to increase your living space and is a great way to enjoy the outdoors when the weather is nice. A simple deck using pressure-treated lumber is a good DIY project and saves up to 50% of a professionally built deck. Clean and seal your deck annually to keep it in great shape.

    National average cost: $9,327 (professionally built)
    Value at resale: $7,213
    Percent of investment recouped: 77.3%

    Wood Replacement Windows

    Swapping out older, leaky windows for new wood replacement windows is a style upgrade that saves energy. The Efficient Windows Collaborative says you’ll save up to $450 per year if you switch out single-pane windows for new double-pane windows in a 2,150-sq.-ft. house. Not in the market for new? Inexpensive weather stripping will keep out the drafts.

    National average cost: $10,708 (10 replacements)
    Value at resale: $7,852
    Percent of investment recouped: 73.3%

    Want to add more value to your home? Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your exterior siding, window replacement, and deck repair needs.  Call us today at (215) 453-9180 for your FREE estimate.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Deck Maintenance Tips

    Courtesy of HGTV

    Courtesy of HGTV

    When the winter weather subsides, you may notice that your deck is starting to show some wear.  Make it look like new again by following these deck maintenance tips, courtesy of HGTV:

    Wash

    Before making any repairs to the deck, remove dirt and wood fibers with a pressure washer. When using one, be sure to keep the pressure stream moving. Otherwise, you could gouge the wood. Allow the deck to dry overnight.

    Fix nail pops

    If you encounter a nail that has worked loose from a board, remove the nail with a cat's paw or a hammer. Use a screw that's longer than the nail to reattach the board.

    Repair split wood

    If you have a board that's split down the middle, mark the damaged board next to the leading edge of the first support joist that's completely past the split. Be sure not to mark an area that's directly over a joist or you could damage your saw when you begin cutting.

    Cut the board with a jigsaw, remove the nails or deck screws and remove the damaged wood. Use deck screws to attach a pressure-treated 2-by-4-inch support block to the joist. The support block will hold the replacement board in position. Cut a replacement board to size, pre-drill and fasten it to the support block and joists with deck screws.

    Your replacement board may appear to be higher and wider than the existing wood, but it should shrink as it loses moisture. If the board still appears to be higher than the surrounding boards after being in place for a few weeks, you can smooth it down with a belt sander. Be sure that all nail or screw heads are recessed into the wood before you begin sanding.

    Stain and seal

    Even though pressure-treated lumber resists insects and decay, it's still vulnerable to moisture and the sun's rays. To preserve it without changing the color, use s clear wood preservative that contains a UV protector, which will bring new life to the surface while protecting it from the elements. If you want to add color, use an exterior stain first. Exterior stains come in both solid and semi-transparent finishes. Always use the semi-transparent for the decking area, but try a solid color if you want to highlight railings or banisters; it ends up looking like a painted finish. Exterior stains are available in oil or latex, and both provide fade and mildew resistance.

    Wearing protective eyewear and gloves, apply preservative or stain with a roller or a brush. Let the product sit on the wood decking for about 20 minutes so that it has time to penetrate, and then go back over the surface with a brush to give the deck a more consistent finish (this also helps get rid of any puddles that will dry as shiny patches). Apply a second coat for good coverage and protection.

    Allow the deck to dry for 48 hours, and then apply a sealant.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your deck maintenance, deck repair, deck building, deck installation and deck inspection needs.  Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate.