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Adding Shade To Your Deck Or Patio

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A deck serves as a backyard entertainment center, an al fresco dining space and a second living room during sultry summer days. But direct sunlight can make your deck uncomfortably hot during the peak outdoor months. Adding shade cools the heat and turns your deck into a space where everyone will want to hang out. Options for adding shade range from expensive to thrifty, and from temporary to permanent. You can experiment with different arrangements until you find the one that’s right for you.

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Portable Canopy

Sporting goods and outdoor stores sell pop-up canopies designed for use at tailgate parties, tag sales and camping trips. But such a canopy can also provide quick shade for your deck. Position yours over a table and chairs or lounger, or set it up over the kiddie pool. It’s easy to move to follow the sun. You’ll want to weight the legs to keep it from blowing over in the wind. Advantages: it’s inexpensive and portable. Disadvantages: you have to set it up every time you want to use it and take it down again every evening. Also, the legs can get in the way of walking freely around your deck.

 

Awnings

A more expensive but still versatile option for shade on your deck is an awning. Many companies make retractable awnings for decks. The awning mounts to your house and you can roll it out whenever you need shade. You can extend the awning part of the way for a little shade or all the way out for a deeply shaded retreat. These awnings are made of heavy-duty fabric designed to stand up to heat and sun, but they’re vulnerable to wind and storm damage, so you’ll need to keep them rolled up when not in use. To cover a large deck you’ll need a large awning. Advantages: Adjustable and out of the way when not in use. Disadvantages: Pricey and unstable in the wind.

 

Pergolas and Other Structures

For a more permanent option, build a roof over your deck. Cover it completely to block wind and sun, or use an open pattern for a stylish pergola that allows you to still enjoy the stars on a clear summer night. You can use redwood, metal, fiberglass or asphalt shingles for your roof. You’ll need to tie it into your house’s roofline and you should check with your city or county to determine if you need a construction permit. Advantages: permanent and versatile; create your own style. Disadvantages: expensive and time consuming to construct.

 

Green Shade

For a green option consider planting a tree to shade your deck. A deciduous tree will shade the deck in summer and leave it open to the sun in winter. You can even choose a variety that will provide fruit or nuts for your family. Or erect a trellis and train vines to climb it and shade your deck. You need to live in a temperate climate where vines can quickly grow high enough to provide shade. You can choose a flowering vine for more color. Advantages: Trees and vines are green. The vines option is inexpensive and easy to rip out if you decide you don’t like it. Disadvantages: Planting a tree large enough to provide shade can be expensive and you’ll have leaves to rake in the fall.





Congratulations to Owens Corning

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We are proud to be partners with Owens Corning and their efforts to go green. This week they were given the coveted ENERGYSTAR Partner of the Year Award. Great Work!

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Siding Color Confusion?

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When choosing colors for your new home exterior, having so many great options can be overwhelming. Our partner and vendor James Hardie has a great article on how to choose your home colors wisely.

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Click here for more details!


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Is Stamped Concrete The Right Choice For You?

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If you are looking for a unique, durable flooring material stamped concrete may be right for you!  In the past, homeowners could only choose between hardwood floors, tile, or carpet.  Today, there are a host of products on the market to suit your needs.  Stamped concrete offers a variety of patterns and an unending list of possibilities.

 

What is stamped concrete?  Stamped concrete involves using patterned stamps that are applied to wet concrete to produce the design of your choice.  Some popular pattern choices are brick, flagstone, slate, and tile.  While the concrete is wet, Sela will apply the stamps in a set pattern over the area.  When the stamp is lifted from the surface, it has imprinted the concrete with the design.  Multiple stamps can be used to create any combination you can imagine!

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Where can this product can be used?  The most common areas for stamped concrete involve outdoor areas such as driveways, patios, decks, and walkways.  However, the technique is being transferred to indoor areas as well.  Kitchens, living rooms, and bathrooms are popular choices.  In some instances, homeowners are using stamped concrete throughout the home.  The product provides an easy to clean surface, does not stain, and does not harbor allergens.  If you are building or remodeling a home, consult with your contractor and manufacturer on approved installation guidelines.  Each manufacturer will have specific recommendations on suitable substrates that can be used with their product.  For example, concrete overlays can be easily applied to already present concrete slabs.  However, applying it to plywood surfaces may require specific deflection ratings.  A deflection rating measures the amount of “bounce” produced with live and dead loads on a floor system.  If the floor “moves” too much, it can produce cracks in the concrete overlay and create problems.

 

Once the stamping is complete, the area can be colored to any color scheme you choose.  The contractor will apply acid or water-based stain products to the floor.  Multiple colors can be applied in two or three stages to create depth within the stamp.  The tools required to color stamped concrete are relatively simple: sprayers, brushes, and the stain itself.  If you have never worked with concrete stamps and stains, it may be advisable to hire a trained professional.  However, if you are a true do-it-yourselfer, a little practice can help you create an amazing floor!  Consider stamping a walkway in the backyard or patio before proceeding on the home.  This will allow you to perfect the techniques required to produce a custom flooring pattern



Stamped Concrete: Refresh Your Back Yard For Spring

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Decorative and stamped concrete are one of the hottest trends for patios, driveways, concrete floors, entryways, countertops, pool decks, and much more. Decorative concrete is a very unique element that can bring beauty and design to your new or existing project. No better way to refresh your backyard just in time for summer!

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