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Enjoying Your Deck in Winter: Expert Tips from Fiberon Decking

“Enjoying my deck in winter?” you might be asking. Actually, yes!

To get the snowdown on how to enjoy our decks even when it’s snowy outside, we spoke to Edie Kello, Director of Marketing Communications at a leading capped-composite decking manufacturer: Fiberon Decking.

# 1 Removing Snow from Your Deck

Kello says the most important aspect to outdoor winter enjoyment is to remove any existing snow.

“Whether you have a wood or capped-composite deck, we recommend not using metal shovels for this, but plastic ones. If you feel it necessary to use de-icing materials, rock salt is the best choice for any deck surface.  Be sure to choose rock salt that is labeled safe for flagstone or concrete and will not kill grass.”

Kello does not recommend using sand to remove ice and snow because that can mar a deck’s surface; if the snow is light, a broom is a good choice or, again, a plastic shovel, Kello recommends sweeping the used rock salt into the trash, then rinsing the deck off to remove any residue. This is especially important if you have pets.

“You can use a pressure washer if you like, but we recommend not going beyond 3,000 PSI (pounds per square inch). Also, keep the nozzle about 10” above the deck. This applies to both wood and composite decking.“

 

Removing Snow and Ice from Decks:

Removing Snow and Ice from Decks:

Removing snow is key to outdoor winter enjoyment. Photo: Fiberon Decking and Railing

 

Keeping Warm on Your Deck

Having a heat source, such as a deck heater (or patio heater), permits you to enjoy your winter wonderland and the fresh crisp air longer. Not to mention you can make s’mores and keep hot cider and hot chocolate warm. Available in building supply stores, they come free standing, fit on a table top, and usually run on propane gas.

“These heaters will throw heat down and around where you are sitting,” says Kello.

“Fire pits and fireplaces are other popular choices. If you are not using a natural gas heat source, we recommend putting a fiber-cement mat (made of a mix of wood pulp and cement) underneath a fire pit to catch any embers.

It is also important to ensure heat doesn’t build up against the wood or composite decking, so keep any heat source up off the deck by at least a foot.”

 

Fire Pits/Fire Tables:

Fire Pits/Fire Tables:

A fire pit adds warmth and is the perfect place to roast a marshmallow for s’mores. Photo: Fiberon Decking and Railing

 

Trapping Your Heat

Since heat rises, Kello says you probably want some sort of deck covering that will help trap the heat. “It’s great if you can add a roof, but if you have a pergola, you can put a tarp or outdoor fabric over it, or add an awning. These options help keep harsh elements off the deck as well, so there’s less shoveling.

 

 Deck Covering:

Deck Covering:

A roof is an ideal way to trap heat when it’s cold; plus a fireplace not only adds warmth, but it provides a lot of ambiance. Photo: Fiberon Decking and Railing

 

Now, for the Enjoyment!

If we go through the effort of keeping our decks clear of snow and add a source of warmth, that means we get to use our outdoor grills much longer into the winter season.

 

 

Photo # 5

 

Additionally, some people install a hot tub to take full advantage of winter outdoor living — even when there is a massive amount of snow. Just be sure any hot tub is properly supported within the sub-structure of the deck, says Kello.

 

 

 

 

 

# 6

 

 

 

She also suggests the addition of lights for a cozy winter atmosphere. “If you don’t have any deck lights built into the railing, just add Christmas/holiday lights, or snowflake lights along the railing, pergola, shrubs/planters, or even on a deck umbrella.”

 

 

Other suggestions:

 

# 7

add color and life on your deck by including flowers such as Pansies, Johnny Jump Ups, Cabbage and Kale, or perennials such ornamental grasses and lavender.

“The point is, even when it snows, you really can enjoy the crisp fresh air right outside your door if you make it comfortable enough,” says Kello.

More: Fiberon Decking

 

 

Deck and Patio Wins 2013 APSP Awards of Excellence And Merit

The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals’ (APSP) awards program recognizes Deck and Patio’s achievements

 

When considering to build a new, or upgrade an existing, pool, spa, hot tub, water feature, or landscaping, it is not unusual to search out companies who have been recognized for their expertise and talents through the winning of awards.

Deck and Patio Company’s outdoor living expert has written many articles on these subjects and is considered an expert in these fields by his peers and professional associations. He is particularly proud that year after year, his firm has earned special recognition for the firm’s design and construction excellence. And it is with great delight that we share today award honors for 2013 received from The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP).

 

APSP’s 2013 Bronze awards (see APSP video immediately below) includes two awards for Deck and Patio.

 

Bronze Awards

1.  APSP’s first Bronze Award for Deck and Patio Company (found at .20 seconds) falls under the category “Hot Tubs, Spas, and Water Features: Exterior/Interior Portable Hot Tubs.”

Background

When Deck and Patio was restoring an existing pool and deck destroyed during super storm Sandy, the homeowners decided they wanted a “full water experience.” So beyond the wonderful dock/water access they already had on a Long Island canal, and the new upgraded pool and deck our outdoor living expert was designing and building for them, he also created a new spa/lounge area with a portable Bullfrog Spa.

The new hot tub is located just steps down from the backdoor where it is set into the deck for a pleasing “built-in” appearance. The hot tub’s cover can be left upright to provide additional privacy and easily dropped down to cover the hot tub when not in use.

Special Note: Deck and Patio includes a hot tub cover with all its Bullfrog Spa packages. We feel this is important because when the wind blows and dirt and leaves fall, they throw off the balance of the water quality by affecting the sanitary conditions of the water. In addition, clients will use the cover more regularly if it’s easy to open and close and if it is attractive and suits their hot tub model. Such is the case for this hot tub’s cover which fits the hot tub’s size, design and where the homeowners wanted it placed.

 

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert took a “before” photo of damaged pool and deck as it appeared after super storm Sandy.

 

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

While restoring existing pool and deck, Deck and Patio installed new spa/lounge area that included a Bullfrog Spa for a “full water experience.”

The project’s new hot tub, just steps down from the backdoor, has been set into the deck by Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert for a pleasing “built-in” appearance.

 

2.  APSP’s second Bronze Award for Deck and Patio Company (found at 1.06 seconds) falls under the category “Pool Renovations.”

This pool renovation was part of a total reconstruction of the backyard. It included a complete revamping of the pool’s pipes, interior, finish and the incorporation of new swim outs at the deep end. Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert also built a new spa encasement with a stone facade on top of Techo Bloc patios. The spa included special plumbing.

Deck and Patio also built a matching accent/privacy wall, with a fire bowl and water feature that spills water into the hot tub. The base of the spa also spills its water into the pool for a beautiful hot springs/Roman pool effect. At night, the scene is nothing short of glorious.

Special Note: The feature’s “sheer descent” waterfalls provide a gentle rushing sound via an attractive glass-like sheet of water. The best part of these waterfalls is their ability to offer the audio and visual enjoyments of continuous flowing water, while using only a minimum of water flow. In the charming areas of landscaping around the spa, this natural softscape breaks up the surrounding hardscape areas with bursts of color and softness.

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

This pool renovation was part of a total reconstruction of the backyard. It included a complete revamping of the pool’s pipes, interior, finish and the incorporation of new swim outs at the deep end.

 

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

In the charming areas of landscaping around the spa, Deck and Patio created a natural softscape that breaks up the surrounding hardscape with bursts of color and softness.

 

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

With the fire bowl blazing and attractive hot tub LED lights shimmering, nighttime scenes for this project are nothing short of glorious.

 

APSP’s 2013 Merit awards (see APSP video immediately below) includes two awards for Deck and Patio.

 

 

1.  APSP’s first Merit Award for Deck and Patio Company (found at .24 seconds) falls under the category “Hot Tubs, Spas, and Water Features: Hot Tub Shells.”

In addition to a Bronze Award (see above first video), Deck and Patio won a second “Merit” award for the encasment of a portable spa in a stone facade on top of a Techo Bloc patio.

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

APSP 2013 Award for Pool Renovation:

Deck and Patio built a matching accent/privacy wall, with a fire bowl and water feature that spills water into the hot tub. The base of the spa also spills its water into the pool for a beautiful hot springs effect.

2. (Found at .29 seconds) APSP’s second Merit Award for Deck and Patio Company

Category: Hot Tubs, Spas, and Water Features: Exterior/Interior Portable Hot Tubs.

Project Background

This project — with its elegant decking, gazebo/pergola with shingled roof and stately white columns, small pond, hot tub (underneath its own separate pergola), stepping stone bridge and paths, plus a second, larger, vanishing-edge pond with waterfall and connecting stream — was accomplished in three phases.

The beautiful new deck, hot tub, and pergola was Phase I of this special outdoor retreat. The hot tub case was carefully chosen to match the tone of the composite decking. Once the other phases were complete, they became stunning views to be enjoyed from lounge areas as well as when relaxing in the hot tub.

At the edge of a patio, beside the project’s lovely shingle-roof gazebo/pergola, a fireplace not only offers warmth in autumn and winter months but it creates the perfect ambience while soaking in the hot tub as well providing a close-by comfortable lounge area when taking breaks from the spa waters.

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

The hot tub case, underneath its own separate pergola, was carefully chosen by Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert to match the tone of the composite decking.

 

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior Portable Hot Tub:

The adjacent gazebo/pergola and fireplace offer the perfect ambience when soaking in the hot tub as well as a comfortable lounge area for taking breaks from the spa waters.

 

3. (Found at .34 seconds) APSP’s second Merit Award for Deck and Patio Company  falls under the category “Hot Tubs, Spas, and Water Features: Residential Water Features.”

The hot tub merit award was one of two awards for the same project. A multi-faceted water feature for this backyard boasts a vanishing edge upper pond and lower pond, waterfalls, and a gentle stream — all of which can be enjoyed from the hot tub.

Underneath this water feature, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert installed an extremely high tech and a complex natural biological filtration system that continuously maintains the feature’s crystal clear water. The vanishing edge upper pond is raised in front of a bluff. Water spills from it into a delightful connecting meandering stream down to the lower pond located at the side of the house.

In autumn, leaves from the trees fall into the water and are pushed along the stream where they are caught in a bed of gravel and are easy to remove, like emptying a skimmer basket in a pool. Considering the energy efficient pumps, which only ramp up when the homeowners arrive home, as well as the fact that the system harvests rain water to help sustain its underground water reserve, it’s a project to delight the heart of any green enthusiast.

While vanishing edge swimming pools are familiar projects on Long Island and nationally, only one other vanishing edge pond had ever been created in the United States before our outdoor living expert executed this award-winning vanishing-edge pond on Long Island (New York).

 

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior:

APSP 2013 Award for Exterior:

The vanishing edge upper pond rises to a bluff overlooking Long Island Sound; underneath its stillness, Deck and Patio’s outdoor living expert installed an extremely high tech and a complex natural biological filtration system that continuously maintains the feature’s crystal clear water.

 

APSP 2013 Award:

APSP 2013 Award:

The vanishing edge upper pond is raised in front of a bluff; Deck and Patio designed its water to spill into a delightful connecting meandering stream down to the lower pond located at the side of the house.

 

 

A Backyard Upgrade With A Unique Garden Fence

This project was an interesting one for us. Our clients’ Long Island, NY, home is part of a beach community where properties are close together, and where shade and privacy is at a premium.

Our planned backyard upgrade included new amenities such as: patio, shade pergola, wood-burning fireplace, fire pit, attractive landscaping — and, a small herb/vegetable garden. The only problem was the homeowners feared the larger of their two dogs would trample any garden created. Some sort of fencing would be required, but would that detract from the limited natural space they had?

Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, considered their concerns as work began. And when they were cutting down a large overgrown bush in the yard, a unique idea occurred to him.

“I remembered they also have a ski lodge in the Catskills and it occurred to me that a fence made from the old bush would offer a whimsical piece of Catskill design to the yard.”

The result is the bush clippings didn’t end up at the dump, and, instead, were used to good effect. The custom pergola beautifully provides shaded areas in their backyard, as well as privacy around the sitting areas. Cool evening ocean breezes are eased by the fireplace and fire pit, and the couple has fresh herbs and vegetables already budding — unmolested.

Note: Many will also wish to know that their cherished larger dog hasn’t gotten into any trouble — at least because of any harm to their garden.

 

 

New Patio and Pergola:

New Patio and Pergola:

The project’s new shade pergola and fireplace offer privacy in this compact beach community; the new patio is made from Cambridge Renaissance 6 x 9 Ruby Onyx pavers.

 

 

Vegetable Garden Fencing:

Vegetable Garden Fencing:

Deck and Patio used some unique materials to protect the newly created herb/vegetable garden. A 2.5-foot-high fence with gate was made from brush twigs; it not only protects the garden, but offers an interesting focal point to the yard.

 

 

 

Garden Fence Construction:

Garden Fence Construction:

The garden fence made from cut down brush is completely custom and is a unique part of the backyard upgrade design.

 

 

 

Outdoor Fireplace:

Outdoor Fireplace:

The new wood-burning fireplace in made in cultured stone: Country Ledgestone, in the color “Bucks County.” The fire pit table is “Snowbird” made with a stainless steel burner: its clear fire jewels appear to be bubbling when the flame is lit.

 

 

 

Shade Pergola:

Shade Pergola:

The custom shade pergola can be enjoyed for its beautiful architectural interest alone. However, it also offers privacy and shade during the intense heat and light of summer.

 

 

 

 

Cambridge Ledgestone Design Kits: Foundation for your dreams

At Deck and Patio we’re finding that it’s not just a desire for “stay-cations” motivating Long Islanders to want their own spectacular outdoor retreat. It seems, as the economy improves, the desire to celebrate is in the air. And with the onset of great weather, we’re hungering to hold life’s special occasions — outdoors.

Whatever the motivation or celebration, any outdoor oasis must start with the right foundation. We have found Cambridge Pavingstones with ArmorTec to be the most durable and beautiful. That’s because these pavers do not show signs of color loss or fading over time, and have blemish-free surfaces. In particular, at Deck and Patio, we often recommend the “Ledgestone 3Pc. Design Kit” from Cambridge’s “The Sherwood Collection,” for the pavers’ particular shape, surface and unique design opportunities.

Cambridge also has a good line of Wallstones to complement the pavers laid down in patios, terraces, walkways, and pool surrounds. Constructed to the right height, in

addition to delineating outside spaces attractively, these walls can make perfect seating benches. Such extra seating is great for friends and family to gather around a large- screen television for ballgames, or a fire pit to toast hot dogs and marshmallows, or to sit when eating from a buffet plate.

In addition, no one plans an outdoor oasis to enjoy just for one season. We’re talking about a lifestyle change — which is another reason why we love Cambridge Pavingstones so much. For as summers get hotter and winters get colder, these seem to withstand abuse better than any poured and stenciled concrete. They are also quite resistant to chipping, de-icing salts and snow plowing.

Of course, maybe you don’t want to create the “ideal” outdoor paradise all at once. If that’s the case, you are not alone. Budgetary realities might mean starting small — but with a plan. Here at Deck and Patio we have a terrific computer program. We can design an oasis that can be done over time. And you can see how it will look each step of the way.

Perhaps the first phase will be simply a new walkway, or terrace — beautifully made from durable Cambridge Pavingstones. Another phase might include a fire pit and pergola. Still later, a pool, or water feature, spa, and outdoor kitchen. A stepping stone path, new deck, patios — the sky’s the limit for your dreams.

 

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Photo: Cambridge Pavingstones

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo: Cambridge Pavingstones

 

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