Category Archives: Deck safety and maintenance

Grill safely with these tips from Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio

Outdoor grilling is a favorite all-American activityOutdoor grilling on a deck is a favorite pastime for many families and neighborhood gatherings, but it poses potential hazards. While decks aren’t always well suited for charcoal and gas grill usage, awareness and careful adherence to several safe practices are great ways to make sure you and your family are staying safe during outdoor cooking events. For an even safer option, Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio offers the Big Green Egg as it is safer to use in ANY outdoor living space.

We want everyone to enjoy the benefits of safely grilling in their outdoor living space, so we’d like to share a few grilling safety tips that you should definitely follow when grilling with charcoal or gas on a wooden deck.

  • Stay with your grill while in use – vigilance is key
  • Place the grill away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches
  • Xenia, OH grill area detail with pergolaPeriodically remove grease or fat buildup
  • For charcoal grills use only proper starter fluid and store the can away from heat sources
  • Do not move hot grills
  • Dispose of charcoal properly, keeping ash containers outside and away from combustible construction
  • For charcoal grills, ensure that you shut the top and bottom vents to eliminate air flow when done grilling
  • For charcoal grills, check the ash pan for dangerous ashes
  • For gas grills check propane cylinder hoses for leaks before use
  • For additional deck protection, use a grill pad to protect your wood or composite deck surfaces from spills, stains and sparks

** In addition, make sure to periodically empty and replace grease cans and pans on your gas grill. For Big Green Egg owners it is important to periodically check the nuts and bolts for tightness and alignment. If you roll or move your EGG frequently, check the casters, Nest and Handler bolts more often to maintain proper performance and alignment.

Without taking preventative measures, using a grill on a wooden deck can lead to unwanted fires. Sparks might ignite wood decking boards or railings. Windy conditions can increase the danger from stray sparks. If you grill on a wooden deck, have a fire extinguisher handy and keep your eyes on the grill and surrounding deck area at all times. The pictures below are an example of what can happen when a grill is left unattended, or hot, on a backyard deck: These images are the result of a recent deck fire in the Cincinnati area we were asked to rebuild.

2015-08-24 12.01.012015-08-24 12.01.19In contrast to traditional gas and charcoal grills The Big Green Egg is safer to use in ANY outdoor living space. It’s design is based upon an ancient Asian style clay cooker called a “kamado” but modernized with cast iron, stainless steel and space age ceramics. This proprietary ceramic material provides state of the art heat retention technology. Additional features of the Big Green Egg include lighter fluid not required, hardwood lump charcoal – no chemicals for its heat source and no need for constant tending because the enclosed cooking area eliminates grease flare-ups.

Big Green Egg

Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio is your Big Green Egg authorized dealer. Stop by our showroom in Historic Waynesville, OH, to view the Eggs we have in stock, or inquire about ordering the right size Egg to fit your needs!  Keep in mind, summer isn’t the only outdoor living season in which you can enjoy dining and preparing food alongside the beauty and ambiance only Mother Nature. Fall is fabulous too…make sure you are prepared for safe events!

Tim Stephens owner of Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio

Tim Stephens owner of Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio

If you already own a Big Green Egg, we also have a huge assortment of Eggcessories and accoutrements perfect for enhancing your outdoor cooking Eggsperience…Contact Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio at (937) 848 – 7040
(513) 897 – 2040 or via email at wcohio@archadeck.net to order your Big Green Egg today.

If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing right!

This custom designed pressure treated southern yellow pine wood deck replaced an existing safety hazard of a deck.

This custom designed pressure treated southern yellow pine wood deck replaced an existing safety hazard of a deck. This design provides a safe and efficient way to exit the deck for the second floor while directing traffic to the concrete pad outside the walkout basement.

As a leader in the outdoor living space design and build industry, and being that the success of our business is largely based upon being an established reputable builder, Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio operates under this principle; If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. We design and build with quality and safety upfront and do the job right the first time and have been doing so for over twenty five years ,right here in Miami Valley and its surrounding areas.

Having your structure constructed by a reputable, experienced builder, ensures it will be built correctly meeting or exceeding building codes, and providing you, the homeowner, satisfaction knowing your deck is safe and structurally sound from the ground up. We are this area’s premier reputable, experienced builder of custom designed, upscale outdoor living space additions and we stand behind our work. Backed by two separate guarantees, constituting the most expansive customer protection plan in the industry, you can rest assured that your customized outdoor living space addition will be built by our fully licensed and insured team using proven processes and procedures.

Because we care about the safety of our clients, over the years we’ve gained a vast knowledge, and strive to remain abreast of the best practices in outdoor living project construction. A well-built deck that is both structurally sound and safe also includes the following components: ledger boards that are either bolted or screwed securely to side of the house (nails fail at this crucial point); support posts that are mounted to concrete footers; diagonal and/or lateral post braces, proper railing and stairs as well as connectors and fasteners (such as galvanized or stainless steel bolts, screws, and joist and post connectors) specially designed for deck construction.

NADRA Deck Safety Awareness MonthWith a large portion of the approximately forty million decks over twenty years old in the US, not being properly maintained or routinely inspected, it isn’t surprising that in a six-year period there were an estimated one hundred seventy-nine deck failures resulting in over eleven hundred injuries and thirty-three deaths.  What is startling, however, is the fact that according to NADRA, The North American Deck and Railing Association, deck failures that result in injury are increasing at an alarming rate and are mostly due to non-maintained, aged decks or just shoddy workmanship of a cut-rate builder.

Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with the results of shoddy workmanship either from seeing the deck or porch failure footage on the nightly news or by being the contractor called for an estimate to fix sloppy or incomplete work to make it safe and functioning. As a matter of fact, both have occurred just recently in our own “backyard” so to speak:

  • According to a WHIO NewsCenter report, a porch collapsed in Dayton in late April, while it was being renovated, leaving one worker seriously injured. Two possible causes of this structural integrity failure of this aged porch are being investigated: Lack of proper connection to the home or lack of stable load bearing posts. Either way, the compromised structural integrity of this porch caused injury and likely could have been prevented. Below is the link to watch the news segment on the collapse:

http://www.whio.com/videos/news/porch-collapse/vDQypN/

  • In addition, just day’s ago WHIO also reported eight Cedarville University students were injured in a deck collapse during a celebratory Graduation cookout in Greene County, OH:

http://www.whio.com/videos/news/deck-collapses-in-cedarville-injuring-8-people/vDRRd6/

 

  • Messed up deckWe received a recent call requesting an evaluation and estimate to fix a partially completed raised deck project with the following issues: the original contractor hired to perform the work failed to return to the job for an extended period and has not returned numerous calls; the rails and posts of the descending stairs and dual landings are an unfinished mess; and a raised deck which isn’t structurally sound, as it shakes and wobbles each time the homeowner attempts to walk on it. The only redeeming quality of this structure is that it was constructed with TimberTech decking material. We have submitted a quote to the homeowner.
2012 Contractor of the Year, Miami Valley NARI Residential Exterior-Deck. This custom designed deck in Cincinnati, Colerain Twp, Hamilton county Ohio.

2012 Contractor of the Year, Miami Valley NARI Residential Exterior-Deck. This custom designed deck in Cincinnati, Colerain Twp, Hamilton county Ohio.

The biggest benefit of having Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio design and build your outdoor space is knowing your structure is designed and built to the highest standards of quality. We’ve built hundreds of outdoor living structures in the West Central and Southwest areas of Ohio and we’ve found that it’s easier to do things right the first time, even if it takes a little longer. It takes more time and energy to do rework, and it is absolutely not worth ruining our reputation that we have worked so hard to build and maintain.

Tim Stephens owner of Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio

Tim Stephens owner of Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio

If you are looking for the best source for a quality designed, engineered and built outdoor living project, we can help you get started on making the backyard of your dreams a reality. Contact Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio today to learn more at (937) 848-7040 and (513) 897-2040. You can also email us at wcohio@archadeck.net

“Let this be the year that Archadeck makes your outdoor living dreams come true.”

Fall is a great time to schedule maintenance for your outdoor living space!

Curved Timber Tech composite deck with style! Located in Washington Twp outside Dayton Ohio

The leaves will soon mark the arrival of fall. Is your outdoor structure ready for the coming winter?

Fall, much like spring, is a time when many homeowners are filling up their “Honey Do” lists. Along with packing away the remnants of summer, such as closing down the pool and pulling out the sweaters, fall is also a great time to schedule any exterior maintenance around your home. One of the best ways to ensure the longevity of your outdoor structure is to properly maintain it. For many outdoor structures this includes cleaning and sealing annually. In addition to being the Dayton and Cincinnati’s premier outdoor living space design and build firm, we  also offer cleaning and maintenance programs to keep your outdoor structures in tip-top shape. These include cleaning, brightening, and protecting wood decks, composite decks, and even hardscape surfaces such as paver patios, pool surrounds and driveways.

Honey Do list

Our clean and seal service enables you to mark this important chore off your “Honey Do” list!

Our clean and seal service will make your deck look almost new. After power washing and cleaning your deck you may choose from a wide array of colors to have it sealed with, or leave it natural. The sealer will protect the deck from the elements in the coming months ahead and be in great shape for the arrival of the outdoor living season.

“100% satisfied with the service provided. Very happy with the deck clean and seal and quick completion and follow up to any concerns we had. Great Job!” — Mike H. of Miamisburg, OH

  • Wooden Outdoor Structure Maintenance:

For wooden decks we use a three-step clean and seal process with high quality wood and deck stain products which are formulated with premium quality synthetic resins that resist mold and mildew growth and are environmentally friendly. Our clean and protect service is perfect for use on pressure treated wood decks and outdoor structures, cedar, mahogany, redwood or any vertical or horizontal exterior wood surface.

  • Composite Deck Cleaning Service:

    Mechanicsburg, OH, Staged project with deck and pergola

    We can keep your low maintenance composite deck looking and performing at it’s best.

We can also keep your low maintenance composite deck looking and performing at it’s best too. Keep in mind, that low maintenance doesn’t mean “no maintenance”, and even though synthetic decks require less maintenance than wooden decks, they still need a little TLC to keep them in tip-top shape! Our composite deck cleaning service uses a safe,oxygenated cleaner that’s highly effective at removing black stains caused by algae, dirt, grime and weathered graying from composite wood surfaces. Unlike chlorine bleach, our environmentally friendly deck cleaner is biodegradable and will not harm composite wood fibers, pets, grass or most plants.

  • Hardscape Maintenance:
Details of stunning hardscape patio in Englewood, OH by Archadeck outdoor living of West Central and SW Ohio

Protect your new hardscape now in time for the cold winter ahead.

In addition to keeping your wood and composite surfaces at their best, we also offer a service for your hardscape outdoor living spaces too! Sealing a hardscape surface does a number of things, including adding a protective coating against staining and corrosion while enhancing the appearance of the natural tones of your installation. With new hardscape surfaces we don’t wait four to six weeks following installation like other companies for the structure to properly “cure” prior to being stained and sealed. This is because we use an innovative product that can be applied as soon as pavers are installed. This can be done, without worry of trapping efflorescence,( whitish powder that naturally rises to the surface of a hardscape following installation) because of the proprietary formulas present in the products we use. They are “breathable”, so efflorescence can travel through the sealer surface without becoming trapped.

Patio, deck and pergola combination in Englewood Ohio

Patio, deck and pergola combination in Englewood, OH.

After cleaning the surface thoroughly to remove any grease, dirt, paints, waxes and other surface contaminants prior to the application of stain or sealer. We then apply the proper concrete stain or hardscape sealer for your particular project. After the application of stain or sealer has dried completely, the surface will again need to be washed to remove any residue left over from the staining process. We do this using a neutral cleaner as to not damage the surface. Upkeep on existing hardscapes requires much the same process as with new installations. we recommend cleaning and sealing of your hardscape every three to seven years, depending on environmental conditions and traffic of the area.

Deck and gazebo perfect for backyard parties

Is your outdoor space fall and winter ready?

  • Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio has you covered being the area’s only turnkey establishment for all things outdoors!
Tim Stephens owner of Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio

Tim Stephens owner of Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio

Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio wants your outdoor living space to be the in enjoyment-ready mode at the debut at the beginning of next year’s upcoming outdoor living season. Let us help make it that way by providing you with a freshly cleaned and protected deck and hardscape that will guard against whatever Mother Nature dishes out over the approaching winter! Call today to schedule your free clean and seal estimate, and mark this chore off your “Honey Do” list. Keep in mind the process is temperature and weather dependent and should be completed when temperatures are above 50 degrees, so don’t delay! Call us at (937) 848-7040 or (513) 897-2040 or email us at wcohio@archadeck.net

“Let this be the year that Archadeck makes your outdoor living dreams come true.”

How safe and well-maintained is your Dayton or Cincinnati, OH deck?

Pressure treated wood multi-level Custom designed deck, Timber Tech Ornamental composite rails with Deckorator pickets and Kichler low voltage deck lights in Butler county West Chester Ohio

This gracious multi-level pressure treated southern yellow pine wood deck in West Chester Ohio features a fan pergola to break up the setting sun over the dining area.

What is the first spot you envision on a sunny afternoon spent grilling with family and friends, or the refuge for relaxation after a long afternoon of swimming in the backyard pool? The backyard deck of course! Decks are American’s favorite outdoor living space, the epicentre of backyard recreation and are a staple of outdoor living. With this in mind, It’s important to ensure your deck is structurally sound in order to take advantage of all the ways it can benefit your home and lifestyle; and especially with the arrival of the outdoor living season so close at hand!

This custom designed pressure treated southern yellow pine wood deck replaced an existing safety hazard of a deck.

This custom designed pressure treated southern yellow pine wood deck replaced an existing safety hazard of a deck. This design provides a safe and efficient way to exit the deck for the second floor while directing traffic to the concrete pad outside the walkout basement.

Here at Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio we take deck safety very seriously. As the area’s premier outdoor structure builder, and as a NARI  (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) certified remodeler, we know the value of a well-built deck, well-maintained deck and have seen the pitfalls of the opposite. In a six-year period there were an estimated 179 deck failures which resulted in 1,122 injuries and 33 deaths here in the US. These grim statistics may come as a surprise to many homeowners, but deck safety is no accident. If you are one of the 40 million homeowners in the United States that are still using a deck that is over 20 years old it is time to take a step back and assess the general safety of your deck. According to NADRA, The North American Deck and Railing Association, deck failures that result in injury are increasing at an alarming rate. Most of the reason for this is the number of decks still standing are over 20 years old and in dire need of retirement

In looking at the BIG picture of deck safety, deck failures can also be attributed to shoddy workmanship or creating a deck that will not hold the capacity in which it will be subjected. We feel that in these cases, deck failures are very preventable occurrences and not accidents at all. A good example of placing your safety on the line is hiring a cut-rate builder to construct your deck. If you choose this route to save a few bucks, you are taking a chance that really isn’t worth the savings you gained. If a deck is built by a reputable experienced builder, it will be built correctly meeting or exceeding building codes, and give you peace of mind in knowing your deck is safe and structurally sound from the ground up.

You may have seen the horrific video recently making headlines in regards to the unfortunate deck collapse that happened in our neighboring state of Indiana just a few months ago.If not, we have added a link to the video via YouTube above. It is true this is a worst case scenario example of what can occur when a deck is either poorly constructed or is not properly maintained. Since few specifics, other than the injuries that resulted from the collapse have been determind, we cannot point out specifically what went awry in this particular circumstance. However, deck failures happen more often than you may think and that is the reason regular inspections and maintenance is so crucial in keeping your deck safe and sound.

A fall or winter project will ensure springtime fun for the whole family Archadeck of Central and SW Ohio

We want  to ensure you or a member of your family doesn’t become a casualty as a result of an unsafe deck.

Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio offers a thorough deck safety inspection for a modest fee. We can also provide a free consultation on what would be involved with replacing your deck with an updated design that meets or exceeds all building code requirements and complements your outdoor living objectives. When it comes to keeping you and your family safe from a deck disaster, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure. Here is just a few of the critical areas our deck safety inspection covers:

  • We check the decking boards – over time most wood decks will show some cracks and splits, the main concern with the decking boards is splintering and rotting. A deck that is not safe to walk on is a safety hazard.
  • We check the connections – a properly constructed deck is built with fasteners and other metal hardware connectors to make your deck stable from the bottom up. Check the fasteners to make sure they are in good working order, or are in need of replacement. We also check to ensure the fasteners are properly installed and there are a sufficient number to meet codes. You would be surprised at the calls we get from homeowners whose deck is missing pieces of vital hardware that were never properly installed when the deck was initially built.
  • We check the structure – check the posts, beams and joists if visible for inconsistencies. Check to see if there is any noticeable sagging between any of the supports. We check to ensure span load requirements are met. The contributing factor in most sagging decks is from a lack of meeting these requirements.
  • We check the attachment to your home – the area where the deck attaches to your home is called the house band and this is where most deck failures can occur. Inspect this portion of the deck to make sure all screws and bolts are present, nails should never be the only fasteners used in the house band. Upon inspection also make sure the area is flashed properly to aid in water protection from this important connection site.
  • We check the foundation and footings with a visual inspection  – foundations and footings are important because they support the weight of the deck. A sinking footing can cause a dangerous separation of a column from a beam and must be addressed immediately.
  • We check the exits – check the stairs that are used for exits from your deck, make sure they are in good working order and structurally sound. It is very possible to have a deck that is sound only to have a rotting staircase that could endanger you and your guests upon entry and exit to your deck.
  • We check the rails– always make sure the railing is secure and that the pickets and balusters are fastened properly. Keep in mind current codes dictates that rails should be spaced no more than four inches apart, a deck with non-conforming railing is a danger because small children and even pets can sometimes fall through the railing and get hurt.
Splintered deck

An aging, splintering deck can be painful to bare summer feet — OUCH!

Keep in mind, that even if an older deck is deemed “safe” structurally, unless it is has been properly maintained on a regular basis the boards and railing can splinter and crack causing painful injuries to bare feet and hands while the deck is in use. In addition to our menu of re-decking and custom deck designs we also offer a deck cleaning and maintenance program tailor-made to keep your deck looking and functioning at optimum performance. This is just another way Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio is improving the outdoor living quality of homeowners in the Dayton and Cincinnati areas for the better!

Contact Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio  to schedule your deck safety inspection today. Instilling the expertise of one of our deck experts will give you peace of mind in knowing you can enjoy your deck this season without worry at (513) 897 – 2040 or (937) 848-7040. You can also email us at westcentralohio@archadeck.net 

Tim Stephens owner of Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio

Tim Stephens owner of Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio

“Let this be the year that Archadeck makes your outdoor living dreams come true.”

Please visit our deck photo galleries located on our website, including our composite and PVC deck photo gallery and our hardwood deck photo gallery for more inspiring new deck and redecking ideas.