January 7, 2015
Thomas & Wanda
Deck kits enhance outdoor spaces
With the emergence of new deck materials such as solid PVC, homeowners no longer have to waste excessive time or money on deck maintenance. The vast array of rich colors and surface textures, along with stain and scratch resistant materials have made these items a smart choice over wood. Now, there are kits that accessorize these deck options.
If you've ever made a mad dash to retrieve cushions or other items when it rains, then in-deck storage may be in order, according to Mike Gori, deck expert for AZEK Building Products, maker of AZEK Deck. This clever idea provides 17.5 cubic feet of safe, dry storage space that uses the area below the deck. "You don't have to sacrifice living space or ruin your view with unsightly plastic tubs," says Gori. The storage unit's lid sits flush with the deck surface and holds up to 500 pounds. "There are also kits for building benches with planter boxes and custom gates," he says. "It's never been easier to accessorize a new or existing deck."
The caulk cure for energy costs
one of your home's biggest money drains can be energy waste - whether it's warm or cool air leaking out or outside temperatures sneaking in. That is where a bead of quality caulk can be the best bang for your buck. One caulk problem happens when homeowners paint caulk too early, which can cause cracks to form, letting in air and moisture.
"What we came up with is an advanced sealant called ColorCure that actually tells you when the caulk can be painted - it turns from pink to white," says Jason Ringling, director of marketing at Red Devil, Inc. "If you test caulk by touching the wet bead, the finish is ruined." Another good practice is to use new caulk and sealant products that are better for the environment as well as high performance. "It's not only environmentally friendly, but solvent-free and low VOC - and with no plasticizers it won't leach or pick up dirt which is perfect for painted finishes," Ringling says.
Have a great room outdoors
Shade pergolas can provide the convenience of a great room in the great outdoors for entertaining al fresco. With dignified beauty, pergolas have many style options that create a picture-perfect gathering spot near the garden or pool.
"These versatile, stylish outdoor rooms provide semi-privacy and are ideal for entertaining or relaxing with your family," says Sue Donahue, marketing manager for Walpole Woodworkers a leader in premium outdoor structures.
Another advantage to today's pergola designs is the addition of protective fabric canopies that let the party go on, rain or shine. "Canopies, either operated manually or by remote control, keep furniture and outdoor decor protected at the first sign of inclement weather," she says.
Pergola styles include arched or classic straight tops, and columns are typically square, tapered, or round. A lattice screen can add more privacy and bring color to the area, with climbing plant and vines. Donahue says to look for pergolas in wood or the new wood-alternative solid PVC materials that are low maintenance and long-lasting.
Prepare for wet weather extremes
Extreme weather events can happen in a flash. Even if you're not in an official flood zone, inches of rainfall in a matter of minutes, hurricanes and other freakish weather events can cause flooding. The experts at WAYNE Water Systems advise consumers to look for durable, reliable, worry-free water handling pumps.
"It only takes one
water event to cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage, so prevention is the key, starting with a quality sump pump," says vice president of sales Charles Murphy. "Additional layers of protection include battery back-up pumps in case of power outages and water-sensing alarms for early notification.
As homeowner Bill Bellaver of Troy, Mich. reports, his sump pump protected his home for 33 years before taking its last gasp. His friends and neighbors were not so lucky. "Our WAYNE pump has worked well without any issues, while friends with lower quality or no pumps have suffered damage or loss of valuables," he says.
Homeowners can make smarter choices with today's new home solutions. It's a way to reduce hassles, save money, and add convenience to their current lifestyle.