Blog

Read about our decking services in Bucks County, Montgomery County & beyond!

Deck Types and Options For Your Dream Deck

ground floor deck no railing

You’ve decided to build a deck, and now you need to get ideas for how to design it. In theory, a deck can be almost any shape. You’ll want to consider factors like how you plan to use your deck, the terrain of your property, layout of your home, and your budget. In practice, these are the constraints within which you must work to create the deck of your dreams. We’ve compiled a list of standard deck layouts to get you started thinking.  

Deck Types and Options

Ground level decks – These are simple deck structures, usually placed on flat ground (though sometimes they can be put on a slope).  They often don’t require any railing, and make a great breakfast space, entryway, outdoor mudroom, or patio.

Raised decks – This is the most common type of deck, usually placed the first or on first or second level of the home.  In many cases, raised decks offer outdoor access to upper level rooms.  Raised decks always require a railing.

Multi-level decks – Multi-level decks allow you to work around landscape obstacles such as slopes, unsuitable terrain, etc.  You can also create separate spaces for different purposes.  For example, a multi-level deck off of a kitchen can have a grill and dining area, and a separate seating area below–perfect for entertaining!  You can even descend a hill in stages for different views.  Multi-level decks are more complex to design and construct.

Wraparound decks – These are a popular option.  They offer two or more entrances to the home, and shade and sun different times of day.  Wraparound decks are also great for entertaining both large and small gatherings on the same space.

Multiple decks – Creating more than one deck allows you to work around uneven terrain, and/or create a totally unique design. In many cases, a few small decks are often easier and less expensive to build than one large one.

Start Designing Your Dream Deck with Harmony Decking

Harmony Decking makes it easy to build a quality deck for your home.  We will help you through the entire process, and alleviate the stress that comes with making a home addition.  If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.  You’re only one phone call away from building the deck you’ve always dreamed!

Harmony Decking

532 Cornell Drive, Warrington, PA 18976

Phone: 215-290-7727
Email: harmonydecking@verizon.net

4 Tips for Creating a Versatile Outdoor Living Space

harmony decking

From your morning coffee and a yoga session, to a summer barbecue and everything in between, a deck or patio can add value to your home and your quality of life. A deck can be the most multifunctional space in your home if you design it properly! Whether you’re starting from scratch or just browsing for new ideas, here are four simple tips to transform your deck space into a multifunctional outdoor living space.

  • Fire ring, chimenea, torches, etc.  Everyone enjoys hanging out by a fire no matter the season. A fire source makes a great gathering place, as well as a spot to relax on your own. And how about s’mores?! A fire source creates the perfect hangout spot all year round! (Please be sure you follow proper fire safety measures at all times, and always have a working fire extinguisher nearby.)
  • Seating.  Whether you prefer a full dining table, comfy lounge chairs, or a bare floor with yoga mats, your version of comfortable seating will transform your bare deck into a living area. Consider what kind of activities you’ll be doing on your deck, as well as how many people you want to comfortably accommodate, and choose a seating arrangement that best suits your needs.
  • Umbrella/shade/weather protection.  Like a fire pit, protection from the elements extends the amount of time you can comfortably spend on your deck. Consider table umbrellas or awnings and enjoy time outdoors rain or shine.  You might even consider roll-up or retractable mosquito netting for those buggy summer mornings and evenings. Imagine unwinding with a cup of tea next to the fire under a soft rain. Heaven!
  • Plants. Plants bring lively energy to any space, and they can be fun to care for too. There are dozens of options for plants, including potted plants, hanging plants, or a small vegetable garden. How about a garden that yields fresh summer salad ingredients to be enjoyed al fresco? On your deck, of course!

The good news is that you can make your deck a beautiful outdoor area that reflects your interests and personal taste. With a bit of imagination and creativity, you’ll be enjoying days outdoors all year round!

Harmony Decking is here to help you with your deck from start to finish. Have a particular idea that’s a little wild or unique? Ask us about it! We’ll custom design and build the deck of your dreams. Get some ideas from our photos!

Harmony Decking
532 Cornell Drive, Warrington, PA 18976

Phone: 215-290-7727
Email: harmonydecking@verizon.net

8 Tips to Enjoy Your Deck Year Round

deck

Winter is here, and we won’t see warm, sunny “deck weather” for at least a couple more months. You’ve invested in a beautiful outdoor living space for your home, but are relegated to using it six months a year. If you enjoy spending the colder weather outdoors, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy your deck in the winter. We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips for you to get the most out of your deck all year round! 

Tips for Enjoying Your Deck in Winter

  1. Make sure that you’ve properly cleaned & prepared your deck for winter.
  2. Consider options like outdoor furniture covers, furniture that can withstand  harsh weather, storing furniture in a shed, etc. so that you have comfortable, clean, dry seating.
  3. Heat lamps look great, and provide warmth to your outdoor sitting area.
  4. Fire pits, chimineas, etc. are great for evenings fireside.  
  5. Evergreen plants look wonderful in all seasons and will add beautiful greenery to your winter deck landscaping.
  6. String lights, lanterns, and candles add warm cheer to any space–they’ll liven up your deck in winter and summer alike!
  7. Heated floors make snow cleanup a snap!  Feel free to sit outside and watch snow pile up around you while you sip hot chocolate, and gleefully rejoice in the fact that you aren’t shoveling snow off your deck.
  8. Most importantly you’ll need lots of warm beverages, laughter, and love to make your winter deck experience complete.

With a little creativity, you will be enjoying time on your deck in winter in no time at all!

Remember, at Harmony Decking, we’re here to help you every step of the way.  Whether you’re looking to build a new deck, modify an existing one, or simply make the most of your deck in all seasons, we offer professional, friendly service to get the job done right.  Call Harmony Decking today!

Harmony Decking
532 Cornell Drive, Warrington, PA 18976

Phone: 215-290-7727
Email: harmonydecking@verizon.net

Cold Weather is Coming: How to Winterize Your Deck

winter deck maintenance

Winter is Tough on Your Deck

Winter brings cold, damp conditions that aren’t always enjoyable–especially for your home and deck. Prolonged exposure to the elements shortens the life of your deck and can lead to costly repairs or replacements; proper routine maintenance, however, can eliminate these problems.

At Harmony Decking, we want to provide our valued customers with the knowledge and advice that will keep outdoor living spaces in excellent condition for many seasons to come. We’ve talked previously about fall deck maintenance and some helpful tips for decks in winter, and this blog will go into more detail about how to prepare your deck for winter. Read on for a few valuable tips on how to help your deck brave the cold winter months ahead!

Winterize Your Deck in Three Easy Steps

Spending just a couple hours of preventative maintenance in the fall can save you a great amount of time and money after a hard winter season. Take some steps before winter arrives to ensure that your deck is in tip-top shape for the cold.

Step 1: Inspect

  • Look at your ledger board (this is where the deck attaches to the main structure of the house) to make sure that it is sound and that all fasteners are secure.
  • Make sure all support posts and joists are structurally sound. Depending on your deck, this may mean getting on the ground or underneath to get a proper view.
  • Drive in or tighten any nails or screws that may have worked themselves loose.
  • Is water collecting in certain spots? If so, it’s a good idea to make repairs or add flashing in those areas.
  • Make sure all handrails, railings, and stairs are secure with no loose parts.
  • Consider adding abrasive strips to stairs or high-traffic areas, especially if there are young or elderly members in the household.

Step 2: Clean

  • Clear the deck of all furniture, planters, grills, etc. and sweep or leaf-blow the entire surface. If possible, store these items in a safe, dry place for the winter.
  • With a mild detergent and water (using a hose or pressure washer at the lowest setting), thoroughly clean the deck surface to remove dirt, stains, and mold.
  • Remove any finishes that are peeling away or deteriorating to limit the extent of the damage and to give it a fresher overall appearance.

Step 3: Seal

  • If you haven’t sealed your deck within the last year, consider applying a water repellant; this will prevent slow water damage over time.
  • Always follow manufacturer instructions when applying any type of seal!

 

Call Harmony Decking for Help Preparing Your Deck for Winter

At Harmony Decking, we care about your home and your investment. If you or someone you know needs help with these tasks, please give us a call–we’re happy to assist with preventative maintenance! You can be sure we’ll do the job right the first time, every time. To get in touch with the decking professionals, simply contact us using this form or by referencing our contact information:

Harmony Decking
532 Cornell Drive, Warrington, PA 18976

Phone: 215-290-7727
Email: harmonydecking@verizon.net

 

Make Your Front Porch Fancy for Fall

Front porch steps

“They were very helpful, with clear communication regarding any delays (eg, bad weather). They were able to match materials, creating a great outcome. We have been very satisfied with the quality of work and their commitment to customer satisfaction. We further appreciate their support in some of the ancillary services to the deck repair, which made the process much more convenient. We also took quotes for additional deck replacement/expansion, as we would be happy to use his services again in the future.” – Ken, Eagleville

If you’ve commissioned Harmony Decking to install a deck or porch for your home, you’re already well on your way to having the best looking house on the block. There are, however, a few things you can do to really ramp up the curb appeal—especially during this beautiful time of year! Take a look at our suggestions for a cozy, inviting front porch:

Front door – A uniquely colored door is definitely an eye-catching feature on any home. Is your current entryway a dismal brown or dull grey? Why not add a splash of color to help your house stand out? Opting for a cheerful shade of red or bright blue makes for a much more welcoming sight. For a fun project with the kids, you could also dress your door up with a homemade seasonal wreath that will delight and impress your guests.

Yellow front door

Furniture – Setting up a rocking chair or porch swing not only lends your home a cozier look, it provides a great little spot for relaxing and enjoying the fresh air. Add a small table to set mugs of cocoa and dog-eared books, and you’ve got yourself a front porch paradise.

Fence decorations – It may not be Christmas quite yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t string some beautiful lights on your porch fence! This serves the dual purpose of lighting the way for visitors and making your house a twinkling, cheerful sight. Festive garlands are a nice touch, too!

Flora – This is a great time of year to get creative with porch décor: Think pots of mums in autumn hues, carved pumpkins, and gnarled, bumpy gourds. The fall season provides gorgeous natural inspiration that you can use to dress up the front of your home. If you haven’t already, take a trip to the pumpkin patch and pick out a few beauties!

Porch pumpkins

On a final note, make sure your front porch looks neat and well-maintained before you even begin with decorations; if it requires a fresh coat of paint or repairs to damaged areas, tackle those issues first. Don’t hesitate to contact Harmony Decking about deck or porch installation—we’d be happy to help create the outdoor living space you’ve been dreaming of!

One Benefit of Installing a Deck? A Great Opportunity to Decorate for the Holidays.

Decorating decks for holidays

Bobbing for apples. Setting up Jack-o-Lanterns. The sound of trick-or-treaters running up to the door. These are the sights and sounds of Halloween.If you love getting into the spirit of the season, why not bring your deck into the celebrations with some spooky decorations?

Just picture: A perfectly constructed deck with scowling pumpkins sitting on each step, bowls of candy resting on the railings, paper ghosts and fabric mummies blowing in the breeze. Decorating your deck for the holidays definitely isn’t the only reason to install one, but it’s certainly a plus!

So, what are some other good reasons to outfit your home with an amazing backyard landscape?

Why Should I Consider a Deck?

A deck adds great value to a home if and when it’s time to resell. However, other benefits can’t be measured:

  • Time with your family as you hang out on your deck
  • Curb appeal
  • Backyard barbecues
  • Great platform for outdoor parties (how about a Halloween party this year?)

Harmony Decking works with and TimberTech products, both of which are alternatives to traditional wood for more durability and less maintenance, eliminating the need for sealing or staining. Both resist mold and mildew (though make sure you , and are available in a number of warm tones and shades.

Harmony Decking Wishes You a Happy Halloween!

While the deck you’re dreaming of won’t be ready for this year’s frightfest, Halloween is a great time to start putting in your deck of choice. For one thing, hiring a construction crew in the autumn provides you with far more scheduling options. It is likely they will be more flexible with your schedule and timeline than if you were starting in the spring or summer.

Also, the weather tends to be more predictable in the fall. The days are generally dryer than the spring, and there are fewer risks of weather delays. Most importantly, you can take advantage of off-season prices and discounts.

Harmony Decking is pleased to answer any questions you may have, and we invite you to check out our testimonial to get a better sense of how we do business. We have over thirty years of experience, and are eager to provide the foundation upon which countless Jack-o-Lanterns will rest for Halloweens far into the future! From our family to yours, happy haunting!

Harmony Decking: Preparing for Winter with Fall Deck Maintenance

Fall Deck Maintenance: Preparing for Winter

September is here: Labor Day has come and gone and before you know it, the Trick-or-Treaters will be prowling your doorstep in search of candy. With the Autumnal Equinox looming on September 22nd, now is the time for whatever deck maintenance steps are needed before winter sets in. While you might be tempted to just call it a day–until Spring rolls around again–if you do some preparatory work now you’ll definitely thank yourself when the sun comes around again. A little elbow grease now could save you time and costly repairs later.

5 Fall Maintenance Steps to Prepare Your Deck for Winter

    1. Keep your deck clean. Fall leaves are pretty, but let them pile up and they can leave stains, become the perfect substrate for mold, or make your deck slippery. Even when you aren’t using your deck, it’s a good idea to sweep it every week and periodically wash it with light detergent.
    2. Move furniture indoors. Metal might rust, and planters or other furniture can trap moisture beneath them that might damage the surface of your deck.
    3. Inspect the railings. The last thing you want, when traversing an icy deck, is to have to cope with wobbly railings as well! Be sure to check over all the railings and make sure they are firmly attached, with no loose nails that could detach or catch on clothes and bare skin.
    4. Is it protected? A good stain is your deck’s best defense against sun, rain, frost, snow, and salt. As this protection only lasts so long, it’s a good idea to re-stain your deck every 3-4 years.
    5. Is it attached to your house? Who wants to have to kneel on the frozen dirt while inspecting the underside of your deck to make sure it hasn’t come loose? It’s a good idea to check your ledger board now, and make sure it’s properly attaching the deck to the house with bolts, rather than nails that can come loose.

If you perform these simple maintenance tasks, your deck will weather the winter safely and be ready for use again in the spring!

Harmony Decking: Here to Help You with all your Deck Maintenance, Repair, and Renovation

Overall, we were impressed with George’s prompt replies to all our inquiries […] It is a beautiful, larger cedar deck with a new railing down the stairs and a self-closing gate at the top of the stairs. The workmanship is excellent. George and his assistant are friendly, courteous, and very humble when complimented on their skill. We definitely recommend the Harmony Decking team and wish all our home renovations could go as smoothly and pleasantly as this one.

—Pam – Ambler

Deck maintenance

At Harmony Decking, we’re ready to advise you on how to take care of your deck properly, and to help you implement that advice whenever—and however—needed. From safety inspections, to simple repairs, to full renovations and replacements, we have the expertise, experience, and passion to make your deck a center of fond family memories and fun family activities. Call us at 215-290-7727 or visit our website for more information and to contact us today.

On Deck: Summer Deck Maintenance–Dos and Don’ts

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 3.17.54 PM

Summer is usually the time when your deck gets the most use: the warm weather, the right furniture, and a sizzling grill combine to encourage you to spend as much time outdoors as you can. If you’ve kept up with your spring deck maintenance, your deck is already looking its best; here are a few dos and don’ts to help you keep it that way through the summer.

Summer Deck Dos and Don’ts

Furniture

  • Do: leave any aluminum furniture outside, even when it rains. But we do recommend tipping furniture to help water run off and dry more quickly. Keep your umbrella closed when not in use–this will protect it from dust, sun fading, and bird droppings.
  • Don’t: leave wicker, steel, natural fibers, or iron out in the rain. Water absorption will make wicker swell and break–not to mention encourage the growth of mold or mildew. Iron or steel is prone to rust, which could damage the furniture or stain your deck.

Cleaning

Do: sweep away debris, leaves or dust as soon as they accumulate. Clean up any spills from grilling right away–they can damage the seal on your deck. Make sure you use the appropriate cleaner for your deck material. Composite cleans needs just soap and water. An oxygenated bleach detergent or compatible deck cleaner works well with wood.
Don’t: use a power washer. Power washers damage wood or composite, voiding the warranty. Regular garden hose sprayers work just fine, even if they aren’t as fast–making your deck last longer is more important than saving ten minutes!

Inspection and Maintenance

Do: take advantage of the good weather for general maintenance. Check for: signs of rot (discoloration, cracks, crumbly/spongy texture, musty smell); loose boards; wobbly railings and supports; protruding screws or nails; wasp nests.
Don’t: forget to check the ledger board–the board that connects your deck to your house. It should be attached with screws, rather than nails. While you’re down there, check out the flashing–the material that protects your deck from moisture and debris. Harmony Decking can provide any needed repairs that go beyond basic maintenance.

If you follow these tips, you’ll keep your deck and furniture in good shape through the summer and ready for your winter weather preparations!

Harmony Decking: Experts in Installation, Maintenance, Inspection and Renovation

If you need help with deck inspection, repairs, or even renovation, the skilled contractors at Harmony Decking are just waiting to put their 30 years of experience at your service. Formed by two friends with a vision of superlative service married to enduring craftsmanship, Harmony is a HomeAdvisor-screened and approved company that has built hundreds of decks for many satisfied customers.

Erik went above and beyond in answering all of my questions and helping me make decisions in designing my perfect deck. He made suggestions I would have never thought of and the deck turned out great. Love it!
Grace from Jamison, PA

Call us at 215-290-7727 or visit our website for more information and to contact us today. Whatever the job size, we’re happy to serve you!

On Deck: Is Pressure-Treated Wood Safe to Use?

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 3.04.25 PM

For decades, pressure-treated wood has been the most common material for building decks: it’s cost-effective, supremely durable, and has the natural beauty of wood. However, concerns have been raised by the EPA about the chemicals used to transform softwoods into this long-lived construction standby. You’re probably wondering: is my pressure-treated wood deck safe for my family to use? Or should I consider using pressure-treated wood as a material for my deck project?

“A Wood for All Seasons”

Pressure-treated wood is usually created by placing the wood in a vacuum to force it to absorb a chemical preparation that renders it impervious to vermin, fungus, and rot. Better suited to endure than untreated wood, it is used in all sorts of construction where wood is exposed to the elements or harsh conditions.

Until 2003 the most common preparation for pressure-treated wood was chromated copper arsenate (CCA,) a preservative containing poisonous arsenic. Over time, arsenic can (in small amounts) leach out of treated wood into the environment: the soil, or the surface of construction. While arsenic is a common substance that exists in soil, water, and even in the food we eat, the type of arsenic used in CCA-treated wood is more toxic, especially to children. This is concerning considering this type of wood has been used in playgrounds where children can touch the wooden structures and then put their hands in their mouths.

What if my Deck is Made of CCA-Treated Wood?

If your deck was constructed before 2003, it was probably made with CCA-treated wood. CCA-treated wood usually has a greenish tint, but that fades over time. If you aren’t sure, you can ask the experts at Harmony Decking to inspect your deck: we are certified to perform safety inspections and can ensure your deck meets the standards for your region.

However, you don’t need to tear out your deck if it’s made of CCA-treated wood. In fact, removing such structures could increase your exposure to arsenic. The EPA has determined that, with basic maintenance and precautions, even CCA-treated wood can be safe for family use.

  • Always use gloves, dust masks, and protective eyewear when working with CCA-treated wood.
  • Treat your deck yearly with a penetrating sealant. Choosing a sealant that changes the appearance of the wood will make wear more noticeable.
  • Don’t prepare food directly on treated wood, and make sure you and your kids wash your hands before eating after outdoor activities.

Pressure-Treated Wood Today

In 2003, the construction industry voluntarily agreed to phase out the use of CCA-treated lumber in residential construction, and it’s no longer available for purchase by general consumers. Today’s pressure-treated lumber is treated with alternative preparations that are safe. It’s still recommended that you treat it yearly with a protective finish, but it has all the benefits that have always come with pressure-treated wood: longevity, low-cost, and the attractiveness of natural wood. Harmony Decking strongly recommends pressure-treated wood as a decking material. If you’re feeling daunted by the idea, we can help you select the right wood or alternative material and plan a deck that is not only up to code for your region, but also a beautiful addition to your home.

On Deck: 3 Tips to Keep Your Grilling Season Safe with Harmony Decking

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 2.27.01 PM

Summertime is here: the weather’s warm, the sun is bright, and your deck or patio is all set. It’s time to fire up the grill (can’t you just smell the hamburgers cooking?) But wait—the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that grilling results in 8,900 home fires every year. Surprisingly, more of those fires are caused by gas grills than charcoal. Before heading out to your deck, be sure to review Harmony Decking’s top three grilling safety tips.

1. Grill in the right place.

  • Always grill outdoors—deadly carbon monoxide will accumulate in an enclosed space and could suffocate you.
  • If grilling on your deck, make sure your grill is ten feet from your house, furniture, railings, overhanging trees, or anything flammable. (Failure to do so could melt the siding off your house–believe me, it happens.) 17% of all grill fires occur when an object is too near the grill.
  • We also recommend using a gas grill if your deck is made out of wood; charcoal is safer on concrete, brick, or your lawn.

2. Use your grill properly.

  • Make sure you read the owner’s manual.
  • If your gas grill doesn’t ignite right away, the NFPA recommends waiting at least five minutes for the gas to dissipate before trying again. When done grilling, close the propane valve first before turning off the burners.
  • Be sure to keep the flames under control by spreading out your coals or adjusting the temperature knobs. If you must use water to douse the flames, use a spray bottle and remove the food first.
  • Store lighter fluid away from heat sources.
  • Use long-handled tools to prevent burns from grease splatter or contact with the grill.
  • Don’t wear risky loose clothing while grilling.
  • Never leave your food cooking unattended, and don’t—just don’t—try to move a hot grill.

3. Maintain your grill.

  • Don’t forget to check the condition of your hoses and propane tanks, checking for dents, cracks, or leaks.
  • Most importantly, you must keep your grill clean! This is the leading contributor of grill fires. Be sure to always thoroughly clean your grill and empty the grease trap.

Grill-related injuries sent 16,600 people to the emergency room in 2014.

Even when practicing safety, injuries happen. Just in case, review how to treat burns, and keep a first aid kit nearby. It’s also a good idea to keep a box of baking soda handy for grease fires, along with a fire extinguisher.
With all those safety precautions in mind, you’re ready for grilling season: time to break out those hot dogs—or try this classic recipe for Savory Grilled Onions.

Looking for more deck tips or advice?

Harmony Decking has 30 years of experience in home improvement, and can help you with everything from maintenance and renovation of your old deck, to design and installation of a new deck, patio, or lighting scheme. Check out our previous work on our website, or give us a call at 215-290-7727. We’re committed to providing honest, friendly service that will help you realize your dream project.