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Do I Need to Shovel My Deck?

do i need to shovel my deck

Let It Snow – Should I Shovel My Deck?

Winter is just about here, and that means snow! Shoveling can be a pain, and the last thing you want to do after you’ve shoveled your driveway and front walk is shovel your back porch. Naturally, you may be wondering “do I need to shovel my deck?” Good news for your back: for the most part, you don’t! For those who have plastic or PVC decks, they don’t absorb moisture, so shoveling isn’t necessary. If you have a wood deck, your deck is likely made of treated wood. If this is the case, your deck is mostly protected from wood rot and mildew. Unfortunately, though, sometimes shoveling is necessary. If that’s the case, here are a few tips from Harmony Decking to ensure the act of shoveling doesn’t ruin your deck.

The Dos and Don’ts of Shoveling Your Deck

In some cases, shoveling is actually harmful to your deck if you don’t do it correctly. That’s why Harmony Decking is here with the dos and don’ts of shoveling your deck:

  • DON’T: Use metal shovels on your deck. You may accidentally gouge out sections of your deck.
  • DO: Use plastic shovels. They’re less aggressive on your deck. You can also use a deck or corn brush for light powdery snow.
  • DON’T: Shovel perpendicular to the boards. Again, this could cause scrapes and gouging in the deck.
  • DO: Shovel parallel to the board placement. This prevents you from catching the edge of a board and causing damage.
  • DON’T: Use an ice chipper on your deck. Ice chippers are nearly guaranteed to also chip your deck.
  • DO: Use pet-safe chemicals to melt the ice. These coincidentally are also the safest for your deck. You can also check out your local hardware store for soft ice melt.

Keep Your Deck Safe This Winter – Skip the Shoveling

For the most part, shoveling your deck isn’t necessary. Decks are built to hold the weight of snow. It’s best to only shovel your deck if you need an escape route or if the snow is higher than the railings. For more tips on winter deck care and maintenance, or to have one of our experts check that your deck is winter-safe, give Harmony Decking a call at 215-290-7727 or fill out our online form!

Use Your Deck Year ‘Round

use your deck during fall and winter

Using Your Deck Year ‘Round is Possible!

Fall is here, which means Winter is right around the corner and you’re probably feeling nostalgic for those warm summer days out on your deck. You don’t have to feel bummed, though! Using your deck through the colder months is not only possible but can be extremely enjoyable! The secret is creating a warm, cozy space that’s protected from the elements. If you’re wondering how to use your deck year ’round, look no further. Harmony Decking has a few tricks and tips to help you through the colder months.

Try These Tips and Enjoy Your Deck Year ‘Round

  1. Add some patio heaters – Patio heaters are a great addition to any deck. They come big and small and are available at most hardware and home improvement stores. They can be relatively affordable and can act as a great focal point on your deck for guests to sit around.
  2. Add some lighting – Lighting brings both atmospheric and literal warmth to your deck. String lights are always a great aesthetic, but lamps, spotlights, candles, and any other lighting will make your deck feel cozier during the cold months. Heat lamps are another great source of warmth.
  3. Invest in a fire pit – These can be a little more pricey but are a sure fire way to heat up your deck and add to your aesthetic. Most fire pits run on propane, which is accessible and affordable. There’s nothing better than sitting around a fire and talking with good friends and family! Plus, everyone loves s’mores!
  4. Cover your deck – Depending on the winter weather where you live, covering your deck is a great option for the colder months. Awnings are great if it’s not windy or snowy. Wind screens are another option to protect your deck from winter wind.

Harmony Decking is Here to Help You!

Know you want to use your deck during the Fall and Winter but still feeling unsure about which options work best for you? No worries! Harmony Decking is happy to assess your deck options and let you know the best ways to prepare for the colder months. Your deck is a place to build memories and enjoy time with loved ones – don’t let the colder seasons stop you! We’re here to help! Give us a call at 215-290-7727 or fill out our online form for more information on how to use your deck year ’round.

Utilize the Space Under Your Deck with Storage

create storage space under your deck

If you’re looking for extra storage space in your house and you have a lifted deck, it’s a great idea to utilize that space for storage. For many people with lofted decks, that space goes unused. Utilizing it for storage is easy and inexpensive, and it doesn’t have to even look like storage! Harmony Decking has a few tips and tricks to help you create storage space under your deck.

How to Create Storage Space Under Your Deck

Creating storage space under your deck isn’t hard, but that doesn’t mean you can just throw your belongings under there and hope for the best. That’s why Harmony Decking has a few tips and tricks for the best ways to create storage space under your deck:

  • First, you’ll want to determine if your space is going to be wet or dry storage. What does this mean? Well, wet storage is that stuff you don’t need to keep protected from rain, snow, wind, or dirt. This might mean yard toys, outdoor appliances, weatherproof building materials, gardening equipment, etc. On the other hand, dry storage is your belongings that should be kept dry so as not to ruin them. Depending on what type storage you want, your method of storage will be different.
    • Wet storage – Wet storage is more straight-forward than dry storage. You won’t need to treat the gaps in your deck because it shouldn’t matter if water gets through. It’s still a good idea to cover your storage with a tarp, elevate it off the ground if possible, and for some things, putting them in plastic bins to keep them nice, clean, and in good use.
    • Dry storage – Dry storage will take a little more work. Water can get through the cracks and spaces in your deck, so you’ll need to create run off or gutters. It’s not difficult to do this, though, so don’t worry! You can find everything you need at most hardware stores. To create dry storage, you’ll need to attach a channel to catch the water and filter it off to the side. You can use plastic panels by attaching them under the deck joists. Make sure they’re sloped slightly so the water will run off and not stagnate inside. Roofing screws are a great way to attach the panels to your deck joists. 

More Tips About Storage

Pro-tip! Just because your space is dry, doesn’t mean you’ll want to set your storage on the ground. Elevate and cover all your storage to add extra protection.

Now, if you don’t like the look of your storage just sitting under your deck or you’re worried about security, one great way to make your deck aesthetically pleasing is to install a screen. The most popular and effective type is a lattice screen, typically made with wood or plastic. You can paint to match your deck or house for a beautiful addition to your home. Decking specialists like the ones at Harmony Decking can help you, or ask your local hardware store employees for ideas.

Harmony Decking and Deck Storage

If you want to create storage space under your deck, but don’t know where to start, give the deck specialists at Harmony Decking a call. We can help you install the proper channels to create dry storage, give you ideas, or help you secure your storage with a screen. Need to build a new lofted deck with plans for storage? We got you covered! Call us at 215-290-7727 or fill out our online form. Need ideas? Check out our work here!

Privacy Please! My Neighbors Can See Me!

how to make a deck more private

When it comes to spending time on your deck, one of the biggest challenges you might face is privacy. Whether you live within viewing distance of your neighbors or your rowdy kids are playing in the yard, it can be difficult to find some privacy. That’s why Harmony Decking has put together a few options you might consider to make a deck more private.  

A Few Options on How to Make a Deck More Private

When it comes to making a deck more private, you have a few options. The first thing to consider is if you want your form of privacy to be permanent or removable.

Permanent:

  • Fencing – Fencing is the most tried-and-true form of deck privacy. The downside is they can be expensive, but they’re a good investment that will last a long time.
  • Build a wall – A wall can be made of whatever kind of material you choose, but the three most popular wall types currently are stone, metal, and living (a wall made of greenery and other material). A wall is going to be more expensive, but your privacy will be at its highest. The best thing about a wall is the way you can utilize it to beef up the aesthetic of your deck.
  • Hedges – Hedges aren’t 100% permanent, but you won’t be able to get rid of them just by picking them up and moving them, so we’ve put them in the permanent category. Hedges look great if you’re willing to upkeep them, and they add a lovely spice of green to any lawn and deck.

Temporary:

  • A screen or partition – screens and partitions are popular choices for privacy. They’re relatively low-cost and come in a variety of designs and aesthetics. You could even make your own. Just spread out your partition for privacy when you want it and keep it in storage when you’re not using it so it doesn’t get ruined in bad weather.
  • Greenery – Plants can act as a great low-impact source of privacy. Large planters and hanging flower baskets add just enough boundary for privacy. Plus, they look great on your deck!
  • Curtains – Hanging curtains are another quick and easy way to add a bit of privacy. They look classy and flutter in the breeze to create a light and airy deck atmosphere.

Harmony Decking Can Make Your Deck More Private

When building your deck, you will want to consider your privacy options. Harmony Decking knows how to build a deck with privacy in mind. We can help you decide what privacy means to you and build your deck to maximize privacy in the ways you desire. For more information on decking and how to make a deck private, call us at 215-290-7720 or fill out our online form!

Deck Maintenance: It’s Basic but It’s Necessary

basic deck maintenance

The quickest way for your deck to fall into disrepair is to not perform basic deck maintenance on it. Even the nicest, newest, and most well-built decks will begin to show age and issue if you ignore basic deck maintenance. At Harmony Decking, we know the importance of deck maintenance and want your deck to last as long as possible. That’s why we’ve compiled a few ways to perform basic deck maintenance that can help you upkeep your deck and keep it in tip-top shape.

Tips for Basic Deck Maintenance

Basic deck maintenance is something you should do every year. You can do it yourself or call in the experts. Either way, here are the most important basics to keep your deck in top shape:

  1. The first and easiest thing you’ll want to do is a basic inspection. This should be done consistently, at least once a season if not more. Make the rounds on your deck. Any boards loose or out of place? Any rot? Nails loose or protruding dangerously? These are the most basic things you’ll look for to know what you’re dealing with. Tackle these simple things head on and replace them quickly to ensure not only the longevity of your deck, but the safety of those using it.
  2. The next thing to do is wash your deck. It’s best to do this yearly. An appropriate deck cleaner can be found at the hardware store. Avoid acid-base cleaners and chlorine. These will begin to strip the color from your wood. When washing, use a pressure washer or a broom. If you do use a pressure washer, however, make sure to keep the pressure minimal. Keep enough distance between the deck and nozzle. Too much pressure isn’t good for the wood of your deck.
  3. Staining the deck is another part of basic deck maintenance. It’s going to help preserve the color. Some deck stains even contain mildewcide, which will help with upkeep against mildew and mold. For best results, choose a stain that will seep into the wood, not just sit directly on top.
  4. Last, seal the deck. You can decide if sealing is necessary by the wood’s reaction to water. If droplet sink into the wood right away, it’s time to seal. It’s important to wait for the stain to dry before you begin. Check the weather before you begin. You won’t want a rainy day to ruin the stain before you can seal it. You can use sprayers or paint brushes/rollers to seal your deck.

Want the Experts? Harmony Decking is Here to Help

Basic deck maintenance is something that’s possible to do on your own, but there is no shame calling in the experts. Harmony Decking knows exactly what to do and can do it in minimal time. If you need help with basic deck maintenance, give our deck experts a call at 215-290-7727 or fill out our online form. We’re just a call or click away!

Deck Safety – It’s for the Whole Family

how to childproof a deck

Summer and warm weather are finally here, which means it’s time to start using your deck again at last! You’ve prepped it for summer, uncovered the grill, and are ready to spend the summer outside. However, if you have small children (or even animals!) there’s one last thing you need to know: how to child-proof a deck. You want to spend time on your deck with your family, including your little ones, so it’s important to make sure your deck is safe and sound.

Safety First! How to Child-Proof A Deck

Young children are bound to get a few scrapes and bruises here and there when playing outside, but it’s up to you to do what you can to prevent serious injuries. That’s why Harmony Decking is here to help you know how to child-proof a deck:

  1. First, make sure access to your deck is only possibly with your help. Lock the door to your deck at all times. If you have stairs leading to your deck from outside, it may be a good idea to install a child gate so your child doesn’t make their way onto a dangerous staircase.
  2. Next, take a good look at your railings. Are the spindles/bars far enough for your child to fit through? Make sure a curious kid won’t be able to stick their hand through any wide spaces and get stuck! If you’re finding this is a problem, Harmony Decking can help you install a new, safer railing.
  3. Inspect your deck décor. Take a moment to look at your deck-orations. What may seem like a harmless decoration to you may be something that could cause harm to a small child or pet. Check for harmful plants, fountains that present a risk, and your grill placement. Make sure nothing dangerous is in reach of small children.
  4. Finally, make sure you have plenty of shade on your deck. Children and pets are more at risk of overheating than we are. Make sure they have a shady option and provide plenty of water to keep them cool and hydrated.

Child-Proofing Your Deck Can Start at the Foundation

These are just a few last-minute steps you can take to child-proof your deck. However, if you’re looking to build a deck with your child’s safety in mind, Harmony Decking is here to help. Whether it’s a safe foundation, stairs, or railings, Harmony Decking knows the best way to build a deck with your family’s safety as a top priority. For more information on how to child-proof a deck, call Harmony Decking at 215-290-7727 or fill out our online form.

Bugs, Insects, and Pests Vs Your Deck

how to protect a deck from bugsSummer is for spending time on your deck, enjoying the sun, grilling some burgers, and relaxing the weekends away. Unfortunately, people aren’t the only ones who enjoy summer. Summer means warm weather and warm weather can mean one thing – bugs! Mosquitoes, gnats, bees, flies, and more can create a pesky situation that can be annoying or even dangerous to people trying to enjoy their time outdoors. When you’re enjoying an evening on your deck, the last thing you want is to be swatting at insects all night. That’s why Harmony Decking is here with a few easy tips on how to protect a deck from bugs.

Quit Bugging Me! – How to Keep Bugs Away from Your Deck

When you’re on your deck, you want to be holding those grill tongs, not a bug swatter. Use these helpful tips to know how to protect a deck from bugs:

  1. Keep your deck clean! Keeping your deck crumb and trash free is the first and easiest step you can take to keep those bugs away. Bugs are attracted to trash and food. The less you have on your deck, the less attracted to it bugs will be.
  2. Plant herbs. Garlic doesn’t just keep vampires away. Having rosemary, garlic, or chives growing on or near your deck will keep away several kinds of insects, including mosquitoes.
  3. Light your deck up right. White bulbs attract insects, so try switching them out for sodium vapor or yellow lights.
  4. Citronella is your friend. Invest in a few citronella torches to keep bugs away. Plus, they create an awesome aesthetic. If you don’t want to do that, citrus-flavored candles are a good backup plan.

Don’t Let Bugs Get You Down

Insects still bugging you? If you’ve tried these tips and insects are still attracted to your deck, it may be time to get an expert in to take a look at your deck. You could have problems with your wood, finish, or even something underneath your deck. For more information on how to protect a deck from bugs, call Harmony Decking at 215-290-7727, or fill out our online form.

Shading Your Deck – Know Before You Build

shade for your deck

When building a deck, most homeowners hope to maximize exposure to the sun. Sunny decks are much more inviting than shady decks and you can always add shade. How you add that shade is up to you! There are several options for adding shade to your deck that range from temporary to permanent. Knowing how you intend to provide shade for your deck is important because your deck can be built to accommodate whatever option you choose! At Harmony Decking, we strive to provide you with a deck you love and use often, so we’re happy to help give you all the tools necessary to decide on your decking options.

Temporary vs Permanent Shading Options

The first thing to consider is whether you want your shading options to be available to you all year-round or if you intend to move them in inclement weather.

Temporary shading options include:

  • Umbrellas and collapsible canopies are easy and affordable do-it-yourself options. 
  • Fabric Awnings are one of the more popular choices for shading a deck, but are not good in inclement weather. When it gets windy, fabric awnings require maintenance by the homeowner to bring in and put back up. For the off-season, the awning will need to be taken down. This can be done by the homeowner, but it’s often a good idea to hire experts to do this for you. Fabric awnings look great and provide a flexible option for those who don’t want to always have their deck covered.

Permanent shading options include:

  • Metal Awnings, like fabric awnings, provide a great source of shade for your deck. Unlike fabric awnings however, they typically are built into the structure and stay up year-round due to their durability. They’re typically more expensive because they’re permanent, and due to the metal material, are noisy during inclement weather.
  • Pergolas are another more permanent option, and one your deck builder can help you with. Pergolas are a crosshatch structure of beams and posts that let both air and light in and are often decorated with hanging or climbing vines. Pergolas have a very natural look and look great with your deck, but they don’t provide much protection from bad weather. If you desire a pergola as a shading option, many deck-builders can include it in the infrastructure of your deck. There are also DIY kits out there for those who want to construct their own pergola.
  • Built-in overhangs are the most permanent option. Like a roof, they protect your deck from harm and weather. They provide the most shade and cannot be taken down during inclement weather. Your deck-builder will need to build this in conjunction with your deck.

Shading with Harmony Decking

At Harmony Decking, we want your deck to be part of your home, not just an add-on. Providing shade during the summer is an option we are happy to help you with, whether that’s helping you decide what’s the best fit for your deck or installing it for you. For more information about your shading options, call us at 215-290-7727, or fill out our online form. Not sure what you want? Check out our body of work for ideas!

How Harmony Decking Can Help You Build the Deck of your Dreams

You hopefully have or are on your way to your dream home – so what’s standing in the way of your dream deck? When you work with Harmony Decking, we’ll be with you every step of the way to help you build the deck of your dreams. 

build the deck of your dreams

Deck Building Homeowners Love!

You can trust us when we say we have a lot of experience, both as deck builders and homeowners. From location and size, to style and elevation, we’ve learned how to make the most out of any space and maximize deck enjoyment. What does this mean? We can help you design and build the perfect deck. 

Location Location Location

While it’s common for homeowners to add a deck right off of the back door, it’s not the only option when it comes to choosing a location for your deck. The back door may be a convenient location to access your deck and maximize indoor/outdoor flow, other factors like sun exposure, landscaping, and existing hardscape like a pool or other patio are all factors to consider when finding the perfect placement for your deck. 

Style and Size

Once you’ve chosen the perfect location, we’ll help you decide what style and size of deck is appropriate for your space. Considerations such as storage, deck activities, and the overall size and shape of your backyard will all be factored into the final decision of what your deck will look like and how big it will be. 

Maintenance and Materials:

The next decision that Harmony will help you make when building the deck of your dreams is the material. Our standard recommendation is a composite decking material made to look like wood. Unlike wood decks, which can deteriorate quickly due to weather, composite deck materials are low maintenance and high quality, and the ones we use offer a 30 year limited warranty with virtually no additional maintenance!

Call Harmony Decking For Deck Building Homeowners Deserve!

You shouldn’t have to wait any longer to build the deck of your dreams. Give Harmony Decking a call today to set up your free consultation and be on the way to your dream deck today.

What Deck is Right for You?

It’s officially been cold long enough that we’re starting to dream of summer once again. Relaxing out on the deck… grilling on the deck… entertaining on the – wait, what’s that? You don’t have a deck yet!?

popular deck designs

Then this blog post is perfect for you. Today we’re going to dive into our 5 most popular deck designs to help you decide which one is best for you (and what to add to your list for Santa). 

Platform Deck

To put it simply, a platform deck is attached to the ground level floor of your home. Since it’s essentially resting on the ground, a platform deck doesn’t require too many supportive materials or railings, which makes them extra budget friendly. However, extra considerations for waterproofing must be made to protect from moisture damage. 

Raised Deck

If your first floor is above ground level, a raised deck may be right for you. A raised deck functions like an extension of your living space, just like a platform deck, but it requires railings for safety, as well as support beams to ensure that the raised deck stays raised!

Two-Story Decks

A two story deck is a great option if you want a connected outdoor space that gives you access to multiple floors of your home. While slightly more complicated to build, two story decks offer tons of extra outdoor space which can be great for entertaining.

Multi-Level Decks

A multi-level deck is a great option if you want to take advantage of a large outdoor space to create a diverse lounging experience. Multi-level decks can be broken up into different areas for relaxation, playtime, and even outdoor cooking!

Freestanding Deck

If you thought your deck needed to be attached directly to your home – you thought wrong! A freestanding deck is a great option for folks who are interested in an outdoor space, but may not have the optimal set-up for it to be directly connected to their home. The best part? You get to pick your favorite spot in the yard!

So what are you waiting for? Call the experts at Harmony Decking to get started on your free consultation today! Whether you choose one of these popular deck designs or something totally new, we will help you turn your backyard dream into a designer deck reality!