West Deptford, New Jersey Deck Remodel

Deck Replacement vs. Deck Repair: Which Is Better When?

You’ve heard of aging in dog years, but have you heard of aging in deck years? The average medium-sized dog has a lifespan of about 11 years, whereas the typical pressure-treated wooden deck lasts only about a decade with regular maintenance. Parting with an old deck may be difficult, but oftentimes there is no alternative. In addition to being unsightly, rotted or structurally unsound decking can pose a hazard to your family and guests.

However, there are times when you can delay a full deck replacement and get away with deck repairs. The important thing is knowing where — and when — to draw the line. 

Decking problem areas

Your deck has two archnemeses — moisture and ultraviolet radiation. Over time, moisture seeps into seams and corners and degrades the deck’s structure. UV rays warp and fade those surfaces most exposed to sunlight. There are a handful of areas that take the greatest beating and these are those that need closely examined and inspected annually for a loss of integrity.

  • The deck surface — the deck boards take the brunt of the abuse. They are walked on, stamped on, shined on, rained on, and snowed on. Because of this, surface components will need to be swapped out more frequently. Even if the deck’s substructure is still sound at the moment, it won’t be if routine repairs and maintenance are neglected.
  • Posts — Because deck posts and balusters are vertically standing, they slough away water more efficiently and don’t receive quite as much sun exposure. However, water can collect in places where posts adjoin to other parts of the deck, such as support beams and foundation. Water damage in those joints can cause the post to become loose and wobbly, jeopardizing the safety of those who would lean against them. 

deck construction pilesgrove nj

  • Beams and joists — Beams are the main horizontal support structure for the overlying deck surface, with the joists running between them. Be wary of rot at the end where the beams and joists meet one another or the framing; these little crevices are notorious for trapping moisture.
  • Fascia board — this framing element wraps around the deck’s perimeter for a cleaner appearance. It also can hug moisture tight against the load-bearing boards behind it.
  • Ledger — this is where the deck attaches to the house; it goes without saying that the deck pulling away or detaching from the house is a telltale sign that a full deck replacement is needed.  

Deck repair for localized issues

If damage or wear is confined to a small area and the deck is not too advanced in age, one can usually proceed with a deck repair. Pressure-treated lumber should be sealed and restained at regular intervals; surface boards that are past their prime should be pulled up and replaced. Generally, if an area of rot is the size of a thumb or smaller, it can be scooped away and plugged with a wood preservative to slow further decay. Otherwise, that component should be replaced.

Wenonah, New Jersey Deck Remodel

Deck replacement for structural deficiencies

Structural failures should be treated seriously and professionally — deck-related injuries and deaths occur by the hundreds annually. Any load-bearing or anchoring structure should remain solid and secure for the lifespan of deck usage. If not, a deck replacement is likely in order. Probing around adjoining elements and the foundation before enjoying your deck for the season is a must. A professional inspector will be better equipped to spot these issues and advise you on further action.

Deck repair costs vs. deck replacement cost

According to data collected by homeadvisor.com, the national average cost for deck repairs is approximately $1,700, while the average cost of replacing or installing a new deck is around $7,200. Of course, these figures vary widely based on the size of the project (for instance, a deck that is 500 square feet or more averages $24,000), the materials used (you’ll pay more upfront for composite decking materials), the complexity of the design features, and the amount of labor required. 

Play with a full deck from Ayars

It’s no surprise that the better the decking materials and installation, the greater its longevity. Whether you’re scrapping and replacing an old deck or starting from scratch with a new deck or porch, Ayars Complete Home Improvements’ quality constructions will set you up to enjoy these extensions of your home for years to come. 

South Jersey Basement Remodel

Designing a Winning At-Home Sports Bar

You’re ready for some football, but is your home? Win big with your guests on game day with an optimized entertainment space. Creating an at-home sports bar, either as a patio feature or part of an indoor man cave, is a great way to enjoy time at home and save money on Saturdays and Sundays. Before beginning, however, it pays to have a gameplan.

South Jersey Basement Renovations

Indoor or outdoor?

In late summer and into early autumn, you can use an outdoor bar to replicate a bonafide tailgating experience. The elements are always in play in New Jersey, so ensure the bar is covered with a canopy, extended ceiling, roof overhang, or awning. Televisions or monitors should either be of the outdoor variety or shielded with an outdoor covering. Lighting should amply illuminate the primary task areas of the bar (preparation, serving, and clean-up) and assist with navigation as the days grow shorter. A firepit or space heaters might be incorporated into the patio to help stave off the chill at nightfall. 

For year-round versatility, consider converting an unfinished basement into a finished entertainment area or man cave. The availability of water and electrical lines should be the first consideration when designing a finished basement — altering or adding plumbing or wiring can be costly, so try to work with what you have if you can. Make fellow fans feel at home while providing the best view of the action with comfortable open seating arrangements. Well-positioned speakers and surround sound work wonderfully in basements, in part due to their natural sound-dampening characteristics, but soundproofed materials might be a good idea if not everyone in your house is as into the game as you are. 

Dry bar or wet bar? 

The difference between a dry bar and a wet bar is the availability of running water. If your bar is going to be easily accessible from or attached to a kitchen, a sink may not be necessary. An integrated refrigeration cabinet or closet allows you to store a wider variety of perishable ingredients, as well as stow beers for quick handoffs rather than long jaunts to the nearest refrigerator. For barkeepers who want to really go the distance, leaving room for a home draft beer system such a kegerator might be a wise move. 

What materials will I be using?

For the bar’s framing and structure, construction lumber, oriented stand board sheeting, and plywood provide sturdiness and integrity. Treated lumber or composite materials are advised for outdoor bars to resist moisture and weathering. For aesthetics, trim your bar with hardwood fascia. Countertop workspaces should be resilient and easy to clean — granite, marble, tile, and laminated hardwood or plywood are popular examples.

South Jersey Basement Renovations

The best seats in the house

Your bar stools need to:

  • Complement the decor and be comfortable to sit in for hours at a time
  • Be positioned to correct height (28 to 33 inches from the floor, with 9 to 12 inches left for leg space under the counter)
  • Offer clear sightlines to the action — do not place behind obstructions and keep level with the monitor or screen. If the TV is not behind the bar, swiveling bar stools are a must.

Take time to incorporate these design tips into your at-home sports bar plans and you’ll be sure to ring up the score with visitors. And remember, Ayars Complete Home Improvements is always game to help out with your next patio or finished basement project. 

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Deptford, New jersey Deck

Deck Design: 3 Things to Keep in Mind

Design a Deck That Tells The Right Story

If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard to work with, you’re capable of planning a new deck to go with it. A beautifully designed, sturdily constructed new deck can greatly enhance the value of your home and your enjoyment of the warmer months. Before you build a deck, however, it is vital that the deck’s design frame your property and the surroundings in the best possible light. The features, styles, and materials of the new deck construction will be in part defined by your imagination, and in part defined by the lay of the land and what’s around you. It should be an organic extension of your home that meshes seamlessly with the environment.

At Ayars Complete Home Improvements, we collaborate with you to build a deck that is both beautiful and functional — a bona fide outdoor living space that not just an accent to your home, but a highlight.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your new deck design.

Deptford, New Jersey Deck
New Deck – Deptford, New jersey

1. Deck Elevation

The elevation changes (or lack thereof) in your yard are the first major consideration when planning your new deck design. For level lots, especially those harboring a single-story home, we recommend a platform deck. Since platform decks are built so close to the ground, waterproofing is mandatory to preserve their look and integrity for years to come. The plastic decking products offered by Ayars are ideal for moisture resistance.

If “flat” doesn’t describe where you’re at, you’ll likely consider a raised or multilevel deck. A first-story raised deck is supported by foundation posts and is usually the solution for yards with steeper grades. Its second-story counterpart will usually require additional bracing and support.

Stairs and railings are not only important deck design elements but safety elements as well.

The multilevel deck is ideal for more gradual slopes, as the various tiers can follow the landscape. Each tier can be specialized according to purpose, making multilevel decks also multifunctional.

Pilesgrove, New Jersey Deck
New Deck – Pilesgrove, New Jersey

2. Purpose

Beyond what the topography of your yard dictates, you’ll also need to consider what you’ll be using your new deck for. If you plan on hosting large cookouts or get-togethers, you’ll want access to the kitchen and ample space to stretch your grillmaster muscle. If you’re planning on using it for meditation or relaxation, a shaded pergola or gazebo integrated with some landscaping may induce just the right mood.

If your new deck is designed with multiple levels, you’ll want to place visual indicators to assert each one’s unique personality and identity.

Mullica Hill, New Jersey Deck
New Deck – Mullica Hill, New Jersey

3. Climate and Lighting

A beautiful design and sturdy construction mean nothing if your new deck is not a safe and comfortable outdoor living space for you to be in. Be aware of your deck’s positioning in relation to the sun — a covering may be needed to provide proper shading (as well as extend use for rainy days).

If you intend to host many late gatherings and soirees, well-lit stairs, railings, and pathways can keep the party going deep into the night.

Free Deck Estimate from Ayars

If you’re interested in expanding your outdoor living space, contact the Ayars team to get started with a free deck construction estimate. We can help fix up or rebuild existing decks or completely design and build a brand new deck for your home.

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Deck Remodel

Deck Remodel:

We at Ayars take remodeling decks seriously. And when I say deck remodeling, I mean tearing down old decks and building new, not even keeping the original frame or footings. While it’s obvious that a deck remodel would probably include replacing the railing and decking, many people expect that the structural bits can stay. The fact is that it’s rare for much of an old deck to be salvageable.

 

As you can see from the picture that we provided of the old deck,

It was connected to the house. Aires-deck-Remodel Many older decks aren’t adequately bolted to the house, and many more are poorly flashed to keep out water.  While it’s easy enough to add more bolts to the deck ledger, it’s nearly impossible to be sure that the original flashing was done correctly and that there’s no rot due to bad flashing.

 

(As you can see from this picture provided, there was a lot of rot)
Aires-deck-Remodel-threeThe only sensible thing to do here was to remove the old frame completely.  I mean, at that point it makes the most sense to replace the framing because even treated lumber has a finite lifespan.  Why would you install new decking and railing on an old frame that might not outlast them?

 

I know what you’re thinking, “The old footings are still good.  If they were good originally, they probably still are.  Not much happens to concrete below the ground.”  Well, the old deck had no footings.  I’m sure your next question is; “How did it pass inspection?”  Well, your guess is as good as ours.  However, they may have been lucky and the inspector either overlooked it, or passed it based on the codes for that era and time that that deck was built.

ayars-deck-remodel-1

However, codes have changed. Lumber isn’t what it once was, and the spans allowed for joists and beams are shorter than they were even ten years ago. So, the old footings may not be spaced for the joist and beam spans allowed today. We installed the new footings, concrete, and joists.  Everything is up to code and passed inspection with flying colors.

 

The last picture provided is of our beautifully remodeled deck that was properly installed.  Our customer is extremely satisfied and so were the inspectors.

ayars-deck-remodel-2

**Side note:  Experience has taught many jurisdictions to require deck footings to be sized to carry not only the load of the deck as planned, but to be larger to accommodate the load from a roof that might be added later on.

 

Increase Your Home Value with 8 Home Remodeling Ideas

Increase Your Home Value with 8 Home Remodeling Ideas

Did any of your home upgrades pay off when it came time to sell?  There are many things you can change and remodel in your home, but these 7 key home improvements are guaranteed to increase the value of your home.

  1. Remodeling the Kitchen

The kitchen is usually the first room in the house that needs updating.  After all, the kitchen is the heart of the home.  I’m not sure about you guys, but the hang out spot at my house is usually the kitchen.  Remodeling continues to have the highest budget allocation.

 

For many families (mine included), this room is where everyone gathers around or entertains their guests.  Holidays, birthdays, a little family get together; this room is definitely utilized the most in a home.  For this reason, you can expect to recoup 60%-120% of investments from remodeling a kitchen, as long as you stay within your budget.

 

  1. Adding a Bathroom

You can never go wrong with having more than one restroom in your home. This is why you can recoup 80%-130% of investments from adding another bathroom. Most homebuyers will use any room with underutilized space or take an extra room to upgrade it into a master bathroom.

 

  1. Reinventing a Room

This home improvement can be the most expensive upgrade to a house. Adding more square footage to your home can easily accumulate costs but it can bring you a 50%-83% return on investment.

 

  1. Adding Energy-Efficient Windows

Energy-efficient home improvements not only recoups 60%-90% of investments cost, but it can also reduce energy taxes as well!  When you replace your windows or doors with energy efficient models, you can receive a tax credit and 10% of costs, up to $200.00 per window.

 

  1. Adding a Deck

Outdoor living spaces, otherwise known as staycations, can significantly increase the value of your home.  As more homeowners are adding decks and patios to their backyards, it instantly becomes more appealing to prospective buyers when the house is for sale.

 

  1. Energy-Efficient Insulation

It’s about that time everyone has basic insulation installed, otherwise the cost to live in and maintain an unmodified home can be a burden.  Most potential buyers make sure to include this home improvement into their reports.

 

*One way to ensure your house is well insulated is with the right masonry.

 

  1. Basic Updates

Making basic updates to your home is a no-brainer.  Making small improvements such as fixing a leaking roof, replacing rotting wood and keeping paint fresh will always add the most value to your home.  A solid and safe home is always appealing to homebuyers.

 

So if you plan to remodel or make improvements to your home, remember that even the smallest of projects can make a big difference to the value of your home.  Also, focus on making your home safe and energy-efficient because it guarantees lower energy costs in the future.

 

  1. Flooring

Take a look at your home’s soft flooring. Are your carpets and area rugs stained or worn? Ideally, you may want to replace them all, but if a limited budget puts a snag in that plan, start by replacing the carpet in the room that shows the most wear and tear and replace the others as your finances allow.  Hardwood flooring is also an upsell.  Visually it’s beautiful, and gives such a natural feel to your home.

Deck Remodel

Deck Remodel:

We at Ayars take remodeling decks seriously. And when I say deck remodeling, I mean tearing down old decks and building new, not even keeping the original frame or footings. While it’s obvious that a deck remodel would probably include replacing the railing and decking, many people expect that the structural bits can stay. The fact is that it’s rare for much of an old deck to be salvageable.
As you can see from the picture that we provided of the old deck,ayars-deck-remodel

It was connected to the house.  Many older decks aren’t adequately bolted to the house, and many more are poorly flashed to keep out water.  While it’s easy enough to add more bolts to the deck ledger, it’s nearly impossible to be sure that the original flashing was done correctly and that there’s no rot due to bad flashing.

 

(As you can see from this picture provided, there was a lot of rot)ayars-deck-remodel-3

The only sensible thing to do here was to remove the old frame completely.  I mean, at that point it makes the most sense to replace the framing because even treated lumber has a finite lifespan.  Why would you install new decking and railing on an old frame that might not outlast them?

I know what you’re thinking, “The old footings are still good.  If they were good originally, they probably still are.  Not much happens to concrete below the ground.”  Well, the old deck had no footings.  I’m sure ayars-deck-remodel-1your next question is; “How did it pass inspection?”  Well, your guess is as good as ours.  However, they may have been lucky and the inspector either overlooked it, or passed it based on the codes for that era and time that that deck was built.

However, codes have changed. Lumber isn’t what it once was, and the spans allowed for joists and beams are shorter than they were even ten years ago. So, the old footings may not be spaced for the joist and beam spans allowed today. We installed the new footings, concrete, and joists.  Everything is up to code and passed inspection with flying colors.

ayars-deck-remodel-2

The last picture provided is of our beautifully remodeled deck that was properly installed.  Our customer is extremely satisfied and so were the inspectors.

**Side note:  Experience has taught many jurisdictions to require deck footings to be sized to carry not only the load of the deck as planned, but to be larger to accommodate the load from a roof that might be added later on.