Written by Mark Jenkins

New House without the move

Let’s face it, moving takes a LOT of work! Most of us have seen the shows on TV that help disagreeing spouses with the decision  to move or remodel.  Many times the remodels are extreme and cost tens of thousands of dollars.  While the remodels are fantastic, you can do a few things to the outside of your home to get a new look without the work of moving.

  • Replacing the siding refaces your home.  There are so many options with vinyl siding, you really can get many diverse looks.
  • Replacing the roof can add a new flare as well! Shingles come in many different colors and include a max definition option.
  • Resurfacing your existing deck can create the appeal of a new deck without the total cost.  Trex can be installed instead of pressure treated wood for a better, long term solution.
  • Fascia board and rake can be wrapped with aluminum caping for a fresh, no maintenance appearance.
  • Windows can be replaced which helps the look and the electric bill!

For design ideas, check out our portfolio and let us help you get started on your home project!

Deck in Woodbridge - DURING Genesis Home Improvement
Written by Mark Jenkins

Deck Safety Tips from Genesis Home Improvement

A backyard is an ideal space for making memories, and is made even better by the addition of a deck that is safe, secure and long lasting. A deck is the perfect backdrop for laid-back summer barbecues and sets the stage for quality bonding time with family, neighbors and friends. In the United States, approximately 40 million homes have decks attached, which are no doubt filled with loved ones in the warmer months.

Unfortunately, about half of those decks are in need of repairs—or even a complete replacement. Your deck’s shelf life falls somewhere between 10 and 15 years, and after that it starts to show signs of wear and tear that might spell danger. As an extension of your home, it’s extremely important to make sure your deck is structurally sound and can safely support your family and belongings. Luckily, understanding your deck’s construction and performing regular maintenance is easy—and can prevent a potential collapse.

When evaluating your deck for potential maintenance or safety issues, here’s what to look for:

 

  1. CORROSION. Mother Nature can be pretty brutal. Over the years, the metal connectors and fasteners that join beams, railings, stairs and posts can experience deterioration from exposure to the elements. Wobbly railings and rickety stairs are signs of loose connection points, and corrosion may be to blame. Most dangerous are loose ledger boards, or the part of your deck that connects to the house. If you notice corroded metal connectors, this issue should be addressed immediately.
  2. ROT. Wood is even more vulnerable to the elements than metal. Without the proper weatherproof sealant and regular maintenance, wood can soften and rot over time, making it more susceptible to termite infestations. If beams or boards within the deck structure seem to be sagging, don’t let anyone stand on them until they’re replaced.
  3. CRACKS. Large cracks or splits in wood weaken connections and jeopardize the structural integrity of your deck. Cracks also make wood more prone to rot, so if you spot a crack, especially in one of the structural beams, know it’s a sign of trouble down the road. Having a cracked board or beam replaced isn’t too big a burden, and the sooner you act, the less worrying you’ll do later.

Just as important as knowing the danger signs when evaluating your deck is knowing what a safe deck looks like. So what does a safe deck have?

  1. PROPER LEDGER CONNECTION. A deck shouldn’t be held together by nails alone—especially at the ledger attachment where your deck connects your house. You should see metal fasteners, bolts and structural screws that secure your deck ledger board to your home, preferably in stainless steel or protected by a special galvanized coating to prevent corrosion.
  2.  CONTINUOUS LOAD PATH.  When a deck is built by professionals, they use a method of construction that creates a series of solid connection points. These connection points transfer the load of your deck through its frame to the ground and to your home, keeping your family and belongings safe from weakening forces like earthquakes, heavy winds and snow.
  3. SEALED BOARDS.  To avoid the corrosion and rotting issues discussed earlier, wooden boards should have a protective sealant that defends against moisture and sun damage. For advice about your particular situation (you may be applying sealant to a brand new deck or maybe you’re resealing old boards), consult a professional.
  4. DEBRIS-FREE. A safe deck is free of dirt and debris. Throughout the year, leaves and dirt that make their way between boards can collect moisture, which leads to mold and mildew issues (see: ROT). Sweep your deck regularly to remove debris.

Though you can take action to maintain a safe, sound deck, even the most talented DIYer should let a professional handle any type of major construction project. Licensed contractors are well versed in how to obtain the required building permits and materials, and are familiar with the safety standards to ensure you’re left with a deck that provides safety, security—and of course, many years of fun memories.

Written by Mark Jenkins

The truth about your deck build.

If you have decided to add a deck on to your home, there are many things to consider.

  • Pressure treated vs. Composite
  • Vinyl rails vs. Metal or Wood
  • Design of the stairs
  • Position of the decking boards

You can prepare by researching the variations of decks to create the look you desire. If you are located in or around Fauquier, Culpeper or Manassas, you may contact us for a tour of our past projects.

In addition to the design decisions, there are logistics to consider as well.

  • Where are my exterior drains in relation to the desired deck location?
  • Will the builder regrade or haul away the extra dirt that was dug for the footers?
  • Will the builder use wide band board that will cover the frame of the deck?
  • Does the neighborhood require HOA approval?
  • How long will the yard be a “construction area?”

Keep in mind that once all of the points above are addressed and the project is ready to begin, there will be different phases of your deck project.

  1. Permits will be pulled with the county.  This can take a few days depending on your location.
  2. Footers will be marked out and dug.
  3. An inspection will be completed on the footers.
  4. The deck is framed out and another inspection is called in.
  5. Once approved, the decking boards are completed along with the rails.
  6. A final inspection is completed and once approved, the footers can be filled back in with the excess dirt.

When a deck is being built, the contractor should keep the work zone neat.  However, there may be debris and dirt that should be resolved upon completion.  Grass can be impacted depending on the location of the deck.  When the decking material is in your yard, this may cause grass to turn.  Be sure to specify ahead of time where you would like your material placed if you are concerned about your grass being impacted.

Lastly, remember to keep an open mind and stay in communication with the builder to ensure everyone’s expectations are reasonably met.