Prepare Your Wood Deck for The Winter

The long, lazy summer days of lounging on your wood deck with a cold glass of lemonade and a good book have come to a close. Soon, the days become shorter and the temperature colder. It’s only a matter of time before snow and ice begin to fall. Prepping a wooden deck for winter is important if you want to be able to enjoy it again next summer.

Put Everything Away
Your furniture, grill and any plants or décor on your deck won’t withstand a frigid, wet winter. Wash and rinse everything with the appropriate cleanser and store it in a garage, storage unit or another secure facility until the weather becomes warm again.

Inspect and Clean Your Deck
Wood deck maintenance is vital. Inspect the wooden planks, stairs and railings for damage and do repairs as necessary. Once completed, thoroughly clean the space to remove dirt and debris that could cause damage during the winter months. If it is particularly dirty, you can use a power washer, but ensure you do so according to your deck’s requirements. Being too rough with it can cause damage to the wood.

Re-Stain and Apply a Water Repellant
If your deck isn’t as glossy and beautiful as it once was, re-staining it can make it look new again. By doing this and applying a water repellant, you also protect it from the elements for a longer period of time.

Winter Maintenance
Winter preparation is necessary if you want to keep using your deck for many summers. The accumulation of snow, ice, leaves and other debris may cause damage or fading if left too long. Remove snow as promptly as possible. If you can, use a blower to prevent damage to the planks. If you must shovel, move in the direction of the planks to minimize damage.

If you want the best protection, prepping a wood deck for winter is a job a professional should complete. A licensed company will have the necessary training, equipment and knowledge to perform tasks in a more efficient and safer manner, ensuring the longevity of your precious outdoor space. At G&K Construction in Omaha, NE we have the experience and training to protect your investment. Contact us today or click here for a free quote!

Should You Consider a Landscape Retaining Wall?

If you are invested in making your home look nice and maintaining its appearances, landscaping likely plays a big part in this. Flowers, trees and plants are a great way to add beauty to your home, but sometimes the terrain you are working with does not want to cooperate. Perhaps your property is sloped or otherwise inhospitable to landscaping. Check out these reasons why a retaining wall just might be the solution you have been looking for.

Keeps Soil in Place

The most obvious function of a retaining wall is its ability to keep soil in place. Once installed, the soil behind the wall is kept secure so that you need not worry about shifting or the occurrence of a mudslide in the event of inclement weather. The supportive structures of the wall ensure that the integrity and placement of the soil is maintained even if you are dealing with a downward-sloping area. This maintenance of the soil will also help to prevent sink holes from occurring.

Prevents Flooding

Flooding is another great concern to people with slopes or hillsides on their property. It can be stressful to try and prevent water accumulation, but with a retaining wall, flooding is not nearly as likely to occur. Rather than allowing water to gather, the wall creates a ledge that water can flow towards and away from the landscaping you have in the wall. You will no longer need to worry about what the state of your yard will be after heavy rainfall.

Reduces Necessary Maintenance

In addition to the benefits to your landscaping a retaining wall can provide, it may also be a valuable investment in the time and energy you spend in your yard. Installing a wall is likely to reduce the amount of maintenance you need to do, and as such, it’s a great way to create more time to do the things you truly love. You would probably rather be planting flowers than cleaning up a muddy flowerbed.

Six Home Improvement Projects That Will Increase Your Home’s Value

As a homeowner, property values are important to you and can increase with well-thought-out projects such as a kitchen remodel or a basement remodel. Here are six home improvement projects you should consider to increase your home’s value.

Revamp the Kitchen

When working on a kitchen renovation, new flooring, light and sink fixtures, and cupboard exteriors can offer big payoffs. Whether you opt for a minor or major kitchen remodel, always contact a home improvement professional to perform quality, lasting work.
Remodel the Basement
Finishing a basement gives one of the best financial returns of any home renovations – and it could be one of the most affordable as well. Moving into a bigger home can cost anywhere from $150–$200 per square foot, while a basement remodel typically costs $40–$75 per square foot.

Renovate the Attic

The attic is good for more than a storage area and can provide usable square footage. A professional attic renovation can retain more than 60 percent of its value when you decide to sell or refinance your home.

Update Major Systems

Add value to your home without knocking down walls by updating major systems such as heating, plumbing, electrical and sewage. While it’s tempting to hop on the DIY bandwagon, contacting an accredited construction company to perform the work is the safest move, especially if the company offers a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.

Add Powder Rooms

According to the National Association of Home Builders, adding a half bath may increase your home’s value by 10.5 percent. If you’re unsure of whether your house needs another bathroom, keep this NAHB fact in mind: Buyers prefer the number of bedrooms to equal the number of bathrooms.

Increase Curb Appeal

Curb appeal gets buyers in the door and keeps neighborhood property values up. Choosing a new front door, replacing siding and windows, or installing a new garage door can have a major impact on how your home looks. This is especially important if you’re interested in selling your house.

No matter what home improvement project you have in mind – from a kitchen remodel or a basement remodel to an attic renovation, turn to a professional contractor to increase your home’s value.

Great Ideas To Add Edge to Your Home Bathroom

Bathrooms are perhaps the least place we think of as an “edgy” spot in your home. But you spend more time in your bathroom than anyone else, so you should definitely feel free to make your bathroom more pleasing to the eye and even break some conventions with some bathroom renovation.

When we think of bathrooms, we usually think of them with white tiled walls. You may find this to be a dull look, and since you spend lots of time in the bathroom, you’re looking at those walls constantly. However, there’s no rulebook that says your wall must be white. Instead, consider getting a color with some edge, like a mushroom gray. It’s more striking to look at, and the dark tone also disguises grime that builds up.
Also, you may be surprised to learn that not having cabinets to store bathroom items can make your bathroom seem smaller. Without cabinets to put clutter into, inevitably your bathroom materials will get scattered on your sink, bathtub, hamper and any other solid surface. That’s why it’s worth it to get a few cabinets installed. Even though cabinets take up space, this kind of bathroom renovation provides a home for all your clutter and open up the rest of your bathroom. Plus a cabinet with a cool design gives your eye something to look at.

Finally, renovating your bathroom wouldn’t be complete without spicing up your mirror. They don’t have to be plain rectangles that hang off your wall. For starters, you can get two or more mirrors over your sink, or even place multiple mirrors in different locations. And don’t feel nailed down to mirrors with straight edges. You can purchase mirrors in circles and ovals. You can also light up your mirror by placing lightbulbs along the sides or on top or bottom of your mirror.

Giving your bathroom a stylish new look isn’t hard or expensive. From big revamps of your bathroom to small additions on your walls or floors, bathroom renovation is well worth it to make your bathroom edgier and more fun to look at.

How To Find The Best Options For Home Renovation Projects

Home improvement can be a great way to increase the value of a residential home and make it more pleasing to the eye. If you’re looking for the best possible options for home renovations, whether in your home or another residential property you own, consider how these important options can work for you.

Walls are an obvious place to get started. Aging, cracked walls or plain, drab walls are all candidates for a makeover. Some problems can be fixed yourself. If a crack is wet, dry it off with a blowdryer before you attempt any repairs. Large, bulging cracks, however, should be inspected by a qualified contractor, as they can be signs of a deeper structural problem. Contractors should also be used for full scale wall replacements, as the job may require working around the home’s support beams.
Often, floors are overlooked as prospects for home renovations, but they can also offer great opportunities to make a house look better, and they can be completed without much trouble. Some hardwood floors just need some refinishing and a rented floor sander is enough to do the job, but if you’re inexperienced, you may end up with a bumpy, uneven floor. In that case, consider hiring a professional contractor to complete the work.

For any task that requires new materials to be put up, check carefully the prices of the materials you’ll be using. You want durability without busting your wallet. The key is to research the quality of the material you want. Check online for comparisons that tell you how long the material will last and its durability against outside elements, such as moisture. This goes for solid material such as bricks or concrete, as well as paints or sealants that will be applied on the new building material.

The best home renovations come with great materials and experienced workmanship. Research any option you wish to explore, including building materials for your home, and ask your qualified contractors any questions you may have.

How To Know When Your Patio or Deck Needs Serious Work

Having a deck or a patio that’s looking ragged can be an embarrassment if you want to invite company over. If you feel it’s time for a deck restoration or a refinishing, consider these important steps that you must meet to successfully bring your patio back to a pristine condition.

Inspection of your patio is important. aside from just the cosmetic state of the deck, look at areas that connect with the ground, like stair stringers, posts or joists that are the level of the ground. Try poking the wood with a screwdriver. If it can sink into a post, rot is present. In addition, inspect where the deck meets your home. Look for rusted bolts and screws. And if you spot black stains on the wood, you may have a moisture problem that could hit your home.
Before any deck restoration or refinishing can take place, it has to be cleaned thoroughly with a pressure washer. While a homeowner can rent a pressure washer and perform the task personally, the high pressure involved can be hazardous, especially for those who have never handled a pressure washer before. It is advisable to seek out the services of a professional patio restoration team to handle the washing. Limit yourself to simply clearing your patio and deck of furniture and all personal effects.

You also don’t have to preserve your patio’s current color. Sometimes the sun can fade a patio’s existing shade, or you just prefer a new color. Look for a stain that complements your home and property. Generally, people prefer warm tones for their decks. You can also ask your contractor for suggestions. Whatever you choose, remember to have your patio sealed to protect it from the effects of soaking water.

The result of your inspections will help your contractor understand what your patio or deck needs. Trust them to take the deck restoration process the rest of the way, and the next time you invite company over, you won’t be ashamed to let them on your patio.

Drainage and Construction: Keys to a Successful Retaining Wall

Whether made from wood, concrete, interlocking blocks or other materials, retaining walls can spruce up a yard, control erosion and create usable spaces. For a wall to be successful, however, it needs to be planned and built correctly, with proper attention to good drainage and construction.

Drainage

If soil behind a wall becomes saturated, and that wet soil freezes and thaws multiple times, it can “heave” upward and crack the wall. Mild-winter areas can have similar problems caused by too much water. Either way, good drainage can help guard against problems. Gravel backfill behind the wall, regularly spaced weep holes in the wall itself and 4-inch perforated pipe just inside of the wall are methods used to provide drainage. The gravel allows water to drain freely until it reaches the pipe or weep holes. Proper drainage may require a combination of these methods, and a professional can make that determination based on the slope, climate and soil type.

Construction

Retaining walls hold back an immense load of soil. For example, a 4-foot high wall must hold up to 20 tons of wet soil per 15-foot length. A strong wall starts with an appropriate base set below ground level (the height of the wall determines how deep the base needs to be). The base is made of compacted soil, compacted sand and gravel. Once built, the wall needs to be backfilled with at least a foot of gravel or crushed stone. The remaining backfill can be comprised of native soil if the area behind the wall will be landscaped. In addition, landscape fabric should be used between the gravel and the native soil to prevent sediment from filtering down and clogging the gravel and perforated pipe.

Retaining walls not only enhance the appearance and usability of a yard, they also control erosion and protect nearby structures. Proper drainage and sound construction can help these walls last for decades.

Is It Time to Demo Your Deck?

Your deck takes a lot of abuse: driving rain, pounding hail, blistering heat—and everything in between. Add in wood-loving insects and the passage of time, and it is clear why decks have a finite life-span. If you’ve noticed some areas of rot or termite damage, you’re probably wondering what your deck’s prognosis is. A professional can inspect your deck and determine whether repairs or a full deck replacement is in order.

Localized vs. Structural

An annual inspection is the best way to decide the fate of your deck. If the inspector sees localized areas of damage, repairs can correct and halt ongoing problems. On the other hand, if he or she finds large areas of structural damage, deck replacement is the best option. No matter the type of damage, it’s important to determine its cause so you can keep the same problem from happening going forward.

The Inspection

During the inspection, the inspector will be probing with a pointed tool to find soft, mushy wood. He or she will also look for strangely colored water stains. The inspection may start with an assessment of the base of the posts, specifically where they sit on concrete blocks or contact the ground. The inspector will look at the areas where the deck is attached to the house and check the flashing for rust or holes. He or she will inspect the beams and joists underneath the deck as well as search for mold, termite tunneling or cracks that are deepening on the surface of the deck. Next, the railing system will be scrutinized for wobbly posts or loose handrails. Finally, the inspector will conduct a walk test, feeling for any “give” or sponginess when walking across the deck.

With the inspection results in hand, you’ll be able to make minor repairs that extend the life and safety of your deck. Of course, the inspection report may call for demolition, in which case it’s time to discuss deck replacement with a licensed contractor.

Steps to Hiring a House Framing Company

When you decide to construct a new house, you need to make sure you hire a great framing company. The frame is essentially the skeleton of the building, and you want to make sure you get it right. Therefore, it is prudent to spend some time looking for the best company in your area that can handle the task.

Initially, you want to collect a list of several different companies that are proficient with new home construction. You can create this list by simply going to businesses’ websites and reviewing their “About Us” pages. At this point, you can actually start contacting contractors and ask to set up consultations.

As part of your research, there are a few things to look out for with a framing company. First, you want to make sure the business is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. You also want to ask to see if the company has all essential licenses and a comprehensive insurance policy. If any one of those qualifications is missing, then you need to move on.

Ultimately, you will want to set up consultations with three or four contractors. These meetings are crucial when deciding who to hire. Pay attention to how the contractor answers all of your questions. You should also be mindful if the contractor shows up late. When it comes to constructing a new house, you want a team that is going to be prompt. The consultation is also a good time to ask about receiving references. It is beneficial to speak with a few previous clients to see what they have to say about the company.

Once you have all the information you need, you are ready to make a decision. While cost is certainly important, you want to make sure you are hiring the best even if that means paying a little more. By doing sufficient research, you will find a superb framing company to help you.

Why You Should Call a Professional for a Sliding Glass Door Replacement

Many homeowners like DIY projects. While there are certain jobs that can certainly be done by a novice, other jobs will require a professional. One of those jobs is a sliding glass door replacement. This kind of work can be complicated, and you want to be certain you have someone at your house who understands every step of the process.

One good reason to call in an expert is that it helps with the transportation of the door to your property. If you attempt this work on your own, then you will have to go to a business to purchase the new door and take it to your house yourself. Since the door is made of glass, it can scratch or break relatively easily. This is where a professional comes in handy. An expert knows how to properly load a glass door into a truck. If you drive a sedan, then there may not even be enough room in your vehicle for the door to fit.

Additionally, a professional has all the tools necessary to conduct a thorough door replacement. It will take more than a hammer and screwdriver to put a new door in place. This job also requires caulk, putty knives, pry bars, padding and other handyman tools. Instead of going out to purchase everything yourself, you can hire a handyman who will have everything ready to go.

Finally, a good replacement requires more than simply picking out the door. A perfect installation is also needed to ensure the area is properly insulated. Even a single small mistake is enough to bring a draft into the room. Additionally, it takes a while to install a door into place. You can save yourself both time and money by hiring a professional to handle your door replacement for you. Save yourself a ton of hassle by calling in the pros.