Show Notes: Deck & Patio Summer Updates
It’s time to get your deck or patio ready for summer living by giving it a safety check and improve the livability by adding lighting. Spruce it up with new bright cushions and color then enjoy !
Thank you to our guests today:
Bill Schaffer with Brown Lawn Green – brownlawngreen.com
John and Debbie Schafgans – Home remodelers
Check Your Decks
10-Point Safety Checklist for Your Deck
Split or Decaying Wood:
-Check several different areas of the deck to be sure the wood is still sound. This includes the ledger board (where the deck attaches to the house and a common source of deck failure), support posts and joists under the deck (if you can reach them), deck boards, railings and stairs.
-Pay special attention to any areas that tend to remain damp, are regularly exposed to water, or are in contact with fasteners. Use a tool like an ice pick or a screwdriver to penetrate the wood surface.
-If you can easily penetrate ¼ – ½ inch, break off a sliver of wood without splinters, or the wood is soft and spongy, decay may be present.
-This is also a good time to look for small holes in the wood, which may indicate insects
Railings and Banisters:
-These should be secure. Push on them to be sure there is no give.
-Also, check to be sure they are high enough (most codes require a 36” high railing and usually encourage 42” high railings) with rails no more than 4” apart (measured from the inside of the rails) to keep small children and pets from squeezing through. This is especially important the higher your deck is off the ground.
Lighting and Electrical:
-Be sure all lighting is working; clean any light covers to allow maximum light to shine through, and trim any plants or tree limbs that may be blocking light.
-If you don’t have adequate lighting, there are a lot of great new deck
lighting products you could consider to illuminate your steps and pathways.
-Be sure all electrical outlets, appliances and features are up to code, in good condition, and childproof if children are present.
-Watch that any electrical cords do not present a tripping hazard.
-Flashing is a metal or plastic guard that directs water out and away from sensitive areas. It’s often installed where the deck and house come together, keeping moisture and debris from collecting between the house and the deck’s ledger board. Be certain the flashing is sound and firmly in place. Consider adding or replacing flashing if you notice areas that are obviously allowing water to collect.
Loose or Corroded Fasteners:
Fasteners include nails, screws or anchors in the ledger board. Tighten any loose fasteners, and pound in any nails that have popped up. (Note: The ledger board should not be fastened with only nails.)
-If a fastener appears rusted or corroded, consider replacing it. A corroded fastener can cause deterioration in surrounding wood.
-The deck or stairs should appear even without sagging and should not sway or move when tested.
-Check any railings or handrails to be sure they are firmly held in place; check also the risers and stringers to be certain they are securely attached and not decayed.
-If the area behind the stair treads is open, this opening should be no more than 4” high.
-Also, always keep stair pathways clear of planters, décor, toys and other items that can present a tripping hazard.
Cleaning and Maintenance:
-Clean away any leaves and debris, since these can be slippery and promote mildew.
-If mildew is present or the deck coating has worn away, make time to clean and apply a new waterproofing coating. It can help prevent the split, decayed wood and loosened fasteners mentioned earlier
Grills, Fire pits, Chimneys, Heaters and Candles:
-These features can create a warm and cozy deck atmosphere, but make sure any source of fire or heat is safely placed away from flammable surfaces or that the deck surface is protected by a nonflammable pad.
-Always use caution and follow manufacturers’ directions.
Outdoor Furniture and Storage:
-Test all outdoor furniture to be sure it is sturdy. Avoid placing seating right at the edge of the deck. If you have a swing or hammock installed, test the chains and ropes to be sure they are secure. Consider installing childproof latches on any storage boxes and benches.
-Be sure to keep all deck related chemical products stored safely away from children, including BBQ lighter fluids, matches, cleaners,
-If you have trees overhanging your deck, make certain there is no danger of decaying limbs breaking free and falling from trees surrounding the deck.
Deck Lighting Can Transform Your Deck Into a Spectacular Showplace!
Deck lighting can have a dramatic impact on your backyard deck. While enhancing the beauty of your deck you can also increase its useability. Nighttime can become the best time to use your deck, particularly in the hot summer months.
In the dark, steps are an obvious place for slips and stumbles that could lead to bumps and bruises or even serious injuries. Keep in mind that as a homeowner, you have potential liability for injuries occurring on your property. Sure, you can turn on bright flood lights or porch lights to overcome the darkness, but then the mood of a quiet relaxing time outside is spoiled. Deck lighting equals problem solved. Create enough soft light to move around safely without destroying the relaxed mood or that beautiful night sky.
Highlight steps, doorways, and other areas where foot traffic is likely and obstacles might be found. The really cool thing about deck or patio lighting is that it not only provides increased safety, but it also makes your deck or patio look better at night – just like landscape lighting enhances the beauty of your home. Most folks have the deck lighting on whether the deck is being used or not. Just because it looks so nice!
Deck lighting is available in several basic types, with each type having a wide variety of styles. Since steps are obviously an area of safety concern, lights are specially made for that application. You can either install lighting directly into the riser (the part that “rises” up between each step) or you can install lights on posts or under rails that illuminate the steps. Either method works and looks great, so it’s really a matter of which type offers the look you want.
Railing and Post Lights
Since steps aren’t the only place you will want to illuminate, lights are available to install on the railing posts or under the railing itself. Remember to install these lights in a way that you won’t actually see the bulbs while sitting down. That means keeping them low – closer to the deck floor. You don’t want your night vision impaired by looking directly at a bulb – even a low intensity bulb. This sometimes creates an issue with lighting installed under the top rail. If that light is shielded from direct view by the rail itself or by the design of the light, it should be fine. If not, you may want to consider an alternate method. Remember, you want it to be unseen while you are sitting.
Post Cap Lights
Another nice deck lighting option is lighted post caps. There are many, many different styles. Aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, copper…different shapes and colors – so you can find one to suit your taste and your budget. Most are quite attractive and finish off a post nicely, even if they weren’t lighted. At night, they offer a high level of WOW factor. Just keep in mind that they are mounted on top of the posts, so they will naturally be higher than any of the other methods. If you ever lie back on your deck and stare at the stars (we all do that, don’t we?) post cap lights may impair your night vision. If using them, and you enjoy the night sky, strongly consider lights that you can control, rather than automatic on/off lights.
What about installation?
Most deck lights are fairly easy to install yourself. The first consideration will be determining which type of power source your deck lighting system will use. A system that uses a standard 120 volt household current should be installed by a qualified electrician. Most systems are low voltage, so installation is much easier and safer. See the requirements by reading low voltage lighting.
However, there are still some low voltage applications that may be beyond the comfort level for self installers. If you will be using post lights or especially post cap lights, the preferred method is to drill a hole into the center of the post to hide the wire. Again, depending on your railing style, you may be able to hide the wiring in the railing and minimize drilling at the post cap or down the post (for post lights). Just take some time to plan out where you will hide the wiring. There is often a way to do it without major work, but sometimes there will need to be extensive drilling through the length of the posts.
Solar Deck Lighting
Solar deck lighting is another option. The problem of how to hide the wiring is eliminated – there isn’t any! Installation is very easy. The low light output often associated with solar lights isn’t a problem, since that is what you want anyway. Solar lighting may be an especially attractive option if you are considering deck post cap lighting, since that usually presents the greatest challenge to hiding wires. The drawback to solar deck lighting is that you usually don’t have the option to turn the lights off. Almost all are automatically turned on via a photocell. You may be able to find fixtures with an on / off option, or you may decide it really isn’t a problem for you.
Rope lighting is another option for deck lighting. It’s easy to install and is relatively inexpensive. It lacks the custom look of the individual fixtures, but if carefully installed, it can be a nice option. Keep in mind the need to conceal the bulbs. Depending on your deck railing style, you may be able to install rope lighting under the bottom rail.
NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT FURNITURE & TV TIP-OVER DEATHS & INJURIES
Anchor It!: CPSC Launches Nation’s Largest Campaign to Prevent Furniture and TV Tip-Over Deaths and Injuries
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today launches “Anchor It!” – a national public education campaign to prevent furniture and TV tip-overs from killing and seriously injuring children. This is one of the top hidden hazards in the home, and CPSC’s new safety campaign is aimed at reducing the number of deaths and injuries from tipping furniture and TVs.
According to CPSC data, unstable and unsecured TVs and large pieces of furniture kill a child every two weeks, on average, in tip-over incidents that are easily preventable. CPSC also reported that 38,000 Americans go to emergency rooms each year with injuries related to tip-overs of top-heavy furniture or televisions placed on furniture, instead of a TV stand. Two-thirds of those injuries involved children younger than 5. Additionally, between 2000 and 2013, 84 percent of the 430 deaths reported to CPSC involved children younger than 10. A January 2015 CPSC report found that a television tipping over from an average size dresser falls with thousands of pounds of force. The impact of a falling TV is like being caught between two NFL linemen colliding at full-speed—10 times.
“Every 24 minutes in the U.S. a child goes to the emergency room because of a tip-over incident involving furniture or a TV,” said CPSC Commissioners Marietta Robinson and Joseph Mohorovic. “We must take action now. CPSC’s new ‘Anchor It!’ campaign is a call to action for parents and caregivers to ‘get on top of it, before they do.’ If we can prevent one more death, it will be worth it.”
The “Anchor It!” outreach campaign includes broadcast public service announcements (PSAs), print PSAs, and an informational site (www.AnchorIt.gov). The site outlines the dangers of tip-overs and explains how easy it is to anchor furniture and TVs properly. HGTV star Tiffany Brooks, an interior designer, wife, mother and HGTV host, will serve as an Anchor It! campaign spokesperson, along with CPSC Commissioners Robinson and Mohorovic.
These safety steps advise consumers to:
o Buy and install low-cost anchoring devices to prevent TVs, dressers, bookcases or other furniture from tipping.
o Avoid leaving items, such as remote controls and toys, in places where kids might be tempted to climb up to reach for them.
o Store heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers.
o Place TVs on a sturdy, low base and push them as far back as possible, particularly if anchoring is not possible.
o If purchasing a new TV, consider recycling older ones not currently used. If moving the older TV to another room, be sure it is anchored properly to the wall.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals – contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC’s Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054 for the hearing impaired.
Outdoor Fabric 101
How to buy the right outdoor cushions and materials for your home.
What do you need from your outdoor fabric? Before you start looking at fabrics and cushions for your patio or deck, take a moment to assess what you want from your outdoor material. Do you plan on keeping this material outside all year or just for a few months out of the year? Will this material get wet a lot and need to be waterproof? The fabric you need for the occasional outdoor throw pillows may be very different from your outdoor umbrellas or awnings.
Here are some typical differentiating factors between outdoor fabrics; many of these features should be listed directly on the tag of the material:
permeable or breathable machine washable or hand wash only
Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch Hits The Market For $100 Million
Well this is a thriller.
The California property known as Neverland Ranch when it was owned by Michael Jackson, is on the market for $100 million, the Wall Street Journal reports. The approximately 2,700-acre compound near Santa Barbara still has theme park-style features leftover from the “King of Pop,” like his giant “Neverland” clock, a train station and railroad tracks. The flock of exotic animals the singer kept on the property is gone, though a lone llama reportedly still roams the grounds.
The estate now goes by the name Sycamore Valley Ranch, and the Ferris wheel, carousel and carnival rides Jackson installed have been removed to let the property’s two lakes, pool and two guest houses shine.
The ranch’s 22 structures also include a pool, cabana, basketball court, tennis court and barbecue hut.
Investment firm Colony Capital bought the ranch from Jackson in 2008 after he defaulted on the loan. Last year, Bloomberg reported that Neverland was getting ready for a sale.
Sotheby’s International Realty of Santa Barbara and Hilton & Hyland of Beverly Hills are co-listing the property.