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Get a Jump on Next Summer’s Backyard Entertaining by Starting Deck Construction Now

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Autumn may signal the end of summer to some, but to others it’s just an early start to the next summer season. The kids are back in school, the chaise lounges have been stored away, and the garden flowers are losing their petals -- it’s time to strap on the tool belt and fire up the table saw.

According to deck builders across North America, there are several reasons fall is an ideal time to build, repair or expand a deck:

• The grilling, sunbathing and outdoor entertaining activities of the summer season have passed, so deck construction is less likely to disrupt the family’s routine.

• An impressive new deck deserves an equally impressive landscape. By completing the deck in fall, landscaping can be done in spring when weather conditions are ideal for planting, and a wider variety of plants are available.

• A soggy or harsh winter can do extensive damage to already decaying deck boards. Repairing rotting decks in autumn prevents such hazardous damage from occurring.

Western Red Cedar products from CedarOne are excellent products to use for a deck as Cedar is naturally resistant to decay and harsh weather, so your deck can last up to two times longer than with other materials.

Another option against decay is to build with alternative decking materials such as wood composites made from wood fibers and recycled plastics. Ultra-modern engineered materials like ChoiceDek from Weyerhaeuser are nearly impervious to harsh conditions. ChoiceDek has been extensively tested by independent laboratories under hostile accelerated aging conditions, and carries a 20-year limited warranty against rot, decay and termites.

• Moderate fall weather gives new, green lumber ample time to cure. “Summer heat and sun can damage new lumber by rapidly pulling moisture out of the wood,” explains Barry Klemons, owner of Archadeck of Charlotte, N.C., one of the nation’s largest deck builders. Klemons notes that improper curing can cause wood to warp and create hairline cracks, known in the industry as ‘checking.’

• With the kids back in school, saws and electrical tools pose less of a safety hazard for young ones.

• New wood decks need time to cure before the application of sealers, paints and stains.

Building in the fall ensures ample time between construction and staining, as there are generally less social engagements to hurry the project along.

Homeowners who build with engineered decking materials, however, will enjoy a low-maintenance deck free from curing times, sealing, staining or painting.

“ChoiceDek provides a low-maintenance, long-lasting, attractive deck, and is the deck of choice for my own back yard,” says deck builder David Nystrom, owner of Abracadabra Construction in Eugene, Ore.

• In balmy areas of the United States, the outdoor entertaining season extends through the end of fall. According to Chris Myers, owner of Alternative Decking Systems in Coronado, Calif., “In some areas, like Florida and Arizona, it may even be too hot to build decks in summer.

By building in fall, homeowners in warm weather climates can still get a few months of outdoor entertaining in before the weather becomes too chilly.”

• Perhaps your old deck is still in good shape, but needs a new railing? Why not consider a state-of-the-art decorative railing system made of composite materials.

These railing systems offer the same low maintenance option as the decking planks. It is hard to distinguish the difference between many of the composite railing systems, but one difference is pre-grooved railing in the ChoiceDek product, which saves time and money. You can run wires inside the handrail or bottom rail to enjoy beautiful outdoor lights or audio systems.

• Because fall is typically a slower season for contractors, homeowners may be able to save time and money. “In April, May and June, many contractors have a backlog of two or three months,” says Bruce Henzmann, owner of Carmel-Fishers-Geist (CFG) Fence and Deck of Indianapolis, Ind.

“By having a deck built in the slower fall months, people can avoid lag time, and may even be able to get a price break.” So peruse your favorite building and remodeling magazines, invest in a deck-design software program or hire a contractor. Whatever you do, be sure to get outside and take advantage of autumn’s window of opportunity for deck building or repair.

For more information, visit www.cedarone.com and www.choicedek.com.

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