This is a common problem with wood located in sunny spots: the heat causes the wood to dry out too fast and shrink apart. There's no absolute fix for it. It's just an ongoing maintenance issue which you have to keep an eye out for.
There are other problems which crop up on shady spots, like mildew!
I cleaned the surface with a bleach-based cleanser before I repainted it. Then I scraped, patched and primed a few dozen other places where the paint was bubbling due to fluctuations in the weather.
Then I repainted everything and stepped back to take a look.
It looks great! And this summer, the weather has been ideal for sitting in the shade with a glass of lemonade and watching a parade. Or a motorcade. Or a serenade... a masquerade... a promenade by the fire brigade...
Anyway, if your porch or deck needs a little TLC, give me a call. I love this stuff!
Jesse's clients ordered the doors beforehand, but as Jesse noted, the two panels "were not even close to being square." Due to an error by the manufacturers, there was an uneven gap when the two doors met.
I've experienced this problem myself when ordering pre-made pieces from a mill, so I know it can be a real head-scratcher. Should you send the parts back and have them fixed, or try to work with what you've got?
Fortunately, Jesse came up with an elegant solution:
He added a piece of trim down the center to cover the gap, then painted it to match the doors. This is more than just a "stop gap." It actually adds functionality! Now you can really close the doors completely so that you can truly block off the room. This would be really handy if you had a small house and your living room occasionally doubled as a guest room.
I really like this barn door trend. It makes a nice focal point, plus it's much easier to install and maintain than a pocket door, and the doors are still out of the way when you open them.
This set of doors is sleeker than the "rustic" look we've been seeing lately. I think it would work with almost any decor, from a "modern farmhouse" look to a more contemporary style.
If you need someone to install a sliding barn door in Asheville, give us a call, We love this stuff!
Since today is Independence Day, I thought I'd take a break from my usual blog posts and share four of the reasons we're celebrating today, above and beyond our usual Fourth of July festivities. We have so much to be thankful for!
Two All-American Craftsmen
I'm grateful to have more calls for work than one man can answer, and this year I've started referring some of my customers to local handymen whom I trust to do a great job.
Recently Jesse Scott, who's already one of the craftsmen in our network, introduced me to two more extremely talented handymen, who are both very friendly and easy to work with. I'm thrilled to introduce them here.
Click here if you'd like to work with Allan or Ricardo... or keep reading for another reason to celebrate.
Good News on the Home Front
Many of you have sent your thoughts and prayers to us during her illness, so I'd like to send a big "thank you" to all of you. Your good wishes have been very encouraging, and your prayers must have worked!
Now I'm going to turn the blog over to Faith for another piece of awesome news which she picked up from the local community and which seems perfect for sharing today.
The Eagles Are Back!
Thank you Arthur, and I second that motion: thank you to all of our customers and craftsmen and other members of our community that have prayed for me and sent their good wishes. It means a lot to me.
One of the first things I did when my health started to recover was to spend more time getting out and reconnecting with my friends and acquaintances. Recently I had the chance to visit our county library, where I saw something amazing:
Avian expert Mike Skinner of Balsam Mountain Trust held a "Birds of Prey" demonstration which included this lovely young eagle named "Hope."
"Hope" received her name because the conservation program for American Bald Eagles has been working. If you live in the Asheville area, you might even have noticed this in person. I myself have seen eagles flying up and down the French Broad River valley. It's a wonderful piece of good news, and proof that conservation really works.
If you live out in the countryside like I do, you might have also spotted one of these, especially at night:
Isn't she lovely? She's a barn owl. Sadly, although barn owls are not endangered in general, her handler said that our local population has been dwindling as people replace old wooden barns with steel buildings.
The good news is that you can help replenish the local population of these beautiful birds. Locals have discovered that barn owls will move into owl boxes, so if you have the right kind of terrain, you might be able to give your local birds a new home. Or if you have an old barn on your property, consider keeping it maintained for our feathered friends.
We hope that you and your family are having a safe and happy holiday. We'll be back from vacation tomorrow, and we're looking forward to hearing from you about your next project.
Last week I showed off a new deck which I recently built near Asheville, but there's one aspect which deserves its own post: the "see through" deck railing made from livestock fence panels.
The problem with building new porch and deck railings is that Asheville's building code restricts openings in the railing to a 4-inch maximum for safety reasons. Traditional pickets get in the way of the view when they're spaced so close together.
Some people use glass railings, but they can be expensive and hard to keep clean. You can also choose steel cable railings, but they can be expensive, too, and in this case they were a little too modern for this rustic home.
Fortunately, we found a solution that fits the bill: livestock panels.
I got the wire panels at Tractor Supply, where they said that livestock fence panels are very popular for deck railings. There are several kinds, made with different-sized openings between the wire, in order to keep in different kinds of animals. "Goat Panels" have the right-size openings to meet building code standards.
The materials for this railing cost about the same as a traditional railing, but the installation was much faster than it would have been if I were installing pickets.
Zooming in closer, you can see how it was all put together. The posts have holes drilled into them to accept the wire ends of the panels. The tops and bottoms of the panels are held in place by wooden batten strips.
Once it's all screwed together, it's very firm and sturdy. You can sit in the deck chairs and look right down into the yard, which is really nice for keeping an eye on kids or pets.
The panels wrap around the corner and follow the railing down the stairs.
As you can see, they're totally unobtrusive.
We don't just do deck railing installation... we also repair railings, porches, decks and stairs in the Asheville area. If your deck or porch needs a little TLC, give us a call. We'll be glad to help!
I just finished building a new deck near Asheville, and it looks great!
Let's back up and take a look at the "before." This home was originally built without a deck, and just a simple flight of steps going up to the back door.
My first job was to dig a row of holes below the frost line, down to undisturbed earth. I filled each hole with 8 inches of concrete, which will serve as the foundation. The metal rebar coming out of the pad will connect it to a concrete pier.
Now I've poured the piers, attached them to posts, and connected them all with horizontal band boards. This is the part that nobody notices when you're finished... but it's also the most important stage to get right. If the posts and piers were just a half-inch out of alignment, there could be big consequences later.
Another important stage was hanging the floor joists. In fact, I was so busy getting it right that I didn't even take pictures. It was a big job, and I am grateful to Glenn Keeney for joining me on this part of the job. Thanks, Glenn!
After the floor joists comes the glory work: laying the floor boards. This is when it really starts to look like a deck.
I'm glossing over a lot of work here! I had to insert the deck boards below the siding and install vinyl "Z" flashing to keep water from backing up into the wall. I also had to add stainless steel flashing in the doorway. (Pro tip: never use aluminum flashing on decks. It interacts with the treated wood and corrodes.)
Even without the railings, it already lends itself to relaxation...
...but since it's high off the ground at one end, it really needs a railing for safety.
Here you can see me setting in the top railing. It's important to get this level, then sight down along the railing to make sure it's straight.
The railing is mostly on, and now we need some stairs so we can get up onto the deck.
This required digging another pair of foundation holes, then setting posts and stringers.
With the stairs in and the railing on, it's a beautiful place to relax on a shady afternoon.
The "before, during and after" photos show that the deck really improves the appearance of the home. It looks more proportionate somehow.
If you need a new deck for your Asheville home, please give us a call and we'll be glad to help you. We also repair railings and stairs, as well as installing gates and trellises.