Repeat…Should you Shovel your Deck?

I’ve been asked several times about shoveling decks this I thought we would revisit this article from last December…

Should you shovel your deck?

Snow is back and it’s turned cold here this December in Wisconsin.  You’ve kept your driveway and sidewalks clear of the snow, but do you need to shovel the snow off your deck?  Actually, the answer is simple:  NO.

If you are worried about your deck collapsing from the weight of snow, don’t.  Building codes require that decks support more weight than your roof.   Basic rule of thumb: Don’t worry until the snow is above your rails.  Most deck rails are 36″ high and weight of snow should not cause a problem unless it is over three feet deep.  The best thing you can do with your deck is just leave it alone while the snow sits there, slowly melting and clearing itself.  The deck will still be there come April, no need to mess with it in the mean time.


An exception to not shoveling would be if your deck is the second-emergency entrance into your home, or an entrance you use regularly.  Then you may choose to shovel it, but be careful.  Here are some basic rules to follow:

  • Before snow falls, make certain no nails are sticking out of the deck boards .
  • Try using a broom or leaf blower first. If too much snow, then get out the shovel.
  • Use a plastic shovel, not a metal one – so not to scratch the decking material.
  • Shovel in the direction/parallel to the boards, not across the boards.
  • Never chop ice off your deck, it’s too easy to damage deck boards. If you must get rid of ice, then use environmentally safe chemicals.

So, if you need to (or desire to) get that snow off your deck, just be careful not to scratch or damage the deck boards.  And be careful walking on your deck afterwards, ice has a way of creeping back for revenge.

What, you don’t have a deck? Are you considering having one built down the road? Well, give us a call for a free consultation…608-241-9009.  We’ll be happy to take a look — once all this snow melts that is …  Happy Winter!

Composite Decking, the new Green

Do you have a wood deck or thinking of adding a deck to your home?  Keep in mind that maintaining a wood deck is a job in it of itself. Wood decking requires annual scrubbing, bleaching, and staining-not to mention having to replace the occasional board that has become rotted, warped, or splintered. Composite decking has become a popular alternative due to its minimal maintenance requirements.

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Composite decking entry way

Considering a composite deck for your home? This is what you need to know:
When it first became available in the 1990’s, composite decking came with a higher price tag and an extremely limited color range (which was comprised primarily of grays). As technologies advanced, manufacturers were able to create a durable product that closely resembled the look of real wood. They were able to replicate the look of cherry, walnut, and beyond.

Most composite decks are made from sawdust, plastic bags, and used plastic milk jugs. They are an excellent use of recycled material. Not only is this good for the environment, it also allows the decking to last longer in the elements than wood decks. Wood decks commonly rot, mold, and splinter. Luckily, composite decks aren’t prone to these issues. A composite deck may experience the occasional surface mold or discoloration, this can be easily taken care of with a household cleaner and brush.

One of the main reasons why many homeowners end up choosing composite for their decking material of choice is due to its minimal upkeep. Not only do wood decks have a tendency to splinter or rot, they also require the addition of pesticides and metals during the pressure treating process. While this aids in pest prevention, it is harmful for the environment and can be dangerous to children and animals as it deteriorates over time. Composite doesn’t require these harmful additives since it is naturally resistant to insects, mold, and decay.

So, if  you are tired of the constant upkeep of your current wood deck then consider composite decking, it is worth the investment!  Give Adams Design Construction a call, (608-241-9009) we’d love to help you with your new composite decking!  Your home will love you for it.

Layered Lighting Inside Your Home

Illuminating a home is more than buying light fixtures. You have to consider several layers of lighting to create a beautiful living space. Know about layered lighting and get ready to brighten up your home.

We always think of choosing the perfect colors for our home. We spend time in finding the right furniture style. But, one often forgets about lighting. Lighting is one of the most neglected aspects of a home. The right kind of lighting can make any living space beautiful and comfortable. It has the power to add sophistication, warmth and style to your home. But, lighting a room is not just buying pretty light fixtures. Just as you make a room beautiful with different layers of colors and textures; you have to create a beautiful combination of different layers of lighting. Layered lighting not only illuminates your home but also provides practical lighting solution for your accessories.

There are three basics when it comes to Layers of Lighting. You have to combine ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting to create a beautiful amalgamation of lighting to accentuates your home.

  1. Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is the first lighting layer. Every room must have at least one source of ambient lighting. You cannot avoid it because it keeps you from getting your toe stubbed against a piece of furniture. By having adequate lighting, you ensure that you do not trip and fall. An electrician can create ambient lighting with the help of recessed lights, flush-mount fixtures, panels, large chandeliers, fans with lights, etc.


Ambient Lighting

  1. Task Lighting

The purpose of ambient lighting is general illumination. But, it is insufficient as a light source for purposes that require more light. For example, activities such as reading, sewing, cooking, applying make-up, etc. require additional lighting. Usually, fixtures used for track lighting are visible. So, it is essential that you choose fixtures that match the theme of the room. You can ensure adequate light source with the help of pendant lighting, low-hanging track lighting, under cabinet lighting, bed-side lamps, bathroom vanity lights and so on.

  1. Accent Lighting

To add drama to a living space, you require accent lighting. You can use it to draw attention towards houseplants, paintings, or any other unique accessory in the room. If you have a beautiful sculpture, accent lighting can help you to highlight it. According to a general rule, accent lighting should be three times brighter than the general light source to create a focal point. An electrician can install a variety of wall scones, track lights, pendant lights, LED tape lights, etc. to emphasize a specific area in the room.

When you are thinking of layered lighting for a room, make a planned decision. First begin with the purpose of the room. Also, finalize furniture. Once you are done with it, think of the focal point the room. After you are sure of the layout, consider ambient lighting, and then focus on task lighting and accent lighting. Remember that there is no need to buy separate fixture for all the different types of lighting. For example, you can use a large chandelier for ambient lighting as well as accent lighting. Make sure that the electrician makes adequate use of dimmer switch to provide you with versatile lighting. Remember proper planning and apt combination of lighting can illuminate your home beautifully. And, as always, give Adams Design Construction a call 608-241-9009, we’re here to help.

Time to Deck Things Out!

customwoodworking-porchesYou might be looking at your deck and thinking it could really use a modern rail system, or maybe you don’t even have a deck yet? Having an extension of your home that allows you to relax and enjoy the warm weather is totally worth it! So if you have a deck that is in need of some repair or updating we can help with that. If you’re in need of a new deck altogether, we will build one that matches your home. Other than the relaxation factor there are plenty of other great reasons to have a deck: Continue reading

Planning Ahead for a Better Payoff

Porch-C.T.-3Warmer temperatures are a pretty nice thought right now. You start to dream of all the blossoming flowers and fresh spring air. If there are any remodeling projects you have in mind for the summer months now is the perfect time to start laying out a plan of attack. When you allow yourself enough time to mull things over you’ll be able to relay your thoughts to your contractor. Once your contractor has a good idea of what you’re looking for they can make sure it’s realistic. Continue reading

The Power of Pergolas

Adams Design Construction - PergolasThere is still plenty of summer left to build a little drama into your home! So, we’ve put the spot light on PERGOLAS.

What in the heck is a pergola anyway? Translated it means ‘projecting eaves’ and there are as many styles as there are houses. Continue reading

Thinking Outside the Box: Outdoor Living Spaces

Summer is here, and what better way is there to enjoy those summer days than by taking a step outside the box, and relaxing in the warm glow of the sun? But just because you’re headed outdoors doesn’t mean you have to forgo all of those creature comforts back inside.

You can easily create an outdoor living space in your yard – the perfect place for hanging out, hosting company, and spending those warm summer days under the sun.

We should qualify though – when we say “outdoor living space” we’re not talking about elaborate, Swiss Family Robinson style treehouses with rope bridges and monkey butlers, although there are quite a few people putting the “house” in treehouse these days. We’re talking about decked-out decks, prettied-up patios, and other creative ways to extend your home beyond its walls.

Adams Design Construction - Outdoor SpacesWhen planning to revamp your outdoor space, you have a lot of options. You can swing for the fences with a fully functional outdoor kitchen or bar, stone fire pit, or a zen pond – or you can go for something much more simpler and budget friendly. You can find beautiful outdoor lighting options to liven up your deck for a great price. With a little bit of sweat and the right tools, you can transform your backyard with some DIY landscaping. Even just a set of nice, comfortable patio furniture and cushions will go a long way to making your backyard the go-to hangout spot.

Of course, in a state like Wisconsin, weather is always going to be something to think about. If you’d rather not worry about pulling everything in when a storm rolls in, but still want to have a place to enjoy the outdoors, then you may want to consider a 3 season porch. With a 3 season porch, you can have all of the sights, sounds, and atmosphere of the outside world, without any of the rain, wind, or mosquitos. It might not even take much effort to turn your current porch into one you can use nearly year round!

Hit the Deck – Tips for Getting Your Deck Ready For Summer

Unless you’re a die-hard grill enthusiast and don’t let feet of snow get in the way of a good barbecue, it’s probably be
en a few months since your deck has seen any action. Before grill season is in full swing and you’re out there every night, take some time now to get it ready to rock. Continue reading

Investing in Your Home – Which Remodeling Projects Pay Off?

When you are planning on remodeling your home, it’s always important to consider how much of what you put into the project will actually go into increasing its value. Every year, Remodeling Magazine releases a Cost vs. Value report for every sort of remodeling project. They gather data from all across the country on the cost of remodels and the value added to homes from them. Based on their report for this year, here are some of the projects with the highest return on investment:

Kitchen Remodeling
Adams Design Construction - Kitchen RemodelingThe kitchen is the heart of every home – and because of this, it makes one of the best places to invest in remodeling and upgrades. According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report for 2013, kitchen remodels tend to recoup around 75% of the project’s cost into the home’s value.

Replacement Projects
Exterior replacement projects like siding, windows, entry, and garage doors are toward the top of Remodeling Magazine’s list nearly every year, with recoup values usually between 70- 80%. These generally tend to be much less expensive than major projects like kitchens though, so while replacing an entry door might be a quick and easy job, it may only add about $1000 to the value of your home. But not only do they add value to your home, they’ll also give it a great boost in curb appeal.

Finished Attics and Basements
Adams Design Construction - Attic RemodelingSpending the money to finish the basement or attic is a great way to invest in your home and increase to its value. The key to finished basements and attics is that they let you add to your home’s living space without the need for an extra addition. Fitting these spaces with heating and cooling, insulation, plumbing, and wiring can add about 70% of the cost back into the value of your home.

With the way a deck can become the focal point of a home in the summer, it’s no wonder that they are a great project for increasing its value. Wooden decks generally have a higher rate of return compared to composite decks, with an average recoup value of 77% (versus 67%), and are usually a bit less expensive to put in.