About Me

Green Home Improvements .info is written by Charles Faust. Charles has been in the home improvement industry since the early 1990's and has owned his own company for a little over 10 years. This blog was created to show Charles' efforts in making his lifestyle more "Green" and how his product selections for his clients are becoming "Greener".

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Archive for the ‘Decks and Decking’ Category

Tree House - A Perfect Solution to Entertain Kids of All Ages

Written by green1 on Jun 24th, 2008 | Filed under: Decks and Decking, green projects

Over the past week I’ve been working on a tree house type of raised deck for my family.  Since my 6 year old is at a stage where she loves watching TV and playing on the computer the tree house is a way to get her out of the house to enjoy some fresh air.  You might be wondering how a tree house has anything to do with “green home improvements”?   Here are the benefits for our family so far and the tree house is not even done yet;

-No more “daddy, what’s on TV”, instead I hear “daddy can we play in the tree house”.

-No more “daddy, can I play on the computer”, instead I hear “daddy can I help you in the tree house”.

-No more “daddy, look at the the _____on the TV”, instead I hear “daddy look at the squirrels” or “daddy look at the swans”(we live on a lake).

The tree house gives our kids a reason to get out of the house and away from the TV/computer.  This saves a little electricity since we have a bunch of solar powered lights in our backyard that provide light for them to play long after dark.  The tree house provides us with a place to relax while we enjoy the fresh air with the birds, squirrels, and wildlife on our lake.

I will post some pictures once the project is completed but here are some pictures for the crowd over at Yahoo Answers.

Tree House Keeping the Joist Away From the LimbsTree House Cutting decking around a limb

Tree House During Construction

Green Decks & Green Decking

Written by green1 on Feb 29th, 2008 | Filed under: Decks and Decking

It’s beginning to look a lot like spring and spring means deck season! Over the past few years several of the leading decking companies are promoting their products as being green. In my opinion some are producing a great product and some are producing a product that will require replacement in a few years. Let’s take a look a few different decking products that are on the market.

Pressure Treated Decking

While pressure treated is generally required for the frame of a deck, most people agree that it is not a “green decking material”. If the wood is treated properly then it can last a very long time. The problem with the wood itself it that it tends to bow, warp, split and a list of other issues that are common with wood. When the problems occur people generally replace the decking with new decking and the old decking goes to the landfill. Some people will live with the ugly unsafe decking for over 10 years while others replace it with more pressure treated decking. This cycle will never end unless people are made aware of the other decking materials that are available today.

Composite Decking

Composite decking is a mix of wood and plastic and everyone likes to promote their mixture as being the best. I have used a few different brands of composite decking over the past several years without falling in love with one brand. A few of the composites can and will fail over time. I have seen some fail to the point of requiring a total replacement! Some of the common complaints are mold/mildew, stains, uneven fading, excessive fading, splits around the screws and bleeding of the wood fibers. Some of these failures come from the installers not installing the decking properly. Most of the decking companies have put in place a training program for the installers so that they will install the product properly. Some of the companies also require them to pass a written test.

green-1-elk-medium-web-view Green Decks & Green Decking

If you are looking for a composite deck be sure to ask these questions when you select your decking company:

1. How long has the product been around for?

2. How long is the warranty?

3. Can I transfer the warranty if I sell my home?

4. Does the warranty cover the product and the labor?

5. Is the warranty pro-rated?

6. Has your company been trained to install this brand of decking? (prove it)

One of the composite decking companies that are worth taking a look at is Elk, they offer a great warranty and a wide selection of colors.

Vinyl Decking

When I first heard of vinyl decking I thought of plastic, who wants a plastic deck? At the time I did not know the differences between plastic and vinyl. Pure vinyl is actually a great product for the outdoors! Several years ago I began using PVC trim boards for most of my exterior trim. I no longer had issues with wood that rots, bows, twists and all of the other nasty things that wood likes to do. These new vinyl/PVC trim boards would outlast the products that I installed them around! Last spring I looked at a decking product called Pro-Cell and the product line really impressed me. It is a cellular PVC product with a very dense surface. The product promoter handed me a screw an asked me to scratch composite decking samples and then try it on his product. I was shocked that the Pro-Cell product would not scratch like all of the other products. The next test was to put ketchup on all of the samples and to see which one it wiped off of without leaving a stain. Over the next few weeks I spent a ton of time researching the product, it’s history and it’s place in my product line. Late last fall Azek (PVC trim company) bought Pro-Cell and together they are working towards long lasting exterior products.

green-1-azek-medium-web-view Green Decks & Green Decking

Wood Decking

I will have a guest author talk about the feature and benefits of wood decking since I am not a fan of it. On one hand I want to present to you all of your options while on the other hand I will not promote a product that I do not feel good about.

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