IN Great Valley Spring 2020 - Page 10

HOME IMPROVEMENT GUIDE EXTRA SPACE IS ON DECK One of the most inexpensive ways to add living space to your home is the addition of an outdoor deck or patio. Having a great outdoor space is like adding an extra room to your house. It can be enjoyed by the whole family, or experienced in quiet solitude as a retreat to the Zen of outdoor living. If you like to entertain, then an outdoor space is a must. Guests can spill out onto the patio, extending your home to allow more freedom for guests to mingle, both inside and out. Though the words “patio” and “deck” are often used interchangeably, there is a difference. A patio is generally constructed of stone pavers, tile or a simple concrete foundation that sits squarely on the ground. Decks are usually made of wood, PVC (also called vinyl) or composite, which has wood content that has been encapsulated in a PVC wrap. Decks can either be ground level or elevated. When considering which option is best for you, you’ll want to look at the costs and also which one works well with the style of your home. The good news is that regardless of the option you choose, you’ll get a positive return on your investment, somewhere between 30% and 75%. For a wood frame house, wooden, composite or PVC decks can match the trim of your existing home. Since wood can be painted, a wooden deck offers the most color options; however it will also require frequent repainting. Both PVC and composite decks are available in a wide range of earth tones to match your home’s style. PVC and composite decks require less maintenance in the long run. Although wooden decks run about $2 - $3 per square foot, they do require more maintenance and will have to be resealed every few years to give them maximum life. Both PVC and composite decks will run an average of $8 - $9 per square foot. They will require power-washing for cleaning, with frequency depending on location. If the deck is adjacent to trees and shrubbery, leaves and pollen will settle on the frame and washing is required to keep it looking sharp. If your home is made of stone, you may opt for a patio that is a continuation of the stone look, but this also works well with a wood frame or brick home. Patios work best in yards that are level, while a deck can be placed pretty much anywhere, including a hilly or uneven lawn. Many homeowners add fire features to their outdoor area, which functions as a gathering point for both family and guests. Traditional wood-burning fireplaces not only add physical warmth and beauty, but emotional warmth as well. Contemporary homeowners are opting for very modern linear gas fireplaces, with smooth, clean lines to mirror the style of their home. For homeowners who don’t have the space for a traditional fireplace, fire pits make a great feature, creating a beautiful flame that glows through crystal rock. They’re available in three different heights, with a lower coffee table height, dining table and bar height. The homeowner also has the option of selecting wood‑ or gas-burning fire pits. OUTDOOR KITCHENS – FOR THOSE WHO CAN’T STAND THE HEAT When the summer heats up, the prospect of slow-cooking a roast or searing some ribs is just not as appealing when you know it’s going to heat up your house and drive up your air conditioning bill. Take a tip from our pioneer ancestors who baked their bread and cooked their meats outdoors in the summer in order to maintain a cool house. This simple idea can really help keep your home cool during the dog days of summer, while saving you money on energy costs. With an outdoor oven and grill, barbeques can be a spontaneous dinner idea, rather than a major event that must be planned days in advance. The grilling process gives steaks, chicken, fish and pork a wonderful smoked flavor, while reducing the overall fat content. And it’s not just meats that can benefit from grilling. Bell peppers, onions, zucchini and tons of other vegetables take on a wonderful flavor when tossed lightly with olive oil, wrapped in foil and cooked on a grill. With an outdoor kitchen, grilling is not just for summer either. With a covering for rainy days and outdoor heating available, it can be used virtually year round. Although just a simple oven and grill can change the way you live, a sink with running water and an added fridge can really make cooking outdoors convenient. For entertaining, the outdoor kitchen offers a way that you can spend time with your guests while preparing the meal. There’s also an entire line of in-ground sound equipment and specially made outdoor TVs for entertaining. The televisions are Continued on page 10 > 8 724.942.0940 TO ADVERTISE 