Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tips on How to Choose a Patio Heater or Fireplace Type

Having a patio heater, an outdoor fireplace, or a fire pit is the best way to extend your time in your patio or deck. An outdoor heat source is a great addition in your outdoor room. It creates a great ambiance and may also make a good centerpiece for your patio or deck design. However, the comfort-giving heat output is the main purpose of it all. Continue reading to help you know if a patio heater or fireplace provides enough heat.

Available Options
First, there are several types of heating source such as patio heaters, fireplaces, and fire pits. They can be powered either by electricity, gas, or wood. Second, there are limitations on what you can build or place in your patio or deck. Perhaps you cannot place the type of heat source you like because it is not advisable in your outdoor room design, or, there are restrictions set by your community or by your home insurance policy. So, we’ll need to know the heat output by type.

Wood Fireplace
Wood fireplace or the traditional fireplace fueled with wood can also be built for patio or deck. The amount of heat depends on several factors such as the size of the fireplace and its design. The heat output can also be affected by the breeze or air flow of the outdoor environment. It cannot give off enough heat to a large group of people and the heat is very minimal in an outdoor setup. This type of heat source is fully effective only in an enclosed outdoor room. Otherwise, you have to sit close to the heat source to get the heat for comfort.

Fire Pit and Fire Bowl

A fire pit or fire bowl is another traditionally used heat source. The heat is generated by burning wood, and, you can also use other safe combustible materials. Also, there are fire pits and fire bowls that allow you to burn gas or organic gel fuels. Simply it has the same effect as wood fireplace, but it heats the surrounding area. It is not advisable for an enclosed space and areas with roofing though it may work better. Use with caution for your safety.

Gas or Gel Fireplace
Gas or gel fueled fireplace as effective as wood fireplace, bigger fire means more heat. The heat output is also be affected by breeze.

Radiant Gas Patio Heater
Radiant Gas Patio Heaters are by far the most effective outdoor heater in terms of giving off more heat. They can be powered by propane, natural gas, or LPG. The heat is radiant so it cannot be affected by the breeze or air and heats objects directly.

Most residential gas patio heaters generate up to approximately 40,000  BTU’s to heat a large portion of a patio or deck. Radiant patio heaters of this rating can cover an area of 15 to 25 feet in diameter.

There are smaller table top versions which can give off approximately 11,000 BTUs to heat an area of up to 7 feet in diameter. Powerful enough to heat the people around a table or sofa. Other commercial types can reach 60,000 BTUs or even higher to heat a large area. However, you can adjust the heat depending on your needs.

Infrared Halogen Heater

Infrared halogen heaters use electricity to produce a continuous and even heat. The heat is also radiant and safely heats people and objects directly and not the air.

Infrared halogen patio heaters come in various styles such as hanging, wall-mount, and free standing. They can be directional which heat can focused in one spot, and, they can be omnidirectional to heat the surrounding around it.

Typically, patio heaters of this type give off up to approximately 5,000 BTUs of heat providing warmth to a ten foot area.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Backyard Deck Building Tips - Materials

Before you start building your deck, knowing the types of decking materials is very helpful for your backyard success. There are synthetic and natural decking options and each have different characteristics. Depending on the purpose of your deck, your climate, and your lifestyle, you have to choose one that is applicable for you.

Natural Wood Materials
There are many kinds of wood for decking but only a few stands out. These kinds are popular because of their color, texture, and resistance to outdoor elements. Although resistant wood is expensive depending on your location, it makes a more esthetically pleasing deck. It is a good investment that would certainly add value to your property.

Cedar - This wood holds up well in sun, rain, and snow. Its color will become gray as it ages, but you can make it look new with stain.

Redwood - It is very good at resisting rot. Its color becomes gray as it ages and prolonged moisture will make it look black. You can make it look good with sealer

Teak - This wood is popular for patio furniture making but is also good for decking. It can also resist moisture, cracking, and insects. Teak wood color, and texture is also great.

Ipe - It is a very hard wood that strongly resists rotting and insect.

Philippine Mahogany - It is also great in resisting rot and pests. This is a tight-grained hardwood and looks like teak when treated with marine oil.

Composite and PVC Decking
Composite decking is a hybrid material made of both real wood fibers and plastic particles. It is also known as WPC or Wood Plastic Composites. The combining of wood and plastic is engineered to resist stain, and rot.

Using composite materials require less maintenance so it becomes cheaper in the long run.

PVC Decking is made of purely plastic which makes it really resistant to mold and rot.

Both composite and PVC materials are highly durable. They are available in a variety of colors and wood textures but the difference from the real thing can easily be noticed.

The main advantage of these is that they are resistant to outdoor element brought by different climates. These are less likely to rot compared to natural materials. However, they can somehow degrade and looks start to fade away over time.

Although synthetic materials are resistant to rotting, they cannot outlast the beauty of real wood. They will somehow show discoloration and texture changes in the long run. The scratches and stains cannot be fixed easily compared to wood.

The degrading of synthetic materials is usually caused by sunlight. You need provide a shed for your deck to protect it. You can install a deck cover such as a pergola, an awning, or a large patio umbrella.

On the other hand, wear and tear is usually caused by improper handling or moving of outdoor umbrellas, outdoor furniture and fixtures. Try some items that have wheels.

The main issue of deck made from synthetic materials is that they are not as strong as wooden deck. You are limited to how much weight you can put in your deck. So avoid putting heavy items if you choose to use synthetic materials.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tips on Removing Snow and Ice from Patio

When winter is not over yet and snowfall continues, it is still hard to get things done around the patio. One major obstacle is the accumulation of snow and ice. It will take long for it to melt on its own so we have to put our muscles into good use and do something about it. Here are some useful and important tips not just to make it cheaper and easier to do, but also safer.

Prevent Accumulation
Removing snow is not easy if it already accumulated and compacted. If you have some time in a day, try to get rid of snow using shovel after every snowfall. Doing so will prevent too much accumulation of snow, thus, avoiding it from compacting into thick ice patches which are harder to remove. Besides, it is beneficial for you to get warmed up with snow shovelling workout.

Clearing Up
Clear up your patio and make sure it gets sunshine throughout the day. The sunlight will help melt and evaporate snow and ice so remove any debris and obstacles that get in the way. The best part is it is free.

Only Plastic Scraper
Use only plastic scraper on wood surface and on your patio furniture and fixtures. If you are removing ice from the wooden parts of your patio or your outdoor furniture, be sure you are not using scraping tools other than plastic-made to avoid chipping and damaging the finish.

Leave the Plants Alone
Don’t try to remove the snow and ice on plants. Leave them alone and let the snow and ice melt away naturally. You may inflict more damage than do good for them.

Salt is Not Good
Salt is an effective and inexpensive deicer but it is a detrimental solution for your patio. It leaves stain to your paver and other patio furniture and fixtures. Aside from that, there are worst effects that would come out in the long run.

The sodium chloride or salt would induce a chemical reaction such as rust and corrosion when it comes in contact with metals. It will damage the metallic components of your patio including your metal-made patio furniture, fixtures, and ornaments.

Salt is also bad for your patio or backyard plants. We already know that it kills plants and would prevent new ones from growing if it is present in the soil. So before attempting to sprinkle salt, remember that it can ruin your patio and backyard soil.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Guide to Patio Design

A patio is an outdoor extension to your home so it just reasonable to bring the familiar beauty of your interior design to the outdoors. It must be built and designed to provide style and comfort for a great outdoor experience.

Before you choose a design and start building, it is worth considering to first decide the purpose of your patio. This way will help you project how much area would be required and determine the patio furniture and fixtures needed.

If you love gathering with friends and relatives, you will need a patio that have ample space. This design would make a great experience if it can accommodate another space for a little entertainment.

An outdoor room for get-together usually require more seats than any other outdoor furniture to make it comfortable for your guest to gather around. It does not mean you have to stock chairs with the same style and form of course. There is not much design esthetics on that and your patio would look more like a function room. Instead, vary your seats and just match their color and material type. For example, you may put an outdoor wicker sofa set then add chairs and stools that are also made from wicker.

If the purpose of your patio is to have an outdoor dining room or for grilling on weekends with your family or friends, then you patio design should be more suitable for outdoor cooking and dining. It is much easier and fun to just make a little kitchen in your patio. If building a kitchen in your patio is not good for you then a portable outdoor BBQ and Grill appliance would be well enough to enjoy outdoor dining and grilling.

There are dining sets specifically made for outdoors. I suggest you should also consider a convertible dining table which expands to accommodate additional guests.

Do you want a bar in which you can relax and drink and share your favorite wine? Many have built a patio with an outdoor bar area nowadays. Just build a bar top, erect a patio umbrella for a shade, add some bar stools, and voila, your very own customized outdoor bar at home.

Try to match your patio design with the architecture of you house so it doesn’t look a bit off.

Add an outdoor fireplace or a patio heater to keep you warm.

There are many types of paver, you need to know them to make a good choice which one is to use. Here is an article about patio pavers to help you.

Apart from great design, patios should be made durable because they add value to your property just in case you might have plans to sell it one day.