Top 5 Material Options for building a Patio

Patios | Steadfast ConstructionOne way to create a great outdoor living space is by adding a patio. Patios are usually level with the ground instead of raised like a deck. From a grill-out location in the summer to a gathering place around a fire pit in late fall, a patio can be a multi-season recreation center. It can also serve to define different areas of your yard, along with enhancing the style of your home and garden.

Patios are as diverse as the homes they go with — from a large rectangular brick patio to a free-form slate patio. When thinking about the size and type of patio that’s right for you, take into account how the patio will be used. Do you want a space for entertaining parties of 12 or an intimate retreat for just the two of you? Along with space, the look of the patio is also important. To have a patio that seamlessly links the home to the garden, you want to think about the overall impression you would like to create. For example, a colonial-style home might mesh well with a brick patio, whereas if you have a contemporary-style home, poured concrete might give you the look you want.

STONE

Stone offers a natural and durable option for the creation of a patio. Natural stone can also fit into a garden setting because of its natural hues. While homeowners may be attracted by the look and durability of stone, its irregular surfaces can make for a rough walking area. It can also be heavy and, due to the irregular shapes, stone can be difficult to fit together when laying out the patio. Above all, cost can be a large factor. Stone patios are usually more expensive than concrete pavers or poured concrete.

CONCRETE PAVERS

Concrete pavers are made of dense concrete compacted to form individual units that can mimic brick or natural stone, but at a less expensive price. And they can come in a variety of colors and shapes.

Different installation methods for concrete pavers can offer the homeowner different benefits. Since most pavers are laid as individual units, they can be replaced fairly easily without disturbing the rest of the patio. Yet, some concrete pavers have interlocking joints, which aid in creating stability for the patio because they’re less likely to shift out of place. When set in sand, the pavers have an element of give, so they can withstand changes in temperature and loads by shifting instead of cracking.

Yet, concrete pavers do have a few disadvantages. Due to their strict geometric shapes, the pavers offer less freedom in the patterns that can be created. Also, some concrete pavers have shallow pigments that may fade over time or when scratched can reveal the bare concrete underneath.

POURED CONCRETE

Concrete is basically a combination of cement, sand and gravel that’s mixed with water to make a gooey substance that hardens when dry. The semi-liquid nature of concrete allows it to be formed into almost any shape or size. This versatility gives homeowners the freedom to do very geometric or more curved patios. Poured cement is also a very economical option for creating a patio that offers a hard, flat surface that requires little maintenance.

Poured concrete does have a few drawbacks. First, the actual mixing of the concrete can be tricky, since the process must be done to exact specifications for the best results. If the concrete is not dried correctly, or has drainage problems, it can crack over time. And very smooth concrete can get slippery when wet.

TILE

Ceramic or porcelain tiles can make a very distinctive patio. Tiles come in a wide variety of styles and can create a very seamless transition from indoors to outdoors. While these tiles may resemble the tile that you might use in your bathroom or on the floor of your kitchen, be sure to use both tile and grout that are meant for exterior use. It’s also important to use tiles that are not very porous, or will not absorb a lot of water, to resist damage from freezing and thawing with the change of seasons. Usually unglazed tiles work best for large walking spaces because they tend to be less slippery than glazed tiles.

Tile does have some potential downsides. It can be slick, so it might not be the best choice for spa or pool areas. It can also get slippery if it holds water for a long amount of time, causing a film of algae to grow on the surface. Finally, tile does tend to be more costly than brick and sometimes even more than stone.

BRICK

Brick has been a popular home construction material for hundreds of years. Yet bricks used for patios are a little different than the ones you would use on your home. They must be specially fired, so they’re less porous. If you live in a location where it freezes, make sure to check that your bricks are of the correct grade for your type of environment.

While you may think that all brick patios must be red and very linear, brick patios can be different. Along with red, bricks also come in tan, black and other shades. A different color is not the only way to make brick patios more interesting. Think about creating a pattern with the bricks. Some popular patterns include herringbone, or alternating bricks on a 90-degree angle, as well as a pinwheel, which forms a square with four regular-sized bricks and a half brick in the middle.

Bricks can offer natural warmth along with a formal elegance, but there are some drawbacks. If installed on sand instead of mortar, you can have weeds popping up in between the bricks, yet these spaces also leave room for plants that might soften the look of the patio. If not properly installed, bricks can be more uneven than paved concrete or interlocking concrete pavers. This can also happen over time as bricks settle. Finally, brick is usually more expensive than concrete pavers.

[source: Home & Garden]

Should You Build Your Deck From Wood or Plastic?

Custom Decks | Steadfast ConstructionWood is still the king of decking materials, but the widespread acceptance and availability of manufactured “plastic” lumber has continued to grow. Which material is best for your new deck or deck-remodeling project will depend on factors including decking color, available board sizes, maintenance requirements, and, of course, price.

REAL WOOD

Natural-wood decking products can be roughly divided into three categories: pressure-treated lumber, redwood and cedar, and tropical hardwoods. You’ll find most types of wood decking at your local lumberyard, although availability may vary depending on where you live.

Pressure-Treated Lumber

This ubiquitous green-tinted wood has been the best-selling decking material for several decades and still is today. Each year approximately 75 percent of all new decks are covered with pressure-treated (PT) decking. The understructure frame—posts, beams, joists—of virtually every deck is made of PT lumber.

Redwood and Western Red Cedar

These two western softwood species are treasured for their rich crimson color and natural beauty. In addition, redwood and cedar tannins and oils make them naturally resistant to rot, decay, and voracious insects, so they don’t need to be pumped full of chemicals. These two woods are also lightweight and easy to cut and fasten with nails or screws. They’re stable and much more resistant to warping and splitting than PT lumber. The most common sizes of redwood and cedar decking are 2 x 6 and 2 x 4.

PLASTIC LUMBER

Composite Decking

Composite decking, such as Trex, TimberTech, and Veranda, is a hybrid product that’s composed primarily of wood fibers and recycled plastic. The result is a dense, heavy, and weather- and stain-resistant deck board that won’t splinter, warp, rot,or split.

The appeal of composite decking is that it’s virtually maintenance-free. It never needs to be sanded, scraped, refinished, or stained. An occasional scrubbing with warm, soapy water will remove most dirt and grime. A little diluted bleach can kill mold and mildew that grow in damp, dark areas of a deck.

Plastic Decking

Plastic decking—such as Azek Deck, Evolve, and Forever Deck—is made from 100 percent plastic (recycled and/or virgin) and contains no wood fibers or fillers. It’s highly stain-resistant, doesn’t require finishing, and won’t ever crack, warp, or splinter. Plastic decking comes in many more sizes than other decking options, in some cases up to 12 inches wide and 20 feet long.

The downside of plastic decking as compared with the other options is that it’s designed as part of an overall system—therefore, it must be installed with strict adherence to manufacturer’s instructions. This often requires purchasing special fasteners, fascia boards, and trim pieces.

Steadfast Earns Top Contractor/Deck Builder Award

Northern Virginia Magazine Readers selected Steadfast Construction as being the Best Deck Builder and Best Home Improvement Contractor in Northern VA!

Steadfast Construction is a family owned and operated business that has completed thousands of decks construction, patio building, porch design and other projects in the Northern Virginia area. Our team is focused on providing the best customer service as well as the best product available. Whether we are building decks, patios, sunrooms, porches, or other remodeling projects, our company is built on strong, steadfast morals and work ethic. And with twenty years under our belts, we are able to provide our services for your outdoor oasis with the best, finished product for our customers.

Service areas:  McLean, Arlington, Falls Church, Vienna, Great Falls, Alexandria, Reston, Herndon, Sterling, and all of Northern VA.

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Top 10 Trends for Residential Landscape Design in 2016

Patios | Steadfast ConstructionThe popularity of outdoor living spaces among consumers continues to grow; that we know. And with water conservation and the future of water resources on the minds of many in the nation, there’s also growing awareness of and commitment to reducing water use among consumers in their homes and gardens. A recent survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) to discover the leading trends in residential outdoor design bears this out, finding that rainwater/graywater harvesting is a top trend among homeowners who increasingly seek residential landscapes that are both beautiful and minimize water use and stormwater runoff.

The survey, conducted from Feb. 4 through Feb. 18, 2016, gathered responses from 803 participants who were asked to rate the expected popularity in 2016 of various residential outdoor design elements. The results indicate that consumers seek outdoor living spaces that are environmentally sustainable, reduce water use/costs, and are easy to maintain. The top five project types that landscape architects anticipate will be most in demand by consumers in 2016 are:

1. Rainwater/graywater harvesting – 88 percent
2. Native plants – 86 percent
3. Native/adapted drought-tolerant plants – 85 percent
4. Low-maintenance landscapes – 85 percent
5. Permeable paving – 77 percent

Other project types in the top 10 list incude: fire pits/fireplaces, food/vegetable gardens, rain gardens, drip/water-efficient irrigation, and reduced lawn areas.

With sustainabiity leading the trends, the top 10 sustainable elements, ranked in order of popularity for 2016, are: rainwater/graywater harvesting (88 percent), native/adapted drought tolerant plants (85 percent), permeable paving (77 percent), drip/water-efficient irrigation (72 percent), reduced lawn area (72 percent), recycled materials (61 percent), solar-powered lights (56 percent), compost bins (45 percent)

Top five results for other survey categories:

Outdoor design elements: fire pits/fireplaces (75 percent), lighting (67 percent), wireless/Internet connectivity (66 percent), seating/dining areas (64 percent), outdoor furniture (63 percent).

Outdoor structures: pergolas (51 percent), decks (47 percent), arbors (44 percent), fencing(44 percent), porches (40 percent), ADA accessible structures—ramps, bars, shelving, etc. (38 percent).

Outdoor recreation amenities: sports courts—tennis, bocce, etc. (41 percent), spa features—hot tubs, Jacuzzis, whirlpools, indoor/outdoor saunas (40 percent), and swimming pools (36 percent).

Landscape and garden elements: native plants (86 percent), low-maintenance landscapes (85 percent), food/vegetable gardens—including orchards, vineyards, etc. (75 percent), rain gardens (73 percent), water-saving xeriscape or dry gardens (68 percent).

Let Steadfast Construction help you with your next outdoor living project! Contact us now for an estimate.

Tips For Deck Building Projects

With Spring around the corner, many of you are considering deck building projects. Maybe you’re considering having a new deck built or maybe it’s time to refinish or add some new decorative touches to your tired deck. Spring is the perfect time to plan these projects and Steadfast Construction can help you!

Everyone loves spending time in the Summer on a beautiful deck relaxing, grilling, and hanging out with friends and family. Whether you’re planning a new deck or maintaining the deck you have, the following are some great tips to help out.

  • Planning A New Deck – If you plan on having a new deck built, the planning stage is crucial for a successful project. Understanding how decks are built, how you’ll use the deck, and where it will be located are just a few of the key considerations. It’s really important that you make the planning step a priority so your new deck is successful. View our deck gallery to get some ideas!
  • Maintaining Your Deck – Once you’ve invested money in a deck, it’s important to maintain it so that it lasts a long time and looks great. Whether you do the maintenance yourself or hire Steadfast Construction, there are several things to consider such as cleaning, repairing, and staining.
  • Deck Upgrades – If you’re looking for ideas on upgrading your deck this year, check out some of our past deck projects.

Custom Decks | Steadfast Construction

Steadfast Construction specializes in deck building, porch building, patio designs, and sunrooms in the Northern VA area. Schedule a conversation to discuss your next home remodeling project, click here.

Steadfast Construction Earns Esteemed 2015 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

Steadfast Construction has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2015.

“We at Steadfast feel honored once again to have received this award dating back to 2009. All the thanks go to the many clients that have made this accomplishment possible”. – Steadfast Construction

“Only about 5 percent of the remodeling companies in Northern Virginia have performed so consistently well enough to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a really high standard.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2015 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.

“Again, Thanks to all the clients that have made us the highest reviewed Deck, Porch and Sunroom Remodeler in Northern Virginia.” – Steadfast Construction

 

Angie’s List helps facilitate happy transactions between more than three million consumers nationwide and its collection of highly rated service providers in more than 720 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to health care. Built on a foundation of more than 10 million verified reviews of local service, Angie’s List connects consumers directly to its online marketplace of services from member-reviewed providers, and offers unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.

2015-AngiesList-Certificate

3 Landscaping Ideas to Add Curb Appeal

porch

The landscaping leading up to, and around, your front door can add beauty and value to your home. There are a number of ways to add eye popping beauty and style to your home at affordable prices. Try one of these three ideas to give your home finished, manicured look.

Symmetrical Designs

If you have a path leading to your front door then doing something as simple as lining each side of the path with a narrow flower bed or row of boxwood shrubs can lead the eye right up to the front door. Symmetry can be further obtained by adding a medium or large container-grown plant on each side of the door. Try boxwood shrubs, hostas, or your favorite perennial to ensure the beauty of your pathway year after year.

Landscaping and Wheel Chair Ramps

If you have a wheel chair ramp stalled, you know how hard they can be to beautify. Instead of seeing the flaw however, see the potential for there for landscaping. Planting along the side of the ramp draws the eye to the beauty and detracts from the hardscape structure. Something as simple as geraniums, alstroemeria, or aster can add eye catching colors to your door way. These perennials are easy to grow and low maintenance as well.

Slopes

If you have a slope leading up to your front door then you know it’s important to create a safe way for visitors to reach your home. Consider this another landscaping opportunity. There are a variety of options when it comes to landscaping steps. Giving both functionality and practicality, landscaping steps come in an array of designs and are completely safe. To add symmetry and unity, consider pillars topped with ornamentation as well as matching the railing of the steps to that of the front porch.

How To Choose A Hot Tub For Your Deck

deck-hottubWhile everybody knows hot tubs are giant, bubbly boxes of fun, they can also be used for therapeutic purposes. Before you decide to invest in a spa for your outdoor deck, you probably already know that there is more involved in this decision than just where to place the tub once you get it home. There are a host of factors to consider before making that big purchase. After all, you’ll want to enjoy your hot tub for years to come, so be sure to choose one that is tailored to your specific needs.

Budget

Like all major purchases, you will be faced with a multitude of available upgrades. Extras add up quickly, so know your budget before setting your sights on anything unnecessary.

Size

First, you’ll need to know your decks measurements to ensure proper fitting. Secondly, how will it be used? Are you purchasing the tub primarily for you and your partner to enjoy, or is entertaining part of your plan? Choose size according to your needs, while also considering the initial cost plus maintenance fees associated with your spa.

Type

Many above-ground tubs are self-contained, and include all the necessary pumps and connections for start-up. Most in-grounds and some below-ground units do not come with these built-in features, and can be customized according to preference. Consult with a trusted dealer to find a unit and accessory options that will best fit your deck.

Efficiency

Purchase a pump appropriate for your tub size, and research other energy-efficient parts before purchasing and installing the tub. Investing the time and money into greener parts can help you save big time later.

Consider these tips before choosing your hot tub. It never hurts to compare prices at several dealers before making a commitment. A reputable dealer will be able to further assist you with all the decisions and upgrades available with your hot tub purchase.

Don’t have a deck for a hot tub, yet. No problem. Contact us, for a free estimate.

5 Plants that Do Well in the Shade

potted-gardenShaded decks, porches and patios are great places for container gardening even if there doesn’t seem to be a lot of sun. In fact, there are a number of different plants that prefer shady conditions to sunny ones. These are just a few:

Astilbes

Astilbe hybrids are beautiful wispy perennial flowers that appear lighter than air and come in colors such as red, white, lavender and pink. Not only are these flowers ideal for containers, but they also are great as borders around a patio.

Hostas

Hosta hybrids come in blue-green, green and yellow colors along with some variegated varieties. The leaves on these plants vary according to the species, but can range from round to heart-shaped. Even though these plants are famous for their greenery, certain species of hostas will also produce attractive blooms.

Tuberous Begonias

Tuberous begonias come in single or double blooms. They can add vibrant colors such as salmon, orange, red, pink, yellow and white to your porch garden. Begonias are plants for both regular pots and hanging baskets depending on the variety that you select to cultivate.

Coleus

Coleus perennial plants provide colorful foliage with leaves that contain green with orange, pink, yellow, red or other tones depending on the variety that you purchase. They grow well in pots on your lightly shaded deck or in the ground just off your patio.

Impatiens

Impatiens flowers are annuals that offer an explosion of color with white, pale pink, hot pink, peach, salmon, red and lavender blooms. All varieties of impatiens prefer shade, but the New Guinea variety will endure a bit more sun, as long as it is not full sun. Impatiens will thrive in containers and hanging baskets also in a sunroom.

Plants such as the ones mentioned above provide the perfect ornamental highlights and color that enhance the beauty of your deck, patio or porch. Consult with your local garden center to learn which shade-loving plants grow best in your area.

5 Creative Lighting Ideas for your Deck

deck-lightingFar too many homeowners default to uninspired lighting choices when building or renovating decks. That’s a shame since a little creative lighting can add a lot of ambiance to the mix. Here are a few novel ways to illuminate any deck or porch.

Glow-in-the-Dark Paint

The great thing about glow-in-the-dark paint and other materials is the fact that they can be applied in so many different ways. For instance, you could paint up a few planters for ornamentals and arrange them around the deck’s edges.

Hanging Lanterns

Even if you don’t have an enclosed deck or awning, you can still set up a variety of lanterns with little effort along the railings. Metal frame lanterns with glass panes look classy and generally provide superior illumination.

Gas-Fired Torches

If you want to feel like you’re on a tropical beach, gas-fired torches are the way to go. The popular Tiki variety are always a good option and jive with many different types of home decor in any environment.

Embedded Bulbs

Setting some LEDs into the deck planks or the railing posts is a great way to stand out from the crowd. Outdoor LED lights are resilient and can be recessed into just about any surface that you can imagine.

String Lights

What’s good for the Christmas tree can be great for the deck if you pick the right bulbs and colors. String lights can be conveniently stored on the type of roller device that you’d use to reel out a garden hose.

A Million Ways to Brighten the Deck

If you want your deck to look great and be truly unique, there’s hardly a dearth of options to choose from. The ideas discusses here are certainly a great way to get started.