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Below are some answers to commonly asked questions. If you have a question that isn't answered below, please email john@welcomehomedecks.com or call John at 443-752-3455.


1. What is a Self Supporting Deck?
2. What is the process for having a deck built?
3. What types of low-maintenance materials do you offer?
4. Can I pay for my deck with a credit card?
5. What time of the year do you build decks?
6. Do you do indoor projects and home improvements?
7. Do you get permits and HOA approval?
8. How do you get the design for the decks you build?
9. How do I care for and clean my low-maintenance deck?

What is a Self Supporting Deck?
Will Your Deck be Self Supporting? It Better Be!
We've all heard the scary stories about decks that have collapsed. Perhaps surprisingly, this is almost always due to a failed deck-to-house connection. Many Maryland counties still allow a deck to be built cantilevered out from the house resting on only one row of support posts. Many deck companies build this way to save the time and costs of additional posts and beams (check out the existing decks in your neighborhood). Unfortunately, a cantilevered-style deck places up to half of the deck load directly on the fasteners that connect the deck to the house. To compound the problem, many new houses are built with rim boards that are made from 'chip-board' instead of solid lumber! This makes the deck-to-house connection even more risky with the cantilevered design. The good news is that a self supporting deck design eliminates this pitfall. Unless otherwise specified, Welcome Home Decks will build your deck as a self supporting structure. The additional support posts adjacent to your house in this type of design will make your deck safer. The deck will also be fastened to your house as laid out in building code guidelines. A self supporting design will thus eliminate the risk of deck collapse due to a house connection failure. The extra posts and beams will also add rigidity to the deck and protect against a 'bouncy' feel.

What is the Process for Having a Deck Built?
7 Simple Steps to Your New Deck

  1. The scope, cost, and timeframe of your project are agreed upon.
  2. The agreement is signed and a $200 payment is received which locks-in your start date and goes toward the balance.
  3. 10 days prior to your start date, the 1st installment is due. This payment enables materials to be bought, detailed drawings to be made, and the building permit to be obtained.
  4. Work begins on the start date.
  5. The 2nd installment is received after deck framing is complete. This occurs right before the floor boards are installed.
  6. The 3rd installment is received after your deck is 100% complete and is to your satisfaction.
  7. Enjoy your beautiful new deck from Welcome Home Decks!

Material Options
Low-Maitenance Decking
Using PVC or composite decking is a great way to achieve that low-maintenance deck so you spend more time enjoying your deck and less time taking care of it. Although there are many different low-maintenance decking options available, Welcome Home Decks prefers to use either Azek, Timbertech, Guardeck, or Evergrain. All products are high-quality and are available in many different color options. For those clients interested in other low-maintenance materials, we can also use Trex decking. To find out more about these products and to see the colors available, please visit the following websites:

Metal Rail
Metal balustors come in a variety of designs, shapes, and colors that provide you with a 'low mainteance' deck while adding personality and elegance. Welcome Home Decks uses DeckoratorsTM brand balustors. If you're interested in an all-metal railing option, we use railings from Fortress Iron. You can browse through color options and designs at:

Can I Pay for My Deck with a Credit Card?
Yes. Click Pay Online to make a credit card payment online.

What Time of Year Do You Build Decks?
We build decks and outdoor projects all year round.

Do You Do Indoor Projects and Home Improvements?
Yes. Welcome Home Decks is a division of Welcome Home Improvements (WHI). WHI specializes in kitchen and bath rehabs, home rehabs, finished basements, and custom trimwork. To see examples of WHI work, visit the Welcome Home Improvements Website.

Do You Get Permits and HOA Approval?
Yes, we will obtain all required permit(s) for your project. The client is responsible for providing Welcome Home Decks with a final plat of the property so that we can apply for and obtain the permit.

No, we do not get HOA approval. The client is responsible for applying for HOA approval, but Welcome Home Decks will help provide necessary documents such as diagram drawings or material lists.

How Do You Get the Design for the Decks You Build?
All of our decks are custom-designed and built. We do not use 'cookie cutter' designs, each project is unique. We will work with you to come up with the perfect design for you and your home.

How Do I Care for and Clean My Low-Maintenance Deck?
Although your deck may be made from low-maintenance materials, its important to periodically clean it to maintain its beauty. Each brand of composite or PVC decking suggests particular cleaning products for cleaning and removal of stains, so please check the links below that are appropriate for your deck. DO NOT use harsh chemicals such as gasoline, acetone, benzene, carbon tetracholoride, or paint thinner to clean your deck. DO NOT sand your deck to remove stains or scratches. Harsh chemicals or sanding can change the appearance of your decking and are not recommended. Below are care and cleaning suggestions for Azek, Timbertech, Evergrain, and Trex.

Wash deck periodically to remove grease, dirt and debris. AZEK Deck can be cleaned using liquid soap such as dish, car wash or specially formulated all purpose deck cleaners and rinsed with a garden hose.

Rust Stains
Use a household cleaner with phosphoric acid as the active ingredient (generally toilet bowl cleaners work well). Rinse with garden hose.

Avoid using cleaners containing abrasives which can dull the surface of the deckboard. It is always best to test the cleaner on an inconspicuous or scrap piece of the deck to make sure the cleaner/product does not harm the deck surface. Avoid the use of rubber-backed mats.

Power Washing
AZEK Deck can be cleaned with a power washer using the FAN setting. PSI should not exceed 1400, this said, always, before spraying the deck, test the pressure on an inconspicuous or scrap piece of the deck to make sure the pressure setting does not harm the deck surface.

Ice Removal
Rock salt or calcium chloride can be used without damage to the deck surface. Both products may leave a white residue, which can be cleaned using the above guidelines.

TimberTech recommends periodic cleaning of your TimberTech deck to help maintain the beauty of the product. For best results a cleaner like eco-friendly Corte Clean (www.corteclean.com) or Zinsser’s JOMAX (www.zinsser.com) that contains or is mixed with Sodium Hypoclorite. Follow the manufacturer’s application instructions. Power washing will enhance results when cleaning your TimberTech deck. 1500psi is the recommended maximum for TimberTech products. A fan tip nozzle should be used along with the proper cleaning product. Spray in the direction of the brush/grain pattern to avoid damaging your decking. Use caution not to damage the material and always take the proper safety precautions when operating a power washer. To remove product identification printing from the side or bottom of a TimberTech deck plank use Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol).

Ice and Snow
If you reside in a cold weather climate where ice and snow periodically come in contact with your deck, use calcium chloride or rock salt to melt the ice and snow.

TimberTech wood composite products can be painted or stained. TimberTech does not recommend painting and can not guarantee the performance of anything applied to the product.

Stains and sealers that are recommended for use with TimberTech are:
    - Cabot Clear Solution-Oil Based (www.cabotstain.com)
    - Cabot Australian Timber Oil (www.cabotstain.com)
    - Weatherall UV Guard Deck and Fence Coating (www.weatherall.com)
    - SunFrog Composite Deck Stain Guard Finish (www.SunFrog.com)

Wait approximately 8-10 weeks or until TimberTech has completed its weathering process before painting or staining. Clean your TimberTech decking surface prior to applying paint or stain. Never paint or stain over surfaces that may contain dirt, or mildew. Be sure paint or stain does not clog drain holes in the TimberTech Floorizon Planks. Once TimberTech is painted, stained or sealed, subsequent applications will be necessary to maintain appearance. TimberTech cannot be responsible for the performance of stains or paints applied to any TimberTech product. Always apply paints and sealers in accordance with the manufacturer’s application instructions.

TimberTech products are formulated to inhibit mildew growth and minimize staining. Wash your deck periodically with a cleaner like eco-friendly Corte Clean (www.corteclean.com) or Zinsser's JOMAX (www.zinsser.com) that contains or is mixed with Sodium Hypochlorite. Follow the manufacturer’s application instructions. Rinse off your TimberTech deck periodically with a hose. Even if your deck appears clean, it is important to prevent build-up of pollen/debris. Mildew stains may occur where moisture, pollens, and/or dirt are present. Mildew needs a food source to grow, which can be grass, pollens, dirt, debris, wood and wood resins. Maintaining a clean, dry deck surface is the best method for combating mildew. Ensure that water drains effectively from your deck. Keeping weep holes clear and unclogged on TimberTech Floorizon Planks. For TimberTech Earthwood, TwinFinish, ValuPlank, DockSider and XLM Planks, be sure that gaps exist between planks to allow for drainage.

Tanin Stains
Like any wood-based product, TimberTech’s wood-plastic composite products (Earthwood Plank, Floorizon Plank, TwinFinish Plank, DockSider Plank and ValuPlank) may experience a naturally occurring process called Extractive Bleeding. This process may cause a temporary discoloration that will weather away. In most cases this process takes 8-10 weeks but could vary depending on location and specific application such as a covered porch. To clean these areas on your TimberTech deck, it is recommended that you use a product such as Dekswood, manufactured by Flood www.floodco.com (800) 321-3444, or eco-friendly Corte Clean www.corteclean.com.

Spot Stains
Oil Eater Cleaner and Degreaser is very effective against oil, grease and other stains. For extra heavy oil and grease stains or other specific stain types, check with your local lumberyard, hardware stores or home centers for cleaners applicable to a specific stain type. If stains have set on TwinFinish, ValuPlank, DockSider or Floorizon (in Cedar, Grey or Redwood only) planks, you may want to use fine sandpaper and sand lightly, following the wood grain finish of the plank. The sanded area will weather back in approximately 8-10 weeks. Do not apply this method to TimberTech Earthwood and Floorizon planks in tropical colors, XLM Plank, Builder Board or TimberTech Railing.

Rust, Ground-in Dirt and Grime
Use a cleaner that contains Phosphoric Acid or Oxalic Acid. Follow manufacturer's application instructions. If the stains have set on TwinFinish, ValuPlank, DockSider or Floorizon (Cedar, Grey or Redwood only) planks, you may use fine sandpaper and sand lightly followed by a wire brush to re-grain the decking. Always follow the wood grain finish of the plank. The sanded area will weather back in approximately 8-10 weeks but can very depending on location and specific application. Do not apply this method to TimberTech Earthwood and Floorizon planks in Tropical Colors, XLM Plank, Builder Board or TimberTech Railing.

Scratches, Nicks, Cuts and Grooves
For TwinFinish, ValuPlank, DockSider and Floorizon (in Cedar, Grey and Redwood) Planks: Scratches, nicks, cuts and grooves can be eliminated by using a wire brush. Brushing will need to be consistent with the grain of the product and the brushed area will weather back in approximately 8-10 weeks. For Earthwood or Floorizon planks and TwinFascia Only In Tropical Colors; Surface scratches and abrasions on these planks will fade after weathering. Once they have fully weathered, they are more resistant to visible scratching.

Please note that any cleaning product can lighten the color of your deck. Always test any cleaning product in an inconspicuous area of your deck before cleaning a large area.

Reducing Dirt & Grime
Semi-annual cleaning of your deck is recommended to reduce dirt, dust, grime and other residue build-up. When cleaning, rinse your deck with a garden hose using a fan-tip nozzle at a pressure not exceeding 1,000 psi. Regular cleaning may not eliminate all dirt, dust, grime and other residue build-up on your deck. For a more thorough cleaning of your EverGrain deck, use a deck wash containing sodium hypochlorite such as those listed below:
    - BEHR® Multi-Surface Cleaner & Mildew Stain Remover
    - ARMOR ALL® E-Z Deck Wash
    - OLYMPIC® Deck Cleaner

Removing Rust Stains
Metal outdoor furniture can leave rust marks on your deck. Therefore, we recommend that you apply appropriate plastic or vinyl tips to metal furniture to prevent staining. If rust stains do appear on your EverGrain deck, they can often be removed using deck cleaners containing oxalic acid or phosphoric acid such as those listed below:
    - BEHR® No.63 Wood Cleaner Brightener Conditioner
    - Flood® Dekswood® Deck Cleaner Brightener

Cleaning Oil and Grease Stains
To keep your deck in the best possible shape, we also recommend the use of grill mats to reduce the risk of grease stains associated with grills. Should grease or oil stain the deck's surface, it is important to clean the stain immediately using a commercial degreasing agent such as those listed below:
    - Castrol® Super Clean

Removing Suntan Lotion
Since suntan lotions and oils can potentially stain your deck, please take precautions to avoid these types of spills.bThese stains can often be removed using commercial degreasing agents such as those listed below. Be sure to remove as much of the lotion spill as possible with water before using cleaning agents.
    - Dawn® Soap

Removing Mold and Mildew
Periodically rinse your deck with a garden hose, using a fan-tip nozzle at a pressure not exceeding 1,000 psi, to help reduce the occurrence of mold and mildew. Mold and mildew stains are a natural result of moisture. These stains can often be removed using cleaners containing sodium hypochlorite such as those listed below:
    - BEHR® Multi-Surface Cleaner & Mildew Stain Remover
    - ARMOR ALL® E-Z Deck Wash
    - OLYMPIC® Deck Cleaner

Additional Tips

  • Dragging furniture and other objects across the deck boards may cause surface scratches.
  • Remove food, spills and other debris and clean immediately to minimize the possibility of staining.
  • Always test any cleaner on a small portion of your deck before cleaning the entire deck.
  • Always follow manufacturers' application instructions when using any cleaner.
  • Please note that any cleaner can lighten the color of your deck.
  • Place mats under metal objects to protect against rust stains.
  • Place grill mats under your grill to protect your deck from grease spills.
  • Never mix two or more cleaning agents when cleaning your deck.
  • Do not use a metal shovel to remove snow or ice from your deck, as you may cause damage to the deck surface.
  • Always follow proper gapping (installation) instructions to prevent water from accumulating on your deck.
  • Keep the area under your deck clean and well ventilated.
  • Never apply harsh solvents such as acetone, gasoline, benzene, carbon tetrachloride or paint thinner to your deck.
  • Sanding the surface to remove stains is not recommended.

All exterior building materials require cleaning. We recommend basic cleaning with a composite deck cleaner or a combination of soap, hot water, and a soft bristle brush at the time of installation, and semi-annually (typically Spring and Fall) after the installation. This will help to maintain the beauty of Trex decking, fencing, railing, and outdoor trim.

Dirt and Debris
Clean deck to remove dirt and debris. Soap, hot water and a soft bristle brush are all that is needed.

Chalk Markings
All colored chalk lines are permanent except white. We suggest using white chalk or baby powder. Scrubbing the area with hot soapy water with bleach may dislodge some of the chalk.

Visible Mill Markings
The mill markings on the side of Trex decking boards are required by building codes. With careful installation, most mill markings can be hidden. Visible mill markings can be lightened with acetone.

Water Spots/Leaf Staining
Tannin leaching occurs in Trex and all wood based products naturally. Allow for at least 16 weeks of normal weathering. This process may be hastened through the use of a product containing oxalic or phosphoric acid commonly known as a Deck Brightener.

Pigment Staining
During the weathering process, a small amount of surface pigmentation may wash off of the Trex surface, which may discolor neighboring surfaces. Remove with common rust cleaner.

Ice and Snow
Calcium chloride or rock salt, available in many home centers, will melt ice on Trex decking. Rinse off when first practical.

Scuffs & Abrasions
Will fade or disappear naturally after 12-16 weeks of weathering. This can be accelerated with a bleach-based deck wash followed by weathering.

Rust Stains, Ground-In Dirt and Grime
Use a cleaning product containing oxalic or phosphoric acid base to lighten or remove the rust or dirt. Product may need to sit on stain 10-15 minutes.

Oil and Grease Stains
Scrub in a household-degreasing agent as soon as the stain occurs. Rinse with hot water. For more severe stains call 1-800-BUY-TREX. Berries and Wine Stains Mix bleach into hot water according to the bleach-packaging label. Scrub the stain lightly and rinse thoroughly. The stain may not disappear entirely.

Ink Stains
Inks may be permanent. However, the stain may be lightened by scrubbing with hot soapy water. Rinse thoroughly.

Pressure Washer
Trex does not recommend the use of a pressure washer. The use of a pressure washer with a greater than 1,500 PSI and/or applied closer than 10" from the deck surface could damage the decking surface and result in a loss of warranty coverage.

Use conventional deck washes or cleaners that contain sodium hypochlorite (bleach) and detergent (refer to Mold Technical Bulletin). Periodic cleaning (Spring and Fall) of your deck, even if it appears clean, is important to prevent the build-up of pollen/debris that can cause mold.

Trex does not recommend sanding. Sanding will change the appearance of the surface of Trex material