May 2014 Your Home Newsletter

Inspection Spotlight:  Decks

For many, a deck is an extension of the home. It brings indoor life to the great outdoors. With a little care, a deck can last for many years. Neglected, it can become an eyesore or worse, unsafe! This spotlight on decks provides a few tips to help keep your deck safe and in good condition.

Deck Materials
Pressure Treated Wood: The most common deck building material is pressure treated wood. Properly maintained, a pressure treated wood deck can last 20 years. Pressure treated wood comes in construction grade and premium grade. Construction grade, pressure treated wood tends to warp and split as it dries and shrinks. This is fine for the deck structure but the decking calls for a higher quality material. Premium pressure treated deck boards are cut from better stock and are treated and dried to a higher standard. 

Cedar: Cedar is a premium deck building material with a rich look and feel. It is more expensive than pressure treated wood but it has many desirable properties. It is naturally more dimensionally stable than pressure treated wood so it does not shrink and split. A well maintained cedar deck can last 20 years.

Synthetic: Synthetic decking is the most expensive decking material but it requires little to no maintenance beyond cleaning and should last many years. There are many different types and styles.

Wood Sealer

The secret to a deck that looks good over the years is wood sealer. Unsealed wood will absorb water and expand and then dry out and shrink. Over time the wood splits and deteriorates. If the water beads up and runs off, the deck is in good shape. Otherwise it needs sealer.

Guard Rails
Guard rails keep you safe on your deck. The point is to keep people from falling from the deck. Guards are generally required for decks higher than 24 inches and 30 inches from the ground.
• The guard rail should be 36 inches high (a deck over 6 feet high requires a 42 inch guard)(Requirements may vary by location).
• There should be no openings larger than 4 inches so nobody can fall through or trap children.
• It should be strong enough to hold a person that falls heavily into the rail or balusters.

Deck Collapse
Except for hurricanes and tornadoes, more injuries may be connected to deck failures than all other wood building components and loading cases combined. Many decks fail because they are old, worn and rotted. Others fail because they were not built properly in the first place. The most critical connection is the deck to house connection.

Check for These Signs of Trouble:
Wood rot: If you see wood rot it could be worse than you think. Rotted connections such as the ledger board to house connection could lead to deck collapse.

Good connections: Check points of connection of major components such as the deck to house, guard-rail to deck, beam to post, post to pier etc. You should see plenty of metal brackets and bolts, not nails. If in doubt, have an expert look at your deck. For example, it is very difficult to inspect the deck to house connection because it is not easily accessible.

Of course, it helps if you know what you are looking for.  There are over 40 million decks in North America with over 1 million being built or re-built each year. With care, a deck can last many years and provide a safe place to enjoy the great outdoors.

Content provided by Pillar to Post,

Area Home Sales Statistics for Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati

If you would like more information about sales in your specific community, send me an email at and let me know how I can help you.

Northern Kentucky 

                                May 2013                 May2014                 % change
Residences sold         488                         509                         4.30%
Average price                 $146,638                 $152,052                 3.69%
Median Price                 $132,625                 $133,760                 0.86%
Average days on market 88                         83
                               Year to Date 2013    Year to Date 2014     % change
Residences sold         1594                         1640                             2.89%
Average price                 $144,552                 $145,172                     0.43%
Median Price                 $127,500                 $124,000                     -2.75%
Average days on market 94                         86



                                May 2013                 May 2014             % change
Residences sold         1915                         1995                     4.18%
Average price                 $156,987                 $168,868             7.57%
Median Price                 $128,500                 $129,400             0.70%
Average days on market 71                         67
                                Year to Date 2013 Year to Date 2014 % change
Residences sold         6262                         6100                         -2.59%
Average price                 $150,498                 $159,236                 5.80%
Median Price                 $120,000                 $122,000                 1.67%
Average days on market 78                         73

Cause For Celebration

Summer is here, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with a cool drink at an outdoor party with your friends and family. If throwing your own celebration is part of your summer plan, these tips from will help make your party seem effortless.

Get help: While you may want to give the impression that you pulled off the perfect party all by yourself, if you really want to ensure everyone has a great time — including yourself — ask one of your friends to help you with simple day-of tasks, such as making sure the garbage isn’t full or restarting the music when the playlist ends.

Eat right: Pick smart choices for your party. This means if it’s outdoors, try to find things that are easy to eat without making a mess. Finger foods like bruschetta or small sandwiches are always a big hit. If you’re making a salad, try using hardier greens like cabbage that won’t wither in the heat as easily; lightly dressed coleslaw is great for this.

Banish bugs: Citronella candles at the edges of your party will help drive away annoying insects. You can also leave bowls of juice (cherry is 
one that works well) farther away to attract insects so they don’t bother your guests.

11 Ways to Create a Welcoming Front Entrance for Under $100

Wouldn't it be nice to approach your home's entrance with a grin instead of a grimace? Take our tips for beating a clear, safe, and stylish path to your front door. 

First impressions count — not just for your friends, relatives, and the UPS guy, but for yourself. Whether it’s on an urban stoop or a Victorian front porch, your front door and the area leading up to it should extend a warm welcome to all comers — and needn’t cost a bundle.  Here’s what you can do to make welcoming happen on the cheap.  Read more: 
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