How to green your outdoor living space

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Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2012 8:00 pm

(ARA) - With the housing market still in recovery, many American homeowners are choosing to stay put and renovate. Whether you're updating the home you love or preparing your house for resale when the market finally turns around, your outdoor living space is a great place to start.

According to a recent study from McGraw-Hill, the market for green homes is expected to increase five-fold by 2016, with an even steeper increase in green remodeling, as 34 percent of remodelers expect to be doing mostly green work by 2016. With this focus on green homes in mind, taking a green approach to your outdoor renovations is not only good for the environment, but is a great way to increase your home's resale value.

A beautiful and functional outdoor living space starts with your deck. Whether you're in need of a new deck or looking to renovate one that's at the end of its life, a long-lasting aluminum deck is the most environmentally friendly choice.

Aluminum is 100 percent recyclable, and it maintains its structural integrity throughout the recycling process. Though some composite decking products are made from recycled materials, once produced many cannot be recycled again. With aluminum decking, the recycling process can be repeated near indefinitely.

An added plus is that choosing aluminum decking also means choosing a green deck that will last a lifetime, which is great news for prospective buyers interested in a maintenance-free outdoor upgrade. Because of their properties, aluminum-based materials allow for the use of an environmentally friendly powder coating process, a technologically advanced, nontoxic method for coloring and sealing building materials.

While other decking materials require regular scraping, sanding, painting and sealing, aluminum powder coated decks hold their color and appearance. NextDeck and LockDry aluminum decking products feature a specially developed SuperDurable powder coat finish, a completely UV-stable coating that retains its color and doesn't fade like other decking products.

In addition to a maintenance-free deck, you can trust in the strength of aluminum. FSI Home Products mixes their aluminum with specific alloys, allowing their products to support up to 240 pounds per square foot. And unlike other materials, aluminum decking won't rust or crack. It's also fireproof, pest resistant and will not rot, sag, splinter or warp in freezing temperatures. Because of its heat dissipation properties, when installed properly, aluminum decking also stays cooler in direct sunlight than wood, composite or concrete.

If you're considering adding a second or third level deck, a water-proof, leak-free product can transform the area under your deck into a useable outdoor living space. LockDry Waterproof Aluminum Decking has been the top-rated consumer decking product since 2008.

Adding or renovating your deck is just one way to enhance and green your home's exterior space. RailingWorks offers a variety of aluminum railing and fencing options to complement your deck design, and a number of other products and features can help take your environmentally friendly outdoor renovations a step further. Consider replacing your walkways with pavers made from recycled rubber. If it's time to update your outdoor lighting, choose a solar lighting system or LED bulbs for walkways, garden accents, spotlights and floodlights. Invest in a rain barrel to collect water for your lawn or garden, and use recycled furniture as garden decor.

The National Association of Homebuilders "New Home in 2015" Survey suggests a trend toward greater sustainability in new homes. If you want your home to be able to compete, green is the way to go. Whether you're updating your house or preparing to sell, you can create a beautiful outdoor living space with the environment in mind.

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