Everyone is looking for something different when it comes to finding the ideal home. While some people prioritize architectural styles and curb appeal, other house hunters place the most value on the quality of the school district and proximity to jobs.

Neighborhood quality is also a significant factor in house-buying decisions. What exactly does “neighborhood quality” mean, though? Although definitions may vary, the characteristics that are typically considered to be desirable include a low crime rate, relatively light street traffic, a minimal amount of “noise pollution,” and neighborhoods in which houses and properties are consistently well cared for and in good condition.

If peace, quiet, and tranquility are high on your list of house-buying requirements, here are a few other items you might consider adding to your “wish list.”

Space between neighbors: While it’s generally a good thing to get to know your neighbors on a first-name basis, you don’t necessarily want to get to know them too well — or vise versa! In other words, it’s nice when you can sit out on your back porch without having to be too concerned about being overheard or needing to edit your conversations. If privacy is a top priority for you, then you might want to limit your search to properties that provide a comfortable buffer zone between houses.

Greenery and privacy hedges: A residential street with green, well-tended lawns and mature, leafy trees is not only visually appealing, but it’s also a sign that people take pride in their property and care about the neighborhood. Homes for sale that offer a “park-like setting” on a nice street can be the ideal environment for creating a private, backyard refuge.

Fireplaces: Even if a fireplace is not on your “must have” list, it’s a relatively inexpensive luxury to have and enjoy during the holidays and when the temperature drops. Regardless of the climate in which you live, there are going to be plenty of wet, cloudy, or snowy days during the winter months. When the weather turns chilly, there’s nothing like a crackling fire in the fireplace to infuse your home with a cozy, relaxing atmosphere!

Large windows: Large bay windows, picture windows, and floor-to-ceiling windows not only let in a lot of natural light, but they also help you enjoy views of your neighborhood and backyard. That combination of sunshine, green foliage, a well-landscaped property, and the smell of freshly cut grass can set the tone for a relaxing home environment — both indoors and out! Along those same lines, a sunroom can also be a highly desirable feature in a new home you’re considering buying.

Although there are a ton of things you can do to enhance the beauty and relaxation value of your next home, the starting point is to find a peaceful neighborhood and a spacious, nicely landscaped property on which to add your own personal touches.

Your outdoor deck will often serve as the preferred place for entertaining and relaxing on a sunny day. But wood decks do not last forever. It’s imperative that you repair your wood deck and its weak posts to keep your deck in top shape, but when wood rot is concerned, it’s better to take out the rotten wood entirely and rebuild the deck. 

1. Identifying Wood Rot in a Deck

Weakened wood doesn’t necessarily indicate rot with rot, the wood is usually soft and spongy to the touch, with the outer surface losing its coloration. When you push anything into the wood, it will push in very easily, with the wood crumbling. There is usually the presence of fungus with wood rot. The interior of the wood is rotten and very porous, often falling apart when touched and disintegrating with a feel close to that of dry bread.

2. Remove Rotten Wood Deck Boards

Use a claw hammer or pry bar to remove rotten wood deck boards, while you are standing on the ground or mounting a ladder next to the deck. Remove as many of the intact sections as you can. After all whole sections are removed, turn the boards over to the other side and remove the nails from the back. Repeat it on the front side, removing the nails with the claw hammer, and throw away the nails. Any sections of rotten wood left on the joists can be chiseled off with the pry bar. Pry off the nails still on the joists with the claw hammer and dispose of them.

3. Cutting Rotten Deck Post

Rotten wood deck railings are particularly dangerous for people using the deck as they depend on them for safety. Most people who use the deck assume that railings and guards are safe to use and may end up leaning against them with their full weight. Remove the rotten railings by using your hammer to strike beneath it, hitting upwards. This angle removes the nails which are holding the rails. Continue by sliding the pry bar underneath the railing or guard and wrenching upward. Posts that provide support railings and guards can consequently be removed by hand. To be safe, you should remove all nails as soon as they come off the destroyed deck.

You can get the materials you need from any hardware store around you. You should also wear a respirator because there are potentially dangerous fungi accompanying wood rot.

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