Our Company Blog

Storing Wood Throughout Winter

Throughout winter, the average homeowner in the northern states and Canada may burn about four cords of firewood. This is a fairly large portion of wood. One cord is a stack of cut wood measuring 4 ft. x 4 ft. x 8 ft., equaling 128 cubic feet. Considering that most stove and fireplaces will only hold about 3-5 cubic feet at one time, you have to have a place to store the rest of this wood all winter!

Seasoned Firewood

Storing Wood Throughout Winter - Concord NH - IBD Outdoor RoomsYou should only burn properly seasoned firewood in your fireplace, stove, or fire pit. This means that you not only need a place to store it through winter, but also while it seasons. When a tree is cut down, it is filled with water in long tubes that stretch from top to bottom. The water from the wood dries when you cut the length and expose it to sunlight and airflow. Cut and store the best-burning firewood for 3-6 months (depending on the species of tree) so that it has less that 25 % water content.

Storing Your Wood Supply

It can be tricky to find adequate space for all that firewood! The best way to store your wood so that it becomes seasoned properly is to store the stack with at least one side exposed to sunlight and free-flowing air. Storing seasoned firewood inside a shed is also a fine idea. Placing your wood on a bed of gravel prevents your wood from sitting in standing water. This is particularly important in wet climates like the Pacific Northwest. You can also use the bark of the firewood to protect it. For instance, placing the bottom layer of wood bark-down can protect it from standing water. Placing the top later of wood bark-up can help the water to runoff instead of affecting the entire stack. Many homeowners prefer covering wood with tarps to avoid wet firewood, but it’s still important to leave one side of the stack exposed until it is seasoned and ready to burn.

Buying Your Wood Supply

In order to save space, or if trees are not available for cutting, homeowners often buy firewood from a local supplier. If you’re buying wood, it’s important to find a supplier that only sells seasoned wood. Go and see the wood before you make your purchase. Measure and make sure that you’re getting a cord if that is what’s advertised. Don’t pay too much for firewood.

Signs Your Wood is Ready to Burn

Whether you cut and store your wood for the winter, or you purchase and store a cord at a time, you should be sure it’s seasoned before you burn it in your fireplace, stove, or fire pit. When your wood is ready to burn you will see:
-Cracks along the edge of the wood (checks)
-Graying or dulling in color
-Hollow noise when hit together
-Bark pulls away from the wood
-Lighter in weight
-Wood feels dry (inside) when split

Whether you want to store your wood in a shed, a lean-to, or in the open, make sure it’s seasoned, and well away from the house. Placing firewood next to the house is a fire hazard. Most conservation agencies suggest storing your firewood 30 feet from your residence.

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The Value of a Gas Fireplace

When it comes to fireplaces, gas is the most popular and most efficient option today. Outdoor fireplaces are no different. The convenience of gas is unrivaled, and homeowners are taking the opportunity to get them installed before winter. Enjoy the warmth of a fireplace in the colder months!

Start Now

The Value of a Gas Fireplace - Concord, NC - IBD Outdoor RoomsYou can start planning now and find the fireplace of your dreams to enhance your outdoor area. Gas fireplaces are great fall and winter additions to your home. There is still time to choose the best fireplace and have it installed before the temperature drops.

Choosing Gas

When you choose a gas fireplace, you get the added benefit of convenience, efficiency, and a reduced carbon footprint. IBD Outdoor Rooms specializes in the gas powered fire pit and has a model to match every home, need, and personality.

Eco-Friendly

Gas fire pits are good for the environment. They are highly efficient, produce less byproducts into the atmosphere, and less smoke into your yard area.

Enjoyable

Because of the high-efficiency of gas, you and your guests will not be bothered by smoke, sparks, and odors from your fireplace. Gas fire pits burn only gas (unless you drop debris in the pit, which is not recommended).

Convenient

Your gas fireplace is perfect for cool nights when you don’t want to shiver while you light a fire for a short get-together. Gas will fire with a switch or match, and extinguish just as quickly and easily. Depending on the model, you can adjust the heat and flame with easy controls, making these fire pits and fireplaces perfect for every season.

Choices

You can choose a gas fire pit that sits at the center of all the fun and activity. This is great if you have the space. If your space is limited, you can also choose a gas wall fireplace. Rinnai Walls are a great and beautiful option for divider walls and offer all of the benefits of gas fire. You can also install a fireplace cabinet to house a manufactured gas fireplace of your choice. You aren’t limited to one model or one style when choosing gas!

Customizable

IBD Outdoor Rooms ships fire pits ready to finish. That means homeowners have the last say and can finish the fire pit with a material or style that matches the surrounding area, the patio furniture, the terrain, and more.

Real, Beautiful Flame

When you choose a gas fireplace or fire pit, you can even choose a traditional wood fire using ceramic wood that looks authentic! Enjoy a beautiful fire without hauling, splitting, or lighting wood. There’s no ash to dispose of, and no coals to extinguish at the end of the night.

With all the benefits, there is no reason to choose anything other than gas for your outdoor fireplace. To start your oder, call IBD today at 704-960-4530!

By Sheryl Isenhour | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Closing Down Your Outdoor Kitchen For The Season

When you are finished using your outdoor kitchen for the season, there are a few things you should do to preserve and protect it through the off season. Winter can be hard on surfaces and equipment that isn’t prepared. Many small things that can make a difference can slip your mind during your winter prep. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your winter prep, so that you can enjoy your outdoor kitchen again in the spring.

Remove Cloth

Even cloth that has been treated for water resistance and stain prevention can become damaged during winter. Remove all removable cloth and store in a dry area. This includes cushions, curtains, cabinet coverings, and pergola coverings.

Cover Anything That Holds Water

Anything that can hold water will. First snow will pack into a space, and then eventually melt, leaving standing water. Water will stain sinks, furniture, and flooring if it’s allowed to sit and rust. It will ruin cloth furniture if it’s not covered. You should cover your sink to prevent water and other debris from falling into it, clogging pipes, and staining. You can prevent water from filling furniture cup holders and penetrating cloth furniture by covering your furniture or storing it in a dry area. Other things, like a fire pit can be covered or turned over to keep from collecting water.

Disconnect Fuel and Water Supply

If you use a propane, or gas grill or fire pit, you should turn off all the fuel connections that you don’t plan to use this winter. Shut off the water supply to the sink and refrigerator, and unplug any appliances that are exposed to the weather.

Secure Cabinets

Make sure your cabinets are securely closed to prevent animal intrusion, as well as theft during the winter months.

Clean Surfaces and Cabinets

Use a cleaning solutions to clean the surfaces and cabinets of your outdoor kitchen. Make sure to remove any food products from the cabinets, as they will attract animals. Use your favorite grill cleaner to clean your grill, stove, and oven if you have one. Any bit of crumbs or grease can attract unwanted guests this winter.

Utilize Storage

Perhaps you still would like to use your fire pit or fire place, but won’t be using your cooking surfaces or appliances in the cold months. You can utilize the spaces in your outdoor kitchen to keep your furniture cushions close by. They may fit inside your cabinets or your refrigerator, where they’ll stay dry and you can easily grab them at will.

Your outdoor kitchen may be one of your favorite places. It is an investment, and part of your home, even if it’s outside. It’s important to protect it from damage, disrepair, and animal intrusion. You can close out your outdoor kitchen for winter and it will be ready with little difficulty this spring for your first cook-out. If you’re looking for a little more added protection, fall is the perfect time to build a custom structure. IBD Outdoor Rooms can find the perfect design for your needs, that will not only protect your outdoor kitchen this winter, but offer shade and protection year-round.

Fire Safety Tips

As cool weather arrives, so does burn season. If you have a custom outdoor room by IBD Outdoor Rooms, you may have a fireplace or fire pit. Even a gas stove should be used with caution. This is in order to keep the family and property safe from injury and damage.

Fire Safety Tips Image - Concord NC - IBD Outdoor RoomsAt IBD Outdoor Rooms, it’s our priority to provide beautiful and functional products for homeowners that are safe and durable. It’s important that those who enjoy the fire products will also exercise caution. Remember fire safety while a fire is in use! As you prepare for cool weather, it’s a good idea to brush up on your fire safety. This way you can make sure everyone in your home does as well.

Identify Who Should Operate Fire Appliances

Hosting a get-together at your home? Simply relaxing by a fire in the evening? Either way, it’s important for everyone to know who is and isn’t allowed to feed, stoke, or control the fire. Let everyone know their role so that those that are young or inexperienced are aware of the danger of the fire. Make sure that you have rules established for guests, and that children are kept out of harms way at all times and NEVER left unattended with a fire.

Is Your Fireplace, Fire Pit, or Appliance is Ready for a Fire?

It may be unsafe for a fire to burn in your appliance. Haven’t had a recent inspection or sweep? You may have a venting issue that puts your family at risk. If you haven’t had your fireplace inspected in the last 12 months, you should schedule an inspection now. Have an outdoor fireplace or fire pit? If so, you should make sure that it is clean, connections are secure, and that it’s clear of flammables.

Make Sure You’re Using the Correct Fuel

Believe it or not, some homeowners buy products from a home improvement store or online. In doing this, they often forget about securing the correct fuel or having it installed and connected to the fuel source. Make sure you know the difference between bio-ethanol fuel and natural gas. Mistaking one fuel for another can cause a devastating accident. If you plan to burn wood, make sure you burn properly seasoned wood so that it burns cleanly. In addition, it throws less sparks into the air that may ignite nearby debris.

Keep Children Away from a Flame

Some fireplace and fire pit designs can be decorative. The Art of Fire designs sold by IBD Outdoor Rooms are visual expressions of art, that children may not realize are dangerous. Again, be sure children are not left unattended. Also, if your guests have children they keep them under a watchful eye.

Watch the Weather

Do not use your fire appliance during times of high wind or when your area is at high risk for wildfire. Despite the safety testing and features on most fire products, natural disasters happen frequently and unexpectedly. One strong wind gust can create an uncontrollable fire. If you’re not certain how to prepare for your first season with your outdoor fire pit, consult the campfire safety tips compiled by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Better Safe than Sorry

When it comes to your family, your property, and your community, it’s important to exercise caution first. A little more planning, a little more discussion and preparation, and you just might prevent a costly disaster. For more information about fire pit safety, click here.

By Sheryl Isenhour | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Tips For Keeping Pesky Bugs Away From Your Outdoor Kitchen Gathering

Depending on where you live, bugs may be a big problem. No matter where you live, though, bugs can become a big problem if measures aren’t taken to prevent it!

Keeping Pesky Bugs Away Image - Concord NC - IBD Outdoor Rooms (1)Clean Up After Yourself

Bugs like roaches and ants are not just a nuisance indoors. These bugs will become a problem outside if your outdoor kitchen isn’t kept clean. After cooking, eating, and entertaining, the area should be cleaned of crumbs and trash. Grills, stove-tops, counters, and sinks should be wiped down, and refrigerators, coolers, and cupboards should be closed securely. This prevents the bug buffet that can lead to repeat visits through the year. Invest in a good cleaner for surfaces, as well as accessories like trays or wheeled carts to take dishes and leftovers indoors.

Protect Against Water

You can prevent a lot of mosquito problems by preventing water from collecting in your outdoor space. Keep your yard trimmed nicely. Treat cushions, furniture, and curtains with a waterproofing solution. This helps water to run off. Covering fire pits, sinks, and cup holders will prevent standing water–a necessity for mosquito eggs to mature and hatch.

Repel, Repel, Repel

There are many options for repellents to use while you’re cooking or entertaining in your outdoor kitchen. Sprays, candles, and torches are favorites, although not especially effective.

Landscape to Your Advantage

A lesser-known option is using your landscaping to your advantage. While you’re planning your outdoor space, you can line the area with natural repellents like catnip (repels roaches and mosquitoes). Planting an herb garden can also repel bugs–basil, lavender, lemon grass, lemon thyme, mint, and rosemary are natural bug deterrents that you can also use as ingredients! Ornamental flowers do the same thing, and can beautify the surrounding area. Aliums, mums, marigolds, petunias, and geraniums are natural insecticides and repellents.

D-I-Y Traps and Solutions

Not everyone wants to bother with planting or maintaining a flower bed or herb garden, putting bug spray on ourselves or our children, or listening to a bug zapper all night long. A good option would be to build bug traps or invite animals into the area that can deal with them. Building a bat house not only helps the bats, but means the bugs get eaten before they can bother you! While you’re cooking, you can also catch flies by hanging a bag of water nearby. There are also instructions online for making wasp traps or to remove wasp and bee nests safely. It’s important to preserve bees, so if you have a nest, you can call a professional bee keeper who will be happy to take them off your hands.

The last thing you want is for bugs to ruin the last few weeks of summer. If you were frequently annoyed by bugs this summer, it’s never too late to deal with them and plan for next year while you’re at it. Browse IBD Outdoor Rooms for information about liners and removable components – as well as finishes and extras that can help you keep bugs at bay!