Category: Travel

Deck Paint vs. Deck Stain: which one should I go with?

Home ownership is both a blessing and a curse, for on the one hand you have secured a roof above your head that should last you a lifetime, and on the other hand you’ve accepted your faith in terms of home repairs and maintenance. With great houses comes great responsibility, and in traditional houses with lots of space, one of the most beautiful things you can build if it doesn’t already come with the house is a wooden deck. However, like most things around the house, decks come hand in hand with one of the toughest choices there are: paint or stain? Below we tell you which one to choose according to what you want.

Deck paint: paint your deck if…

  • You like being able to change the color of your home’s interior/exterior every so often.
  • You have a decent budget for the project.
  • You have a preference for easily cleaned surfaces.
  • You want your deck to be protected and last for a long time as is.

Deck paint is the go-to answer to your house aesthetic problems if you like to be in control. It’s a double-edge sword though, since once you paint a deck there is no going back to that beautiful, natural wooden look. However, it shouldn’t be an issue if you consider the pros of going with paint, which include an infinite amount of colors to choose from, a smoother surface which is easier to clean, and a more durable finish overall that also works wonders to protect your wooden planks from the elements and natural damage after time.

A couple of factors to consider if you choose to go with paint are the costs and the labor. Painting your deck involves investing on primer and preservatives, which quickly ramp up the costs depending on the size of your deck. Also, because the paint is prone to smudging and bubbling when applying it, you should have a professional do it if you don’t have the time or patience to do it yourself.

Deck stain: go with stain if…

  • You much prefer the natural look of wood.
  • You have a smaller budget but still want to protect your deck.
  • You have no problem with regular maintenance.
  • You live in an area where the weather is not too unpredictable.

Those who choose to go with deck stain are probably more fond of the way the wood grain looks in its natural state and would much rather preserve it than paint over it. There are many options available to people who choose to go down this route, including several tones ranging from clear sealer to dark matte brown stain. The downsides can be few or many depending on who you ask and where you live.

If the homeowner doesn’t mind doing regular maintenance on the deck, then he or she should have no problem keeping the wooden planks in perfect state for a long time. This time, however, is not as long as the duration of paint on painted decks, which even without much maintenance can protect the planks for a decade before showing decay. Weather plays a big role in this, so deck stain is not the most suitable choice for houses built in places with high humidity or constant precipitation.

Why You Absolutely Must Visit Bruges

Bruges is the largest city of the West Flanders province of Belgium. It covers an area of one hundred and thirty-eight kilometers and has a population of ove one hundred and seventeen thousand people. The first settlement in the area were erected after Julius Caesar’s conquest of the Menapii during the first century BC. This fortification was used to defend the coast from pirates. During the fourth century, the Franks took over the area and called it Pagus Flandrensis. It continued in this capacity until the ninth century when Baldwin I reinforced the city to protect it from Viking invasions.

During the twelfth century the city was incorporated and immediately walls and canals were constructed. New life was breathed into the city during the twelfth century and the city vamped up its manufacturing activities, producing textiles and devoloping a woollens industry. The newfound wealth of the city produced not only prosperity, but also its fair share of problems however. They were a few social uprisings, but these were short lived and easily contained. The Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, establish a court in Bruges and this attracted artists and bankers from all over Europe. The population of the city soon topped two hundred thousand people and from there kept growing exponentially.

Today, Bruges is a city that is learning to reclaim its former glories. Most of monuments in the Middle Ages remain intact and the city is listed as a World Heritage Site. This in turn has sparked a health tourist trade which is driven by the city’s many attractions. One of the most important attractions in the city is the Church of Our Lady. Church of Our Lady was founded in the thirteenth century and is the tallest building in the city, as well as being the second tallest brickwork building in the world, with a height of over four hundred feet. The altar piece contains a white marble sculpture of the Madonna and Child sculpted by Michelangelo in the sixteenth century. This sculpture was probably meant to be used in the Siena cathedral, but it was bought by two merchants who donated it to Church of Our Lady.

The most famous of all Bruges attractions is the Belfry of Bruges. The Belfry of Bruges is a bell tower from the thirteenth century that rises two hundred and forty-nine feet into the air. The tower was originally used as an observation post to watch for incoming invaders and it also housed the archives of the city. Today, visitors willing to pay the fee, can traverse the three hundred and sixty-six stairs to the top of the tower and get an absolutely perfect view of the city.

The Beguinage is another famous attraction in the city of Bruges. It consist of a courtyard surrounded by several small buildings. It was used to house women who wanted to serve God in the Roman Catholic Church without having to become nuns. Also in the city is the Basilica of the Holy Blood. This was a minor basilica in the Roman Catholic Church that was erected in the twelfth century. The building consist of an upper and lover chapel. The lower chapel is done in the Romanesque architectural style and is dedicated to St. Basil the Great. The upper chapel is done in the Gothic Revival architectural style and was renovated during the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. The chapel of Saint Basil consist of three naves, two lateral and one central. Above the entrance to the chapel is a representation of Saint Basil being baptized. In one of the naves is a wooden sculpture of the Madonna and Child.

Another prominent attraction in Bruges is St. Salvator’s Cathedral. St. Salvator’s Cathedral was founded in the tenth century and wasn’t meant to be a cathedral but only a parish church. In the early nineteenth century, a new bishop was placed in the city and this church was elevated to the status of cathedral. The church was kind of small to be a church, so massive renovations were done to it. This was done by the addition of several features, including a new tower. This church contains many impressive works of art. The wall carpets are from the eighteenth century and the church has many paintings by various artist. Even the podium is a work of art that was crafted in the sixteenth century.

A prominent museum in Bruges is the Groeningemuseum. This museum contains a collection of Flemish and Belgian art that covers over six centuries. Works located in this museum include The Madonna with Canon van der Paele, Portrait of Margareta van Eyck, Portrait of Paulus de Nigro, Triptych, Portrait of Four Children, Last Judgment for the Bruges town hall, Crucifixion and Triptych of the Martyrdom of St. Hippolytus. A beautiful park in Bruges is the The Minnewater. The name of the park actually refers to the lake in the park. Because of the beautiful scenery it is most commonly referred to as ‘the lake of Love’, the Dutch word ‘Minne’ means ‘love’.

The city of Bruges contains way too many attractions to list in one place. The city is full of restaurants, pubs and cafes. The city also has many beautiful historic hotels and hostels.

And of course the city is rich in history, with attractions that include:

  • The Gruuthuse house and museum
  • The Godshuizen, The Beguinage
  • St Johns Hhospital, The Jerusalem Church
  • the Archeological Museum, Brangwyn Museum
  • Concertgebouw
  • The City Hall on the Burg square
  • Provinciaal Hof
  • the Kruispoort, the Gentpoort
  • the Smedenpoort and the Ezelpoort

Theaters and concert halls in Bruges include:

  • Aquariustheater
  • Biekorf
  • De Dijk
  • De Werf
  • Het Entrepot
  • Joseph Ryelandtzaal
  • Magdalenazaal
  • Sirkeltheater
  • Stadsschouwburg
  • Cinema Lumiere
  • Cinema Liberty
  • the Kinepolis Bruges