It’s not a to-do list; it’s a dream-and-do list

tulips close upMay is National Home Improvement Month. At first blush, this doesn’t sound like much fun; in fact, it sounds a lot like work, but it has tremendous potential to change the way you look at and live in your home. What parts of your home do you enjoy the most? What would you like to change? What could you add or improve in your home that would make you want to spend more time in it? Home improvement isn’t just about fixing a sagging door or replacing shrubberies. It’s about reimagining your family’s home as you would love it to be.

TimberTech Legacy re-deck in Columbus Dublin OH lrThe National Association of the Remodeling Industry offers a terrific “Top 10” useful tips for preparing for a project for free on their website. The list is comprehensive and applicable to almost any project that involves a contracter: a wonderful resource. It’s in the format of a press release, but don’t let that throw you. The information in it is something every homeowner should know.

After you’ve spent some time thinking about what you’d like and doing a little research about various project options on the internet and elsewhere, don’t forget to take a few minutes to give some thought to what the potential Return on Investment (ROI) for the project is likely to be. Various industry groups do annual surveys that provide numbers on this subject, but I’d like to share a few from my line of business.

cost vs value deck 2016

In the Columbus area, the average cost for a composite deck addition runs about $16,675 and improves the home’s value by about half of that. A Columbus wood deck has an even better ROI, returning about 67% of the cost immediately to your home’s bottom line. These numbers might not sound impressive, but they are higher than those for many other common projects like bathroom additions and roofing replacement. Remember: the real payoff is in the months and years you enjoy spending time with friends and family on your new Columbus patio or deck. The ROI is just a bonus you enjoy at home sale time.

Low maintenance Columbus TimberTech deck with pergola lr

If you’re thinking about adding an outdoor living space to your Columbus backyard, give us a call to see how we can make creating your dream backyard an enjoyable experience, start to finish. The consultation is completely free. Call (740) 879 – 3730, email us at westcolumbus@archadeck.net or visit our website at columbus.archadeck.com. We look forward to connecting with you.

Archadeck of Columbus

 

Learn how Archadeck of Columbus can make your outdoor living project an enjoyable experience, start to finish

Our goal is to provide our customers with an outstanding outdoor living space that exceeds their expectations in terms of workmanship, quality and process. Archadeck of Columbus discusses how we are using the latest technology to make our process more efficient and enjoyable for all!

Columbus_OH_large_paver_patio_with_screen_porch_and_deck
Many of our projects our multi-faceted and combine different elements, this takes precision and planning to bring these elements together properly.

Creating one-of-a-kind outdoor living spaces is a complex business. It is also a business that requires an immense amount of organization to ensure every project is executed in a timely, efficient manner. Here at Archadeck of Columbus, we use the latest technology to provide the absolute best home construction experience for all our customers. One of the benefits of owning an Archadeck franchise is having many best practice systems in place. We are able to utilize the newest technology coming to the forefront of the business. With this in mind, we have been searching through different applications which can help us manage a job more efficiently. The application we found and developed two years ago is great — it is called Smart Sheet.

Archadeck of Columbus Smart Sheet technology on Ipad
Smart Sheet technology allows all team member to stay up to the minute with each of our projects.

Smart Sheet allows us the freedom of being web-based. In addition we can place anything in a particular file which is easily accessible to other members of our team at any time. This allows us to see where they are and it also makes it easy for our project managers to stay up to the minute on the progress of any given project. It also assists us in communicating the steps necessary to project completion. For example; contacting the utility company, verifying deliveries, coordinating inspections, reminders on special orders & evaluating lead times on special orders, and coordinating with subcontractors such as roofers and electricians.

As an owner, this system allows me to manage at a quick glance. On average we are managing over 70 projects a year, with each project taking an average of 1.5  to 2 weeks. On average, each of these projects has over 100 checklists. Smart Sheet has a checklist format so we can check off items that need to be completed prior, during and post completion. This technology helps me organize the number of jobs we have going at any given moment, and keep up with the fast pace required to keep everyone smiling. It has allowed us to become much more efficient than we ever imagined.

Our system ensures each phase of your project is done on time.
Our system ensures each phase of your project is done on time.

Most of our customers don’t understand what a construction company goes through and the complexity of the process itself. It stands to reason if a company is more organized, and has a streamlined process it will run more efficiently and the customer will reap the benefits. Other builders just don’t use this type of precision when it comes to project management. This explains much of the discontent felt by homeowners because their project was not finished on time, or it was managed poorly during construction. There is much that can be overlooked with builders that don’t use systems such as ours. Our system ensures even the smallest details are scheduled and overseen properly– and the customer gains from this technology as much as we do.

We are so proud that this tool has allowed us to streamline our efficiency practices. Our project managers are happy, our team is happy and most of all our customers are happier because of our smooth production schedule. As we look into the future, our hope is to extend this technology and take it a step further by being able to use email to allow the homeowner to log-in and view the planning details for their particular project. Customers won’t manage their job, but will be able to see what is going on and when, in real-time. In this business, there is a lot of transparency in this area but we want to break down the barriers and get the customer involved and excited about being part of their building experience!

Cedar deck and patio in Columbus, OH
Let us make your outdoor living dreams a reality this season!

Our goal is to provide our customers with an outstanding outdoor living space that exceeds their expectations in terms of workmanship, quality and process. Remember that a project is only partially about sticks, but is also keenly about the process you have to go through to get there — winning the battle is about the journey it takes to victory!

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

Contact Archadeck of Columbus today to see how we can make creating your dream backyard an enjoyable experience, start to finish — how many builders can promise that? (740) 879 – 3730
westcolumbus@archadeck.net

Pardon our dust: Archadeck of Columbus aims to make construction a kinder experience

The path to creating your outdoor living dream is not just the sticks and stones that go into creating the space and how it is going to look — it is also about the process. Our goal at Archadeck of Columbus is for you to be happy with your project before, during and after, it’s that simple

proper_deck_sub_structure_lr
The path to outdoor living bliss is fraught with noise and dust!

Customers always ask us how much interference the construction of their project will cause. This covers all aspects of disruption from personally and in respect to their lawn. My answer to this question is with any type of construction, home improvement or remodeling project interference is inevitable. Depending on the type of project and the specifics involved in excavation will determine how much damage to your turf will occur. The amount of time a project takes to complete and the weather conditions also play a huge role in damage to the turf. In regards to personal disruptions during your project:  noise is something that is hard to avoid and will be a factor in having your project completed in a timely fashion. The type of equipment we have to use such as drills, power saws and hammers don’t have a quiet mode, we quite often wish they came with a volume control feature as well!

We go the extra mile to try to make the disruption minimal and we work around our client's schedules.
We go the extra mile to try to make the disruption minimal and we work around our client’s schedules.

One of the most important assets of working with a good company is that we recognize the disruption projects cause. We go the extra mile to try to make the disruption minimal and we work around our client’s schedules. We are also more conscious of homeowners that work from their homes. We realize that your home is your castle, and our crews exercise the utmost respect and are dedicated to taking care of every aspect of your home to make the construction process as minimall invasive as possible.

pergola incorporated into a privacy fence
Our goal is to deliver a breathtaking outdoor space with minimal interference during construction.

Archadeck of Columbus’ project standards make the construction process a kinder experience:

When loading and unloading materials we strive to establish a traffic flow that will create the least amount of impact and disturbance on your property. This includes using a one-way route around your house during the course of a job to minimize disruption of turf. We understand the need for heavy equipment and materials on your project and may even use wagons or wheel barrels to move materials to the area they need to be. We try to avoid the use of heavier excavation machinery and will only use smaller scale versions if the project absolutely depends on it, such as a mini Bobcat or skid steer.

Our climate can lend itself to some really wet seasons, but there is nothing that will keep us from building your project within a wet year. Don’t let the weather be a deterrent because the sales process will take some time and we do everything within our power to avoid disruptions caused by weather conditions. If the ground is thawing from freezing conditions or is very wet we have a heightened conscience about the conditions of our customer’s lawns and will put down plywood between the material and jobsite to minimize turf damage and avoid rutting.  In summary, during the time we have been in business we have only had to repair two (2) lawns due to damage incurred by inclement weather conditions during the construction process. By taking a proactive approach with these actions, 99% of yards will quickly recover in a month or so.

Sweeping Up
Daily cleanup is protocol on all our outdoor living space projects.

Our project standards are also visible on the inside of our projects. Daily cleanup is protocol. We carry 50 gallon trash cans so when there is waste we remove it daily to avoid an unsafe or unkempt looking jobsite. In addition, we also use caution tape during construction when it is unsafe to traverse an area under construction. Obviously, dust is an issue with many of our outdoor living structure additions. This is especially the case when we use a partner saw to cut concrete pavers during patio installations. In these “dusty” situations we often post a “pardon our dust” sign to help warn (and apologize) to neighbors that are adjacent to your project.

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

Keep in mind, the path to creating your outdoor living dream is not just the sticks and stones that go into creating the space and how it is going to look — it is also about the process. Our goal at Archadeck of Columbus is for you to be happy with your project before, during and after, it’s that simple. Our team members believe in treating you, your family and your home & landscape with respect and care from start to finish! Contact us today to learn more (740) 879 – 3730
westcolumbus@archadeck.net

 

How can you truly evaluate price quotes when comparing estimates when there is more involved than just the bottom line?

Arcahdeck of Columbus urges homeowners to be leery of builders who don’t reveal all the facts or a final price point when choosing an outdoor structure builder.

Open porch and hardscape patio
Let Archadeck of Columbus open the door to your outdoor living imagination and build you the highest quality outdoor space imaginable.

I recently met with a homeowner here in the Columbus area who was gathering the standard “three price quotes” for a proposed deck addition he was considering. The homeowner was weighting having their home builder build their deck or having Archadeck of Columbus build their deck. In a custom outdoor project such as a deck, there really is no way to compare the specialized quality we provide with the quality from someone who is not specialized in the field of our expertise. On a custom project, almost every variable is going to be different.

Comparing a specialized builder to a general contractor is like comparing apples to oranges. Instead of providing estimates or bids for our projects we actually provide the price the project will cost. Falling into the trap of depending on the estimate for the bottom line is where many homeowners place too much trust. An estimate is just that. It’s an estimate of what the job can cost which in most situations increases by the time the project is completed. A bid submission works a lot like an estimate whereas the project will be submitted to many companies which results in being priced out based on building projects, material and labor. As we all know material costs can vary from the time the bid is submitted  to when your project is completed as can the cost for quality labor.

We are a custom design and build company and our goal is to provide homeowners with a bottom line price on what a custom job entails. There are no estimations, no hidden costs, and most of all no surprises once your project is completed. Taking all this into consideration, how does one make an informed comparison when comparing companies whose materials and building methods are not the same? The truth is you can’t, because there is no comparison.

PlanPrint
Our clients receive detailed plan prints showing their anticipated space from every angle.

Archadeck of Columbus believes it to be in our best interest to provide the best information to our prospective clients so they can make an informed decision on their own. When we provide a price to a homeowner, we provide the details of the chosen materials, the colors choices, and even the bolts and fasteners used during installation. We also show homeowners the computer aided rendering of a proposed project in order to see all the specified materials and colors involved in the project.

Our contract checklist outlines all the value you are getting at no extra cost to you.
Our contract checklist outlines all the value you are getting at no extra cost to you.

In order to ensure you are getting a fair shake when compiling price quotes for your upcoming outdoor living project, we suggest looking at what materials will used in your project. Synthetics for example, are available in different price ranges. If a contractor is using inferior materials or unspecified synthetics, then it is difficult for a homeowner to make an informed decision.

Another area to look over really well is what kind of building practices the company has. Are they drawing your proposed space on paper only showing a one-dimensional view? If this is the case how are you supposed to know what you are really getting? Does your design even look the same as what you asked for? These are all subjective items homeowners should consider. Always look at the value and determine whether you are getting the level of details and trim with one company versus another. Ask yourself if the details when comparing  are the same and if not find out how they differ and how important that is to your project and why. For example, what kind of fasteners do they use? Why does one company price your project including hidden fasteners and the other nails? Always be leery of a price quote which provides scant details. Also be careful of many subjective areas where the builder can interpret these areas on his own. Always review the contracts between companies and gain an understanding of what they truly are. Remember that a good contractor will explain it to you openly and not try to hide anything from you.

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

Our technology allows you to see exactly what is going to be built. Our price quotes include details that are specified down to the last bolt and fastener we plan to use on your project. That is how we have always conducted business, and we will continue to do so because we put our customers first. Contact us to learn more about the benefits of choosing Archadeck of Columbus for your outdoor living addition.

Please visit our decks photo gallery and our outdoor rooms photo gallery located on our website to see more examples of our superior outdoor structures.

Not all contractors deserve the bad rap

As the owner of a custom outdoor building business, Archadeck of Columbus, I sometimes become frustrated with the truly bad rap that contractors have. There seems to be a stigma about contractors. Customers have a natural tendency to beware of contractors.

My wife Carol and I opened Archadeck of Columbus ten years ago after successful careers in the hospitality industry. Archadeck of Columbus is a family business. My wife and I have chosen to get into business together while raising our 2 young boys. Service is incredibly important to us and integrity is everything.

As a professional, when I made the decision to enter into this business, I knew it would come with the challenge of overcoming the fear people have in respect to working with contractors. This fear is evident the majority of the time I meet with prospective clients.

One of the most important reasons people are skeptical is because they’ve heard horror stories about other contractors. But why were other contractors so bad? I believe it’s because many contractors feel they can do the work but in reality, they can’t run a business. Contracting and running a business are 2 totally different professions.

Running a contracting business requires marketing, analyzing financials, pricing correctly and other aspects of running a business. Unfortunately, just having superb carpentry skills does not make for a good contractor. Nor is the reverse true. Having good business acumen doesn’t make a great contractor.

At Archadeck of Columbus, we hope we’ve achieved our goal of building great outdoor living spaces while providing superior service and managing a family business that’s built on integrity.

That being said, how do you as a consumer really protect yourself? How do you tell the good contractors from the bad? How do you know if a great carpenter can manage your job effectively? How do you know if the sales person that really impressed you will deliver on what he says?

Social media has really helped with online reports like Angie’s list or the BBB. You can get a feel for the quality of the company you’re going to work with before you even pick up the phone. We encourage people to do their research. Go online. Read reviews. Ask the contractor for references and call each of those references. Here’s a great question to ask when checking references… “if you had to do it all over, would you work with this company again”?

Once you’ve done your research and the prospective contractor checks out well, what’s next? One of the most important questions I ask folks is what criteria is the most important to them in making selection. The majority of the time people tell us that it comes down to trust.

I feel trust in any business relationship is built through communication. At Archadeck of Columbus, it’s our responsibility to provide that communication. It’s my responsibility to show you exactly what it’s going to look like and how we’re going to get from point A to point B. We communicate with our clients every day during construction.

In summary, here’s what I believe all consumers should do before making a decision about a contractor. Obviously references are very important. Make sure there are plenty of them. Ask those references about choosing that company again. Go look at the projects the contractor has built. Just like a car, even if you’re priced it online and seen drawings, you need to go see the actual car before making a decision. After that, go with the company you’ve come to trust throughout the contractor selection process. We hope that company will be us.

Give us a call to discuss your dream for your new outdoor living space whether it is a porch, deck, patio, hardscape, sunroom, pergola, or other outdoor living area.

Double the enjoyment by adding a patio to your deck or porch

Archadeck of Columbus delivers the forecast in what is hot in outdoor living trends for this Spring. Deck and patio combinations, as well as porch and patio combinations seem to be at the top of the list.

Columbus_OH_large_paver_patio_with_screen_porch_and_deck
This photo shows how each of the structures,the custom deck, screened porch and patio by Archadeck of Columbus work together as one.

We are really excited about the outdoor living season this year. We recently took part in two fantastic home shows in the area and got tons of ideas on the outdoor living trends for this Spring. While at the show we had a great deal of interest in not only decks, but also adding a patio to your deck.  The trend we see is that Columbus area homeowners are requesting the addition of a patio to go with their new AND existing decks and porches. It stands to reason that even when it comes to outdoor living structures the hot new idea is to double the fun.

The great part about adding a hardscape, such as a patio, to your deck or porch is that it is the perfect add-on to give you those multiple outdoor living areas that you really want. A patio can be added with a new, or existing, deck or porch at anytime. Adding a patio to your deck is a great way to spice it up and put that spark back into your outdoor entertaining as well enhance the beauty in your backyard.

Wouldn’t it be great to have your deck serve as your outdoor cooking or gathering location and have a beautiful patio adjacent to use for dining and conversation?  Or even a deck that leads into a covered hardscape patio with a fully functional outdoor kitchen? The entertaining opportunities that open up to you when you think about a dual structure such as a deck and patio combination are endless. Having multiple living areas within your outdoor design can offer more room and expand the functionality of your design.  We can design a project for you that will turn your backyard until the ultimate backyard oasis.

Synthetic Deck with Hot Tub and Paver Patio

Archadeck of Columbus also offers “phased building”. This means we can plan upgrades or additions to your current project to accommodate for later additions or enhancements. For instance, if you really want a deck for this season, but foresee the future facilitating a patio and deck combination, we can make all the necessary adjustments in advance so when your budget allows you to add the patio a little later the structural necessities needed to make the transition run smoothly are already put into place.

Contact Archadeck of Columbus to learn more about our deck/patio and porch/patio combinations, and to learn more about our phased building program. We are now scheduling projects for the Spring season to have the backyard of your dreams in time for warmer weather, don’t delay. (740) 879 – 3730 westcolumbus@archadeck.net

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

New TimberTech colors – you heard it here first!

Archadeck of Columbus is ringing in 2012 with the addition of a trio of TimberTech heavyweights. Radiance Rail Express and two new color collections for the Earthwoods Evolution line of composite decking. Welcome the Tropical collection and the Natural collection, both packed with quality, longevity, durability and beauty.

Archadeck of Columbus composite deck builders
Here you can see the exotic beauty and realistic details of the new Pacific Walnut color selection from the TimberTech tropical collection

The world of composite/synthetic decking just got a little more interesting.  Not so long ago you may remember the minimal choices in colors and textures that were available to homeowners who chose to use composite/synthetic decking. This is no longer the case. Composite decking now comes in a wide array of colors and finishes. The realistic look of synthetics make even a seasoned expert have to walk a little closer and lean in a little further to tell the difference between composites and wood. TimberTech synthetic decking is a frontrunner in the composite industry and has introduced some stunning new additions to its palette in the Earthwood Evolutions line for this year.

TimberTech introduced the “Tropical collection” which includes Pacific Teak, Pacific Walnut and Pacific Rosewood in 2011. What makes this collection a real showstopper is the realistic graining, streaking and undulation that mimics real wood so beautifully. This collection takes all the positive attributes of exotic hardwood decking and makes it a decking material that will truly endure the tests of time and mother nature.

TimberTech earthwood evolutions new colors 2012 Archadeck Columbus
TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions new colors 2012

New in 2012 is the debut of TimberTech’s “Natural collection”. This collection is made with same top quality ingredients that go into the TimberTech winning recipe but offers a more even toned, non-streaked composite. The new color introductions include Brick, Brownstone and Slate. The absence of streaking makes the Natural collection a little easier on the wallet than the choices in the Tropical collection, but with the same quality, value and beauty that TimberTech is known for.

Both the Natural and Tropical collections are part of the Earthwood Evolutions line from TimberTech. The resiliency and durability of this line of decking is among the best in the business. The construction includes a wrapped PVC composite board made with a proprietary composite core. This evolutionary approach boasts a product with superior scratch, stain and fade resistance backed by a 25-year fade and stain warranty. Just a little soap and water cleanup will keep your deck looking like new year after year.

RadianceRail-Express-Walnut
Radiance Rail Express gives homeowners an upscale, clean railing system at a lower cost than traditional Radiance Rail

Archadeck of Columbus is proud to offer our customers the new arrivals to this exquisite TimberTech line of products. To add to our arsenal of aesthetically pleasing and durable composite products we also offer the newest addition to the Radiance Rail collection to compliment your TimberTech deck perfectly. Radiance Rail Express was introduced in mid-2011 in white. New colors to the line include Walnut and black. Radiance Rail Express is less expensive than the original Radiance Rail, PVC, vinyl or composite rails that have a PVC cap. Even though synthetic rails are still more expensive than wooden railings, the benefits outweigh the costs in the long run. The Radiance Rail Express has a routed baluster receiver for clean and easy installation and also comes backed by a limited 25-year warranty on residential applications. With a wide array of shapes and colors to choose from,  Radiance Rail offers you a high quality clean finished railing system that coordinates perfectly with all TimberTech decking colors. This rail offers you an upscale, finished look that is durable and will outlast and outshine wood each and every year.

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

To learn more about composite decking, including the new introductions from TimberTech, contact Archadeck of Columbus. We can design and construct the deck of your dreams that will endure the test of time. Call us at (740) 879 – 3730 or send us an email at westcolumbus@archadeck.net