Top 3 absolutely must know’s when hiring a contractor!

Ask a friend if they know a good doctor or  good contractor and likely just the thought of it will elicit strong reactions one way or the other. The fact of the matter is that hiring someone to provide a very important service is scary. These services affect our home, health, well being, wallet or all of the above. Horror stories abound but so do glowing recommendations. But, as we all know, one friend’s favorite restaurant may be one we don’t care for. One friend’s recommendation for an incredibly gentle dentist may put a hurtin’ on us. What I’m saying is that word-of-mouth recommendations are great most of the time. Let’s say 9/10 times your find your friend’s recommendation to be spot on and 1/10 times, it’s a complete miss. When we’re buying a small product or service, that’s OK. But, when we’re making a large purchase such as adding on to our homes, we just can’t take any chances. That 10% chance that a referral might be wrong makes the stakes way too high.

I have great news. There are 3 key questions to ask your prospective contractor that truly will help you make the right decision.

  1. Exactly who in the company is deciding how the project will be built?
  2. How EXACTLY will it be built?
  3. Can you absolutely guarantee that it will be built and that it will be built as agreed?

Here are the answers you’re looking for. Make sure the company is not only willing to but includes this information in your contract.

Exactly who in the company is deciding how the project will be built?

Will the company owner make this determination? Will the contractor or subcontractor make this decision based on some hand-drawings and a list of features? Will the carpenter make this decision? The contractor you want will have a unified body that governs their process. At Archadeck, we have such a governing body that creates our Unified Structural System. This system is a completely documented, tested, and fool-proof system for designing and constructing every facet of the job. No stone should be left unturned. Our national office had engineers test our system to review the details of how things are built.

How exactly will my project be built?

Does company have a standard for things like how big footers will be and what type of hardware will be used and specifying the proper size bolts to secure structure? Governing bodies in your local jurisdiction will dictate minimum code requirements and what do you think most contractors are going to build to? In our experience they will build to the minimum. They will use least material and least labor to build to minimum standards. Make sure your contractor has their own high quality standards. Almost always, those standards will exceed what is required by code. At Archadeck, we always build to exceed the standards set by code.

Can you absolutely guarantee that it will be built and that it will be built as agreed?

Ask the builder if they have a written binding guarantee that your project will be built as agreed. At Archadeck, we provide two distinct warranties. One guarantees it will be built according to our standards. The other unique warranty guarantees completion. We guarantee in writing.

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

Give us a call to discuss outdoor project ideas you have for your home. Whether it’s a roofed structure such as a porch, patio or sunroom or a deck or patio, we look forward to providing you with a free consultation and the information to back up what we say. (740) 879 – 3730 or email us at westcolumbus@archadeck.net

Can any old contractor build a deck?

Well… It depends on your definition of a deck.

There are good decks and bad decks, ugly decks and pretty decks, strong decks and not-so-strong decks. In reality there are hundreds of different levels of quality and many factors that determine the quality level you will receive. When you meet a prospective contractor for the first time, you will notice what they’re wearing, their age, their demeanor and possibly even if they have the well worn hands of a seasoned contractor. You will listen to what they say and look at pictures of their work. All of these are important in selecting a contractor. But are they enough? No.

We’ve all heard the phrase “the proof is in the pudding” meaning we will find out if their work matches what they promise when the work is done and it’s too late to go back. At Archadeck, our proof is in every step that happens along the way. Before we ever start a project, we provide completely detailed specifications of how every element of your project will be built. What you’re seeing in the illustration to the right are excerpts from just one page of our Unified Structural System.

This entire page dictates how every element of one railing section will be built. We guarantee it. Every nail placement, the picket spacing, and all the technical details are documented and followed in our construction process. Our instructions include drawings of every element from the top, bottom, and sides to make sure your project is built to our technical standards and specifications.

And, our “secret sauce” is not a secret. We detail every component of your project whether it be a deck, screen porch, sunroom, pergola, patio or other project. We specify it in writing to you, in the permit and to our carpenters. See an example here. The call-out detail shown in the oval shows the detail to which we specify what we are building for you.

Finally, we have the ability to provide a 3-D rendering of what their project is going to look like. We know how difficult it is to envision what the project will look like no matter how detailed the description is. We want our customers to be happy at every single step along the way from our initial meeting to our final walk-through. Our best sales people are our past customers and we think that’s the way it should be.

Columbus screen porch architectural drawing design plan
Columbus screen porch architectural drawing design plan

If you’re thinking about a project, give us a call. Our consultation is completely free. We look forward to walking through ideas and suggestions with you To learn more about us, visit our Archadeck of Columbus website.

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

We look forward to talking to you. Give us a ring at (740) 879 – 3730 or email us at westcolumbus@archadeck.net.

2011 has indeed been a great year at Archadeck of Columbus

As years go, 2011 has been a really good year. We built lots of decks, porches, patios, sunrooms, pergolas and other outdoor structures all around the Columbus area. Here are some of our favorite moments and highlights for 2011.

Extreme Home Makeover Home Edition

One of the biggest highlights certainly needs to be being a part of the Extreme Home Makeover helping the Rhodes family. We worked for 18 straight hours and built a roof-top deck with pergola over the family’s garage. Read more about our experience here.

Working with TimberTech

Columbus-based TimberTech is our composite of choice and we have a great working relationship with TimberTech. Their products get better and better and their selection and family of collections continues to grow. One of my favorite projects was this radius deck in Columbus‘ Dublin area. You might think that architectural details such as radius decking cannot be accomplished with a composite. Watch this YouTube video about bending composite wood to build a radius round edge to a deck.

Building lots of patios

More and more of our customers are looking for not just a deck or porch but also a connected patio to go with it. While building your outdoor area, it’s a great time to build an area that can serve multiple uses such as serve as a seating area as well as an eating area. Often the deck is used as the grilling and eating area and the patio is used for seating and relaxing. Read this story about the various hardscape and pavers available.

Lots of fun with screen porches

The screen porches of the past were fairly basic and were seen mostly as an upgraded deck with a roof. Screen porches these days are an extension of the home both in general design and also in interior design. Our customers built their screen porches to match the interior and exterior of their homes. Some build french doors for entry or multiple entrances to open up the screen porch easily to the inside of their house. Read about some of the screen porch interior design choices.

A star-studded family

As an owner of an independently owned local franchise, there are lots of great opportunities to utilize the extreme talents of my family as my son Kyle recently illustrated. When you called in to the office, you probably had the pleasure of speaking with my wife and co-owner Carol. Take a look at Kyle’s illustration of his Mom at work. Before you ask, yes Carol does have a large desk.


Kyle also adeptly illustrated me at work.

Kyle is 6 and his older brother Jacob is 8. I asked Jacob to also illustrate Mom and Dad at work but he was to cool for that.

But, both of my boys did become YouTube stars in their video where they beat up TimberTech wood. I’m proud to say their YouTube video has over 1,000 views!

I’m really looking forward to 2012. With projects already on the books, we look forward to jumping in and building even more projects next year.

Sincerely,

Mike, Carol, Jacob and Kyle Reeder

Do you know why Winter is actually the best time of year to build a new deck?

Archadeck of Columbus explains when is the most opportune time to build your new deck and why.

Large_Columbus_deck_with_hot_tub_pergola_and_planter
Imagine this beauty ready and waiting for you to enjoy with the first blooms of spring, after overwintering has seasoned it perfection

Many of our Columbus homeowners ask me when is the best time to build a new deck? Many of you may think that the best time to build a deck is the spring, but the truth is, the best time to consider building a new deck may be in the winter. The best way to explain the reasoning behind a winter deck construction is what i would refer to as the “give and take” of the project. Give and take refers to the use of pressure treated wood during the winter months. The give refers to the woods expansion, and the take refers to the woods contraction that is caused by the effects of varying outdoor temperatures on the wood itself.

Double low to grade deck in Columbus OH with fire pit
Double low to grade deck in Columbus OH with fire pit

The first thing you have to remember when considering building any type of deck or other outdoor structure, whether the decking boards you choose are composite, PVC, vinyl, IPE or hardwoods the foundation of your structure will be constructed using pressure treated  pine or another pressure treated wood. Wood curing is important to understand in relation to the wood’s natural tendency to “give and take”,  and curing which occurs over the winter months offers many important benefits.

Pressure treated wood  has a 50% moisture content when you initially build. This fresh lumber is sometimes referred to among builders as “green”.  The winter has less humidity and thus the pressure treated  wood will stabilize itself and dry more consistently and evenly when you build in the winter. On the other end of the spectrum a summer deck construction exposes the pressure treated wood to higher humidity conditions. In addition, when drying in the hot sun, pressure treated wood will undergo expansion and contraction which can cause cracking, warping and other damage to the wood itself. Due to the orientation of the sun during the winter months, the sun doesn’t beat down on your deck, and the pressure treated wood that holds the key to your project’s structural integrity will not undergo these negative effects.

timbertech deck and screen porch
TimberTech composite deck and screen porch by Archadeck of Columbus

Another benefit of building in winter is you will also experience less wait time and backlogs which are typical in spring and summer projects. Our typical waiting list is 8 weeks in the height of the season, during the winter you are likely going to cut that wait time in half. A winter project also causes less lifestyle interruption because homeowners typically spend less time outdoors and less time participating in outdoor activities during the colder months of the year. You will also experience less deterioration of the ground, and less turf damage during the winter months because of the dormancy period that Columbus landscapes experience through the cooler months.

Columbus deck built with treated pine
Columbus deck built with treated pine
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

Keep in mind that Archadeck of Columbus can also build your outdoor structure combination in stages. Winter is the perfect time to start the first stage of your desired outdoor living project. If you are considering a deck and patio combination for example, you can take advantage of our staged building option and build the deck this winter and then we can add the patio later into the spring. With Archadeck of Columbus’ staged building the choice is yours. Contact us today to learn more, call us at (740) 879 – 3730 or email us at westcolumbus@archadeck.net

Top 5 Reasons to Build a Composite/Synthetic Deck by Archadeck of Columbus.

Archadeck of Columbus gives you the top 5 reasons to build a composite/synthetic deck.

Composite deck Columbus
This composite/synthetic deck by Archadeck of Columbus says it all.

When considering which type of decking material to construct your new deck from the number of choices, this otherwise easy task can turn into a quite daunting one.  It can seem sometimes like there is a little person on each shoulder, one of which is shouting “wood” and the other is shouting “composite”. Archadeck of Columbus is here to help you silence the shouting. Composite/synthetic is definitely the way to go for many reasons. The low maintenance, the beauty, and the consistency to remain looking like new are just a few reasons to choose composite/synthetic decking for your new deck. We have compiled a list of the top 5 reasons to build your new deck out of synthetics. The list is in no particular order of importance and was compiled to assist homeowners in making the daunting task of choosing their decking material a little easier.

columbus TimberTech Earthwood
TimberTech's Earthwood composites have the look of wood without the headaches.

1) No staining or painting, ever– with any wood deck you’re going to need to take care of it. Wood is also a natural material therefore, eventually, with any wood, it will rot. Depending on the deck’s location in relation to the sun, you might have to maintain a wood deck more readily if it is facing west with the sun’s rays beating down onto it constantly. Wood needs to be treated at a minimum of once per year. Wood decks also require power-washing to remove staining prior to sanding. It is also recommended to pre-treat a wood deck to ensure cleanliness before you apply any stain or paint. An average 300 sq. foot deck can cost between $500 to $900 per year to maintain properly. If your wood deck has a lot of details such as railings it can take a tremendous amount of time to stain or paint as well.

2) No more tweezer torture– Okay, we can all relate to this one. You or the kids get a splinter by simply walking barefoot across your wooden deck or one of the kids inevitably picks up a splinter every time they chase each other around the deck. You’re yelling stop running but it’s not because you’re scared of a fall. It’s because you dread putting your kids through tweezer torture to get splinters out. If your wood deck is not kept up to par, splinters will become an issue. Wood will move and expand with heat, and when it expands, it will not always shrink back and this causes splinters. Splinters can be a real headache, especially when you have to get out the tweezers to painfully remove the splinter and put yourself or your child through an instant replay of pain. Splinters hurt as much coming out as they do going in. Who wants a deck you can’t enjoy in your bare feet anyway?

TimberTech Earthwoods with Aluminum railings Columbus
This composite/synthetic deck by Archadeck of Columbus will retain its beauty for many years to come.

3) What you see is what you get– Synthetics retain that “like new” color and feel , so what you see is what you will still have years from now. Synthetics won’t fade like wood. Wood can fade gradually and over time you no longer get what you paid for, sort of like that expensive pair of designer jeans that fade out in the wash over time, one day you look down and think “wow” what happened?

4) 15 year warranty for wood VS 25+ year warranty on composite/synthetic– This one is really a “no brainer”. Usually the 15-year warranty on wood has a clause about “normal wear and tear”, which includes the pains of naturally aging wood like splintering, twisting, cupping, checking not to mention the other aches and pains of naturally weathering wood like fading among others. Today’s composite/synthetic decking has a 25+ year warranty, and they’ve only been around for close to 20 years, so the product could exceed the warranty by years beyond that.

Azek Harvest Series - Brownstone
This AZEK deck entails quality, beauty and a warranty to match.

5) A smart investment– If you’re making an investment in your home, it should be a smart investment. You wouldn’t buy a brand new car only to anticipate the transmission falling out after only  1,000 miles would you? Of course not, then why invest in a deck that is going to decay and fade over time when you can invest in a deck that will be like driving it off the showroom floor in 10 years?

With so many positive attributes in composite/synthetic decking nowadays, it is easy to make an informed and smart decision. Another great choice is pure PVC decking products such as  AZEK, TimberTech XLM and TimberTech Earthwood Essentials. These pure PVC products are non-porous , so stains won’t happen at all. You can also learn more about composite/synthetic decking materials by reading a wonderful story written last year on the subject https://columbus-decks.com/2010/02/11/wood-plastic-composites-vs-pvc-decking/

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

To learn more about the joys of  owning a composite/synthetic deck contact Archadeck of Columbus (740) 879 – 3730
westcolumbus@archadeck.net We can create a deck that is made to enjoy, not to constantly worry about maintaining.

You can also see photos of other stunning composite/synthetic decks in our photo gallery at http://columbus.archadeck.com/pickYourProject/composite-and-vinyl.html

At Archadeck of Columbus, a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Archadeck of Columbus finds severe damage in this home in Dublin, OH left from poor workmanship of the previous builder, but takes it all in stride, and sets out to make it all right. The end result being a quality, and structurally sound deck these homeowners can be proud of.

proper_rubber_membrane_on_deck_lr
This photo is an after photo showing the proper rubber membrane that was installed by Archadeck of Columbus

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. The pictures I have posted below showing the poor workmanship in regards to the work completed by a previous builder at  this home in Columbus, OH speak volumes. Archadeck of Columbus was called out to these homeowners’ residence to replace their decking, cable railings, posts and add lighting and a drainage system. Once we arrived at the home we found a deluge of mistakes left by the previous builder. Thus begins the process of making the construction another builder did improperly, our job, by fixing  the areas within our grasp for the safety of the homeowners as well as the structural integrity of the home. Please watch the video detailing what we found…

house_rotted_under_windows_near_deck_connection_lr
This photo shows the rot around the windows near the deck connection

The first obstacle we encountered was a portion of the deck which lies above the basement in this home that showed evidence of rotting around the windows and doors which indicates water was getting into the home’s basement. Proof positive that improper building techniques led to the decay. When we removed the old deck in preparation of installing the new deck, there was also a tremendous amount of rot. The house itself was not outfitted with the proper preventative of Tyvek when it was built, the lack of this crucial material promoted rot and decay throughout the structure. Tyvek is a barrier which is used in home construction to increase air and water resistance and provide protection from water and moisture.

house_not_water_protected_and_rotting_lr
Improper building techniques led to rot and decay.

Archadeck of Columbus was able to fix the areas surrounding the location of the deck, as well as installing Tyvek around the doors and  new aluminum flashing around the doors.

proper_deck_sub_structure_lr
This photo shows the proper sub-structure built by Archadeck of Columbus

When we pulled up the old deck the beams were run perpendicular to the house, which is not customary when building a deck. Archadeck of Columbus rebuilt the sub-structure of the deck to our standards. You have to have a correct and firm foundation for any structure you build.

The stone area near the stairs was vas poorly constructed at best and falling down. The lights did not work as well.

proper_door_protection_before_new_decking_structure_lr
Proper door protection was installed before the new decking was completed
house_rotting_lr
Construction like this is sad and unfortunate

When we come into contact and witness the shoddy construction that some builders try to get away with, it is unfortunate and saddening. This is the main reason it is so important to hire an experienced, qualified and licensed builder.

Archadeck of Columbus has a track record of quality built structures for over 10 years. We have a A+ rating with the BBB, ( Better Business Bureau). We received the “Super Service award” from Angies list 5 years running. This award is quite prestigious with only a mere 5% of the service providers on Angie’s list receiving this award. We have been recommended by TimberTech as a premier contractor in the area. We also have a multitude of satisfied customers, some of which have called upon us to build more than just one structure for them. We are proud of our record and proud to offer homeowners in the Columbus, OH area quality construction that is built to endure years of enjoyment. That is what we refer to as the “Archadeck difference.”

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

Contact Archadeck of Columbus to plan, design and build quality and integrity into your outdoor structure. (740) 879 – 3730
westcolumbus@archadeck.net

Please visit our web site to read the testimonials of Archadeck of Columbus’ customers http://columbus.archadeck.com/local/Testimonials.html