A low-to-grade photo gallery in the Columbus OH area

There are multiple benefits to a low-to-grade as we will write about in the next blog post. We have quite a few photos for design ideas so we wanted to share a photo gallery for inspiration if you’re considering a low-to-grade deck.

#1

Columbus low to grade composite deck with pergola
Columbus low to grade composite deck with pergola

#2

Columbus low to grade deck Floating Bench Flaired Steps Delaware County OH
Columbus low to grade deck Floating Bench Flared Steps Delaware County OH

#3

Columbus low to grade Deck with Corner Gazebo
Columbus low to grade Deck with Corner Gazebo

#4

Columbus low to grade double deck with firepit
Columbus low to grade double deck with firepit

#5

Columbus low to grade Timbertech composite deck multiple levels and Gazebo for hot tub.
Columbus low to grade TimberTech composite deck multiple levels and Gazebo for hot tub.

#6

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

#7

Low to grade Columbus deck with hot tub
Low to grade Columbus deck with hot tub

#8

Low to grade deck Powell Ohio Delaware County Ohio
Low to grade deck Powell Ohio Delaware County Ohio

#9

Low to grade Poolside Deck with Pergola and Privacy Fence Columbus OH
Low to grade Poolside Deck with Pergola and Privacy Fence Columbus OH

#10

Multi-level Timbertech XLM Deck low to grade Columbus OH
Multi-level TimberTech XLM Deck low to grade Columbus OH

#11

Multiple Level Pine Deck with low to grade in Powell Delaware County OH
Multiple Level Pine Deck with low to grade in Powell Delaware County OH

#12

Poolside low to grade Timbertech Deck in Columbus OH
Poolside low to grade TimberTech Deck in Columbus OH

#13

Timbertech low to grade Deck and Screen Porch in Columbus
TimberTfech low to grade Deck and Screen Porch in Columbus

A Nightmarish Construction Turns into a Happily Ever After when Archadeck of Columbus Takes the Wheel

Archadeck of Columbus tells a nightmarish tale of construction pitfalls to warn other homeowners of the dangers of not hiring a professional contractor.

All too often, we hear horror stories from homeowners that have become our customers as a result of hiring some “handyman” to build their outdoor structure, only to find out too late that they did not have a clue as to what they were doing. Then that homeowner ends up calling us following the disaster to make amends and build the structure properly. I guess you could say we sometimes serve as “the calm after the storm”. This is a tattered tale  of one such event, listen closely to see it you can figure out the moral of the story…

Once upon a time a homeowner hired a contractor to do a TimberTech installation at his residence. Before the job even got off the ground the homeowner realized there were a lot of things awry with the job.First of all, the contractor he hired did not obtain a proper permit. By law a building permit for any structure, or addition is to be posted in clear view at the job site. It is also crucial to make sure the contractor has proper liability insurance, you can indemnify them by adding their name on it.

The contractor did other bad deeds as well, such as putting rubber membrane underneath the decking boards, so it was between the decking boards and the joists. The contractor then screwed the decking down through the membrane. The screws and nails they used for the job were not supposed to be used for exterior applications, so in a short time, the nails they used for the framing would have deteriorated when used in combination to the treated pine joists. Also, the hidden fasteners used were not the proper TimberTech fastener system.

This particular contractor, did such a horrendous job, A video showing the deflection of the boards when you pushed on the boards was made. We made the video to warn other homeowners of the potential hazards and pitfalls of not hiring a professional contractor. There is no way to do enough research to understand what the contractor is doing wrong or the requirements for each job. This is the beauty of hiring a professional, we have knowledge of the products, the requirements and we build quality into every inch of our structures. We call it ” the Archadeck difference”.

With almost all synthetic decking, such as TimberTech, it requires that you run your joists at a minimum of 16″ on center when you run the decking perpendicular. If you run the decking on a diagonal it needs to be a minimum of 12″ on center. We always make sure the joists are 12″ on center. It is crucial with any synthetic decking that the contractor follows the installation instructions by the board manufacturer.

This story did end on a happy note, the very distressed homeowner called TimberTechTimberTech gave the homeowners our name and told him to call Archadeck of Columbus because of our prior knowledge, experience and expertise of working with the TimberTech products. Archadeck of Columbus is completely re-doing the job, the way it should have been done to begin with.

We asked the homeowner how they found the bad contractor. They indicated that their neighbors had a deck built by the other contractor. So, we went next door to see if the contractor did the same thing at the neighbor’s house. Take a look.

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

I guess by now, you figured out the moral of the story. Always hire a professional such as Archadeck of Columbus, to ensure a happily ever after every time. Contact us today to get started (740) 879 – 3730  westcolumbus@archadeck.net

A Deck/Patio Combo in Columbus turns out to be just what the Doctor Ordered

Archadeck of Columbus pairs together a deck and patio combination that suits these Columbus, Ohio homeowners to a “T”.

Columbus paver patio deck and landscaping
Columbus paver patio deck and landscaping

Here at Archadeck of Columbus, we recently completed a deck for this homeowner in Gahanna which is located in Columbus, Ohio. This customer decided to install a deck and patio combination because they liked the idea of having two different living areas and having adjoining seating areas to enjoy throughout the season.

Patios can be installed in the Columbus area from about March 15th until the first freeze which is usually around mid-December. The ideal is to wait to begin a patio until March or early April to make sure the ground is not frozen, or in some cases muddy from melting snow or ice.

We constructed the deck using TimberTech XLM in beautiful “river rock” gray and used a cedar rail for a wonderful contrast. We completed the deck prior to the stairs because we wanted to make sure the stairs are all the same height.

Design rendering in detail

The upcoming patio will be oval on one corner and the other corner will be a straight rectangle to accommodate a small retaining wall. Due to the excavation that is necessary for the patio’s installation there will be excess soil that needs to be removed. In most cases we can use excavated soil as topsoil to create planting beds or an upgrade at a later date around the perimeter of a structure such as this patio. In the case of this customer, they wanted to add planting beds that they could go ahead and plant in now. This worked out perfectly for this customer. We will also be adding a spading edge to the planting beds and mulch.

Umbriano "Winter marvel"
Archadeck Columbus paver patio architectural Rendering
Archadeck Columbus paver patio architectural Rendering

The patio itself will be finished using Uni-lock Umbriano pavers. These are concrete pavers but are made to look contemporary, the end effect resembles slabs with a larger pattern. This type of paver has been quite popular in the Columbus area. The color these homeowners chose is “winter marvel” for the field area and the soldier course ( perimeter/border) is “midnight sky”. We anticipate this combination will be breathtaking when completed.

The choice to include a patio with the deck area is clearly a design that can be integrated into any landscape whether it is single or multi-level. Having multiple living areas is a growing trend. The two structures harmonize together beautifully.

If you are considering a deck, a patio or both, give Archadeck of Columbus a call and we can meet with you to discuss placement, design and materials. We can give your backyard that same harmony. Give us a ring for a free consultation (740) 879 – 3730
or email us at westcolumbus@archadeck.net.

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

Archadeck of Columbus and TimberTech Evolutions help pay it forward and get a lot back in return

Archadeck of Columbus donates to re-deck for Recreation Unlimited. A very rewarding experience for all who participated.

It is always a special opportunity when we are asked to give back to the community by helping a charitable organization. We really enjoy paying it forward by assisting our time and materials to help an organization like the one we recently helped on for Recreation Unlimited. Recreation Unlimited is a charity started by Dick Ruff in 1958 to provide recreational activities for people like himself with disabilities. Following the death of Dick Ruff in 1974 many community leaders such as Jimmy Crumm, local sportscaster and well-known face in the community with the local NBC station for many years, took the reins to make sure Dick’s dream would live on. Recreation Unlimited is located near Delaware and provides activities for developmentally and physically disabled individuals and those with health concerns. 

Busy at work on the re-decking for Recreation Unlimited

Paul Huttlin is the director of the  Recreation Unlimited facility. The facility had a 25-year-old deck adjacent to Lake Crumm. The deck itself overhangs  the lake for fishing at the facility. There is a shelter adjacent to the deck and an open gazebo. The deck encompassed roughly 1,200 square feet. Archadeck of Columbus’ volunteers were in charge of the re-decking. Two crews donated their time and labor to complete this job. Seth Micheal and Josh Kempf both did a phenomenal job on this deck. We also couldn’t have did it without the help of our wonderful guys at TimberTech, Craig Hyatt and Tony Groh. It took us about two days to finish the job and it was a very rewarding experience.

A few of our wonderful volunteers

We chose to use the incredible TimberTech product called Evolutions. Evolutions is a beautiful composite deck that represents a new age in decking. The Evolutions material has a 25 year no stain and no fade warranty. TimberTech is the first ever to offer this full 25 year warranty on a decking product and we were really excited about using it on this structure. The Evolutions is not as expensive as pure PVC decking boards. It also has a PVC cap that extends around the perimeter of the board. Evolutions comes in many earthwood colors. We chose to use the Pacific Rosewood for this deck and Pacific Walnut and Radiance for the rail. The material has black veining/streaking through it to make it look more exotic, with breathtaking results. We also used hidden fasteners on the new deck to continue that endless vision of beauty without seeing the “stuff that holds it together”.

Anytime we donate our time or materials to help an organization such as this we always come back getting a lot more out of it than we could ever put in it. Having the opportunity to work on a job with this much significance to the community just makes you feel good. It is on a different level than doing jobs on a day-to-day. We encourage everyone to donate their time and whatever they have to a worthy cause such as this and help “pay it forward” in your community it is always an experience you will remember for the rest of your lives.

The completed Evolutions deck: A beautiful deck for a beautiful cause

From Recreation Unlimited…

The Recreation Unlimited deck by the lake is a major focal point for camp activities.  The campers fish from the dock, do outdoor arts and crafts by the lake and use the deck for a picnic spot during the summer months. The original deck was very worn and needed repair or replacement.  The Timbertech donation of materials was perfect for the type of application needed, a quality surface and maintenance free.  If it wasn’t for Mike Reeder and Archadeck, the project would never have been completed.  Mike and his crew’s expertise helped a bunch of weekend volunteers construct a beautiful deck in two days in a fantastic location.  What a treat for our campers with disabilities and health concerns to use now and many years into the future.  Thank you Archadeck and Timbertech.

Best regards!
Paul L. Huttlin
Executive Director and CEO
Recreation Unlimited Foundation
Recreation Unlimited Farm and Fun
7700 Piper Road
Ashley, OH  43003

Pressure Treated Pine – A Maintenance Nightmare?

Un-maintained Treated Pine Deck

I just returned from visiting a client whom inherited a pressure treated pine deck and was disgusted with its condition. His initial intent was to tear down the entire deck and start over. He truly liked the look of wood and understood maintenance was involved but he didn’t realize that treated pine does have advantages. At the end of our meeting we agreed that removing the entire deck was not necessary and we  just replace the flooring and rails. I thought it might be useful to share more information to you about Pressure Treated Pine (PTP).

PTP still remains the #1 choice for outdoor structures. Whether used for decks, screen porches, playground sets, fencing or sandboxes, PTP is the best value for your buck. All PTP comes with a lifetime warranty against rotting (fungal decay) and termite infestation. The characteristics and maintenance of this species are integral to understanding its benefits and imperfections.

The term PTP means the pine when milled is infused with chemicals to provide the warranties discussed above. The wood will essentially not rot and can be placed in the ground. The chemicals used have been changed over the last 7 years. I won’t go into that as it’s quite convoluted. The main point is the warranties provided. The main characteristic about PTP is the susceptibility to changes in temperatures, humidity and overall weather. In a nutshell this species will expand and contract based on climate conditions. Remember the sun is your enemy. The hotter its gets, the more it will expand. Ever notice decks built with PTP where the floor, rail caps or stair treads are cracking? This is a result of the sun. Ever notice how decking boards appear to “cup”. Cupping occurs as the edges of boards are stretching towards the sun in hot weather. A misnomer about cupping, it is not because the grain of the boards were placed incorrectly upon installation. It is simply a result of expansion and contraction.

Another consideration about PTP, the material needs to dry for at least 3-6 months prior to sealing or staining. When first installed, most boards will be damp. This is due to the chemicals within the product. You may notice the top of the deck boards are dry within a week or two, but that does not mean the entire board is dry. Remember vaporizing (drying) goes up through the board. In addition, as it dries the boards tend to shrink leaving gaps between deck boards.

The best advice I can pass on about PTP, is to keep the deck wet in the summer months. This does not mean hosing your deck off daily, but be conscious and apply as needed. Factors such as exposure to the sun (i.e. orientation of your deck to the sun) and shade need to be considered. I would suggest keeping an eye on the floor boards. If they show signs of cracking, hose it down. Once the cracking occurs, you will never be able to reverse that trend. So keep it wet!

Maintenance such as staining, stripping and cleaning are an integral aspect with any wood product exposed to exterior elements. This maintenance, on average, depends on exposure to the sun. Usually I hear people say they have to complete the work once per year. Ever notice how PTP has a light hue to it when a project is first built outside? Look again 3-6 months later (if not stained or painted), it begins to turn grey. This is due to the UV rays from the sun. In order to maintain a PTP product you can apply several methods:

 Semi-transparent Stain

 Opaque Stains

 Transparent Sealers

 Painting

Semi-Transparent Stains have a small amount of stain in them combined with UV protection. Lots of staining products on the market indicate claims and warranties that their particular goods contain UV protection. Of course that doesn’t take into account, normal wear and tear. This includes high traffic areas. The slight amount of stain in these products assists with deterioration. I see the best results with this method.

Opaque Stains are simply a stain that will change the color of the wood. If you really like this look, go for it, but be aware that your high traffic areas will deteriorate quicker. Compare that to low traffic areas where the stain is holding up. Now what do you do?

Transparent Sealers have no stain in them and just provide UV protection. Remember the UV rays are powerful and the decking will begin to turn grey, eventually. This is the easiest of methods as the “stripping” phase is less time consuming.

Painting is a bad idea especially with “horizontal” surfaces. This includes deck flooring, rail caps, bench seats, planters and steps. Paint will begin to chip and deteriorate when exposed to the elements over time. Think about it, where does the water sit? If you want to paint “Vertical” components (i.e. railing posts, pickets, porch posts, that will last longer in most cases.

Here are some recommendations and websites of products we have had good feedback on. The best of these products is Cabot Stain http://www.cabotstain.com More expensive than most yet remember, you get what you pay for! I have seen success with Sherwin-Williams products as well. http://www.sherwin-williams.com Lastly, I must profess, we do not provide staining or painting services as part of our business, but we do recommend an awesome painter if clients inquire.

Does this all mean that PTP is awful? Of course not. Many folks still build with PTP but we want to ensure clients understand how the product will perform. If you like the look of wood, PTP is a decent option, but be aware the maintenance required to maintain the beauty. I hope this helps. Cheers!