A deck worthy of Parade of Homes

Low maintenance Columbus TimberTech deck with pergola lrWe were very excited to have the opportunity to assist with a project that needed to be pulled together in time for the Parade of Homes. The resulting Grove City deck bordering the Pinnacle Country Club is a stunning multi-use outdoor living space. It includes everything you need for a wonderful evening in the fresh air without leaving the comfort of home.

Because of scheduling and other demands, this was a two-phase project. The first phase, in 2006, included an elevated, west-facing deck. The primary materials were pressure-treated boards surrounded by TimberTech Radiance Rail in black. The star of that show was an indoor/outdoor fireplace built into the back of the home. We were asked to return in 2015 to make some modifications and upgrades. After living with the deck for a while, the family had some fabulous ideas for additions they wanted to make to their deck so that it would better fit with their fun, but casual outdoor lifestyle.

Outdoor kitchen bar on Columbus elevated TimberTech deck lrFirst, they purchased an outdoor kitchen unit that they wanted us to install. We often order outdoor appliances for customers, but don’t have a problem including amenities clients already own. In this case, the setup weighed about 1,000 lbs. so we needed to beef up the frame structure a bit to make everything safe and code compliant. Then we re-decked the flooring with TimberTech planks in Brown Oak to extend the life of the deck while decreasing its maintenance requirements.

The Radiance Rail still looked terrific and had plenty of life left in it, so we put it back up. The orientation of the deck means that the family has a wonderful sunset view, but frequently wishes for a little more shade during the afternoon hours. We designed a custom pergola that fits beautifully with the style of the rest of the house and covers the entire deck. It’s larger than most: 360 sq. ft., so we constructed it with 3 support beams.

If you live in a planned community, it’s important to double check the building requirements set forth by the homeowner’s association. In this case, we might have considered building the pergola with synthetic materials for longevity and easy of care. That wasn’t an option in this neighborhood. Instead, we opted for cedar which is a step up from pressure-treated pine and matches some of the family’s deck furniture. It will gain a pleasing patina as it ages.

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

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 or email us at westcolumbus@archadeck.net. We look forward to your call.

Have you seen me lately? A tale of composite and synthetic decking evolution.

TimberTech XLM Harvest Bronze deck with black aluminum railings
TimberTech XLM (Now AZEK XLM) Harvest Bronze deck with black aluminum railings

It’s easy to love the low maintenance and incredible durability of synthetic wood products. No pressure treated pine on earth comes with the kind of stain, fade, and scratch warranties offered by companies like TimberTech and AZEK. When people choose wood over synthetics, it is usually for one of two reasons. The first is price. Synthetics cost more initially, although if you figure in the long-term costs of owning your Columbus porch or deck, the total price to own is very competitive. The second reason is the look of synthetics: they don’t look like “real” wood… or do they?

In the early days of synthetic timber, decks and porches made with synthetic products had some flaws and looking like plastic was one of them. Now that the industry and its products are more mature, most of the design shortcomings of composite and PVC products have been engineered away. Take the VertiGrain™ innovation from TimberTech as an example. Each board has textures, color, and streaking that make it unique.

TimberTech Legacy deck pergola Dublin OH lr
TimberTech Legacy synthetic decking with VertiGrain patterning

How does TimberTech achieve this one-of-a-kind look for each plank coming off its production line?  Similar products attempt to recreate a “V” shaped sawn lumber pattern by embossing or other methods that can look a little “cookie cutter.” VertiGrain™ emulates the look of top-quality vertical grain lumber: no two pieces are alike in their simulated wood grain. You won’t see any repetitive patterns on your deck. Customers can see VertiGrain™ in action in all of the boards in the Legacy and Tropical series by TimberTech. Hidden fasteners are available in those lines as well for a sleek, streamlined look.

Another method for making each board unique is the trend toward bringing hand-scraping from the interior of the home to outdoor living spaces. In addition to giving the boards additional variety in texture, hand scraping allows you to feel grooves in the wood at a variety of lengths and depths. Hand scraping is a trend that has been with us for a while and it seems to be growing more and more popular. I see it in hundreds of homes each year. With synthetics, you don’t really need to worry about damage from pets and kids, but this distressing takes that protection to the next level.

I’m often asked about how slippery synthetic plank floors are when they get wet. Fully plastic boards, including capped composites and PVC, take a little longer to dry, but are not any more difficult to walk on safely when wet than traditional wood. They are also remarkably easy to squeegee off, if you like, and that will speed up the drying process. When it comes to ice and snow, things will always be treacherous, regardless of the type of flooring you choose. Step carefully!

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

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 or email us at westcolumbus@archadeck.net. We look forward to your call.

You don’t need a large space to make a big statement for your Columbus OH home

TimberTech tigerwood decking with mocha picture frame lrMany of our Columbus deck and patio improvement projects have expansion as a key component. Clients want to capture more living area when they replace an existing structure. This Grove City patio and deck combination was a little different. We built on a slightly bigger footprint, but the main focus was to upgrade the entire space to be more useful, more beautiful, and to flow more naturally from home to pool and back.

The original deck had two levels that stepped up into a dead end. The deck was round and, because of the design of the railings, a little claustrophobic. We regraded space so that the deck area adjacent to the house was the higher part of the project. We used TimberTech Tigerwood decking with a Mocha picture frame and lights built into the steps. We took out a few shrubs, but kept lovelier landscaping pieces like the dwarf Japanese red maple tree and even designed one of the walkways to feature it.

Columbus OH paver patio with seating wall lrFrom the deck, you now step down into the patio area laid with Beacon Hill Sierra pavers. The soldier course along the outer edge is in a black called Copthorne Basalt which is a new product from Unilock. I like the way it calls to mind the look of dark river stones. The low seating wall only goes along part of the perimeter, defining the space, but leaving two pathways open: one going back up to the house and the other down to the pool. Where the homeowners used to have to troop across the lawn to get the the pool, they now can choose one of two feature walkways.

We gave a lot of thought to color on this project. The old deck railings looked a little anemic against the tan stucco of the home. The new color palette celebrates a wide range of earthtone browns from light to dark, bringing in colors from both the home and the yard. The result is both artistic and Columbus OH patio around Japanese Maple tree lrharmonious. We saved much of the existing landscaping, keeping it either in place or moving it to a more advantageous location. We added in a few additional pieces as needed.

The takeaways from the project? A little more space, sure. But now the family also has significantly improved traffic flow on their deck/patio combination that is made of low-maintenance, long-lasting materials. The entire yard has a more open design. There is  built-in lighting on steps and rails that allows for safe, paved access from home to pool. Other bonuses include a custom layout with lots of attention to design details,color, and built-in seating.

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

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 or email us at westcolumbus@archadeck.net. We look forward to your call.

 

It’s May in Columbus. The National Deck and Railing Association asks you to evaluate whether your deck is safe.

May is widely known for hosting Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and graduations galore; but it is also National Deck Safety Month. While you are unlikely to buy gifts or host a party around this event, I hope it will serve as a reminder to do some quick checks around your porch or deck to make sure your outdoor living spaces are safe and ready for the spring and summer. Even though safety checks aren’t necessarily fun, they are far better than the alternative. Here are some tips to help you complete a quick but effective deck safety evaluation.

The best place to start your deck check is on the internet. The North American Deck and Railing Association publishes a comprehensive Consumer Checklist that is the perfect reference for identifying potential problem areas on your Columbus deck or porch. The list covers everything from evaluating flooring for wood decay to assessing nearby trees for overhanging limbs that might come down in a strong wind. It’s all on one page and written in easy-to-understand language. You don’t need to be a construction pro to use it.

No flashing was used where this deck connected to the home causing rotting.
No flashing was used where this deck connected to the home causing rotting.

Some common failures you may find go beyond being safety issues and are potentially damaging to the main part of your home. Failure to install, or properly install, metal flashing between the deck and the house can quickly lead to rot on both the deck and the house. You can assess settling on a deck by checking it with a level. Deck settling can stress both your deck and your home along the joint where they connect.

Building codes change. A structure that was built to minimum code 15 years ago may very well be out of compliance now. Archadeck builds for longevity and durability. We build to exceed minimum code requirements. You will see this in details like the size and types of bolts that we use ensure strength. Small investments like this can make a huge difference in the safety and lifespan of your Columbus porch or deck.

This poorly made deck utilizes a 2x4 as a beam and insufficient screws instead of bolts.
This poorly made deck we inspected utilizes a 2×4 as a beam and insufficient screws instead of bolts.

If you have railings or stairs, make sure to inspect them regularly for stability. Shake railings with some force to make sure that they are properly secured. Do your stairs shift or move when you walk on them? That indicates that you need to repair or replace them immediately. In the same way that you don’t want to fool with steering or brake issues on your car, you want to immediately address problems with porch stairs and railings.

I don’t provide this information because I’m looking to get into the deck repair business– I’m not. Archadeck of Columbus primarily contracts for new construction and large renovation jobs. But if I can prevent even one accident by sharing some of my professional insight here, I’ll consider this National Deck Safety Month to have been well spent.

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. The consultation is completely free. (740) 879 – 3730 or email us at westcolumbus@archadeck.net. We look forward to your call.

Paradise by the Gahanna OH porch/deck light

Gahanna OH deck patio porch outdoor kitchenWe just put the finishing touches on a design for an outdoor living space that includes everything but a restroom. This Gahanna patio-porch combination will certainly set the standard for entertaining in the neighborhood. We’re very excited to break ground on this project which is sure to see lots of fun in the sun this spring, summer and fall.

The curvilinear Unilock paver patio has plenty of room, over 1,000 square feet, for multiple conversation and activity areas. Close to the house it will include a complete outdoor kitchen with granite countertops, a built-in grill and a refrigerator.  A second area is designated for relaxed socializing. A third is a circular stone firepit with a retaining wall and plenty of space for chairs. The entire patio also serves as an unifying space which joins the two decked areas. We haven’t settled on exactly which color paver we will use, but intend to use darker, contrasting stones for a framing course along the edge and around the firepit.

Gahanna OH porch patio deck and outdoor kitchenThe flow of the project is ideal. Leaving the rear of the home, guests will emerge onto a low-to-grade deck with no rails. That space is intended primarily for dining, but almost has the feeling of a balcony. From there people can move easily down the grand staircase toward the conversation cluster or off to the side for use the barbecue. The hot tub sits near the firepit and adjoining the covered porch, in case there is a bit of a chill in the air after a quick dip. It’s also just a few steps from the hot tub to the fridge if a frosty beverage is needed.

Gahanna patio outdoor kitchen deck and porchThe covered porch is original to the house. This Archadeck endeavor is primarily new construction, but part of the overall building project involves redecking to minimize unnecessary costs while ensuring top-quality and a unified look for the entire space. We’ll use TimberTech Terrain for the new deck with white trim and white risers on the stairs. TimberTech’s CONCEALoc® hidden fasteners will add to the seamless, high-end feel of this Gahanna porch.

Another terrific design detail you should note is the way that we were able to integrate the hot tub with both the covered porch and the Gahanna paver patio. You can easily enter the tub from the top rim using the porch, from partway up via the stairs or lever yourself over the side from ground level. As with all of our projects, we consider functionality and fabulous looks for every part of the whole space.

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

If you have a Columbus outdoor living space you are considering for 2015, we’d love to hear from you: (740) 879 – 3730 or email us at westcolumbus@archadeck.net.  The consultation is completely free.

This Columbus re-deck evokes exudes Asian Zen inspiration, craftsmanship and artistry

second story elevated round deck Columbus OH lrAmericans often attribute characteristics of symmetry, balance, and peace with Asian-inspired art and architecture. The philosophical and design concept of feng shui emphasizes the need to have harmony between people and their environment.

This second story deck is part new construction and part refurbishment. The existing deck was in disrepair and we resurfaced it with Timbertech Earthwood Evolutions Legacy in pecan color. Then we extended it further out into the yard in a half-moon shape. The extra six feet of Columbus rounded deck is supported by columns and a beam and fits beautifully into the existing landscape. We trimmed the new columns to match the existing ones. Creating a round or curved deck with composite materials like Timbertech takes some expertise. You need to first carefully heat the boards before you are able to install them in your desired shape as

rounded Columbus deck with Aluminum rails lrEven the wet conditions in which we took these project photos can’t hide the beauty and harmony of the picture frame decking done in TimberTech walnut and pecan. The separation of the halves within the rounded whole evoke the Yin/Yang symbol. The hidden lock fasteners used to secure the decking ensure that your eye sees only uninterrupted lines. It will doubtless be even more stunning come spring when the garden and trees are in bloom.

Every detail of this project was done with an eye toward beauty and utility. We remanufactured the gate to mimic the original that the owners loved. It limits access to the lower stairway for the safety of children and pets. You can barely see the dimmable post lights during the day, but in the evenings they provide plenty of light for either entertaining or relaxation. Black Pegatha aluminum rails were installed in short angles to blend with the deck curve.

The icing on the cake of this project was some touch-up detailing we did on the area under the pergola and the landing of the stairway. The spruced up pergola has a rubber roof to provide protection from sun and rain. The landing got a bump-out extension for a grill. The flow from home to deck to landing to yard flows like a river to the sea–it’s gorgeous.

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. The consultation is completely free. (740) 879 – 3730 or email us at westcolumbus@archadeck.net. We look forward to your call.

One deck can get you two outdoor living spaces. Take a look at this one in Dublin OH!

If you look underneath most decks during a rainstorm, you will see lines and puddles where the water funnels to the spaces between the boards and then falls to the ground. This doesn’t matter if the only ones having dinner down there are insects or the occasional cat, but if you want to create a 2-story outdoor living space, there is a better solution.

Luckily, Archadeck has you covered, so to speak. We build what are known rain decks or dry decks. They include gently sloped layers built within the structure to help gravity divert rain and water away from the living area. Let me illustrate with a recent backyard 2-story deck in Dublin.

Our client had an existing Columbus paver patio built just outside the back door and surrounded on three sides by the stone facade of the home. The owners thought that they could get even more use from the space by adding a second story deck. This would double their outdoor living space and give them a large area protected from the elements. By swapping out a window for a door on the second floor, we also gave them outdoor access on two floors instead of just one. It’s hard to overstate how valuable an amenity that is.

Before and after a new second story dry deck at this Dublin OH home
Before and after a new second story dry deck at this Dublin OH home

The new raised deck is ideal for enjoying morning coffee or an evening glass of wine. The bronze railing and tempered glass offer a wonderful view of the yard and don’t restrict any light to the 2nd-story windows. On the ground floor, we covered the inner workings of the rain deck with a beadboard ceiling, canister lights and a ceiling fan. Now the space is suitable for outdoor entertaining in all but the harshest of winter weather. Even with this added protection, you are never more than a few steps from a view of the sky and stars.

dry deck rain deck Columbus Dublin OH lrI’d like to point out a few design details. We had to rebuild the seating wall because we needed to put a support column in the space occupied by the old one. We wrapped both the column and the support beam in cedar and painted it to match the home. Similarly, we tied new gutters into the existing system so that it looks like it was always part of the home. We work hard to integrate all our upgrade projects so that they look original to the home. In this case, we used Timbertech Legacy in Tigerwood and Mocha for the decking; they nicely complement the stone facade.

Kudos to our electrician on this job. In addition to wiring the lights and the ceiling fan, he got a little extra work when we pulled out the window on the second floor to exchange it for a door to the kitchenette. When we cut into the wall we were surprised to find that wires had been routed just under the windows in the original construction. Archadeck’s strong relationships with tradesmen of all kinds mean that we are able to respond quickly and professionally to these kinds of situations.

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

If you are thinking of adding a second story deck onto your homes, or if you presently have an existing second story deck we can create an under deck space that will double your outdoor living enjoyment. Our outdoor living combinations make all other “two for one” deals in your life pale by comparison. Call Archadeck of Columbus for a free consultation today (740) 879 – 3730 or email westcolumbus@archadeck.net.

See more examples of outdoor oasis project that are a result of using the area under a second story deck by visiting our covered patio gallery and our screened porch gallery, both located on our website.