When it comes to planning your Columbus outdoor oasis, wood can be good, as long as you are ready and willing to perform maintenance

Archadeck of Columbus explores the pros and cons of wood and whether natural wood is a good choice for you to use on your deck or outdoor space.

Cedar deck in Columbus OH with Pressure Treated Pine Deck features custom Cedar Rail Posts
Cedar deck in Columbus, OH with pressure treated pine rail posts.

Nothing compares to the rich beauty of natural wood. Bear in mind, that beauty comes at a price; wooden outdoor spaces have to be properly maintained in order to keep them looking and functioning their best. If maintenance is not your thing, then choosing natural wood as the main ingredient to your outdoor living space is strongly discouraged. If maintenance is an aspect of having the wooden outdoor space of your dreams which you are willing to conscientiously partake in, then wood is good for you.

Wooden outdoor structures, such as decks can be high maintenance. The amount of maintenance is based on your space’s orientation with the sun, this is especially the case if your home faces south or west. If your home faces directly in correlation with the sun then you will have to clean and stain it more often than if your project faces north or east. Even though many times wood is the least expensive of the outdoor structure building materials available, it will require maintenance to ensure its longevity.

This custom designed deck was constructed in Powell, Ohio Pressure treated pine
Custom designed pressure treated pine deck in Powell, OH.

In climates such as ours in Ohio, we experience freeze and thaw conditions. These temperate conditions can cause wooden outdoor spaces to expand and contract more often than homeowners in the south who experience a milder, more level climate. Pressure treated pine is one of the most commonly used materials for outdoor living space projects and is very susceptible to contraction and expansion. Pressure treated wood is infused with “green” chemicals that preserve it and offer protection from bug infestation and termites, but it will not prevent movement occurrences as a result of our climate.

In order to counteract the damage that can occur with wood, and to prevent degradation, Archadeck of Columbus recommends regular maintenance. This maintenance includes staining and sealing your wooden deck. We do not offer services for staining, we typically outsource it. For new decks, we advise waiting 3-6 months before staining and sealing it. Typically homeowners can expect to have to re-stain their wood deck every 1-2 years depending upon sun exposure. Keep in mind, this will be a requirement with any kind of wood. White cedar for example, doesn’t expand and contract as readily as pressure treated pine but it can still regress when exposed to the continuous stress of the elements.

Pressure treated pine deck features custom cedar rail posts in Columbus, OH.
Pressure Treated Pine Deck features custom Cedar Rail Posts in Columbus OH

Another factor that can lead to the degradation of wooden decks is the wrath of the sun. The sun is your biggest enemy when it comes to wooden structures. We covered many of the key points of wooden degradation in a previous post titled ” Pressure treated pine- a maintenenace nightmare”. 

Archadeck of Columbus vehemently discourages painting a deck, or any other wooden horizontal outdoor living surface. The reason   is because the paint doesn’t actually adhere to the deck’s surface.It just sits on top of it. With staining you are getting deep enough into the wood to alter the pigment and offer protection to the wood. Even though the Columbus area receives an abundant amount of rain and moisture for the better part of the year, in summer it turns dry and hot. The sun will beat up the wood and you will begin to see where the wood fibers separate, raise up and then splinter. You can avoid this by keeping your deck moist during the hot, dry months by taking a hose to it and wetting it down thoroughly every few days. This prevents drying out, because once the wood starts to separate it will never recover. A good rule of thumb is to “water” your deck when you water your plants during the worst summer months.

Many composites emulate the look of wood beautifully and require very little maintenance.

When you make the decision to use wood as your deck or outdoor space medium, it is never a question of “if” it will  inevitably be affected by the elements, it is a question of “how soon”. If you don’t mind taking care of your deck, then it can be beautiful and serve you well. If a wood deck is really well maintained and has minimal sun exposure it can last 20-25 years. If you aren’t willing to spend the time it takes to own a wooden outdoor space, there is a plethora of low-maintenance choices  available as a beautiful alternative to wood.

Contact Archadeck of Columbus to learn how wood can be good in your outdoor living space design, and to learn about the low-maintenance designs we offer too.  Call us for a free consultation (740) 879 – 3730 or email us atwestcolumbus@archadeck.net

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

Please visit our wooden deck photo gallery and our composite, vinyl and PVC deck photo gallery located on our website to experience our large selection of deck design ideas

Top 10 Reasons to Build Your New Screened Porch in the Fall

Fall is the perfect time to build and enjoy a screened porch by Archadeck of Columbus. Here are ten reasons why autumn is the opportune time to bring your dream of a screened porch to life.

Archadeck of Columbus screened porch
This screened porch by Archadeck of Columbus offers you a front row seat to fall.

If ever there were a season to stir emotions and inspiration it would undoubtedly be autumn. The sights and smells of fall can transport you to a new level of happiness, with local farmers peddling their seasonal wares of crisp, fresh apples and rotund pumpkins. Nature seems to come alive with leaves ablaze with shades of gold and crimson. Mother nature paints her masterpiece in the fall, wouldn’t now be the perfect time to create a masterpiece in your landscape with the addition of a stunning outdoor structure such as a screened porch ? Imagine the glories of fall that you could experience first hand in your screened porch that would otherwise only be possible from the kitchen window. The aroma of autumn, the scenic imagery, the wildlife in their scurry to get ready for the winter ahead can all be witnessed while enjoying your screened porch that will come with an all access  front row seat to autumn.

Archadeck of Columbus interior views of this stunning screened porch
Archadeck of Columbus interior views of this stunning screened porch

Making the decision to build your screened porch in the fall also gives you many opportunities to enjoy activities that would not be possible in the summer heat or the harsh winds of winter. Imagine an autumn morning in your fluffy bathrobe, sipping a warm cup of latte’ in your favorite outdoor chair with its overstuffed cushions surrounding you in comfort as you turn to see two squirrels playing tag right before your eyes, all the while you hear the whir of your laptop as you check your emails and schedule for the day. All this is possible on your screened porch. Choosing a fall construction makes it possible to enjoy your new outdoor structure any time of the day, morning, noon and night. The temperatures in the fall are mild and can make any time of the day a joy, and a perfect time to use your outdoor structure. If you are still on the fence about starting your screened porch now or waiting, here are a few reasons to inspire you to move forward this fall.

Screened porch by Archadeck of Columbus
Imagine the vistas of each season you could take in from a screened porch like this.

Here is a list of the top 10 reasons to build your new screened porch in the fall as opposed to any other time of the year.

#1) No waiting in lines– That’s right, in the fall the backlog is smaller, therefore the waiting list to have structures built is much shorter. This means you will get to enjoy your new structure much sooner than if you make the decision to build in the spring or summer months. After all, no one likes to wait in a line very long.

#2) Easier on the pocketbook– The potential demand on building materials in the industry can lead to lower costs. Meaning when the demand on materials is lower, then usually this impacts the price as well. In some instances, good things come to those who wait.

#3) Less lifestyle interruption– Construction during the fall and into the winter will cause less of an interruption in your life since most people use their yards less during these months. This means the noises and materials will be less of an annoyance than they would be when you are using the yard a lot during the spring and summer months. Out of sight means out of mind.

Screened porch by Archadeck of Columbus

#4) Tax time– Building an outdoor structure during the later months of the year will in some cases help you when it comes tax time.

#5) Bargain shopper– If you were planning on purchasing new outdoor furnishings to use within your screened porch, then fall is the ultimate time to find quality outdoor furnishings at discounted prices. You can take advantage of those off-season discounts and get more for your money.

#6) Beat the heat– Lower humidity and lower temperatures is easier on the installers. Crisp temperatures such as the ones seen in the fall equal builders that tire less easily, and require fewer Gatorade breaks as well.

#7) Lower payments– The interest rates are still really low. If you plan to finance your screened porch, the current standing in the economy will mean a lower payment for you each month.

This Columbus screened porch uses wrapped cedar for a rustic look and feel

#8) Less damage to turf– Choosing to build now will impact your lawn and landscape less than if you chose to build during the spring and summer months. Wet turf damages more easily, as does turf that is under heat stress from temperatures and higher humidity, building in the fall will ensure you avoid both of these obstacles.

#9) Wood is good– We are building with wood, so it is possible to build year round. Keep in mind that lower humidity allows materials to season over the winter and be ready for spring as well.

#10) Spring ready– Making the decision to build your screened porch now not only ensures you will begin enjoying the glories of autumn, it also means when spring has sprung your structure will be ready. If you wish to wait until spring, you can sign up now to be one of the first on the list for a start date.

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

Now, with all this in mind, what are you waiting for? Archadeck of Columbus can plan, design and build your structure in time to capitalize on the majesty of autumn’s beauty. Our professional and talented staff have years of experience in helping homeowners, like yourself, harness the beauty of each season with an outdoor structure custom-built by Archadeck of Columbus. Contact us today at (740) 879 – 3730 or email us at westcolumbus@archadeck.net

See more gorgeous screened porches by visiting our galleries at http://columbus.archadeck.com/pickYourProject/ScreenedPorches.html

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

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!