Archadeck of Columbus explores the top 16 deck design trends in 2013 (part 2 of 3-part series on design trends)

As part two of our 3-part series exploring top design trends, Archadeck of Columbus explores the top 16 trends in decks among homeowners in our region, and all across the country.

TimberTech XLM Harvest Bronze deck with TimberTech Radiance Rail Columbus
The deck of your dreams is just a phone call away at Archadeck of Columbus!

Archadeck of Columbus is in what many would call an enviable position. We have the opportunity to meet with homeowners around Columbus throughout the year and get to hear what they like, what they are looking for and what type of things they are contracting us to build in their backyards. As 2013 will soon be drawing to a close, we would like to share some of the trends we’re seeing on the front line.

As part two of this 3-part series exploring top design trends, Archadeck of Columbus explores the top 16 trends we’ve seen in our market.

Top 16…

#1) The use of roofed structures on top of decks – Currently, we are seeing a high demand for roofed structures on decks. Roofed outdoor structures include covered porches, screened porches and even 3- and 4-season rooms. The trend toward these covered structures indicates that homeowners are entertaining more and investing in their home’s living space more via the outdoor room. Having a roofed structure adds both shade and comfort to a deck space.

#2) Combination of a deck with other structures such as a patio or porch -The great part combining your deck with a porch or patio, 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 at any time. 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. Adding a porch will extend the function of your outdoor space and provide shade and shelter from inclement weather. If considering a screened porch and deck combination, you will also gain protection from hungry insects too!

TimberTech evolutions Terrain Archadeck Columbus
TimberTech Evolutions Terrain is more affordable than other composites.

#3) The availability of more affordable composites for your deck – Up until recently, all high-quality composites came with a price tag to match. There has been a new addition to the composite line called TimberTech Terrain. Terrain is a wood and plastic capstock product that is similar in many ways to the popular Earthwood Evolutions line. The Terrain line features a thinner profile, similar to the TimberTech Reliaboard line, but with the same attributes that makes homeowner’s flock to the Earthwood Evolutions line at about 30% lower cost.

#4) More available decking board textures – New synthetic decking materials have a little more cleft in them which replicate more of a natural wood texture. Many decking companies are doing their best to make synthetics look far more like real wood than in years past.

#5) Contrasting color choices – Combining contrasting rails and decking add character and style to your deck. Even if you are considering a deck built with wood, you can stain your railing a different color to add contrast.

#6) The use of thin profile aluminum or cable railing – Thinner, lower profile railing will not impede visibility into your backyard or outdoor space.These include architectural rail such as Feeney Cable rail and many others.  Not only will using less obtrusive railing open up the view, it gives your deck an upscale elegance with a contemporary feel. If using wooden decking, you can also get the same effect by using more upgraded pickets.

Granville OH TimberTech decks
This deck was built using TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions- beautiful.

#7) Integrating different colors within the deck itself – Today’s decks aren’t always one color. Archadeck of Columbus is constantly asked to integrate additional colors into homeowners’ decks through picture framing and parting boards. Additional colors are sometimes used to highlight a specific part of the deck, such as a dining or living area. By adding colors you can also accentuate the dimensions of your deck. By thinking outside the box when using colors, you can turn your outdoor living space into a one-of-kind work of art!

#8) More use of exotic woods such as Ipe and other Brazilian hardwoods – There is a growing trend among homeowners choosing to build their deck with Brazilian hardwoods such as Ipe. Ipe is simply beautiful. Along with the rich wood tone and natural streaking that sets this exotic hardwood apart from all others, it is also strong – so strong in fact, holes need to be pre-drilled prior to installation. Ipe looks the part, and performs the part. It requires less maintenance than other hardwoods and when left untreated will weather to an elegant dove-gray over time.

#9) Deck lighting is a big trend – Lighting adds safety and ambiance to your deck. We install a huge amount of LED lighting into deck risers and posts, rail posts and even integrate lighting into the floor of the deck. Deck lighting will extend the function of your deck into the evening hours and give your space a romantic feel that invites you to linger a while longer.

#10) Stairs – Stairs are now wider and more decorative than the minimum code of 3 feet. We also design stairs that are more aesthetically interesting like flared stairs or landing with integrated seating. The reason behind this is because homeowners want wider stairs to create more seating options. It also helps balance larger and more elaborate deck designs.

2nd story deck in Delaware County, OH
2nd story deck in Delaware County, OH with finished under deck space.

#11) Multiple stairs for traffic flow – Archadeck of Columbus thinks about the flow of your entire backyard, not just the simplest way to get from here to there. We place heavy consideration on exactly where your stairs should be placed to offer the most benefit, and many times we integrate more than one set of stairs to add function and harmony to your space.

#12) Under deck systems for elevated decks – More and more, homeowners are looking to utilize the “under deck” so their elevated decks become viable outdoor living spaces. By implementing an under deck rainwater carrying system such as Dry Snap, or  outdoor ceiling systems like Inside Out into an elevated or 2nd story deck, you can create a under deck space that functions like a covered porch or patio.

#13) Balusters – Options for balusters are huge! In terms of distinction and design, balusters come with a myriad of design options. These include balusters topped with decorative finials, arches, baroque styles and even integrated lighting with the baluster itself Archadeck of Columbus uses a lot of Deckorators balusters because they are a high-quality product that offers many options to the homeowner.

#14) Lattice is out – and so is skirting –  Skirting is sometimes requested, but we do not recommend it because it takes away from the view and surrounding landscaping. In addition, a skirted portion of your under deck space can inadvertently become the perfect spot for wildlife.

TimberTech deck in Hillard, OH
This wide set of stairs allows for easy traffic flow between the deck and patio. The stairs also include riser lights for visibility in the evening.

#15) We foresee the trend towards more electrical considerations – Homeowners are now asking for some hardwired plugs within their new deck. These outlets are installed for varied purposes including plugging in space heaters, laptop computers and even to operate holiday lighting along their deck railings.  As technology advances, so does the increase in varied places available to utilize those technologies, including outdoor spaces.

#16) Gorgeous outdoor furnishings and accessories – Even though we don’t build it, we would be remiss at not mentioning the benefit eye-catching furnishings and accoutrements add to your completed outdoor living space. Just like the suit is said to make the man, outdoor furniture makes the deck.  Finishing out your space with comfy couches and chairs featuring oversized pillows is hugely popular, as is using pillows and cushions covered with weather resistant Sunbrella fabrics. Many of today’s contemporary outdoor furniture designs also use streamlined design with deeper seating with less of an emphasis on a slender leg. Stacked resin furniture is wildly popular right now. The trend we see throughout outdoor furniture design is taking the comfort and easy feel of your living room into the exterior. Homeowner’s are leaning toward outdoor furniture that mimics the comfort and loftiness of their favorite couch or easy chair but with low-maintenance outdoor fabric choices.

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

If you are starting to think about adding a new outdoor space to your Columbus area home, give Archadeck of Columbus a call for a free consultation. We can help you plan and design an outdoor space that suits your individual function with a cutting edge deck, patio or porch addition.
(740) 879 – 3730
westcolumbus@archadeck.net

Take a look at our extensive deck photo galleries by visiting our website today!

What’s the difference between composite decks and synthetic decks in Columbus?

Archadeck of Columbus explains the difference in composite and synthetic decking materials.

Granville OH TimberTech decks
This Granville, OH deck was built using TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions which is a capped PVC product – beautiful.

The scope of outdoor structure materials has broadened in recent years to reflect a constant evolution of new technology. These products are built with longevity, convenience and beauty in mind. You may have heard the terms “composite” and “synthetic” used when referring to these materials. Many homeowners think these products are one and the same which is not the case. Composites and synthetics do include some of the same characteristics and benefits but are actually quite different. Archadeck of Columbus is here to explain the differences in our quest to help homeowner better understand each product and place a face with the name.

Powell OH TimberTech XLM Harvest Bronze with TimberTech Radiance rail
This deck in Powell ,OH is built with TimberTech XLM Harvest Bronze with TimberTech Radiance rail

What is the difference between composite and synthetic?

Composite is a general term for the original form of low-maintenance decking. Some builders also use the technical term when referring to composites- which is wood plastic composites, or WPC. Composites came onto the scene in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Composites are made up of wood pulp that is combined with plastic which is often derived from recycled plastic. This combination of wood pulp and plastic is used to create this low-maintenance decking material. The wood plastic composite is a great product but is one that we rarely sell anymore. Even though WPC’s don’t require staining or painting, they do need to be kept clean in order to be keep them looking and functioning their best. A good comparison of what can happen to a wood composite deck is to look at what an ignored leaf can do to a concrete driveway if it is not removed promptly. This is the same thing that can happen with your WPC deck if it is not kept clean. Since we are dealing with products that are outside in the elements on a daily basis, composite needs to be checked for any debris or dirt on a regular basis. WPC is still a great product to use on or in your outdoor structure design, but the growing trend is leaning toward more homeowners choosing synthetic over composite nowadays.

Azek Brownstone
This deck was built with AZEK in brownstone from their harvest color collection.

Synthetic decking materials encompass products that contain PVC. This can be a product that is built using solid PVC or capped (wrapped) with PVC. PVC or (poly vinyl chloride) is a product that is free of any wood. These decking products, known as the second generation of decking materials, came onto the scene about a decade ago. Pro-cell was the original PVC manufactures which was later purchased by AZEK ,which specialized in PVC trim used around homes. PVC products deliver the ultimate in low maintenance characteristics, but are generally at the higher end price point. Cost for synthetics can vary depending on the color, pattern and amount of streaking and undulation present. In general, the formulation of synthetic is very expensive and especially the synthetics that contain emulated natural wood details. Among the leader in solid PVC decking is of course, AZEK, but Fiberon and many other manufacturers are offering solid PVC along with their capstock and WPC lines.

TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions Teak with Walnut Border
This deck uses two shades of the Earthwood Evolutions tropical line, Teak and Walnut, to add more visual interest to this stunning deck.

One of the newest synthetics is a composite wrapped in PVC. This product is often referred to as capstock decking. The advantages of both solid PVC and wrapped PVC products include reducing the amount of maintenance required by the homeowner, and more specifically a decrease in the amount of cleaning required to keep the deck looking new. Capped composites, or capstock include Trex Transcends and TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions. Most synthetic manufacturers stand behind their product with a 25 year warranty. Based on Archadeck of Columbus’ experience with these synthetic products, my belief is that many of these products will outlast their warranties by many years. The only downfall we have seen with PVC products is due to the elasticity of the material it will sometimes expand during the hotter days of the summer.

Multi_level_TimberTech_deck_with_outdoor_fireplace_Columbus_Archadeck
This TimberTech deck and outdoor fireplace by Archadeck of Columbus is the perfect spot for entertaining.

In terms of price, composites are the least expensive and generally speaking a capped composite will be less expensive than a pure PVC product. TimberTech Twin Finish and Reliaboard are among some of the wood plastic composites that are available, but we recommend using a capped PVC product in most circumstances. The technology behind WPC has gotten better since their debut, but they still require lots of care and cleaning. Most all of the synthetic manufacturers are now in a stage of tweaking their color choices to offer a wider selection for homeowners to choose from. This includes more colors that contain streaking and undulation that mimics the beauty of natural wood. The technology behind making a stronger more resilient board is also improving.

Hopefully this information will quell any confusion about the differences between composite and synthetic. Our goal here at Archadeck of Columbus is to provide you with all the information you need to make the best decision when choosing the material that bests suits your needs and budget for your new outdoor structure.

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

If you are ready to create an outdoor living space that will provide more time for enjoyment and less time focusing on maintaining your space, contact Archadeck of Columbus. We can help you choose the best decking material for you! Contact us today for a free consultation (740) 879 – 3730- Email westcolumbus@archadeck.net

You can see more examples of composite and synthetic decks by visiting our decks photo gallery and our  composite and PVC decks photo gallery located on our website.

Archadeck of Columbus ponders the considerations of re-decking your existing wood deck in synthetic

Archadeck of Columbus discusses the benefits of choosing to re-deck your existing wood deck with synthetic decking.

After -Redecking in TimberTech Earthwood by Archadeck of Columbus
We removed the decking and railings on this deck in Powell, OH and resurfaced the existing structure using TimberTech composite decking- stunning!

Being in the business of outdoor structures, Archadeck of Columbus has seen our fair share of maintenance nightmares with pressure treated wood. If you are considering the addition or a new deck, or it has come time to re-deck your existing deck, there are some things you need to know before you make the final material decision. With a growing trend towards longevity and low-maintenance, synthetic decks deliver on both. Out of the approximately 80 synthetic deck projects we do in a year, about 30 of those are re-decks, and the majority of these are re-decking from pressure treated to synthetic.

This is the before image of the same deck pictured above. The original deck was built using cedar.
This is the before image of the same deck pictured above. The original deck was built using cedar.

Keep in mind that all outdoor structures are built with pressure treated pine framing. This is used so the structure does not rot over time, and also so no termites will eat it. There are other natural woods that can be used for framing purposes, such as cedar, but they cost significantly more and deliver the same results as using pressure-treated. Most of the time, when we are inspecting an existing deck as part of the planning process for a re-decking project, the framing members are usually still in great shape. This allows us to re-deck the surface, re-skin and put the new synthetic down. 95% of the cases where we have an existing wood structure, we are able to use the structure for the re-decking. There are times when Archadeck of Columbus may need to add additional framing, replace insufficient framing, or repair the framing before we can proceed. In these cases, it is most often because the framing was not completed correctly when the deck was originally built and it involves getting the deck up to our quality standards before we will proceed.

Before- this old Cedar Deck which was beginning to show some structural deterioration. Note the stairs in particular. They are not level as evidenced by the railings.
Before- this old Cedar Deck which was beginning to show some structural deterioration. Note the stairs in particular. They are not level as evidenced by the railings.

How many of you have seen a wood deck that looks really bad? If you have, then you probably remember the wood on the deck floor may have started to crack and deteriorate. Maybe the nails used to install the deck were popping and protruding from the flooring boards even though the railings were in half decent shape in comparison to the floor. The reason for this is a natural phenomenon that horizontal surfaces tend to get beat up, and suffer from less wear and tear over time than vertical surfaces. On the majority of our re-decks we install new railing, but it is often possible to retain your existing railing and install only a new rail cap, but this is only in certain circumstances.

The design was changed and allowed for better traffic flow, especially with the addition of the paver patio. Timbertech Earthwood Decking was installed with a Cedar Railing including black aluminum pickets.
The design was changed allowing for better traffic flow. TimberTech Earthwood Decking was installed with a Cedar Railing including black aluminum pickets. The trim and railings were stained to match the trim on the home. This beautiful! Project was custom designed and built in Dublin, OH.

The growing trend towards synthetics has become more evident over the past 5 years. In our market where we are building decks, 70-80% of the time the demand is for synthetic versus wood, and the primary being synthetic; rewind five years back, and this data was in reverse with the wood being in higher demand. With re-decking, as with any of our outdoor living structure projects, we are always happy to comply with the homeowners budgetary needs and aesthetics. Most often Archadeck of Columbus recommends re-decking in a synthetic decking such as TimberTech because of the low maintenance and longevity benefits. Being a predominately wood builder, we try to communicate the maintenance needs, care and protection required of choosing to re-deck with wood to the homeowners so they may make the best decision to suit their lifestyle and needs.  If you are considering re-surfacing your tired wood deck with a synthetic, the most popular one is our region is TimberTech. By choosing a synthetic product such as TimberTech, they not only offer an array of up and coming selections such as their XLM , Terrain and Earthwood Evolutions line, you are also eliminating the chore of painting and staining your deck in the future.

Last but certainly not least, one of the most important considerations is replacing the cost associated with re-decking your existing wood deck with synthetic. Synthetics are typically double the cost of the traditional pressure treated pine deck. Before you make the decision to re-deck in synthetic you should take into account the time you plan to live in your home. If you stay in your home 4 or 5 years or longer, you will get your money out of it and you will also create an investment that you and your family can enjoy into the future!

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

If you are considering a new deck, or re-deck in the future, contact Archadeck of Columbus to learn more about the many options we offer. We can help you choose the right decking material that best suits your lifestyle and budget. Call us for a free consultation today (740) 879 – 3730
westcolumbus@archadeck.net

You can see more examples of wood to synthetic redecking, and backyard makeovers by visiting our composite and PVC deck photo gallery and our before and after photo gallery located on our website.

This in progress backyard project is destined to give these Columbus homeowners the backyard of their dreams right on time to enjoy the changing leaves of autumn

Archadeck of Columbus gives us a sneak peek into one of their curren in-progress projects which includes a stunning re-deck, expansion and hardscape addition in Columbus, OH.

Columbus OH redeck in TimberTech Brown Oak
Here is a peek into this stunning re-decking , expansion and addition project in Columbus, OH we are currently working on.

Upgrading an existing outdoor living space can take on many forms. Some homeowners call us and are interested in only re-decking an existing deck while others are interested in transforming an existing deck into a porch. There are endless possibilities when it comes to upgrading and expanding upon your existing outdoor space to enhance the time you spend outdoors with your family. Our recent outdoor living area upgrade consists of a re-deck and deck extension that includes an open porch and extended hardscape area to house the homeowner’s grill and smoker. When you dig a little deeper into the details of the project, it is evident that what the homeowners are getting is so much more than additional room for grilling.

When we met with these Columbus homeowners they had an existing linear rectangular deck with a permanent fabric awning that provided shade to the space. Their existing deck space did not allow for good traffic flow, or enough space with all their outdoor furnishings. The homeowner’s goal was to expand their existing deck space out from the house on a curve to make it more aesthetically appealing.

Archadeck of Columbus redecking experts
This is the detailed design rendering and custom plan prepared for this project.

Since the existing deck is low to the ground, our design will include a hardscape seating wall that follows the same curved pattern of the deck as requested by the homeowner. Our design encompasses re-surfacing the existing deck with TimberTech Evolutions Terrain in Brown Oak. Above the deck we plan to build an open porch addition that will provide more function, shade and beauty than that of the awning previously used to gain shade. As part of the expansion, Archadeck of Columbus will also add new footings to make sure the new area is structurally sound.  We are wrapping all exposed wood in Polonia for added appeal.  The homeowner also asked that we minimize the columns that are to support the roof of the open porch, to accommodate this request we plan to use engineered lumber so you will only see two visible posts supporting the roof of the porch.

A little look at the anticipated grill and smoker area, which will lie adjacent to the deck and porch area.
A little look at the anticipated grill and smoker area, which will lie adjacent to the deck and porch area.

What is difficult about this project is the presence of  second story windows right above the intended area for the porch roof. In order to overcome this obstacle Archadeck of Columbus will install a flat rubber membrane roof to facilitate the use of a low-pitched roof on the open porch. This rubber membrane roof will divert water away from the house and assist in keeping this area dry. Most rubber membranes are black, but we were able to locate one in white to fulfill another request of the homeowner. The end result will be cohesive and will match the exterior of the other amendments we are completing. On the interior porch ceiling we plan to use white ply bead as a continuation of the sleek white used elsewhere in the project.

Adjacent to the deck and open porch area, we are also building a small addition for the homeowner’s grill and smoker. This portion of the project will not be under roof. A grill surround that will include taking placing vertical paver dimensions into the grill surround will add to the charm and function of this unique space. This area will function much like that of an outdoor kitchen addition.

Adding to the distinct appearance of this addition is the beautiful hardscape seating wall. This area will contain small pillars against the seating wall as well as pillars above the seating wall. The finished seating wall will stand 19 inches and the post supporting the roof of the porch will come down into the seating wall. The anticipated seating wall will be wide enough to sit on and add valuable additional seating to this gorgeous backyard oasis. These Columbus homeowners are very excited about completion of this project and cannot wait to use their new and improved backyard in time for fall as the expected finish date is expected to be late summer to early fall.

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

If you are ready to upgrade or improve your backyard to make it more livable, and more beautiful contact Archadeck of Columbus. Our goal is to make your outdoor living dreams a reality. Call us for free consultation today (740) 879 – 3730
westcolumbus@archadeck.net

You can see more inspiring outdoor living transformations by visiting our decks photo gallery, our covered porches photo gallery and our outdoor living photo gallery located on our website.

Archadeck of Columbus gives our review of TimberTech Evolutions – 2 thumbs up!!

Archadeck of Columbus discusses the pros and cons of TimberTech XLM and TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions in helping Columbus area homeowners decide which product is the right fit for their new deck or redecking project.

TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions Teak with Walnut Border
This deck uses two shades of the Earthwood Evolutions tropical line, Teak and Walnut, to add more visual interest to this stunning deck.

In our line of business we have seen a wide range of synthetic decking materials come and go over the years. Over the past several years synthetic decking materials have evolved past the traditional composites giving us product lines that perform better and look the part too. TimberTech is one of the leaders in this decking evolution. Their introduction of TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions and TimberTech XLM have changed the way many of us think of the synthetic decking arena. Archadeck of Columbus uses both Evolutions and XLM. With our experience, we wouldlike to share about how each perform.

Now that TimberTech Evolutions and XLM have been out for a couple of years, we have placed enough down to provide feedback and the long term pros and cons for both product lines. In case you aren’t familiar with the components of Evolutions and XLM, though both are synthetics, each is different in their general makeup. TimberTech XLM is a solid PVC product with a PVC foam core and PVC cap. Evolutions is what is referred to as capstock composite. Capstock consists of wood and plastic composite core wrapped in a PVC cap that extends around the entire board.

Powell OH TimberTech XLM Harvest Bronze with TimberTech Radiance rail
This deck in Powell ,OH is built with TimberTech XLM Harvest Bronze.

TimberTech XLM Review

Because XLM is solid PVC, it is non-porous meaning dirt and grime cannot penetrate the boards. XLM performs really well in most outdoor structure installations. Any of your solid PVC materials are going to have a higher price point than other low-maintenance decking materials. The negative side of XLM is of course, the higher price, but also that the material is very pliable. Because of the pliable nature of XLM there is an expansion and contraction that takes place when the product gets hot which can cause slight waving of the product. I like to explain the waving like that of a rubber band that becomes even more pliable when heated. Add XLM’s pliable nature to the fact we are attaching it to wood, which already has a tendency to move, and that is the scenario you may be faced with. For most homeowners choosing to use XLM it is not a big deal, but we alert them of the possibilities of this happening.

columbus-timbertech-Earthwood Evolutions teak with white vinyl Pergola and white vinyl rail
This deck is built using TimberTech Evolutions.

TimberTech Evolutions Review

In our opinion, Evolutions is a much stronger product than XLM because it has a wood/plastic core and is not as pliable as XLM. There is no risk of the product becoming wavy in the future. Evolution’s performance is just as good as that of its solid PVC counterpart XLM, because it too cannot be penetrated by dirt or grime. This product comes in a wide range of color choices from the hues usually only seen in tropical hardwoods to traditional natural wood colors. Evolutions is also moderately priced in comparison with XLM. TimberTech provides a 25 yr. no fade, no stain warranty on their Evolutions line along with the 25 yr. warranty already provided in their entire product line which covers against bulging, splitting, cracking and board defections. To better show you how Evolutions stands up to normal wear and tear I allowed my sons to experiment with a few of the Evolutions decking boards. They had a really great time doing it and this demonstration speaks volumes about how the product would perform under normal everyday conditions on your deck. If it can get past Jake and Kyle, it can get past just about anything!

Earthwood Evoutions line
This chart shows the profile difference of the new Terrain line compared to the Natural and Tropical line of Evolutions.

Archadeck of Columbus has installed close to 200 projects using Evolutions, and we have not had one problem. This proves the integrity and quality of the product. In addition to XLM and Evolutions, TimberTech introduced a new line of synthetic this year called TimberTech Evolutions Terrain. Terrain debuts a different profile to their board in this line which comes in two neutral colors; Silver Maple and Brown Oak. Terrain is the least expensive product in TimberTech’s line of decking and should prove to be a winner in the years to come.

If you foresee a deck in your future and like the idea of having a stunning space with low-maintenance benefits, contact Archadeck of Columbus to learn more about the TimberTech line of quality composites- you’ll be glad you did.

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

You can visit our decks photo gallery and our composite and vinyl ( PVC ) deck photo gallery located on our website for more examples of decks we have built using TimberTech XLM and TimberTech Evolutions.

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.

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.

timbertech-earthwood-evolutions-walnut-columbus-oh.
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