Football season is here — welcome the ultimate “man cave” to your own backyard!

This open porch and hardscape combination in Columbia also features an outdoor kitchen for added luxury.

This open porch and hardscape combination in Columbia also features an outdoor kitchen for added luxury.

This week marks the end of pre-season and the official debut of the 2014 football season. While many residents are anticipating enjoying the games in typical fashion, on the living room sofa, keep in mind that the setting is sometimes just as important as the presentation… With this in mind, score one for the outdoor “man cave” courtesy of Archadeck of Central SC.

Ahhh, indeed, the “man cave.” The one place within the home that a man can call his own. Until recently, “man caves” were just that, cave-like rooms with little style and only basic indulgences: a room containing a couch, a recliner and a television. Nowadays, in the world of custom building, the man cave has earned a new name and reputation, being referred to as “the gentleman’s parlor,” complete with a wet bar, kitchen and custom luxuries fit for a king. We aim to take this kingdom of masculinity one step further by moving the locale into an outdoor structure. Covered patios, screened porches and outdoor rooms are now being designed with men in mind. No longer will we have to be told to “put a coaster under that; try to keep the noise down; get your feet down.” An outdoor man cave can be designed with all the amenities and accoutrements you will ever want including easy access to tossing around the ol’ pigskin during commercial breaks! I can already smell the combination of leather and testosterone in the air.

This covered patio space features an outdoor kitchen with bar seating and a wall-mounted TV

This covered patio space features an outdoor kitchen with bar seating along with a wall mounted TV — GAME ON!

Imagine the scenario as it unfolds …

Your friends have converged at your home to watch the BIG game on your BIG screen that is mounted on the wall of your covered patio that overlooks the pool and backyard. The game is sounding as realistic as though you were on the 40 yard line.

This multi-functional outdoor kitchen features "eat-in" style bar seating

This multi-functional outdoor kitchen features “eat-in” style bar seating.

The tantalizing aroma of ribs smoking on the grill of your outdoor kitchen reminds you that half-time isn’t far off. A few friends brought hot dogs to grill, and you have the buns ready in your bun warmer that is designed especially for that purpose. While you wait for the second quarter to start you pour everyone a cold drink from your stocked outdoor bar, complete with a sink and insulated bin for ice. The best part is right before half-time; you are only steps away from gathering in the yard to throw around the pigskin for a while. Having these luxurious conveniences within your man cave turns an afternoon of football into an entertaining and relaxing dream come true where you are just mere feet away from the great outdoors. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Columbia, SC three season room with rustic beadboard ceiling, ample dining and seating areas complete with a cozy outdoor fireplace.

Columbia, SC, three season room with rustic beadboard ceiling, ample dining and seating areas.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu

Now WAKE UP — and contact Archadeck of Central SC to make the dream a reality. We can can plan, design and build the ultimate outdoor man cave the entire family will love and enjoy! Call today for a free design consultation at (803) 603-2160 or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net.

Please visit our extensive outdoor structure galleries located on our website for more examples of our versatile outdoor room designs.

This head-turning custom outdoor space added “backyard” appeal to this home in Lexington, SC.

A grand entrance from the backyard onto this deck and covered porch combo in Governors Grant Lexington SC

A grand entrance from the backyard onto this deck and covered porch combo in Governors Grant located in Lexington, SC.

Our focus story this week takes us to the Governors Grant community located in beautiful Lexington, SC. When these homeowners contacted Archadeck of Central SC to inquire about  increasing their outdoor entertaining space, what they got was  much more than a lifestyle enhancement.

Custom deck and porch combination in Lexington.

Custom deck and porch combination in Lexington.

Prior to the addition, the only outdoor living space the homeowners had was a screened porch. Our outdoor living combination design took this backyard to a whole new level. In addition to the spacious and relaxing deck and covered porch addition, we also replaced the home’s existing rear bay window with convenient Pella doors. This made accessing the new outdoor area a breeze and unified the traffic flow of the new space with that of the screen porch.

Bold colors and elegant details set this outdoor space apart Lexington SC

Bold colors and elegant details set this outdoor space apart.

Deck detail in Governors Grant with separate area for dining.

Deck detail in Governors Grant with separate area for dining.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with the homeowners in regard to the outdoor oasis we built for them. It turns out, the homeowners recently sold their home. During our conversation, the homeowner pointed out “we enjoyed the deck and porch immensely during our time in the home.” He also indicated that the outdoor living space was one of the biggest selling points for the home. Their home sold in two days, during which time they were able to entertain multiple offers. They are glad they moved forward with the decision to make the investment in an outdoor living space.

“The project was built well. Archadeck of Central SC did a great job structurally.”
– B. May of Lexington, SC

Lexington SC deck and porch combinationsThe homeowners’ flair for design also shone through in this project; the black and white details add to the elegance of the entire space. Adorned with majestic columns and a sweeping staircase, this deck and porch combination makes a bold statement adding to the beauty of this already stunning home!

We want to wish the homeowners all the best in their new home and are humbled and proud to have been a part of enhancing their outdoor lifestyle for the better!

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu

Choosing the best fit for your home’s lifestyle needs is important. Archadeck of Central SC is the premier outdoor structure builder serving Lexington, Columbia, SC, and the surrounding area. We can help you choose the perfect outdoor structure for you with our expert design team and experience in building. Contact us to learn more by calling (803) 603–2160 or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net

 

Archadeck of Central SC discusses the “beauty and the beast” of decking materials: Ipe Brazilian Hardwood

Ipe Brazilian hardwood deck with metal railing.

Ipe Brazilian hardwood deck with metal railing.

The phone is ringing here at Archadeck of Central SC and many of the inquiries we are receiving are from homeowners wanting to learn more about Brazilian hardwoods, especially Ipe. As this beautiful material gets more exposure from home & garden magazines, TV and image media sites such as Houzz, we, too, are seeing an increased interest from homeowners wanting to use it for their own outdoor structure projects.

This screened porch features an Ipe floor.

This screened porch features an Ipe floor.

What is Ipe?

Ipe (pronounced EE-pay) is one of the finest quality wood decking materials available. A Brazilian hardwood, also commonly referred to as “ironwood” because of its natural resistance to rot and decay, Ipe comes from a group of trees from the species Tabebuia. These trees are primarily found in Central and South America but primarily grow in Brazil. All the Ipe we use on our projects comes from responsibly-harvested and well-managed forests to provide you with a truly renewable resource.

Ipe-Swatches-300x550Strong & Beautiful

Ipe is also considered by many to be “the beauty and the beast” of decking materials because of its tough, resilient properties and unique, exotic look.  Along with being incredibly durable, it’s also naturally resistant to rot, decay, wet conditions, and infestation by termites and borers. Additionally, it has a Class A fire rating — the same rating given to concrete and steel. This material is so strong, in fact,  that installation may require pre-drilling holes prior to assembly to keep the integrity of the boards intact. Even though Ipe is a natural hardwood, it has properties that make it one of the toughest and longest-lasting decking materials available. The famous Atlantic City Boardwalk is even built from Ipe because it also holds up beautifully under extreme traffic and heavy use. Ipe is generally sealed or stained to retain its rich amber hue. If left untreated, Ipe will still retain its longevity and many of its benefits but will fade to an elegant dove gray over time. Keep in mind the surface of an Ipe outdoor structure, if open to the elements,  must be treated every year to maintain its beautiful, rich appearance.

IPE poolside deck.

Ipe poolside deck.

Perfect by the Pool 

This material is perfectly suited for use near water where other materials fall short. Ipe is so dense that it doesn’t rot or decay making it an obvious material choice for docks, pool decks and waterside decks.

 The use of Ipe is not new to the realm of outdoor living structures. Disney parks have frequently use Ipe as an outdoor space building material, and parts of the iconic Coney Island boardwalk are built from Ipe wood. 

Ipe deck with outdoor kitchen

Ipe pool deck with outdoor kitchen.An Ipe deck will last a minimum of 25 ye

Hardwood decks offer a beautiful natural appearance that complements the outdoors. Archadeck of Central SC can help explore all your decking options while keeping your budget and personal tastes in mind. Contact us today to help create your ultimate outdoor experience with a new deck! (803) 603–2160
centralsc@archadeck.net

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu

Please visit our wooden decks photo gallery, hardwood decks photo gallery and Ipe decks photo gallery located on our website for more examples of the natural beauty of our wooden decks.

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

Panel detail on privacy screen in Columbia SC

Panel detail on custom privacy screen in Columbia, SC.

THE SEVEN KEYS TO FINDING A GREAT CONTRACTOR

PART SIX:  ATTENTION TO DETAILS

This is our sixth installment in our series about the Seven Keys to Finding a Great Contractor. This certainly applies to our business of building premium decks, porches and sunrooms, but really these principles apply to almost any area of work you might have a contractor perform services for you.

To review, the seven keys are:

  1. Experience
  2. Professionalism
  3. Process
  4. Value
  5. Customized Product
  6. Attention to Details
  7. Warranty & Protection
Notice the detailed parting board on this AZEK deck in Norheast Columbia ,SC.

Notice the detailed parting board on this AZEK deck in Northeast Columbia, SC.

“It’s the little details that are vital.  Little things make big things happen.” 
– John Wooden, UCLA basketball coach, winner of ten NCAA national championships

This statement is true in life, and it’s true in the construction business.  There are thousands of little details that go into a building project – some that you see, and some that you don’t.  But their sum total makes up the look, feel and underlying quality of the project as a whole.

Deck BlueprintsOne of the little things we do behind the scenes at Archadeck to ensure the details are properly followed is to generate actual blueprints of every deck, porch or sunroom we design.  Our carpenter uses these plans in the field to eliminate questions and to avoid the “personal interpretation” that can occur if the project that the salesman and the customer agreed to is not clearly communicated to the guys actually doing the building. Together with these blueprints, we have a Construction Master File that details exactly how each feature of a project – railings, steps, footings – are to be built.  Without this common reference each carpenter would be left to build in the way that he sees fit, which is not a recipe for consistency or quality.

Beautifully detailed deck in NE Columbia, SC.

Beautifully detailed deck in NE Columbia, SC.

There are many other details – both aesthetic and structural – that come as a result of having built thousands of projects.  For example, on our deck and porch structures, our standard is to run the decking boards diagonal to the framing boards. This gives the deck an interesting and distinctive appearance, but that’s not why we do it. We do it because running the decking on the diagonal gives the structure a bracing effect that exponentially increases the resistance to any horizontal or vertical stress shifting that could occur. This results in a surface that feels much more solid and tight as you walk on it.

Saluda River deck in Columbia SC

Saluda River deck in Columbia, SC.

Other examples of details built into our construction: hiding the board ends with trim to achieve a more finished look, use of stair risers to give stairs the same appearance as you have inside your home, and the use of screws, rather than nails, in the decking.  These features all go towards giving your project a professional, finished look, and also they are what give our projects a distinctive “Archadeck” look that is consistent across the country.

This discussion has been somewhat internally focused on the way we do things at Archadeck, mainly because that’s what we know. As it relates to the theme of Seven Keys to Finding a Great Contractor, these same attributes are universal for any construction project. Not so much the details such as running decking boards on the diagonal, but rather the level of thought and effort that have gone in to defining what details will and won’t be followed. Sometimes the only way to determine a contractor’s attention to detail is to look at his work, and compare it to the work of others. If you don’t have an experienced eye for noticing these details, your prospective contractor should be able to easily and proudly point them out to you. But I bet that you can tell by looking at some examples of projects if they display the style and touches that you expect, even if you can’t put your finger on exactly what those touches are.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu

Our commitment to excellence in outdoor structure design and building ensures your unique project is built with attention to even the smallest details. Call Archadeck of Central SC today for a free design consultation at (803) 603-2160 or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net.

Please visit our extensive outdoor structure galleries located on our website for more examples of our lovely designs.

 

A great front porch can add value and curb appeal to your Central SC home

Open Front Porch

Notice how this open front porch adds loads of curb appeal to this brick home.

This month marks the debut of National Curb Appeal Month. The entire month of August is focused on helping homeowners add value and design appeal to their home’s exterior. Even if selling your home isn’t part of your plans for the future, increasing your home’s curb appeal will breathe new life into your space and create a place you will take pride in coming home to every day!

Side view of open front porch

Side view of open front porch.

The front facade of your home presents the first impression to visitors and neighbors and is also the first thing you and your family see returning home from work, school or play. The front entrance of your home is a great place to make improvements in order to increase curb appeal.

Marshall Reu, owner of Archadeck of Central SC, knows that a front entry upgrade or renovation, such as a front porch or portico, is a great way to add curb appeal.  “ We never overlook the obvious when a homeowner looks to us to improve the appearance and versatility of their outdoor living spaces. Naturally, the most obvious place to start any task is at the beginning; this being said, the beginning of your home starts right at the front door.”

Classic rocking chair front porch.

Classic rocking chair front porch.

Even the smallest homes can benefit from a new front porch or portico addition. A simple entryway facade can be remodeled into a snug porch with a welcoming portico, or by expanding your porch into the yard, you can increase your home’s size and style. When you want your home to stand out, the entrance is the place to start. A well-designed portico or porch looks great from the curb and makes a perfect first impression.

This pergola makes a statement as the entrance to this charming South Carolina low-country style home.

This pergola makes a statement as the entrance to this charming South Carolina low-country style home.

Keep in mind, adding a front porch or portico provides more benefits than just aesthetics. They provide protection against wind, rain and heat from the sun that can cause your doors and the area surrounding your door to age prematurely from exposure to the elements. A front porch will add more room for decorating and design opportunities, such as holidays or even adding seasonal flowers for color. They will provide a place to stay dry while entering and exiting your home, but they can also provide valuable functional outdoor living space. Many front porch and portico additions are designed with ample enough space for a few chairs or even a large space reminiscent of the “southern rocking chair front porches” that have been a homeowner favorite throughout history. Who remembers enjoying a glass of iced tea on their Grandmother’s front porch on  a Sunday afternoon?

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu

Contact Archadeck of Central SC  today to learn more about boosting your home’s curb appeal. Whether it’s a porch that runs the width of the home, or a small portico to provide some cover for guests, or even a creative use of a pergola, a great front porch can add value and beauty to your home! Call us at (803) 603-2160 or email us at                 centralsc@archadeck.net

New data indicates moving forward with your Columbia, SC, deck addition is a wise investment indeed!

Central SC deck and pergola with seating wallAccording to a recent article published by Loving Outdoor Living, the second best investment you can make in your home this year with the highest return on investment (ROI) percentages is a deck. Although outdoor living spaces continue to gain in popularity, homeowners still want to know that adding a deck is a wise decision from a financial perspective. The data used in this article comes from a widely respected source in the industry, Remodeler’s Magazine, which each year releases a Cost vs.Value report comparing the average cost for 35 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 101 U.S. cities. This year’s results have helped solidify the deck’s spot as a heavy-hitter among home improvements!

Classic pressure treated backyard deck in Lexington SC

Classic pressure treated backyard deck in Lexington, SC.

Here are the top five national renovation ROI winners:

Entry door replacement: 96.6%

• Deck addition (wood): 87.4%

Attic bedroom: 84.3%

Garage door replacement: 83.7%

Minor kitchen remodel: 82.7%

This informative report also breaks down the top annual renovations geographically. For Columbia, SC, specifically the ROI for a deck is even more advantageous. A midrange 16 x 20 composite deck additon reflects a 74% cost recoup, while a 16 x 20 wooden deck addition shows 89% of the costs recouped at the time of sale.

cost-vs-valueWhen calculating the benefits of an addition’s ROI in relation to your individual needs, always consider both the price of the project and the overall price of your home. For example, a mid-priced composite deck may help sell a home faster but may not be a feature for which the buyer of an average home is willing to fully pay  for, so the ROI is less. For homeowners who intend to use their composite deck addition for several years before selling, it is a worthwhile addition. A composite deck requires minimal maintenance during the time you will be enjoying it, prior to selling your home.This gives you more time to enjoy your deck and nearly eliminates the maintenance required for a wooden deck.

Choosing to move forward with any outdoor project or addition should be based on what you and your family will enjoy the most while in your home.Chances are, if you ever decide to sell, a prospective buyer will see the same value as you did. Although ROI may influence your decision about home improvement projects, consider the enjoyment and use you will get while you are still living in your home!

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu

If you are considering a deck addition for you and your family in the near future we can provide valuable insight on getting started with a design that meets and exceeds all your expectations of what a custom outdoor space should be. Contact Archadeck of Central SC today at (803) 603-2160, or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net.

Can I please get a little privacy out here? The perfect privacy solution for this Columbia, SC, deck.

Fabulous privacy screen options for decks in Columbia SC

Custom privacy screen recently added to composite deck in Columbia, SC, built last year by Archadeck of Central SC.

Is privacy important to you in your outdoor living space? How close is your neighbor’s backyard or outdoor living space? For example, when they use their deck or patio does it give a clear view into your backyard? Can you see into your backyard from the street? How busy is the street you live on?

Many homeowners come to us with a desire to use their backyard for relaxation, entertaining,or a tranquil place to dine or read after a long day. When trying to enjoy these leisure activities, they have told us that they often look up and suddenly realize they’re not alone; the neighbors have a clear view of their backyard from their own deck or patio. Perhaps you have looked up, too, only to see your neighbor outside enjoying the day and staring back. Privacy is often a top priority for homeowners looking to improve or establish an outdoor structure of their own, but most want a space that also retains the openness of being outdoors. Creating a space that provides both requires balance, as is evident in many of our custom designs.

Columbia SC privacy decks

One of our recent projects in Columbia, SC, demonstrates a successful balance of openness and privacy within the same design. Last year we completed a composite deck for these Columbia homeowners. While the homeowners were elated with their new deck they soon realized they needed a way to separate their view from that of the neighbors.This is often the case once the homeowner uses their new space. An outdoor space addition can bring a change in elevation from the grade of the property; your view of the surrounding perimeter will change enabling you to see, and others to see you, in places you did not have a clear view of prior to the addition.

Panel detail on privacy screen in Columbia SC

Archadeck of Central SC came up with a custom privacy fence design for these Columbia homeowners’ new deck that adds privacy and abundant beauty to the space. We used innovative framed panels of vertical lattice suspended from a detailed pergola frame.The finished project not only provides privacy from prying eyes, it also becomes a stunning design element creating a focal point. The custom privacy fence is built from wood painted white for a clean, bright backdrop to accentuate the homeowners’ beautiful plantings and outdoor furnishings.

Columbia SC deck and privacy screen by Archadeck of Central SC

Notice the close proximity of the house next door.

It may sound trivial, but deciding what functions you want your outdoor space to provide will make it easier to design a space that best suits  your family’s needs. In outdoor living design it is often easy to overlook our own preferences — for instance, some folks love being out in the elements, while others are sensitive to wind and sun; some love entertaining, while others want to enjoy a solo retreat. In addition, always consider the correlation between your backyard and that of your neighbors, how it will affect the way you use your new space, and the views looking in and out.

Archadeck of Central SC has been helping homeowners find the right privacy solution for their outdoor living spaces for many years. How you will use your space, and your privacy needs, are something we discuss and build into your design when planning your outdoor space. Keep in mind all yards are different and certain privacy solutions will work well with certain yards, decks, porches and existing features while others will not. We are experts at designing privacy solutions that will not draw attention but blend with the structure or area where they are located.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu

Contact Archadeck of Central SC today to learn more about our personalized outdoor living spaces today! You may reach us by phone at (803) 603-2160, or via email at centralsc@archadeck.net

See more example of quality-built decks and porches by visiting our decks photo gallery and our porches photo gallery located on our website.