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

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.



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

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       

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

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

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


Archadeck of Central SC customers confirm their satisfaction through our many positive customer reviews!

Archadeck of Central SC customer reviews

We want to thank our customers for taking the time to send their feedback.

Here at Archadeck of Central South Carolina customer service is our top priority. To make sure we’re doing our job providing the best service to our clients, Archadeck utilizes a third-party review system. The survey has only one question — how did we do? We are then emailed the results, and our customers are confirming that they love their outdoor living spaces and our customer oriented- approach to designing and building them! Read some of the reviews below:

“Outstanding work!”
Paul in Blythewood, S.C.

“We are very pleased with our patio and screened porch.”
William in Columbia, S.C.

“Great workmanship!”
John in Columbia, S.C.

“Mike is a friendly, understanding, and accommodating individual who is great to work with. He listened to our needs and found a way to make it happen. We truly enjoyed working with him and are very grateful for his personal touch. From the very start to the very end his service was truly exceptional. We would be glad to recommend him and Archadeck to all our friends.”
Kuha in Lexington, S.C.

“Archadeck of CSC went the extra mile and patiently worked with my wife and me to ensure that our custom deck expansion project was built to our specifications. Also, the craftsmanship and construction materials were top quality. As a result, the final project turned out even better than we had envisioned.”
James and Laverne in Irmo, S.C.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

Mike, Marshall and Tucker Reu bring a modern approach to outdoor structures steeped in the quality craftsmanship of a by-gone era.

Since beginning Archadeck of Central South Carolina over ten years ago, we have become the area’s premier builder for decks, sunrooms and porches in the region. Our three-generation, family- owned company has created more than 400 outdoor living projects enabling our customers to take advantage of the natural beauty of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Florence and the surrounding regions, along with a mild climate we are fortunate enough to have almost year-round.

Imagine enjoying your view of the lake from your very own 3 or 4 season room by Archadeck of Central SC

Our outdoor spaces are designed with a keen eye for the holistic way homeowners now view their backyards with the goal of creating an outdoor escape.

Our outdoor spaces are designed with a keen eye for the holistic way homeowners now view their backyards with the goal of creating an outdoor escape. We specialize in creating unforgettable outdoor structures with attention to the smallest details and quality you can see and feel! If you notice outstanding workmanship, or a one-of-a-kind deck or outdoor space here in the Central SC area, chances are, we’re behind the design!

Contact us today to learn more about our customer-oriented philosophy to designing and building your ideal outdoor living space. You can call us at (803) 603-2160 or email us at

Wanna hear more of what homeowners are saying about us? Read more customer testimonials by visiting our website today!

…” If a man has any greatness in him, it comes to light, not in one flamboyant hour, but in the ledger of his daily work.” — Beryl Markham, English adventurer and author (1902-1986)

The Lakefront Outdoor Living Experience: Privacy and Atmosphere

Stunning views from the interior of this Lake Murray screened porch

Stunning views from the interior of this Lake Murray screened porch.

People all over the world seem to share one desire when it comes to buying property, and that is the desire to live near or in front of the water. The Columbia, SC, area is home to many beautiful lakes and rivers.These include Lake Murray and the Saluda River. The beauty and tranquility of these locations is the driving force behind many homeowners choosing a river or lakefront property as their home, or vacation property. Waterfront living not only provides access to water-related recreational activities like boating, fishing and jet skiing for you and your family, it also provides some of the most picturesque views around. Having an outdoor living space to enhance the views is crucial to any waterfront or waterside home.

Waterfront living can provide a quiet place to connect with nature, a place with ambiance and an inspiring view rather than the fenced in backyards of suburbia. It also gives homeowners a sense of privacy compared with a community where you often feel like you have neighbors right on top of you. Here are just a few examples of some of the best waterfront outdoor living structures that will inspire ideas when you are planning your own oasis…

Saluda River deck in Columbia SC

Saluda River deck in Columbia, SC.

The waterside deck: This spacious pressure treated deck in Columbia, SC, overlooks the tranquil Saluda River. Not only does this wonderful outdoor living space offer breathtaking 360 degree views, it also provides a large outdoor entertainment area perfect for grilling, dining and relaxing. Can you imagine the possibilities to host family and friends at your riverside home in a space like this? As you can see, Archadeck of Central SC carefully integrated the large boulder found on the property into the design of the space making it a testament to being at one with natural surroundings of the property!

Archadeck of Central SC incorporated the boulders within this Saluda River terrain into the design of this W.Columbia deck

The Lakefront porch: This elevated vinyl-clad screened porch addition on Lake Murray delivers breathtaking views and all within the confines of a protected space! The porch provides shade and a buffer from nuisance insects and inclement weather. Even watching a summer rain becomes a luxury in this screened porch.

Vinyl Clad screened porch addition on Lake Murray SC by Archadeck of Central SCA deck built with lakeside views in mind: This lakeside pressure treated deck includes built-in bench seating and unique privacy railing. We also integrated the existing trees into the design of the deck.

This lakeside pressure treated deck includes built in bench seating, and unique privacy railing. We also integrated the existing trees within the landscape into the design of the deck- stunning.

Whether you are considering a new deck, porch or even a new dock for your lakeside or riverside home, Archadeck of Central SC can answer any questions you have about your anticipated addition. Contact us for a free consultation at (803) 603-2160.

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 decks photo gallery and our porches photo gallery located on our website for more examples of lovely waterfront outdoor living spaces.