Category Archives: Pressure Treat Decks

Archadeck of Central SC can help you find a long term solution when your deck no longer measures up

Peeling blue paint on wood deck.

Peeling blue paint on wood deck.

In our line of business we have seen many deck owners place their hopes of restoring their aged or worn wooden deck into products that usually only offer false promises. Case in point are the “paint on” plastic deck coatings you may have seen on TV or noticed in the “big box” home improvement stores. Many retailers have been stocking products in the paint section that appear to put a thick coating on deck boards, giving them the appearance of synthetic decking. These products claim to offer superior protection for the wood and to eliminate splinters, nail-holes and minor cracks with ease of application as a homeowner can apply the product over the course of a weekend.

Although each individual case is different, our experience with “fix all” products is anything but positive. These products only serve as a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Many are made up of epoxy-style coverings that appear to be smooth, flawless and cool to the touch when exposed to the sun but in reality can come out rough and retain heat on structures that have a southern exposure.

Beautiful redeck on Lake Murray in Lexington, SC

Beautiful redeck on Lake Murray in Lexington, SC.

In addition to the many shortfalls these products have, they also require frequent and costly reapplication in most scenarios. With wooden decking, as with any of the effects of sun and water on horizontal surfaces, application over rotten or damp wood will likely cause failures of the coatings. Other inconsistencies that must also be addressed are tight spacing of existing deck boards and reduced drainage capabilities. The circumference of these coatings will make tight spacing worse, and the area between your decking boards must be cleaned out regularly or face side rot. Flashing issues at the ledger are also a concern as is lack of proper waterproofing over joist tops.

The possibility of success, if any, of using these “paint-on” products lies within the surface preparation itself. Wood needs to be cleaned and free of any debris, oils or grease (this includes barbecue sauce). Prerequisites also include replacement of any loose nails. Manufacturers of the product even recommend your existing deck be screwed down to avoid the chances of any nails working up through the new finish. We are quick to point out these products should not serve as a “fix” for rotting wood or a surface in very bad condition as many deck owners may assume. These products serve as an alternative to conventional sealers or stain, not as a decking repair system.

Composite deck with composite rail and flared stairs.

Let our experienced staff help you achieve the backyard of your dreams.

Archadeck of Central SC is your redecking expert in the Columbia region. Redecking an aging or failing deck through a quality deck contractor is the only real solution for invasive decking problems. Our diverse portfolio of materials includes quality wooden choices as well as the highest quality synthetic options on the market.

Keep in mind, when redecking with a composite, it is critical to replace all joists. When going from wood to composite, you have to add joists. Typically the wood deck has joists that are eighteen inches apart. So some contractors would put new joists in between the old joists, giving you joists every eight inches. However, mixing new joists in between old ones will result in A) waves in the deck when the level new joists shrink and B) loose-fitting boards unless you screw down every single joist every eight inches, which are too many screws to look good. We tear out all of the joists and build as new to get a problem-free deck. In many cases we may still use the old posts and beams if in good shape.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

We have many redecking options available to accommodate your lifestyle and budget. Contact Archadeck of Central SC to help you make an informed decision about which material is the best suited for your outdoor space needs. Our knowledge and experience working with wood and synthetics over the years can ensure an outdoor living space that not only meets but exceeds your expectations. Call today for a free design consultation (803) 603- 2160 or email us at
centralsc@archadeck.net.

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A well-built deck from the start plus regular maintenance equals confidence in your deck’s safety.

May is deck safety awareness month!

Poolside deck by ArchadeckIt’s important to ensure your deck is structurally sound in order to take advantage of all the ways it can benefit your home and allow you to safely enjoy the outdoor lifestyle. As the foundation of outdoor living and relaxation, as well as the springboard for backyard recreational activities, your deck is a principal structure in your outdoor living area. With this in mind, have you considered how safe your backyard deck really is?

Deck safety is of the utmost importance to Archadeck of Central South Carolina. We are the area’s premier outdoor structure designer and builder with quality and safety incorporated into each structure from the very beginning. Doing the job right from the onset provides a well-built, safe deck for the homeowner to enjoy for many years to come. However, no matter how well anything that is exposed to the elements is constructed, from your car to your home, without continued proper maintenance and inspections, the life expectancy and safety factor will diminish quickly. This is more than evident in the grim statistics regarding US deck safety; within a 6 year period there were an estimated 179 deck failures (either from poor construction or the deck being 20++ years old) resulting in over one thousand injuries and 33 deaths!

Before and after Renew Crew deck cleaning.

Before and after Renew Crew deck cleaning.

As a homeowner, keeping up with the routine maintenance of your deck is the best way to do your part in maintaining its safety and the safety of those who use it. Along with the effects of Mother Nature, your deck can also become damaged from other forces. Items that are often used along with outdoor living such as Citronella candles and oils can penetrate your wood surfaces and cause staining. Grease and oil spilled on the deck as a result of grilling can damage your deck, as can red wine. Hot charcoal and exposure to solvents such as gasoline will also damage your wood deck. Making sure your deck is sealed properly may give you time to clean up spills or mishaps before they cause damage. Regular cleaning is necessary to keep your deck looking good and its surface safe to use.

Deck revived by Renew Crew of Central SC

Deck revived by Renew Crew of Central SC.

Outsourcing the work to make sure your deck or outdoor space is adequately maintained is a viable option. Renew Crew is an associate business of Archadeck specializing in outdoor structure maintenance and restoration. Renew Crew uses a three-step system providing a comprehensive cleaning and protection service that is environmentally friendly and won’t cause any damage to plants, animals or your outdoor surfaces. By combining low-pressure power washing and cleaners to give your deck a heavy-duty clean, and following up with a fresh coat of proprietary sealant, their process protects your deck from water damage and every-day wear and tear. Renew Crew uses a wood-penetrating sealant with a proprietary, UV-blocking polymer mix that penetrates and protects the wood. This delivers a highly effective seal against the elements and shields your deck from the sun’s harmful UV rays that can cause wood to turn gray over time. This treatment can sometimes avoid the expense of resurfacing or building a new deck.

Archadeck outdoor livingIn addition to maintenance options, we also offer homeowners a thorough deck safety inspection for a modest fee. With this inspection you will receive a detailed checklist that highlights any necessary or suggested repairs —  or maybe your deck is good for a couple more years; we’ll let you know that too. Here are just a few of the critical areas our deck safety inspection covers: foundation and footings, the attachment to your home, decking boards, connections and fasteners, the posts, beams and joists (if visible) of the structure, any sagging between supports, as well as stairs and rails. We can also provide a free consultation on what would be involved with replacing your deck with an updated design that meets or exceeds all building code requirements and complements your outdoor living objectives.

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 South Carolina to schedule your deck safety inspection today or to set up an appointment for Renew Crew of Central SC to revive the beauty of your deck. Calling on the expertise of our deck experts will give you peace of mind in knowing you can enjoy your deck this season without worry! Contact us at (803) 603-2160  or via email at centralsc@archadeck.net.

Why now may be the best time to begin your journey to outdoor living bliss!

Autumn in the CarolinasAs Central SC’s premier outdoor structure design and build firm we are frequently asked by clients when is the best time to plan and build their outdoor living addition.  In all honesty, our mild climate allows us to build year-round, therefore anytime can be the best time to build. However there are benefits to choosing a fall/winter project timeline. Here’s a list of the reasons why fall and winter is the best time to build your outdoor structure.

Benefits of choosing a fall/winter timeline for your outdoor living project:

  • Irmo, SC,  deck gets a makeover and a new pergola additionWooden outdoor living structures need to cure: When working with wood, fall and winter are the best time to build because just like wine, wood needs to cure. The laws of expansion and contraction come into play when working with wood. All wood is hygroscopic, meaning that when exposed to air, wood will release or retain moisture until it is level with the humidity and temperature of the air. Humid conditions, such as our Columbia, SC, summers, will cause more rapid expansion and contraction of wood that is not yet sealed for protection against the elements. A wooden structure needs to cure for a period of time before the sealer or paint will properly adhere to the wood and lend their beneficial protection qualities. Fall and winter is the period that is the least humid and obviously a great time to consider moving ahead with your wooden outdoor living space addition.
  • Avoid “New Year” price increases by locking into this year’s pricing: Not only do wood prices decrease during the fall and winter due to supply and demand, many of the low-maintenance synthetics will increase in price at the start of a new year. Synthetic material pricing can also fluctuate according to fuel prices. Choosing to begin your project now will ensure a better value than waiting until prime outdoor living time in the spring because more homeowners will be starting their projects then and this will increase supply and demand. Locking into this year’s pricing is easy. All we need is your John Hancock on the contract prior to year’s end.
  • No waiting in long lines: Naturally, when you make the decision to move ahead with your outdoor living project, the excitement builds and you and your family are anxious for it to be completed. Choosing a fall/winter construction means less wait time and fewer scheduling backlogs to delay your project. This equals a happy homeowner and an outdoor living structure that is ready in plenty of time to debut when the weather warms up again!
  • Process plays a key role in the success of your outdoor living project.Begin enjoying your new addition sooner: Our mild SC winters will give you many opportunities to enjoy your new deck, porch or outdoor room addition. If you act now, you may even have your project completed in time for the holidays — who wouldn’t like more “elbow room” during the holidays?

Keep in mind that Archadeck of Central SC can also build your outdoor structure combination in stages. Fall/winter is the perfect time to start the first stage of your desired outdoor living project. If you are considering a deck and patio combination, for example, you can take advantage of our staged building option and build the deck this winter, then we can add the patio later into the spring. With our staged building program the choice is yours. Contact us today to learn more. Call us at (803)603–2160 or email us at 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

 

 

 

Have you considered the safety of your backyard deck?

Central SC deck and pergola with seating wall

Spring is almost here. Let the outdoor living season begin!

Warmer days and milder evenings are just around the corner.The official first day of spring is less than two short weeks away, and with it will come the opening of the outdoor living season.To many homeowners, the backyard deck is the epicenter of outdoor living. It is the base from which many outdoor recreational activities stem, and the refuge to which we retreat for relaxation when outdoors.With this in mind, have you considered how safe your backyard deck really is?

Classic pressure treated backyard deck in Lexington SC

Classic pressure treated backyard deck in Lexington, SC.

It’s important to ensure your deck is structurally sound in order to take advantage of all the ways it can benefit your home and allow you to safely enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, especially with Spring so close at hand! Archadeck of Central SC takes deck safety very seriously. As the area’s premier outdoor structure designer and builder we realize the value of a well-built deck and well-maintained deck and have seen the results from the opposite. Here in the US within a six-year period there were an estimated 179 deck failures resulting in 1,122 injuries and 33 deaths.These grim statistics may come as a surprise to many homeowners, but deck safety is no accident. If you are one of the 40 million homeowners in the United States still using a deck that is over 20 years old, it is time to take a step back and assess the general safety of your deck. According to The North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA), deck failures that result in injury are increasing at an alarming rate. Most of the reason for this is the number of decks still standing that are over 20 years old and in dire need of replacement.

Just a few weeks ago, a video showing a deck collapse in Indiana went viral on YouTube. It is true this video depicts a worst-case scenario of what can occur when a deck is poorly constructed or not properly maintained. Since few specifics — other than the injuries resulting from the collapse — have been determined, we cannot point out specifically what went awry in this particular circumstance. However, deck failures happen more often than you may think, and that is the reason regular inspections and maintenance are so crucial to ensuring your deck is structurally sound and safe. Below is the video from the Indiana deck collapse:

Here at Archadeck of Central SC we offer homeowners a thorough deck safety inspection for a modest fee. We can also provide a free consultation on what would be involved with replacing your deck with an updated design that meets or exceeds all building code requirements and complements your outdoor living objectives. Here is a list of the critical areas our deck safety inspection covers:

  • Over time results of unprotected wood

    We check the deck boards as part of our inspection.

    We check the decking boards – over time most wood decks will show some cracks and splits,and the main concern with the decking boards is splintering and rotting. A deck that is not safe to walk on is a safety hazard.

  • We check the connections – a properly constructed deck is built with fasteners and other metal hardware connectors to make your deck stable from the bottom up. We check the fasteners to see if they are in good working order, or are in need of replacement. We also check to ensure the fasteners are properly installed and that there are a sufficient number to meet codes.
  • We check the structure –  we check the posts, beams and joists, if visible, for inconsistencies We determine if there is any noticeable sagging between any of the supports. We check to ensure span load requirements are met.

    Low maintenance composite deck builder in Lexington SC

    We check the structure, as a whole, including beams and joists, as part of our deck safety inspection.

  • We check the attachment to your home – the area where the deck attaches to your home is called the house band, and this is where most deck failures can occur. We inspect this portion of the deck to make sure all screws and bolts are present; nails should never be the only fasteners used in the house band. Upon inspection we also make sure the area is flashed properly to aid in protection from water at this important connection site.
  • We check the foundation and footings with a visual inspection  – foundations and footings are important because they support the weight of the deck. A sinking footing can cause a dangerous separation of a column from a beam and must be addressed immediately.
  • We check the exits – we check the stairs that are used as exits from your deck, making sure they are in good working order and structurally sound. It is very possible to have a deck that is sound only to have a rotting staircase that could endanger you and your guests upon entry or exit.

    Saluda River deck in Columbia SC

    We check all exits and stairs as part of our deck safety inspection.

  • We check the rails– we always make sure the railing is secure and that the pickets and balusters are fastened properly. Keep in mind current codes dictate that rails should be spaced no more than four inches apart. A deck with non-conforming railing is a danger because small children and even pets can fall through the railing and get hurt.

In addition to our menu of re-decking and custom deck designs we also offer a eco-friendly deck cleaning and maintenance service through Renew Crew of Central SC to help keep your deck looking great and functioning at optimum performance. This is just another way we are improving outdoor living quality for homeowners in Columbia, SC, 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

Contact Archadeck of Central SC to schedule your deck safety inspection today. Calling on the expertise of one of our deck experts will give you peace of mind in knowing you can enjoy your deck this season without worry! (803) 603-2160
centralsc@archadeck.net

How is it made? Archadeck of Central SC explains what is involved in creating pressure-treated wood

Classic pressure treated backyard deck in Lexington SC

Classic pressure- treated backyard deck in Lexington, SC.

If you are considering the addition of an outdoor living structure you have probably heard the term “pressure-treated wood” quite frequently. In case you are not familiar with the product, or the process, you may be wondering what is the difference between pressure- treated wood and regular wood? In the world of outdoor living structures, there are a myriad of materials to choose from when considering a deck or porch. It can be a daunting task to try to figure out the characteristics of these materials. Since pressure-treated wood, and more commonly pressure-treated pine, is used heavily in outdoor construction, Archadeck of Central SC felt it appropriate to explain what the product is, how it is made, and what it is used for.

The history of wood preservation

The theory behind pressure-treated wood is based on preservation of the wood to gain the most benefit and longevity. The practice of preserving wood is nothing new and spans all the way back to the history of the use of wood itself. There are records of wood preservation in ancient Greece during Alexander the Great’s rule, where bridge wood was soaked in olive oil in an effort to preserve it. The Romans protected their ship hulls by brushing the wood with tar. During the Industrial Revolution wood preservation became a cornerstone of the wood processing industry.

Pressure treatment process

Pressure treatment process.

What is pressure treatment?

With pressure-treated pine, the wood is placed in a pressurized cylinder and a solution of Micronized Copper Azole (MCA) is forced into the wood, leaving a very slight greenish color. When pressure-treated pine is new, it is so full of fluid that it will feel wet and heavy. Over time the liquid evaporates but the chemical still protects the wood. Pressure treatment, in essence, is the process that forces chemical preservatives into the wood. The preservatives help protect the wood from attack by termites, other insects, and fungal decay.

Large- pressure treated deck on Saluda River in West Columbia SC by Archadeck of Central SC

Large pressure-treated deck on Saluda River in West Columbia, SC, by Archadeck of Central SC.

Builders in the outdoor structure and decking industry continue to rely on pressure-treated wood, but often it is not the same treated wood as was used in the past. According to the North American Decking and Remodeling Association(NADRA), for the past 40 years, the predominant chemical for preserving lumber was Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA). While this preservative remains the usual choice for heavy-duty construction, newer alternatives have replaced CCA for decks and non-industrial applications. Primary among these are (1) Copper Azole and (2) Alkaline Copper Quaternary. Both are combinations of copper and a carbon-based co-biocide. In North America, wood treated with copper azole is called Wolmanized® or Outdoor® wood. Lumber treated with alkaline copper quaternary is sold under several brands. These preservatives mark a trend to treatments involving less chemical and, notably, less metal. Farthest ahead of this movement is Wolmanized® L3 wood. Suitable for out-of-ground applications, it is the first non-metallic preservative for residential uses.

pressure treated wood

Pressure-treated wood is still the leader among outdoor structure materials in the US.

Why Pine?

In the Eastern US, where pressure-treated lumber has been used for decades, Southern pine is the most commonly treated species. One of the main reasons for using pine is although it is light, it is very strong. Pine is easier to process than other woods and readily accepts treatment. The nature of the way pine grows is perfect for decks and other outdoor structures. Pine grows in a straighter fashion than other woods and therefore will hold a straight line very well.

Despite all the competition, pressure-treated wood is still the number one decking material sold today. Nearly 75% of all new decks are finished with pressure-treated lumber. The widespread popularity of pressure-treated lumber is not surprising: it’s affordable, readily available coast-to-coast, structurally strong and easy to cut and to fasten with screws.

Keep in mind that most outdoor structures are built with pressure-treated pine framing, including structures finished out with low-maintenance materials such as composites. Pressure-treated framing is used so the structure does not rot over time, and also so the termites will not eat it. There are other natural woods here in the US that can be used for framing purposes, but they cost significantly more and deliver the same results as pressure-treated wood.

This spacious pressure treated deck in Columbia, SC overlooks the tranquil Saluda river.

This spacious pressure-treated deck in Columbia, SC, overlooks the tranquil Saluda River.

Pressure Treated Care

Even though wood goes through the pressure treatment process to ensure decreased degradation and resistance to termites, this process does not mean no additional care or maintenance is needed to keep these qualities. Archadeck of Central SC recommends regular maintenance. Maintenance includes initial staining and sealing followed by frequent cleaning along with more staining and sealing as needed. We recently outlined the best way to care for your pressure treated deck in a post titled “Archadeck of Central SC shows you how to protect your wooden outdoor living investment.” That article is loaded with helpful information regarding the care and maintenance of pressure treated pine and other natural wood components used on our outdoor structures.

Before you can stain and seal your pressure-treated wood deck, you will need to let the wood dry. For new decks, depending on the amount of sun exposure, this drying out period will vary. This also depends on how dry your decking boards are when installed and how much rain you have had recently. Before initial staining and sealing, splash a little water on the wood; if it beads versus penetrating, the wood is too wet. When water penetrates versus beading, the stain will penetrate as well.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

Traditional wooden decks, such as those built using pressure-treated pine, offer a beautiful natural appearance. Archadeck of Central SC can help explore all your material options for your anticipated project while keeping your budget and personal tastes in mind. Please contact us today to learn more. (803) 603 – 2160 or
centralsc@archadeck.net

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