Category Archives: Quality Redecking

When does low-maintenance decking make the most sense?

Lake Murray Wooden Deck with Vertical Cable Railing

Beautiful Lake Murray, SC, Wooden Deck with Vertical Cable Railing

Here at Archadeck of Central South Carolina, we realize it can be difficult for homeowners to choose which material to use for their new deck or redecking project. With the wide selection of decking materials we offer, selecting one type of material, color or brand can often make you feel like a kid in a candy store. If you are on the fence, so to speak, between choosing a wooden deck versus a composite (low-maintenance) decking material, here are some things you need to know…

Now and Later

Indeed, in most cases, low-maintenance decking is a greater investment up front than traditional pressure-treated wood. Synthetics/composites are typically double the cost of the traditional pressure treated pine deck. When you take into consideration the costs associated with properly maintaining a wooden deck, however, the long-term picture looks quite different.

Deck revived by Renew Crew of Central SC

Though the average cost for a composite deck can range from $25 or more per square foot, the investment when compared to wooden decking is measured according to the up-front costs. You need to factor in that to have your wooden deck professionally maintained at least bi-annually can cost between $800 – $1200 each visit. Adding up these costs over the lifetime of the deck, about 15 years, and you are looking at $12,000 to $18,000. This amount in some cases may equal the difference in wood vs composite from the very start of your project. So the question of investing more now or over time becomes the main concern.

Lexington SC TimberTech Deck Builder

This new TimberTech deck will provide years of low-maintenance enjoyment to these Lexington, SC, homeowners.

The Look of Wood

We know for many wood lovers nothing compares to the “real thing.” Today’s synthetic decking materials are made to look similar to wood. In some cases, it is rather hard to tell the difference until you are in close proximity or even reach down to touch it. The caveat for wood lovers is these  “wood-looking” materials need hardly any maintenance and are extremely durable. Whereas real wood may have been the default decking material in the past, those considering building a deck now should consider low-maintenance composites as an option because they deliver the look without the work!

Warranties

Although a professionally-installed and properly-maintained pressure-treated deck can last in excess of 15 years, what kind of warranty do you receive with the decking itself? Archadeck of Central South Carolina provides two warranties on all the outdoor living structures we build. This includes your deck, sunroom, porch, or other custom outdoor living space, which are backed by Archadeck’s written warranty for workmanship of 1 year and structural integrity of 5 years when Archadeck exerts control as your remodeling contractor. That warranty is further backed by the National Guarantee Corporation, which guarantees that your residential outdoor living project will be completed to the terms of your Archadeck contract and built to the agreed-upon specification and a warranty of performance for up to 2 years. However, many synthetic/composite decking companies provide manufacturers’ warranties to protect you against defects in materials, rot, termites, staining and fading. Many of these manufacturers warranties extend 25 years or more.

Archadeck of Central SC composite redeckingHow Long?

Before you make the decision to build or redeck with a synthetic material, 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!

If you are considering a new deck or redeck in the future, contact Archadeck of Central SC 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 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.

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Why are composite/low-maintenance decks more expensive than wood?

Lexington SC TimberTech Deck Builder

The new TimberTech deck will provide years of low-maintenance enjoyment to these Lexington, SC, homeowners.

Are you thinking about redecking your existing deck or adding a new deck to your Columbia backyard this season?

If so, and depending on what stage of planning you are in, you might have already noticed the wide range of material choices on the market. These include the low-maintenance synthetic materials such as composite, vinyl and PVC. When comparing these to the traditional pressure-treated pine deck, some Central SC homeowners experience sticker shock when they see the difference in material costs for synthetic.

AZEK redeck on Lake Murray in Lexington, SC

These homeowners chose PVC decking in Brownstone, from the Harvest Collection by AZEK.

A common question that arises here at Archadeck of Central SC is, “Why are composite/low-maintenance decks more expensive than wood?” There are many factors that go into fully answering this question, so let us start from the beginning…

The 1st generation of composites:

In 1992, Trex® introduced the first low-maintenance decking. They called the decking “composite,” and it was composed of plastic and wood fibers. Composites began to gain favor in the marketplace because treating a wood deck can easily consume a full day, or more, every year, and we are increasingly jealous of our time. Other companies soon followed the lead and began to introduce more composite options. Over time, manufacturers began to add realistic wood details such as grain and texture to their composites to emulate the look of real wood.

Archadeck of Central SC composite redeckingThe 2nd generation:

AZEK® enters the picture, then called Procell.  This new synthetic material abandoned the wood fiber makeup of composite in favor of all PVC plastic. In addition to the improved appearance, AZEK’s best features were stain, scratch and mold resistance. Progress continued and soon other major players such as TimberTech and Fiberon came onto the scene.

In 2009, some of the synthetic decking manufacturers combined the benefits of traditional composites and solid PVC by engineering an attractive, hard PVC plastic cap over a composite core.  This low-maintenance decking material is called capstock, which offers the benefits of solid plastic decking at a lower cost.

Beautifully detailed deck in NE Columbia, SC.

Beautifully detailed low-maintenance deck in NE Columbia, SC.

With new advances, heightened technology and more realistic wood-like elements (like the addition of streaking that mimics wood graining), synthetic decking just keeps improving. Today’s synthetics offer a wealth of benefits over traditional wooden decking. These include increased longevity (25+ years), no need to stain or paint and minimal maintenance to keep the deck clean and looking good. In contrast, a professionally-built, well-maintained pressure-treated wooden deck can last 10-15 years tops. The frequency of the maintenance it requires may vary slightly based primarily on how much wear and direct sunlight the deck receives but it will require annual maintenance surpassing a soap-and-water cleanup.

Chapin SC Composite decks

Beautiful, low maintenance composite deck addition in Chapin, SC.

All these improvements and benefits explain why composite, vinyl and PVC decks are significantly more expensive than traditional wood decks. If you are on the fence about choosing a low-maintenance deck, sometimes a good litmus test is to evaluate this purchase decision based on how long you are going to be in your home. If you plan on being in your home for the next 20 years and like the idea of minimal maintenance, then any upfront increase in cost pays off fairly quickly. But, if you know you will only be in your home for another 5 years, you may want to choose a wood deck with the corresponding cons of annual maintenance.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

Which is right for you? Let us help you decide. Our job is to walk you through the options not just for decking boards but for all the other options and considerations required in planning your new deck or porch. Give us a call for a free consultation to discuss planning and building a new outdoor space for your Columbia, SC, home.  You can reach us by phone at (803) 603-2160 or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net.

 

 

 

Archadeck of Central SC Brings A Truly Custom Experience to Lake Front Living!

View from our completed deck and porch extension on Lake Murray.

View from our completed deck and porch extension on Lake Murray.

One of the true joys of living in the Columbia area is the abundance of lakes to enjoy. The Congaree, Broad and Saluda Rivers all converge near the city, along a greenway with walking paths, parks and views of the Columbia skyline. However, Columbia also has several appealing lakes located nearby. These include Lake Murray, Lake Marion and Lake Greenwood. Lake Murray, located in Lexington, is one of the most popular and is less than 15 miles from downtown Columbia making it a desired place for residents to live and play.

View of Lake Murray from new Trex deck

View of Lake Murray from new Trex deck

Archadeck of Central SC frequently services homeowners living on Lake Murray and in the surrounding neighborhoods of this beautiful region. Two of our most recent projects are located on the lake. Though these projects are quite different in design and scale, they are both focused on helping these particular clients make the most out of their time outdoors, the view and enhancing the joys of lakefront living!

Porch & Deck Extension on Lake Murray

This project added not only valuable outdoor living space to this Lake Murray home, it also added versatility to the scope of activities these homeowners can now enjoy. We extended the footprint of the existing deck and porch and elaborated through redecking with all new wood materials.

deck-and-porch-extension-on-lake-murray-sc

This project serves as the perfect example of our ability to build upon what you already have in order to give you the outdoor living space you crave. In many circumstances, Archadeck can often redeck and extend your existing structure(s) instead of tearing out your old deck and/or porch and starting from scratch. If it is structurally sound, we can improve the existing footprint without the hassle of lengthy permitting processes. In most cases, the original structure or “bones”  can be used if the underlying footings and joists are in good shape.

Lake Murray SC Composite Deck BuildersNew Low-Maintenance Deck on Lake Murray

Archadeck of Central SC just completed adding this big beauty of a deck onto the rear of another Lake Murray home. The deck was built using Trex Select composite decking with a wooden rail and Trex rail cap. Trex Select decking features high-performance shell technology that resists stains, mold and mildew and offers a soft, splinter-free finish that’s comfortable on bare feet.

Trex low maintenance deck on Lake Murray in Lexington SC

Synthetic materials such as composites like Trex are made of elements that stabilize and protect them from UV damage.  These materials have several advantages over most species of wood. A synthetic decking material is much less likely to crack or chip, and there is no evidence that termites will attack it.  Another benefit is a synthetic product will never have to be treated or stained — setting the stage for carefree outdoor living.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

You can see these projects and more inspiring outdoor living space designs capable of turning your lakeside home into a lakeside retreat by visiting our decks photo gallery and our covered porches photo gallery, located on our website.

Learn more about increasing your outdoor living enjoyment lakeside by contacting Archadeck of Central SC today for a free design consultation at (803) 603 – 2160 or email us at
centralsc@archadeck.net.

 

 

 

Looking for a quality designed and constructed wooden deck?

This spacious pressure treated deck in Columbia, SC overlooks the tranquil Saluda river.With all the interest in low-maintenance decking materials, the beloved wooden deck we all know and love sometimes falls by the wayside. Archadeck of Central SC knows just how many Columbia area homeowners still want wood when it comes to building a deck. We are not downplaying the benefits or popularity of using low-maintenance composites by any means. We specialize in designing and building decks of various materials, including synthetics, in all shapes and sizes. However, when it comes to wooden decks, it is important to know that not all wooden deck builders and wood decking boards are created equal!

Custom pergola addition by Archadeck of Central SC

The widespread popularity of pressure-treated lumber isn’t surprising; it’s affordable, readily available coast-to-coast, strong and easy to cut and fasten with screws. Most PT decking is milled from southern yellow pine. A pressure-treated deck will require routine maintenance to prolong the life and look of the deck. PT wood is graded according to standards that make certain grades more optimal for deck construction. Keep in mind that the quality of the wood available to the do-it-yourselfer from “big-box” stores may be quite different from the wood quality available through specialty lumber suppliers. Professional deck builders, like Archadeck of Central SC, only obtain wood from selective, high-quality suppliers. This means that the wood we use is free of knots, warps and other inconsistencies evident in lower grade pressure-treated pine. In addition, the PT pine we use has also been treated with an Eco-life treatment that ensures better weathering of the wood itself.

pressure treated wood

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

The maintenance required for your wooden deck is determined by many factors. An important one is your structure’s exposure to the sun. If your deck is facing South or west, you will have to clean, stain or seal your project more often to prevent sun damage. Decks facing north or east may not get enough sun and may experience moisture problems, requiring maintenance to keep them looking and functioning their best. Moisture will penetrate the wood on an unprotected deck causing it to expand and contract with weather changes. UV rays from direct sunlight will cause aging and deterioration of unprotected wood fibers present in the wood. Over time, mold and mildew can accumulate on your deck, too. Proper deck cleaning and sealing can prevent most of these problems.

Before and after Renew Crew deck cleaning.

Before and after Renew Crew deck cleaning.

As a homeowner, outsourcing  maintenance to make sure your wooden deck or outdoor space is adequately maintained is a viable option. Renew Crew of Central SC is an associate business of Archadeck specializing in outdoor structure maintenance and restoration. Renew Crew uses a 3-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 rotectuveharmful UV rays, which cause wood to turn gray over time. This protective treatment can sometimes help you avoid the expense of resurfacing or building a new deck.

Deck revived by Renew Crew of Central SC

Deck revived by Renew Crew of Central SC.

Remember, when you make the decision to use wood as your deck or outdoor space material, it is never a question of “if” it will be affected by the elements; it is a question of “how soon.” If you are willing to care for your deck, then it will remain beautiful and serve you well. If a wood deck is well maintained and doesn’t have excessive sun exposure it can last upwards of 20-25 years.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

Traditional wood decks offer a beautiful natural appearance that complements the outdoors. Archadeck of Central SC can help explore all your decking options while keeping budget and personal tastes in mind. Please contact us today to help create your ultimate outdoor experience with a new deck! You can reach us by phone at (803) 603 – 2160 or via email at centralsc@archadeck.net

 

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.

A redecking in Lexington, SC, worthy of the beautiful views on Lake Murray

Our recent redecking project on Lake Murray in Lexington, SC.

Our recent redecking project on Lake Murray in Lexington, SC.

One of our recently completed projects takes us to lovely Lake Murray in Lexington, SC. These homeowners not only have a stunning home, they also have the view to go along with it. Their large deck and covered porch spans almost the entire rear of their home and offers views of the lake. These homeowners contacted Archadeck of Central SC to upgrade their aging wooden deck with a low-maintenance decking material. Their goal was to have an outdoor living space that not only looked elegant but could afford them more time for enjoyment rather than the chore of maintaining it.

Lexington before

Before: This image shows the tired wooden deck prior to beginning the redecking.

The homeowners chose beautiful AZEK PVC decking in Brownstone for the redecking project. AZEK decking boards are engineered to withstand the everyday accidents that can happen on a deck.This material resists spilled wine, fruit punch and hamburger grease and is ultra stain resistant. AZEK decking boards are scratch resistant so there is no worry about marks from patio furniture or pets. In addition, this material is impervious to mold, mildew and insects providing the perfect setting for carefree outdoor living.

AZEK redeck in Lexington SC

After: Here is an image of that same area after we completed redecking with AZEK.

In order to accommodate the change from a pressure treated wood surface to synthetic, Archadeck of Central SC added supports to handle characterisics of the new decking. Often, low-maintenance decking boards are installed using hidden fasteners, as well, which requires additional amendments be made to the structure of the deck to ensure there is ample structural reinforcement for proper installation.

Beautiful redeck on Lake Murray in Lexington, SC

Beautiful redeck on Lake Murray in Lexington, SC.

This project also included making some changes to the footprint of the existing deck and covered porch for both cosmetic and functional reasons. Since the home’s facade is stucco, our redecking experts carefully cut around the areas of the new deck that make contact with the home. We did this to ensure the integrity of the stucco as well as that of the decking boards. Instead of installing the new decking boards in a traditional pattern, we installed them on a diagonal with a parting board to create visual interest.The final touch to the project was the addition of low-voltage deck lighting on the risers to enhance safety and promote ambiance when the homeowners are enjoying the deck in the evening.

AZEK redeck on Lake Murray in Lexington, SC

The homeowners chose PVC decking in Brownstone, from the Harvest Collection by AZEK.

The homeowners couldn’t be more pleased with the redecking project.They are looking forward to enjoying the benefits of outdoor living for many years to come with less focus on maintenance and more on enjoying the lovely view from their deck and covered porch.

Whether you are considering a new deck or redecking an existing deck, Archadeck of Central SC can answer any questions you have about outdoor living stuctures.Contact us for a free consultation at (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 decks photo gallery and our composite and vinyl (PVC) deck photo gallery located on our website for more examples of lovely low-maintenance redecking and new deck designs by Archadeck of Central SC.