Category Archives: Series on the 7 keys to finding a great contractor

Now is the best time ever to move forward with your outdoor living structure plans, and here’s why:

Central SC Sunrooms give you a front row seat to Mother NatureOf all the questions homeowners ask when planning their outdoor living space, the most frequent is undoubtedly  “WHEN is the best time to build?” While there is no unanimously correct answer to this question,  many factors come into play in order to satisfy each individual project. These can be lifestyle related, budgetary or even include preparations for HOA approvals. However, the answer comes down to your readiness to pursue your outdoor living addition. If you are ready, then there is definitely no time like the present to get the ball rolling!

Here in the Columbia area, we are blessed with a mild climate virtually year-round. With no danger of having to deal with frost-lines, and very little snow or icy weather, it is possible to begin your project in the winter and have it completed by the time it is warm enough to enjoy open-air structures such as decks or patios. Choosing a cooler-season project can also add unexpected benefits and value to your anticipated  outdoor living project.

Here are just a few advantages of choosing a fall/winter project timeline:

  • Patio in the fallLess Wait Time = More Enjoyment Sooner –– A good incentive to begin your outdoor living structure addition in the cooler months is that you’ll encounter less wait time before construction can begin. Gaining approval through HOAs and permitting may take less time because there is less backlog now. Deciding to build now will now mean you’re able to enjoy the benefits of your new structure sooner and in plenty of time for the arrival of the outdoor living season in the warmer months ahead. Keep in mind, when dealing with a quality builder, wait times can be longer, especially during the warm seasons. Deciding on a fall/winter project can greatly reduce those wait times.
  • Double pergolas on West Columbia SC wooden deck by Archadeck of Central SCThe Science of Wood — If you are considering a structure built from wood, a cooler-month project timeline will provide many benefits. Wood requires a time period of acclimation and curing. The laws of expansion and contraction always apply when it comes to working with wood. All wood is hygroscopic, meaning that when exposed to air, it will release or pick up moisture until it is level with the humidity and temperature of the air. Humid conditions, such as those in summer, will cause more rapid expansion and contraction of wood that is not yet sealed for protection against the elements. A structure built from wood needs to cure for a period of time before the sealer or paint will properly adhere to the wood and promote beneficial protection qualities. By choosing to build during the fall and winter, the least humid times of year, your new wooden deck or other outdoor structure may require less time to cure in order to properly accept the sealer or paint you choose.
  • Covered porch in NE Columbia outdoor combination projectThe Dormant Landscape — Your lawn and landscape will experience less stress from construction if you choose to build during the cooler months of the year — this is because most turf grasses, trees and shrubs and other perennials are in their dormant period during the winter. When dormant, these grasses and plants are less likely to experience permanent damage from being  trimmed or pruned to accommodate the addition of a backyard structure. This includes foot traffic from the construction crew.
  • Less Stress –Aside from the landscape, construction during the winter will cause less of an interruption to your day-to-day lifestyle as most people use their yards less during these months. The kids are in school and less likely to be playing outside during this time. The noise and materials required to complete your project will be less of an annoyance than they would be when you are using the yard a lot during the warmer months.
  • Archadeck 2013 PhotographyActing NOW = More Value — It is no secret that costs of materials used in outdoor living space designs, either wood or composite, can increase when moving into a new year. Choosing to move ahead with your project now will save you money in the long run on materials costs, and in addition if you intend to finance your new outdoor structure, the interest rates are still extremely low. Even if our project timeline extends into the next calendar year, if you decide on your design and sign the contract prior to December 15th, 2015, you will lock into this year’s pricing. For many homeowners, the savings  are reason enough to move ahead with getting all the logistics in place now, instead of waiting until later.
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 on the fence about moving forward with the outdoor living space of your dreams, now is the perfect time to get your project on our schedule! Contact Archadeck of Central SC today to learn more. Our consultation is free but the benefits are priceless! You can reach us by phone at (803) 603-2160 or via email at centralsc@archadeck.net

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Archadeck of Central South Carolina, a quality builder with a reputation for doing it right the first time

Central SC AZEK deck builderFor more than ten years, we have been in the business of helping central South Carolina homeowners design and build the high quality outdoor living spaces of their dreams to provide them with enjoyment for many years to come. Too often we’ve encountered homeowners with horror stories of shady contractors making them subsequently “gun-shy” when attempting to work with another builder. Their experiences have included previous builders that just walked away from an exterior project before it is completed, leaving the homeowners with an unfinished mess on their property, or unqualified builders who provided them with an outdoor living structure far from adequate or acceptable quality. Fortunately, we are here to help.

This is how we found the deck when we arrived on the project:

This is how we found the deck when we arrived on the project. We had to pull down what was already done by the prior contractor because it was built so poorly.

One of our recent projects involved the completion of a deck from which the previous builder walked away before finishing the job. Unfortunately, as we inspected the structure, we discovered quite a bit of re-work that we had to do to repair the other builder’s less than adequate building practices. Upon our replacement of much of the framing of the structure, we were then able to finish it out in the proper manner and provided the homeowners with a high-quality, stable deck addition to their home.

 

It’s “clean up” projects like this, along with the string of recent newscasts regarding several deck collapses in NC, that just re-affirm the importance of using a quality builder who does it right the first time. While some of the collapses were due to the advanced age of the decks and some were constructed of low-quality materials, too often they’re due to poor design and building standards of an underqualified builder. You don’t have to settle for poor craftsmanship or an underqualified builder.

Deck after Archadeck of Central SC stepped in and took over project:

Deck after Archadeck of Central SC stepped in and took over project:

Allow us to show you that we are a professional contractor that’s knowledgeable, provides high quality work that’s protected by meaningful warranties, follows building codes and requirements, carries the proper insurance and stands behind his work. With just a few short steps, you’ll be able to distinguish between Archadeck, a reputable builder, and those fly-by-night contractors quite easily.

Archadeck of Central SC is awarded a customer satisfaction achievment award

Archadeck of Central SC was awarded the customer satisfaction achievement award this past year.

First, verify licenses, insurance and warranties up front. A reputable contractor wants to show you these because he knows they set him apart from the crowd. The second step is tougher – judging the character and reliability of the contractor.  You can tell some things by his conduct in the sales process.  Was he on time, did he follow up like he said he would and did he explain things well? And the final thing you can and should do is get references from him and call them. You have the right to ask for references, and a professional contractor will happily give them to you because he knows his past customers will be his best sales force.

When selecting a professional contractor for your outdoor living project, please keep in mind that this is one area where you truly get what you pay for. If a contractor is properly licensed, carries proper insurance, offers a meaningful warranty, uses reputable subcontractors and gives the kind of reliable and competent service that keeps customers singing his praises, he is not going to be the low-price option. But if you want a high-quality, finished space that will provide you with enjoyment every day and a pain-free construction project, you should be thinking about maximum value, not low price.

As a Columbia-area homeowner, if you find yourself in an outdoor living conundrum, we can help! Seeing your project become a reality can be enjoyable from beginning to end. With Archadeck designing and building your space, you can be a homeowner who is pleased with the outdoor space you purchased instead of one who is simply glad the project is over. We strive to make every phase of the process an enjoyable one! Making sure we are on the same page as the client during each phase will insure your dream outdoor space is a joy and delight from concept to conclusion.

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 will bring enjoyment and pride for many years to come! Call Archadeck of Central South Carolina today for a free design consultation at (803) 603-2160 or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net.

When considering an outdoor living space addition, a little planning can go a long way!

Central SC custom deck designsMost big decisions are accompanied by a big investment, and as such, proper planning goes a long way in giving you confidence in your choices. As a homeowner, this rings especially true with renovations or additions to your home and its environment. When choosing to add or enhance an outdoor living space, many factors are considered during the planning stage to make sure it meets your needs as well as blends into the architectural style and layout of your home and property. We here at Archadeck of Central South Carolina use our planning and design process with a single goal in mind…designing and building custom outdoor living spaces to bring enjoyment and pride for many years to come!

Archadeck design guideTo assist in the preliminary phase, Archadeck has created a simple yet valuable tool to help homeowners ignite their imaginations and define their preferences and function needs for the perfect outdoor living space. It is called the Archadeck Outdoor Living Design Guide, and you can download it free by visiting the Archadeck of Central SC website.

Three basic pieces of information form the foundation of a successful project:  the function, type and style of outdoor living space addition or renovation you have in mind, the anticipated completion date desired and your estimated budget goal for the project. It has been our experience, having this information organized and in hand not only helps you clarify your outdoor living space needs and wants, but it also helps our team to better translate your desired goal into a finished project.

To create the best design and structure for you and the way you live outdoors, we ask a lot of questions, including:

  • For what activities will this space be used? The best outdoor living structures are designed with perfect union of form and function. Do you wish to have a technology-free zone, just right for rest and relaxation? Or will your space need an outdoor kitchen area to be used for family barbecues and larger dinner parties? Do you want an open, exposed area where you can bask in the sun, or do you prefer a covered area with protection from the elements? Better yet, how about a combination space for all of the above?
  • What is the contour of your property? Is it flat or does it have slopes? The contour must be taken into consideration when selecting the structure and type of outdoor living space, but it doesn’t necessarily limit your options.

Central SC design guide

Additional aspects we consider when creating your custom space are the situation of your property in regard to sun exposure, favorite views you may have and the proximity of neighboring properties…all of which should be kept in mind when selecting the style and design of your sunroom, porch, pergola, deck or combination.

Now is the perfect time to plan your backyard retreat, so it can be ready for you to enjoy when the weather gets warm. Having a clear understanding of your tastes and design choices helps you receive the perfect outdoor living environment. That’s where our FREE Design Guide comes in handy.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

When considering an outdoor room addition such as a screened porch, choosing the best fit for your home’s architecture, your desired function and your budget is important. Archadeck of Central South Carolina is the premier outdoor structure builder serving Columbia, SC, and the surrounding area. We can help you choose the perfect custom outdoor living space addition for you with our expert design team and experience in building. Contact us to learn more by calling (803) 603-2160 or via email at centralsc@archadeck.net. We specialize in making your outdoor living dreams come true!

Your Home is missing something; a sunroom by Archadeck of Central SC can fill the void.

This spacious sunroom in Columbia, SC, delivers versatility within the home!

This spacious sunroom in Columbia, SC, delivers versatility within the home and convenient access to the outdoors and onto the deck.

So you want more space. A little extra room because the family is growing, children or parents are moving back home, maybe you’ve started a home-based business or you’ve always wanted that conservatory-style room to grow your beloved orchids!  There may be a thousand other reasons why you feel your existing house just isn’t big enough, or is lacking something. So many times we have heard customers remark that they didn’t realize what their home, and lifestyle, was truly missing until they decided to move ahead with their anticipated sunroom addition. Numerous times, we heard them remark “our sunroom addition is the room we use most in our home over any other and we wish we would’ve built it sooner.” If you feel as if there is a “void” within your home, such as a lack of natural sunlight or a spot where creative versatility can flourish, a sunroom may just be the answer!

Stunning sunroom addition in NE Columbia, SC.

Stunning sunroom addition in NE Columbia, SC.

Many people assume you can’t have your cake and eat it too when it comes to outdoor living, but this assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth. A sunroom addition is the perfect example. A sunroom provides a space in your home that allows you to bring the outside inside without the constraints of weather, season or functional limits. A room filled with light and space, a sunroom can let you live outdoors all year round! Though they are considered an interior addition because of their construction requirements, sunrooms give homeowners the most benefit over other outdoor room additions. The aesthetics of a sunroom are very important to its overall worth, but the benefit of extra heated space added to your home’s square footage, along with capability of year round enjoyment, are what really make a sunroom one of the most valuable investments you can make to your home.

Columbia SC smaller scale sunrooms

This Columbia sunroom was built just off the master bedroom and serves as a sitting area

Bring the outdoors in

What makes a sunroom different from other outdoor room additions is that it can be whatever you want it to be. It can play any role, and fulfill any need or desire! Sunrooms make a perfect spot to relax, nap, or read a book. A sunroom can become a spot to observe nature without the impact of the elements, or an extra space in which to entertain. With the holidays just around the corner, extra space is a plus in any home.  Sunrooms add the functionality of a year- round room because they are fully conditioned. The presence of an HVAC system and the “wall of windows” design allows for plenty of natural light and beauty to enhance your decorating choices. Your room can be set to your comfort level and remain there. There is no need for shivering while enjoying your morning coffee or sweltering in the summer during family game night. Though many only consider the extra cost of adding on a sunroom, since it qualifies as an interior addition, requiring a foundation and roof, it will pay for itself over time based on the versatility it adds to your home and lifestyle. When comparing a sunroom to a screened porch and three or four season room it is easy to see the immediate benefits.

Bright sunny room addition

The bright interior of this sunroom is a sunny solution to even the coldest winter day.

A homeowner needs options

While enjoying Mother Nature year round and adding extra square footage to your floor plan are certainly the most important benefits of a sunroom, the ability to design a sunroom however you please is also important. Sunrooms do not force a homeowner to think strictly along the lines of outdoor fabric and furniture when designing because these additions become part of your home. Sunrooms can be finished and painted to match your home’s interior color scheme. This includes the use of flooring already present within your home such as hardwoods or carpeting. The design and finish possibilities are endless when designing a sunroom.

This sunroom addition in Columbia is set against a tranquil, lush landscape.

This sunroom addition in Columbia is set against a tranquil, lush landscape and proves that bigger doesn’t mean better!

Consider the benefits

Consider the way you and your family will use your sunroom addition. The versatility the space provides is key. Imagine a relaxing “family room” atmosphere, a place to enjoy watching sports with the guys or even creating a more formal area to experience dining outdoors without the negative aspects of nature (i.e., insects, and rain!).

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 learn more about filling the void that is missing with a room for all seasons! Call us today to start your project and lock in this year’s pricing before the New Year begins. (803) 603 – 2160
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

 

 

 

Archadeck of Central SC discusses what to expect when beginning your anticipated outdoor living space

Ipe Brazilian hardwood deck with metal railing.Most of us begin planning our outdoor living project after weeks or even months of imagining how much we will enjoy it. The planning phase should be an exciting time! We first identify what we need from our deck, porch, sunroom or other outdoor space and how it will meet one or more of our outdoor living needs and aesthetic desires. From there, we begin looking for a builder who will turn our vision into a reality.

Archadeck custom projectMaking the initial call to a builder is sometimes the most daunting task in the construction process for many homeowners. Even if the builder comes highly recommended there is no “manual” of what to expect during your initial communication. Anticipation and venturing into the unknown is responsible for causing stress to many prospective clients even before they send the first email, or pick up the phone to reach out. Archadeck of Central SC aims to change that. We want homeowners to have a good idea of what to expect during planning phases of their outdoor living space addition(s). With this in mind, we have put together an outline of what to expect during the initial, and crucial, first stages towards bringing your dream to life:

  • Archadeck design guideThe inquiry call/email:  This is one of the most daunting tasks for many prospectives clients. However, with Archadeck it doesn’t have to be. Our goal is to put you at ease while we gather the needed information to make future correspondence smooth. During your inquiry call it is not uncommon to be asked what type of space you have in mind. When would you like your project completed? A member of our team will schedule the best time to meet you in your home when all decision makers can be present.

Archadeck offers a valuable tool to help homeowners, and your Archadeck representative, gain ideas about what you want from your outdoor living space. It is called the Archadeck Outdoor Living Design Guide and you can download it free by visiting http://www.archadeck.com/guide/index.html.

  • Finding the right contractorThe in-home consultation: During the initial in-home consultation we will discuss your needs, personal preferences and the function your space will primarily be used for. We will explore any material preferences and features that would best suit your needs and taste. At this time we will discuss your budget for the project and take measurements in order to prepare a design, which will be available during the follow-up consultation.  We will also show you some of our past projects and explain your construction material options.
  • PlansFollow-up consultation: At this time Archadeck of Central SC will present you with a custom design prepared especially for you. During this time, we will discuss any amendments or changes you would like to make to the design. We realize once you make the decision to move ahead with your project, the excitement mounts, and you soon envision utilizing your new space.
  • The next phase: Once you approve the design and sign that contract, you will be protected by two separate guarantees, constituting the most expansive customer protection plan in the industry. Local oversight assures your property and privacy are respected. We attend to every detail from securing any needed building permits to final cleanup. And we work very hard to be as unobtrusive as possible during the entire construction phase.
Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

Seeing your project become a reality can be a time that’s enjoyable from beginning to end. With Archadeck designing  and building your space, you can be a homeowner who is pleased with the outdoor space you purchased instead of one who is simply glad the project is over. We strive to make every phase of the process an enjoyable one! Making sure we are on the same page as the client during each phase will insure your dream outdoor space is a joy and delight from concept to conclusion.

Our commitment to excellence in outdoor structure design and building ensures your unique project will bring enjoyment and pride for many years to come! 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 and on Houzz for more design inspiration!

 

In the final installment to our series, “The Seven Keys to Finding a Great Contractor,” we discuss warranty and protection

7 keysTHE SEVEN KEYS TO FINDING A GREAT CONTRACTOR

  • PART SEVEN:  WARRANTY AND PROTECTION

This is our seventh and final installment in our series about the Seven Keys to Finding a Great Contractor.  This certainly applies to my 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

Archadeck custom projectThe warranty serves as the back-up plan for a consumer if things don’t go right with the builder.  This applies to major problems in having the project completed (unscrupulous contractors have been known to walk away from a job when it gets difficult or too expensive to make things right), or may apply to things that come up after the job is done and the contractor has been paid.

Small – and sometimes not-so-small – repairs are often needed after a job is completed.  This is normal in construction as materials can change as they weather, buildings settle, and sometimes things become apparent weeks or months after construction is finished that were not apparent when the job was being performed.

A warranty is important because it outlines in advance what the builder is and isn’t willing to do to fix problems after the fact.  Without a warranty, the homeowner still has certain protections under the laws regarding implied warranties.  However claims under these laws require the homeowner to file a legal claim, and can be time consuming and expensive, not to mention stressful.

archadeck warranty

For the record, at Archadeck our warranty covers the entire project (meaning that we will fix anything that’s not right) for one year, and further covers structural issues (foundations, integrity of framing, roof leaks, etc.) for a period of 5 years.

House illustration for home showA homeowner’s best protection regarding warranty issues is to use a builder that is stable and has a good reputation. If a contractor goes out of business or moves on to another job or another area, it may be next to impossible to get something fixed after the fact, regardless of the written or implied warranty.  On the other hand, a contractor that is concerned about his company’s reputation is more likely to meet or exceed what is written in his warranty.  Homeowners can check with the Better Business Bureau and check a builder’s references and online reputation to see what his history is regarding honoring warranty claims.  Once again, this is an instance where the cheapest builder may not be the best choice for you if there is a risk he won’t or can’t stand behind his work months or even years down the road.

Archadeck contractor checklist

The other major area of warranty coverage is what happens if the contractor defaults during the construction process.  This is not that unusual, and can be a BIG problem for the homeowner.  This can happen for a multitude of reasons, including illness, financial failure, a job change, or a contractor simply pulling out of a job because he bid it wrong and knows he is going to lose money on it.  Again, legal remedies are available, but they will involve time, money and stress.  And again, this is a case where the more stable and reputable the contractor, the less your chance of running into this kind of problem.

Archadeck actually provides a guaranteed insurance program that covers customers if the local Archadeck office cannot complete a project due to death, illness or going out of business.  In this event, the Archadeck corporate office will pay to have the project completed by another Archadeck location.

Process plays a key role in the success of your outdoor living project.One final word about warranty protection. It may be very difficult to pursue legal action against a contractor if you do not have a signed contract.  This contract should specify the price, the scope of work, the timing of the work, etc.  Without this document you may not be able to prove what work was agreed upon and therefore what implied warranties should cover.  Once again, here’s another reason to use a professional contractor who follows good business practices and not just a carpenter who can build you a cheap deck!

Our commitment to excellence in outdoor structure design and building ensures your project is built with quality and longevity in mind. Call Archadeck of Central SC today for a free design consultation 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

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