Category Archives: Value

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.

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 explores getting the most value from your outdoor living space project

“Competing on price alone is a race to the bottom, and it’s a race nobody wins.  For some people, though, price is their only consideration.  That’s a sad thing, because most times, you do get what you pay for. ” – C. E. Young

Archadeck patios and hardscapesAs a contractor building outdoor structures attached to people’s homes, we often get challenged on price. In fact, it is frequently the biggest barrier our salesmen have to overcome.  And that’s easy to understand, since price is easily quantified.  It’s more difficult to quantify or compare value.

Price is one thing that determines value.  But it’s not the only thing.  In addition to price, you have to consider the cost of maintenance, the risk – and related cost – of product failure, and perhaps most important, the intrinsic feeling of worth that you get with the product.  And remember, it’s not just an outdoor living “product.” It’s your home. Your deck, your sunroom, your pergola, your screened porch.

An example of price vs. value that we often come across is when customers ask about the cost of a wood deck versus the same deck made of composite/pvc materials. The composite deck costs more – sometimes twice as much – than the same deck in high-quality pressure treated pine – but which choice is the better value? The pine deck will need to be treated every 1-2 years to prevent warping, splintering, etc.  Without this maintenance, the wood deck will deteriorate to the point of needing to be replaced in 5-10 years. The composite material normally has a warranty for 20 to 25 years.  The composite also looks more impressive.  So the intrinsic value of the composite deck could be significant to the homeowner. How much more pride and satisfaction will the homeowner have in the composite deck, both when it is new and over the life of the deck, as compared to the pressure treated deck?  Meanwhile, another homeowner might take more pride in choosing a less expensive product and committing to the regular upkeep necessary to make it last longer.This is a subjective feeling.  Which deck has a higher value?  It depends on the homeowner.

archadeck contractor checklist

Archadeck contractor checklist

This concept of value applies to choosing a contractor as well. Review for a moment the other criteria discussed in this series: experience, professionalism, process, design, details and warranties. Based on these criteria, all contractors are not the same. If price is the only consideration, then one must also factor in the risk of things not going perfectly.

What’s a worst-case scenario? A fly-by-night contractor taking your money and running? Perhaps you face a more likely scenario where the project gets completed but not fully to your liking, or a scenario where the finished structure is fine but the construction process is painful and slower than you would like. Each of these scenarios has a cost associated with it. The problem with determining value is that unlike price, you really don’t know what the overall cost is going to be – there is risk no matter what you do. The best you can do is to minimize this risk.

  Archadeck 2012Are we saying that high price is always better than low price? No! Higher price is only better if it reduces your risk of having to spend more later to get what you want. The costs of providing insurance, of hiring competent skilled (and documented) workers, of reliability, of having assurances in the form of warranties and of simply standing behind one’s work are not free.These are real costs that have to be built into a contractor’s cost structure. If you allow the contractor to shortcut these factors, then your risk goes up. In the long run, your lower price may not really be lower.

On the other hand, there are also contractors out there who use high-pressure sales tactics to pressure customers into paying high prices that are not related to reducing risk and ensuring quality. Some companies in the home improvement business are known for quoting a very high price, then using high-pressure tactics of closing the sale at that sales visit, up to the point of almost refusing to leave unless the customer signs.Then, upon threat of being kicked out, they offer a one-time only discount of 30%.These tactics are aimed at getting the customer to sign without allowing the time to become educated on what the real price/value proposition should be.  Sales tactics like these make it difficult for the consumer to trust any contractor (which is unfair to those of us who are trying to provide a fair product at a fair price).

outdoor-living-room-pergola A final comment on value: We always ask customers what their budget for a project is. Sometimes they seem reluctant to tell us, as if they fear we might raise our price up to their budget target.The reason we want to know the budget is two-fold. First, if it is unreasonably low, we can avoid wasting their time and ours talking about a project that is not going to happen at that price level.  Second, if we know the budget (and if it is realistic), we can design the project to fit into that range.There are four components of any outdoor living project that affect the price: size, materials choices, features, and environment. The cost of your project can increase or decrease dramatically simply by varying those components. A reputable contractor, with your best interests in mind, can provide you the value that you need at the price point you want – if you work with them on the choices available.

We are all looking for a deal – it’s human nature. If you are buying a $35 shirt and you think you can get it for $25, go for it. The worst that can happen is you may be out $25 if it doesn’t hold up.  But if you are considering using a contractor to build something for you, then you are likely talking about a meaningful amount of money – more than you would be willing to waste. This is not the time to be trying to get a super sweet deal – it may cost you much more in the long run. As the old adage says, the bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is gone.

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 project is brimming with value. Call Archadeck of Central SC today for a free design consultation (803) 603-2160.centralsc@archadeck.net

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