Category Archives: Starting a project

When it comes to choosing the right builder for your outdoor living project— quality is worth the wait

Archadeck of Central SC Screened Porch AdditionOnce you have made the decision to move ahead with your outdoor living structure addition, it is only natural to want it completed quickly, even if you finalized the design and signed the contract today. Anticipation and patience aren’t generally the closest of friends. However, it is important to remember that quality craftsmanship takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a professionally-designed and built outdoor living structure won’t be either. The important thing  to realize is that if a builder is ready to break ground immediately on your project, especially during the outdoor living season, chances are their services are not in high demand, or they aren’t intent on building your structure with quality and longevity in mind.

Deck BlueprintsHow our scheduling works:

When our client signs a contract,  the project start date is established according to the current backlog we have on schedule at the time. During the fall and winter months, backlogs and lead times are usually less, but during the outdoor living season, when the weather is warmer, project beginning dates are usually substantially farther out. Our timelines are also influenced by forces beyond our control such as permitting, inspections and in some cases inclement weather. Depending on what county or town you reside in, permitting may require a “walk-thru” permitting process, or may require a “drop-off” application. Drop-off permit applications are granted in the order they are received and could take up to three weeks during the busy season. The turnaround time for permitting could add wait time to your project, but permits are a necessary element in the building process.

AZEK deck in NE Columbia, SC.

Beautiful view and a deck to match in NE Columbia.

Making changes to your project once it has begun can often extend completion dates, especially in circumstances where additional permitting and inspections are necessary. Keep in mind, there are many influences that can affect your project timeline and scheduling. These include but are not limited to:

  • Does there need to be HOA approval? If so does your HOA meet quarterly or monthly?
  • Which county or town are you located in?
  • Is a variance needed?
  • Are the materials you have chosen for your particular design stocked locally or special order?
  • How many different trades are involved (plumbing, electrical, masons, HVAC or only carpentry)?
  • Weather or season, and site conditions?
  • What sort of backlog does the builder have?

Archadeck of Central South Carolina strives to provide you with an outdoor living space that encompasses everything you want in your particular design, now, and with future additions in mind. Our approach to the design and building process is to accommodate the customer’s needs and desires in every way. This means we help fulfill your wishes in getting everything you are expecting from your design, from the aesthetics you want to a space that serves the functions you desire. We understand the excitement you feel when you look ahead to using your new addition. Patience, as they always say, is only a virtue.

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 ready to begin planning your anticipated outdoor living project, we can help you get started today on making the backyard of your dreams a reality. Contact Archadeck of Central SC today at (803) 603-2160 or email us at


Hiring Archadeck of Central South Carolina, your professional outdoor living space contractor, ensures the proper construction and longevity of your outdoor fire pit

Screened Porch, Spa and Fire Pit at Dusk

This cozy outdoor living space features a custom fire pit- perfect for making s’mores.

One of the best ways to enjoy a backyard in and around central South Carolina year round is by building an outdoor fire pit. There’s nothing like the crackling of a fire to set an inviting or romantic mood. Not to mention, an outdoor fire pit makes the perfect centerpiece for entertaining. Archadeck of Central South Carolina is this area’s leading outdoor living space contractor and for many of our clients, a custom designed and built fire pit fits the bill for this outdoor living space function.

When designing outdoor fire pits, one of the biggest considerations is materials. A few materials that could be used to create a fire pit include brick, stone or concrete. Each of these materials is waterproof and heat-resistant, so the one chosen will largely depend on the look you are aiming for. More than one material could also be used to build an outdoor fire pit. For example, concrete might be used to pour a patio and then a fire pit constructed on top of it in stone or brick.

Your selection of burning mediums is a matter of personal choice and budget allowances. Options include gas burning, wood burning or fire glass burning, and each choice has several pros and cons, as we have listed below. Ultimately it all comes down to what works best for you.

The Fire Pit is the central element of this outdoor spaceWood Burning Fire Pits – authentic campfire atmosphere


  • Larger fires
  • Wood is inexpensive
  • Affordable to install
  • Enhanced ambiance


  • Starting a fire takes effort and can be time-consuming
  • Cleaning up ashes after fire and can also be time consuming
  • Blowing smoke

Natural Gas Fire Pits – warm, glowing ambiance


  • Blythewood SC fire pitLight or extinguish fire with the flip of a switch
  • Minimal to no cleanup
  • Adds relaxing ambiance with minimal effort
  • Cleaner burn, less smoke


  • Smaller fires
  • Gas line must be installed
  • More expensive than wood

Fire Glass Fire Pits – creates a stunning look


  • No toxic fumes, smoke, ash or soot
  • Multiple sizes and colors of fire glass for you to choose from
  • Tempered glass chips last longer, do not burn, melt or discolor
  • Radiates three- four  times more heat with its reflective surface than wood or ceramic logs


  • The risk of breaking pieces if mishandled
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 today to learn more about the placement, size and construction of a fire pit and much more at (803) 603-2160 or via email at


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

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

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

  • 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

Please visit our extensive outdoor structure galleries located on our website and on Houzz for more design inspiration!


At Archadeck of Central SC, our careful attention to process is one of the factors that sets us apart from other builders

The third part in our series “The Seven Keys to Finding a Great Contractor” is about the importance of processes.

In any business requiring handoffs with multiple people and multiple variables (weather, materials, environment, etc.) it can be difficult to get consistently good results.  In fact, many businesses that worked fine when they were very small (one man builders, for example) struggle as they grow to achieve the same consistent, high-quality results.  This has been the downfall of many a contractor – and why success can be their own worst enemy.

Process plays a key role in the success of your outdoor living project.

Process plays a key role in the success of your outdoor living project.

Processes – or the lack thereof – can be the biggest differentiator between a contractor who delivers good results on time and on budget, and one that is constantly battling chaos at your expense.  There are thousands of variables that a contractor faces on every project – it is a rare project that goes without something unexpected happening. However, experienced contractors that have learned from past mistakes will incorporate processes into their workflow to avoid making the same mistake again.

For example, taking the time to have utility lines identified and marked before construction begins is often an overlooked step, and 9 out of 10 times, nothing bad will occur. But every once in a while a gas or power line or fiber optic cable is cut, costing the contractor money, interrupting the customer’s service and causing an unforeseen delay in the project. If a contractor has to “remember” to do this every time, it will often get overlooked. However, if his processes require him to check the item off for every job, it should not get overlooked.

Deming said, If you can’t define what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Archadeck patios and hardscapesThere is a huge contrast between using well-thought-out processes and procedures to control the construction process versus jumping into a job without proper planning and processes. Amazingly, many contractors go from job to job thinking that because they “know what they are doing,”  they don’t need to waste time planning. And they wonder why they are continually hit by “bad surprises.”

How do you know if your contractor effectively uses good processes?  The easiest way is simply to ask during the vetting process. Find out what your contractor’s method for planning and monitoring construction will be. Do they actually use written check lists for ensuring that all steps get addressed before, during and after construction? Is there a supervisor or manager holding the crews responsible for following these processes?

ProcessYou can also tell a lot about how effectively a contractor uses processes by watching the sales process. Is it well-coordinated, clear and purposeful?  Or is it more chaotic? Does the contractor proactively address key concerns in advance, setting your expectations, or does he seem to want to get in and get out without helping you to understand the process you will be going through together in building your project? If the sales process has not been well thought out and executed, you can be pretty sure that the construction process will be the same.

At Archadeck of Central SC, our careful attention to process is one of the factors that sets us apart from other builders:

  • Our process begins with a free design consultation.
  • We then conduct a comprehensive needs analysis uncovering what you’re looking for in an outdoor living space.
  • Our in-depth site survey buttons down the particulars.
  • Our detailed photo gallery and portfolio of completed projects will stimulate your imagination.
  • We work with you to refine or streamline your design.
  • Rather than an estimate, you’re given a precise price quote.
  • Our quality-focused Job Process Methodology (JPM) is put into play.
  • Archadeck of Central SC obtains all necessary permits necessary for your project.
  • Once your project is started, progress almost always proceeds without lags.
  • Our workers respect your property.
  • Construction debris is removed regularly and project site is kept clean and orderly.
  • You approve the final structure and enjoy!
Archadeck pool deck dining area

The success of a project can be measured by not only the end result, but the way the project itself takes place – beginning to end.

After we determine your needs and the specifics of your site, you can choose to move forward in one of two ways. With a project retainer, Archadeck of Central SC will draw up custom plans using three-dimensional drawings to illustrate your proposed structure from a variety of angles. You can work with us to refine that plan to your satisfaction. Or, instead of developing a custom plan, you can choose to move forward in stages as part of our staged, or phased, building program. This will allow you to complete your ideal outdoor living space in stages as your lifestyle and budget affords.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

Our knowledge and experience in outdoor structure design and building over the years can ensure a space that not only meets but exceeds your expectations. Call Archadeck of Central SC today for a free design consultation (803) 603-2160.

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

Archadeck of Central SC has much in store this weekend at the Columbia Home Building & Remodeling Expo

Archadeck covered porch outdoor living

Come out to the show this weekend and let’s discuss your ideal backyard addition!

What do you have planned this weekend? If improving your existing outdoor living space or adding one is something that has been on your mind, we know how you can learn more about both! Archadeck of Central SC will be at the Columbia Home Building & Remodeling Expo this weekend to discuss all your outdoor living space needs and much more.

We are your local outdoor building specialists serving the Columbia, Lexington, Irmo and surrounding areas for over 10 years. In addition to designing and building quality structures, we now offer even more services through Renew Crew of Central SC.

Renew Crew of Central SCRenew Crew of  Central SC is your local source for gutter, siding, patio and deck cleaning in the Columbia area. Our effective and environmentally friendly 3-step process lifts built-up outdoor dirt and grime to the surface and washes it away, leaving your outdoor living spaces not only clean but also protected. Now homeowners in the Columbia area can look to us to  build and maintain the outdoor oasis of their dreams to bring years of enjoyment.

Home Show Feb 2013 cropped (1)Archadeck of Central SC will be introducing Renew Crew of Central SC as their sister company at the Columbia Home Building & Remodeling Expo this weekend! We will be located in booth #700 & #701 where our talented team will be on hand to answer all your questions about designing, building and maintaining your outdoor space.

The event will be held at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln Street. Tickets are $4.00 for adults, and children under 18 will be admitted  for free. Plenty of convenient parking will be available.

Hours for the show are as follows:

  • Friday 1/24 from 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM
  • Saturday 1/25 from 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Sunday 1/26 from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

Don’t let this chance pass you by. We look forward to meeting you. You can also contact Archadeck of Central SC or Renew Crew of Central SC for more details about our fabulous designs and service anytime at (803) 603–2160 or (803) 814-6377
– We look forward to seeing you there!

Your outdoor living project: Breaking it down, keeping it real

Maybe you want a screened porch built onto your house, opening out to a big deck, with stairs leading down to a patio area, and a new paved walkway to get you there. The more you think about it, the bigger your project becomes. Can you say “outdoor kitchen”? Or “fireplace”?

Porch with fireplace

Browsing through photos of outdoor living projects can become overwhelming as you see so many great ideas and start to piece together what would look good in your space. Maybe you started out thinking about just a deck, and then you saw photos of decks with pergolas for shade. And multi-level decks. And screened rooms under decks. We could go on. We especially like patios, with some of the new paving materials, to create a graceful transition from your yard to your deck. Continue reading

“So What” if My Carpenter is Not Insured? – Part 2

Perhaps the most important insurance coverage to make sure that your contractor has is workers compensation.  Rules vary by state, but in South Carolina, anyone employing 4 or more people is required by law to carry workers comp insurance.  If they have fewer than 4 employees, even down to a sole worker working alone, they can (and should, from the homeowner’s perspective) carry worker’s compensation insurance.

In a nutshell, workers comp insurance is your prevention from the risk of being sued if any worker doing work on your property is injured on the job (or claims to be injured).  If your contractor has this insurance, then the coverage amounts allowed under state law apply.  The employee cannot sue their employer, or you, for more than is paid under the workers comp rules.  However, if there is no coverage, then all bets are off, and the employee can sue their employer (quite likely putting them out of business), as well as the owner of the site (you), and anybody else with deep pockets to pay their costs. Continue reading

“So What” if My Carpenter is Not Insured? – Part 1

When you hire someone to perform work on your home you may be tempted to cut corners.  Certainly you can find a good tradesman at a cheap price, especially if you don’t worry about things like insurance, permits, etc.  Right?

This may be true – but be careful! There are some very real risks in hiring an uninsured contractor to do work on your home. We all know it’s better if our contractor is insured, but do we really know why? Continue reading