Tag Archives: Columbia SC wooden decks

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.

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 Celebrates National Home Improvement Month!

As a proud member of NARI, Archadeck of Central SC wants you to know that we specialize in designing and building custom outdoor living structures in and around Columbia SC. May is National Home Improvement Month. At first blush, this doesn’t sound like much fun; in fact, it sounds a lot like work, but it has tremendous potential to change the way you look at and live in your home. What parts of your home do you enjoy the most? What would you like to change? What could you add or improve in your home that would make you want to spend more time in it? Home improvement isn’t just about fixing a sagging door or replacing shrubbery. It’s about reimagining your family’s home as you would love it to be.

This entire month is recognized as National Home Improvement month through the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. In honor of the occasion, NARI is providing chapters and members with valuable information they can use to get homeowners interested in remodeling this season including outdoor living structures!

Archadeck of Central SC completed projects

As a proud member of NARI, Archadeck of Central SC wants you to know that we specialize in designing and building custom outdoor living structures in and around Columbia, SC. Our outdoor living spaces not only increase your enjoyment, they also add value and function to your home and landscape.

After you’ve spent some time thinking about what you’d like and doing a little research about various project options on the internet and elsewhere, don’t forget to take a few minutes to give some thought to what the potential Return on Investment (ROI) for the project is likely to be. Various industry groups do annual surveys that provide numbers on this subject, but I’d like to share a few from my line of business.

Don’t just take our word for it, take a look at the recent numbers available through the 2016 Cost vs. Value report;

According to the report, outdoor living spaces such as composite (low-maintenance) decks and wooden decks show a dramatic return on investment (ROI) in the Columbia region.  A deck addition built of composite reflects a ROI of nearly 116%, with a deck addition built of wood recouping a whopping 117.8%. This is good news for homeowners considering a deck addition in the near future!

When compared to the national averages and those of the South Atlantic region, Columbia comes out on top. The ROI for a composite deck addition in the South Atlantic region is 69.2% and wood is 80.6%. Columbia is far above the most recent national average ROI where a composite deck reflects a 64.4% cost recoup, and a wooden deck reflects a 75% cost recoup.

If you’re thinking about adding an outdoor living space to your backyard, give us a call to see how we can make creating your dream backyard an enjoyable experience, start to finish. You can reach us at (803) 603-2160 or via email 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.

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

May is deck safety awareness month!

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

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

Before and after Renew Crew deck cleaning.

Before and after Renew Crew deck cleaning.

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

Deck revived by Renew Crew of Central SC

Deck revived by Renew Crew of Central SC.

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

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

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

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

Tap into the exhilarating potential room beneath your 2nd-story deck

The space under your elevated deck is full of possibilities!

The space under your elevated deck is full of possibilities!

Who doesn’t love a bonus room or extra living and storage space? The endless possible uses are exhilarating! Just like the addition of a garage adds a potential bonus room above, an elevated or second-story deck creates additional outdoor living space beneath. This versatile space is more commonly referred to as “dry deck space.” With just a few extra steps it’s easy to make this unfinished space serviceable, thus expanding your outdoor living area for you and your family to enjoy even more. Whether you are considering adding a new elevated or second story deck or if you have an existing one, Archadeck of Central South Carolina can help you take advantage of the space below your deck, making sure you get the most from all your potential outdoor living area.

Screened Porch with Deck and Stone Patios

This elevated screened porch and deck features space underneath finished to serve as a covered patio.

Notice how the area underneath the deck is dry while the rest is wet?

Notice how the area underneath the deck is dry while the rest is wet?

Typically, the water dripping from the upper deck area prevents homeowners from utilizing the ample space below their second-story deck during rain. The spaces between the decking boards are the culprits, but there are several ways to make this space watertight for new and existing raised decks.  Just imagine this bonus room as a paver patio or flagstone hardscape, a fully wired outdoor dining/living room with lighting, ceiling fans and high-tech electronics, a relaxing screened or covered porch, and even a protected hot tub area or much-needed storage space!

This space turns the table of how we think of "dry space" with the screened porch underneath and deck atop -- amazing!

This space turns the table of how we think of “dry space” with the screened porch underneath and deck atop — amazing!

If you are adding a new elevated structure to your home and you know upfront you’ll be utilizing the space beneath, we have the ability to install a rain deck. This entails multiple layers built within the structure with a slope to divert the rain and water away from the deck. The benefits of this component being layered within the deck as it is being constructed include a non-sloping ceiling for the room below and more flexibility for the addition of electrical accoutrements.

Dry storage space under deck

Convenient and spacious dry storage space under the deck.

For an existing deck, retro-fit products are the way to go to create an awesome dry deck space that will make the space watertight. These systems operate by integrating a slope to divert precipitation to a gutter for draining, creating a slightly sloped ceiling for your room underneath. Archadeck of Central South Carolina uses various dry deck systems depending upon the ultimate use of the finished space below your deck. Some of our more popular choices include Drysnap vinyl ceiling panels, which channel the water, and Trex Rain Escape, which is a trough and gutter drainage system; these are just a few of the options available to make the most of the space under your deck.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

We pride ourselves on making the most out of every bit of outdoor living space you have available to create your ultimate backyard retreat. If you’re thinking of adding a second-story deck onto your home, or currently have an existing second-story deck you wish to finish out the dry deck space beneath, Archadeck of Central South Carolina is your builder of choice. Our award-winning outdoor living combinations are unparalleled in design and quality. Contact us to learn more by calling (803) 603-2160 or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net.

Archadeck of Central SC discusses the “beauty and the beast” of decking materials: Ipe Brazilian Hardwood

Ipe Brazilian hardwood deck with metal railing.

Ipe Brazilian hardwood deck with metal railing.

The phone is ringing here at Archadeck of Central SC and many of the inquiries we are receiving are from homeowners wanting to learn more about Brazilian hardwoods, especially Ipe. As this beautiful material gets more exposure from home & garden magazines, TV and image media sites such as Houzz, we, too, are seeing an increased interest from homeowners wanting to use it for their own outdoor structure projects.

This screened porch features an Ipe floor.

This screened porch features an Ipe floor.

What is Ipe?

Ipe (pronounced EE-pay) is one of the finest quality wood decking materials available. A Brazilian hardwood, also commonly referred to as “ironwood” because of its natural resistance to rot and decay, Ipe comes from a group of trees from the species Tabebuia. These trees are primarily found in Central and South America but primarily grow in Brazil. All the Ipe we use on our projects comes from responsibly-harvested and well-managed forests to provide you with a truly renewable resource.

Ipe-Swatches-300x550Strong & Beautiful

Ipe is also considered by many to be “the beauty and the beast” of decking materials because of its tough, resilient properties and unique, exotic look.  Along with being incredibly durable, it’s also naturally resistant to rot, decay, wet conditions, and infestation by termites and borers. Additionally, it has a Class A fire rating — the same rating given to concrete and steel. This material is so strong, in fact,  that installation may require pre-drilling holes prior to assembly to keep the integrity of the boards intact. Even though Ipe is a natural hardwood, it has properties that make it one of the toughest and longest-lasting decking materials available. The famous Atlantic City Boardwalk is even built from Ipe because it also holds up beautifully under extreme traffic and heavy use. Ipe is generally sealed or stained to retain its rich amber hue. If left untreated, Ipe will still retain its longevity and many of its benefits but will fade to an elegant dove gray over time. Keep in mind the surface of an Ipe outdoor structure, if open to the elements,  must be treated every year to maintain its beautiful, rich appearance.

IPE poolside deck.

Ipe poolside deck.

Perfect by the Pool 

This material is perfectly suited for use near water where other materials fall short. Ipe is so dense that it doesn’t rot or decay making it an obvious material choice for docks, pool decks and waterside decks.

 The use of Ipe is not new to the realm of outdoor living structures. Disney parks have frequently use Ipe as an outdoor space building material, and parts of the iconic Coney Island boardwalk are built from Ipe wood. 

Ipe deck with outdoor kitchen

Ipe pool deck with outdoor kitchen.An Ipe deck will last a minimum of 25 ye

Hardwood decks offer a beautiful natural appearance that complements the outdoors. Archadeck of Central SC can help explore all your decking options while keeping your budget and personal tastes in mind. Contact us today to help create your ultimate outdoor experience with a new deck! (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 wooden decks photo gallery, hardwood decks photo gallery and Ipe decks photo gallery located on our website for more examples of the natural beauty of our wooden decks.

Archadeck of Central SC explores the benefits of choosing a large deck design

Elegant deck, pergola and patio by Archadeck

Is an elegant deck and pergola your idea of a dream backyard? If so, we can make it a reality.

Here at Archadeck of Central SC homeowners often ask us how big we feel their deck design should be. The answer to this question is solely dependent on what you and your family want to use the space for, your budget and how the dynamics of the space will correlate with your existing home, lot and other outdoor structures. However, when size constraints are not an option, we are seeing an increase in the popularity of larger decks that function more like “outdoor rooms” than the traditional 10 x 12 decks of yesteryear, and here’s why…

You are probably familiar with the old saying “bigger is better,” right? As Americans, we generally assume this old saying rings true — hence our affinity for bigger cars, houses and yes, super-size fries. One of the biggest trends in deck design is their increase in size over recent years. However, this increase is not for some of the reasons that may first come to mind: for example, to show social status or to accommodate a larger family. The reasoning behind building larger decks is simple. It is because homeowners crave the same comforts and function outdoors that they have in their interior living space.

This lakeside pressure treated deck includes built in bench seating, and unique privacy railing. We also integrated the existing trees within the landscape into the design of the deck- stunning.

This lakeside pressure- treated deck includes built -in bench seating and unique privacy railing. We also integrated the existing trees into the design of the deck.

To gauge the benefits of choosing to go larger when designing your ideal deck space, look at it this way: ”in most cases, inside your home, you have a dining room, kitchen, living room and family room. Homeowners are requesting these same spaces be designed into their deck, with areas for dining, a sitting or socializing area, and of course a cooking area.” A recent article published by Remodeling Magazine points out that “the 200-square-foot deck is increasingly looking like a relic of the past as more homeowners push for more outdoor living space, and remodelers and builders are lining up to accommodate them.”

Your very own backyard deck by Archadeck of Central SC

Imagine your next family barbecue on your very own backyard deck by Archadeck of Central SC.

A large-scale deck design that encompasses the feel of an “outdoor living room” does take longer to plan, design and build as compared to the “typical” decks of the past. However, the benefits and extended function a larger, well-planned deck can provide are worth the additional time it takes to complete. Archadeck of Central SC custom designs each detail of our decks to cater to the individual function our customers seek. To get the most out of your deck, no matter how large, efficient and clever use of space is very important.

 

  • Here are 10 ideas courtesy of Remodeling Magazine to ensure the best use of space when planning your dream deck:

#1) Process plays a key role in the success of your outdoor living project.Think in layers – Not so long ago, decks both large and small used to be flat, square, single-surface spaces. But the larger the deck, the more it calls for curves, multiple levels, staircases, built-in seating, and railings.

#2) Capture the curves – Flexible composite decking allows for accentuation of the curves within a deck design and is a favorite among deck builders who are partial to curved surfaces, sidewalks and staircases, which can create an eye-catching segue between two levels of the deck.

#3)archadeck experience Move the eye along – Add a focal point or two to a large, empty span of deck by building a planter or fire pit in the middle or lining the perimeter with built-in seating. Adding a pergola to your deck is also a great way to create a focal point that will extend functionality.

#4) Create drama – Accentuate curves, railings and fascia boards with a contrasting color to create a frame around the deck floor, often referred to as “picture framing.” You may also incorporate inset designs, like diamond shapes in alternate colors, to create something unique for each homeowner; these methods are often seen with composite deck designs… And don’t be shy about mixing materials on your deck: faux stone columns, a metal roof or a granite countertop within a built-in food preparation area will make the outdoor room look more upscale and custom-designed.

#5)Deck with kitchen and pergola and ample pull out room for outdoor furnishings Proportions matter – A 1,800-square-foot deck on the back of a 2,000-square-foot home is probably too big to “go” with that house. Size up within reason.

#6) Add some shade – A homeowner who springs for a 600-square-foot-plus deck is going to want to use it as often as possible. A pergola, awning, canopy or roof over the deck will allow the client to cook, entertain or relax outdoors even on hot, sunny days or during rain showers. Keep in mind any shade structure should be as low-maintenance as the deck itself.

#7) Be prepared to wait a little longer– It takes a while to build a big deck. Especially if the outdoor room is full of custom features or will be home to electric or gas appliances, the job will include an electrician, a plumber and the local building inspector. If the deck includes multiple tiers, the builder might need to consult with an engineer or architect.

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

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

#8) Consider the view –  If the upper tier of a two-story deck is right over the lower one, take special care with the placement of the posts so they’re not too close to doors and windows, where they can block the homeowner’s view and path to the yard. Also, build in an under-deck gutter to catch rain that falls on the upper deck so it won’t soak the deck’s lower level and its inhabitants.

#9) Leave enough room – Even a big deck can run out of room if the design includes a hot tub. A typical 7-by-7-foot spa takes up at least a 10-by-10-foot space so there’s enough room around it for a railing, a privacy screen or a path for bathers and maintenance technicians to walk around it in order to gain access in the event of scheduled maintenance or repairs on your spa or hot tub.

#10) Outdoor Fire PitMake it useful – Include warmth and light so you can use your deck after dark and during at least three seasons. Popular options: built-in fireplaces and fire pits and ceiling-mounted heaters. You’ll have plenty of room for them.

So, to answer the question “is a bigger deck better,” it all depends on your individual needs and personal tastes. If you are looking for a deck that delivers layers of extended function, or a deck with that outdoor room feel — then, most definitely, bigger is better!

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

Contact Archadeck of Central SC to learn more about our unforgettable deck and outdoor room designs today! You may call us at (803) 603 – 2160 or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net. Our design consultation is free, but what you gain in outdoor living enjoyment is priceless!

Archadeck of Central SC explores the top 5 ways to make 2014 the year to improve your outdoor living space!

New Years resolutionA New Year signifies a time for change and renewal. When you think of the term “resolution,” you usually think of it as following through with an act of self-improvement.  Let’s face it, resolutions are made with the best intentions – some are successful and some wane early on. Why not make this year different by resolving to improve the lifestyle of your entire family and add value to your home at the same time? Why not resolve to improve your outdoor living space? Now is the time to get started if you want your improvements by spring.

There are many benefits associated with choosing to move ahead with your intended project rather than waiting until the outdoor living season has begun. These include shorter wait times, saving money on materials, less interruption to your lawn, landscape and lifestyle. The largest benefit, inevitably, is being able to have your outdoor space operational in time for the warmer months ahead!

While many people realize that there are benefits to having a great outdoor living space, they may not be sure how to take what they have and transform it into their ideal  space. Archadeck of Central SC has put together a list of the five best ways to improve your outdoor living space for 2014.

This composite deck in Lexington is a true gem!

This composite deck in Lexington, SC, is a true gem!

#1) Transform your deck space – Decks still remain the epicenter of outdoor living for the backyard. If you have an existing deck in need of an upgrade or your backyard is a blank canvas yearning for inspiration, now is the time to act to ensure your space is warm-weather ready for the outdoor living season ahead! Maybe you are seeking a way to turn your aging low-aesthetic, high-maintenance wooden deck into a high-aesthetic, low-maintenance deck by re-decking with one of the many quality composites on the market. Maybe you are ready to expand an existing deck. Whatever the reason, now is the season to change.

Sunroom Sitting Area

This sunroom sitting area functions as a secondary living room.

#2) A room with a view –  Savvy homeowners are looking for a space that allows for extended dining, relaxing, entertaining, recreation and all of the above. Outdoor room additions such as sunrooms, three and four-season rooms, and screened porches give homeowners a place to enjoy the outdoors beyond the seasonal limitations of a deck or patio. Outdoor rooms can be enjoyed throughout the cooler seasons and beyond, and all in an insect-free protected space,

#3) Turn up the heat by adding an outdoor fire feature – Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are very popular in outdoor living design. They have proven to be more than a trend. Not only do serve as a focal point of beauty, they will also add hours of enjoyment to your backyard. Outdoor fire features work great in conjunction with patios, porches, and outdoor room additions such as sunrooms, and 3 & 4 season rooms.  An outdoor fire feature exudes ambiance and is worth the investment.

Archadeck of Central SC custom fire pit on slate patio

Our most recent fire pit addition is this stunning stone fire pit integrated into an existing patio in Columbia,SC.

Deck with kitchen and pergola and ample pull out room for outdoor furnishings

Deck with outdoor kitchen and pergola.

#4) Outdoor Kitchens – Who doesn’t enjoy dining outdoors? We dine outdoors and throw dinner parties on the deck, and so why not kick it up a notch this year? Outdoor kitchens are becoming more commonplace in outdoor design. What was once a space for backyard grilling has evolved into a whole outdoor, gourmet kitchen. Outdoor kitchens can be designed to include ovens, warming drawers, smokers, refrigerators, ice machines and even the kitchen sink! No more running in and out from the grill to the fridge. No more lugging a cooler out and back in. The great outdoors with all the convenience of a modern kitchen!

Central SC deck and pergola with seating wall

This Central SC custom deck features a pergola and built-in seating.

#5) Top it off with a pergola – Pergolas simply look good in any setting. They can be used to flank a spa or outdoor kitchen, provide shade to a sunny space, add privacy or    depth and help define a deck or patio. Pergola additions come with many benefits other than just the obvious aesthetic value they provide.

No matter which outdoor living space best suits your needs, Archadeck of Central SC can plan, design and build a structure, or combination of structures, that is sure to make 2014 the best year ever. Our outdoor spaces are designed with a keen eye for the holistic way you view your backyard with the goal of creating an outdoor escape. We strive to bring a modern approach to outdoor structures steeped in the quality craftsmanship of a by-gone era. We specialize in creating unforgettable outdoor structures with attention to the smallest details and quality you can see and feel!

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

Call us today for a free consultation at  (803) 603 – 2160 or you may email us at
centralsc@archadeck.net

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

Classic pressure treated backyard deck in Lexington SC

Classic pressure- treated backyard deck in Lexington, SC.

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

The history of wood preservation

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

Pressure treatment process

Pressure treatment process.

What is pressure treatment?

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

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

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

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

pressure treated wood

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

Why Pine?

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

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

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

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

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

Pressure Treated Care

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

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

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

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

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Archadeck of Central SC shows you to how to protect your wooden outdoor living investment

Archadeck of Central SC incorporated the boulders within this Saluda River terrain into the design of this W.Columbia deck

Archadeck of Central SC incorporated the boulders within this Saluda River terrain into the design of this West Columbia wooden deck.

For many South Carolina homeowners nothing compares to the rich beauty of natural wood. Keep in mind, that beauty comes with responsibility. Wooden outdoor spaces have to be properly maintained to keep them looking good. If maintenance is not your thing, choosing natural wood as the main ingredient for your outdoor living space may not be your best option. A composite or other low-maintenance material for your deck would reduce maintenance.

This deck and pergola prove a winning combination for these Irmo, SC residents

This wooden deck and pergola prove a winning combination for these Irmo, SC, residents

The maintenance required for your 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 your 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.

This lakeside pressure- treated deck includes built in bench seating, and unique privacy railing. We also integrated the existing trees within the landscape into the design of the deck- stunning.

This lakeside pressure- treated deck includes built-in bench seating and unique privacy railing. We also integrated the existing trees into the design of the deck.

In order to reduce the damage that can occur with wood, and to prevent degradation, Archadeck of Central SC recommends regular maintenance. Maintenance includes initial treatment followed by frequent cleaning along with staining and sealing as needed.

The initial sealing and staining is the most important step to keeping your deck looking good. Pressure-treated wood is infused with chemicals that preserve it and provide protection from rot and  termites. These chemicals cause new wood to be wet, or what is commonly referred to as “green.” For the initial protective sealant to penetrate your new deck properly, a period of drying is necessary. For new decks, depending on the amount of sun exposure, this waiting period will vary. This also depends on how dry your decking boards are when installed and how much rain you have had recently. Before initial staining and sealing, splash a little water on the wood; if it beads versus penetrating, the wood is too wet. When water penetrates versus beading, the stain will penetrate as well.

A protected deck

Notice how the water beads on this wooden deck.

After exposure to the elements a good test of how well your older deck is still protected is to hose down your deck and check to see if the water beads. If the water beads it is a sign that your sealer is doing the job. If the water doesn’t, it is usually time to schedule staining and sealing.  Once a deck is cracking and warping it is often too late to restore the aesthetics. The sun and rain are your biggest enemies when it comes to wooden structures.

Over time results of unprotected wood

Over time, lack of maintenance can cause your deck to crack and warp.

Along with the effects of Mother Nature, your deck can also become damaged from outside forces. Items that are often used along with outdoor living such as Citronella candles and oils can penetrate your wood surfaces and cause staining. Grease and oil spilled on the deck as a result of grilling can damage your deck, as can red wine. Hot charcoal and exposure to solvents such as gasoline will also damage your wood deck. Making sure your deck is sealed properly may give you time to clean up spills or mishaps in time to avoid damage. Regular, frequent cleaning is necessary to keep your deck looking good.

Central SC deck and pergola with seating wall

This Central SC custom deck features a pergola and built-in seating for the ultimate outdoor room.

As a homeowner, outsourcing  maintenance to make sure your wooden deck or outdoor space is adequately maintained is a viable option. Renew Crew   is an associate business of Archadeck specializing in outdoor structure maintenance and restoration. Renew Crew uses a 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 that shields your deck from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which cause wood to turn gray over time. This treatment can sometimes avoid the expense of resurfacing or building a new deck.

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

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

Remember, when you make the decision to use wood as your deck or outdoor space medium, 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.

Your wooden outdoor living space is only as good as how well it’s maintained. Your space is a wonderful investment for your property, but it is an investment that needs long-term protection. Contact Archadeck of Central SC to learn more about maintaining your wooden outdoor structure today (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 wooden deck photo gallery and our hardwood deck photo gallery located on our website to experience our large selection of deck design ideas.