Tag Archives: Finding the right outdoor living contractor in Columbia SC

Archadeck of Central SC Ensures Your Outdoor Living Project is Built Right From the Start

Our attention to detail is impeccable!Have you been left high and dry by a builder who offered you a very good deal on a new deck and then did not complete the project? Perhaps you know someone who has had this experience. When choosing a builder it is always wise to explore your options and research a prospective builder by looking at their reviews and looking at their portfolio of completed projects. It is also wise to be cautious of the builder that quickly brings the lowest price to the table and is ready to begin your project on a moment’s notice.

Columbia SC Deck BuilderKeep in mind that seasoned and reputable builders know what it takes structurally to ensure your safety and satisfaction. Securing proper permits and obtaining quality materials to complete the project takes a little time. Be very wary of builders who claim they can start on a dime because chances are they aren’t obtaining the necessary permits to build your structure. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a professionally designed and built outdoor living structure won’t be either. If a builder is ready to break ground immediately, chances are likely their services are not in high demand. This can be a direct reflection of their business practices and quality of work.

During our 13+ years of service, Archadeck of Central SC has rebuilt many projects where the homeowner hastily hired a builder, sometimes a relative or friend,  just to get the project completed quickly. Not only were many of these structures dangerous, they usually resulted in the homeowner spending more to make it right than they would had they hired us initially.

Have you checked your prospective builder’s credentials?  Does the builder have a license and insurance? Is your structure warrantied? These questions may seem trivial but are crucial if something goes wrong and the builder, or crew, is injured or has an accident while working on your property. A warranty is also crucial in protecting your investment. Keep in mind, all of these safeguards are set in place to protect you and the builder.

When you choose Archadeck of Central SC to build your outdoor living structure(s), 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 as well. We attend to every detail required to complete your project with the highest quality control standards. These details include everything from securing any needed building permits all the way to final cleanup after we complete your project. We work very hard to be as unobtrusive as possible during the entire construction phase.

Columbia SC Deck BuilderArchadeck of Central SC 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. We help fulfill your wishes the first time around with no surprises, no catches all while standing behind every structure we build. We realize your anticipated outdoor structure is part of your home. It is vital to ensure your addition adds value to your property. Anything less could degrade property values and leave you holding the bag.

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.

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 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.

Come see us at the Columbia Home Building and Remodeling Expo this weekend!

Home-Building-Remodeling-Expo-Square-ColorIt’s a New Year and that means a new YOU! Part of your New Year’s resolution may be moving forward with that new (or improved) outdoor living space you have been yearning for!

Are you on the fence about adding an outdoor living space to your backyard? Or maybe you are ready to proceed with your outdoor living structure project and need help in making your vision a reality? Good news – Archadeck of Central SC will be at the Columbia Home Building and Remodeling Expo this weekend. Archadeck is the the Columbia area’s premiere outdoor structure design and building company. Along with inspiring examples of a wide array of outdoor living designs, we will be there to answer all your questions and concerns about creating the backyard you have always wanted.

Columbia SC deck builder

The show is being held at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. This comprehensive and expansive home show brings together homeowners and many of the most knowledgeable and experienced remodeling and building experts in the area. Every aspect of the home can be explored, from the inside out. Professionals will be on hand to share their valuable knowledge to bring your ideas to life or inspire you with new ones.
You will see the latest innovations and design trends. Experts will be showcasing everything for the home. This is the show you don’t want to miss!

HOME SHOW HOURS:

Friday, 1/15 from 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Saturday, 1/16 from 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Sunday, 1/17 from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Archadeck 2013 Photography

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 South Carolina will be located in booth #607, and our sister company, Renew Crew of Central South Carolina, will be located in booth #407. Please stop by and say hello! We look forward to meeting you this weekend. If you can’t make it to the show but would like to discuss getting the ball rolling on your outdoor living addition plans, you can contact us today at (803) 603-2160, or via email at centralsc@archadeck.net.

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.

Join us as we celebrate the arrival of spring this weekend at The 49th Annual Carolina Classic Home and Garden Show!

14_HomeShow_logo1aCome see exhibits and displays to spark your creativity and get design inspiration for your dream outdoor living space this weekend. Archadeck of Central South Carolina will be at the 49th Annual Carolina Classic Home and Garden Show starting Friday and going until Sunday, along with other expert exhibitors to answer all your home improvement questions or remodeling needs. If you find yourself daydreaming of warmer days filled with a little rest and relaxation on a custom-made deck and natural stone patio combination space, or maybe a fun-filled BBQ in a fully stocked outdoor kitchen with dining area, this is the one show you can’t afford to miss!

The event takes place this weekend at the SC State Fairgrounds, in Columbia, SC, where all four buildings and outdoor areas will be filled with over 250 exhibitors in all areas of home building, remodeling, gardening and so much more. Our professional outdoor living design staff from Archadeck of Central South Carolina will be located in the Cantey Building, booth numbers 205, 206 and 207. Be sure to stop by and see us!

Home Show Feb 2013 cropped (1)Admission is $6 for adults (or click HERE for your FREE TICKET), kids 14 and under are free, seniors 62 and older have free admittance on Friday, March 13, and active duty service personnel receive a discount at the door with proper military ID. Parking is $2 per vehicle and attendees should enter through Gate 6 located on George Rogers Blvd., near Williams-Brice Stadium.

Carolina Classic Home and Garden Show Hours and special events:
Friday, March 13, 11am – 9pm
Saturday, March 14, 10am – 7pm
Sunday, March 15, 11am – 6pm

Special Events:
Senior Day & Expo – 3/13
Wine & Beer Walk – 3/13
Junior Solar Sprint Race – 3/14
#48 Lowe’s Chevrolet car – 3/13-3/15
Gaming Truck – 3/14
Grilling Demonstration 3/13 & 3/14

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

Stop by our booths and join us in welcoming the arrival of spring. We have been providing award-winning outdoor living spaces to Columbia and surrounding areas for more than twelve years. As specialists in the business of custom-designed decks, hardscapes, screen rooms, sunrooms, pergolas, and so much more, we’re confident we can create the outdoor living space of your dreams. 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

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

7 keysTHE SEVEN KEYS TO FINDING A GREAT CONTRACTOR

  • PART SEVEN:  WARRANTY AND PROTECTION

This is our seventh and final installment in our series about the Seven Keys to Finding a Great Contractor.  This certainly applies to my business of building premium decks, porches and sunrooms, but really these principles apply to almost any area of work you might have a contractor perform services for you.

To review, the seven keys are:

  1. Experience
  2. Professionalism
  3. Process
  4. Value
  5. Customized Product
  6. Attention to Details
  7. Warranty & Protection

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

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

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

archadeck warranty

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

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

Archadeck contractor checklist

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

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

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

Our commitment to excellence in outdoor structure design and building ensures your project is built with quality and longevity in mind. Call Archadeck of Central SC today for a free design consultation at (803) 603-2160 or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

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

 

 

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

Panel detail on privacy screen in Columbia SC

Panel detail on custom privacy screen in Columbia, SC.

THE SEVEN KEYS TO FINDING A GREAT CONTRACTOR

PART SIX:  ATTENTION TO DETAILS

This is our sixth installment in our series about the Seven Keys to Finding a Great Contractor. This certainly applies to our business of building premium decks, porches and sunrooms, but really these principles apply to almost any area of work you might have a contractor perform services for you.

To review, the seven keys are:

  1. Experience
  2. Professionalism
  3. Process
  4. Value
  5. Customized Product
  6. Attention to Details
  7. Warranty & Protection
Notice the detailed parting board on this AZEK deck in Norheast Columbia ,SC.

Notice the detailed parting board on this AZEK deck in Northeast Columbia, SC.

“It’s the little details that are vital.  Little things make big things happen.” 
– John Wooden, UCLA basketball coach, winner of ten NCAA national championships

This statement is true in life, and it’s true in the construction business.  There are thousands of little details that go into a building project – some that you see, and some that you don’t.  But their sum total makes up the look, feel and underlying quality of the project as a whole.

Deck BlueprintsOne of the little things we do behind the scenes at Archadeck to ensure the details are properly followed is to generate actual blueprints of every deck, porch or sunroom we design.  Our carpenter uses these plans in the field to eliminate questions and to avoid the “personal interpretation” that can occur if the project that the salesman and the customer agreed to is not clearly communicated to the guys actually doing the building. Together with these blueprints, we have a Construction Master File that details exactly how each feature of a project – railings, steps, footings – are to be built.  Without this common reference each carpenter would be left to build in the way that he sees fit, which is not a recipe for consistency or quality.

Beautifully detailed deck in NE Columbia, SC.

Beautifully detailed deck in NE Columbia, SC.

There are many other details – both aesthetic and structural – that come as a result of having built thousands of projects.  For example, on our deck and porch structures, our standard is to run the decking boards diagonal to the framing boards. This gives the deck an interesting and distinctive appearance, but that’s not why we do it. We do it because running the decking on the diagonal gives the structure a bracing effect that exponentially increases the resistance to any horizontal or vertical stress shifting that could occur. This results in a surface that feels much more solid and tight as you walk on it.

Saluda River deck in Columbia SC

Saluda River deck in Columbia, SC.

Other examples of details built into our construction: hiding the board ends with trim to achieve a more finished look, use of stair risers to give stairs the same appearance as you have inside your home, and the use of screws, rather than nails, in the decking.  These features all go towards giving your project a professional, finished look, and also they are what give our projects a distinctive “Archadeck” look that is consistent across the country.

This discussion has been somewhat internally focused on the way we do things at Archadeck, mainly because that’s what we know. As it relates to the theme of Seven Keys to Finding a Great Contractor, these same attributes are universal for any construction project. Not so much the details such as running decking boards on the diagonal, but rather the level of thought and effort that have gone in to defining what details will and won’t be followed. Sometimes the only way to determine a contractor’s attention to detail is to look at his work, and compare it to the work of others. If you don’t have an experienced eye for noticing these details, your prospective contractor should be able to easily and proudly point them out to you. But I bet that you can tell by looking at some examples of projects if they display the style and touches that you expect, even if you can’t put your finger on exactly what those touches are.

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 is built with attention to even the smallest details. Call Archadeck of Central SC today for a free design consultation at (803) 603-2160 or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net.

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

 

Archadeck of Central SC customers confirm their satisfaction through our many positive customer reviews!

Archadeck of Central SC customer reviews

We want to thank our customers for taking the time to send their feedback.

Here at Archadeck of Central South Carolina customer service is our top priority. To make sure we’re doing our job providing the best service to our clients, Archadeck utilizes a third-party review system. The survey has only one question — how did we do? We are then emailed the results, and our customers are confirming that they love their outdoor living spaces and our customer oriented- approach to designing and building them! Read some of the reviews below:

“Outstanding work!”
Paul in Blythewood, S.C.

“We are very pleased with our patio and screened porch.”
William in Columbia, S.C.

“Great workmanship!”
John in Columbia, S.C.

“Mike is a friendly, understanding, and accommodating individual who is great to work with. He listened to our needs and found a way to make it happen. We truly enjoyed working with him and are very grateful for his personal touch. From the very start to the very end his service was truly exceptional. We would be glad to recommend him and Archadeck to all our friends.”
Kuha in Lexington, S.C.

“Archadeck of CSC went the extra mile and patiently worked with my wife and me to ensure that our custom deck expansion project was built to our specifications. Also, the craftsmanship and construction materials were top quality. As a result, the final project turned out even better than we had envisioned.”
James and Laverne in Irmo, S.C.

Archadeck of Central SC three generations of quality outdoor structures

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

Mike, Marshall and Tucker Reu bring a modern approach to outdoor structures steeped in the quality craftsmanship of a by-gone era.

Since beginning Archadeck of Central South Carolina over ten years ago, we have become the area’s premier builder for decks, sunrooms and porches in the region. Our three-generation, family- owned company has created more than 400 outdoor living projects enabling our customers to take advantage of the natural beauty of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Florence and the surrounding regions, along with a mild climate we are fortunate enough to have almost year-round.

Imagine enjoying your view of the lake from your very own 3 or 4 season room by Archadeck of Central SC

Our outdoor spaces are designed with a keen eye for the holistic way homeowners now view their backyards with the goal of creating an outdoor escape.

Our outdoor spaces are designed with a keen eye for the holistic way homeowners now view their backyards with the goal of creating an outdoor escape. We specialize in creating unforgettable outdoor structures with attention to the smallest details and quality you can see and feel! If you notice outstanding workmanship, or a one-of-a-kind deck or outdoor space here in the Central SC area, chances are, we’re behind the design!

Contact us today to learn more about our customer-oriented philosophy to designing and building your ideal outdoor living space. You can call us at (803) 603-2160 or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net.

Wanna hear more of what homeowners are saying about us? Read more customer testimonials by visiting our website today!

…” If a man has any greatness in him, it comes to light, not in one flamboyant hour, but in the ledger of his daily work.” — Beryl Markham, English adventurer and author (1902-1986)

Archadeck of Central SC discussses the importance of customized design

7 keysThis is part two of the fifth installment in our series about the Seven Keys to Finding a Great Contractor. To review, the seven keys are:

 

  1. Experience
  2. Professionalism
  3. Process
  4. Value
  5. Customized Product
  6. Attention to Details
  7. Warranty & Protection

Custom bench seating on AZEK deck in Norheast Columbia ,SC.As a continuation of part five of our series on “The Seven Keys To Finding a Great Contractor,” we discuss the importance of a customized design in the success of  your outdoor living space.

PART 5, continued — CUSTOMIZED DESIGN The design of a project is perhaps the most important phase of creating an outdoor living space you will enjoy and be proud of.  It’s also an opportunity to see the level of experience, professionalism, and value your builder can bring to the table.  The design should take into account your personal needs and preferences, the use of space regarding furniture, grills, etc., the traffic flow of the space, and your appetite for ongoing maintenance.  And of course your budget.

The salesman should be knowledgeable about materials options and should be willing to take time to educate you. Your job in this process is to do your homework Your job in this process is to do your homework – look at pictures on vendor websites, Pinterest, Houzz and other sites for examples to get a feel for what you like. Ask lots of questions, and make sure that you give the salesman feedback on his design to keep him on track.

There are 5 factors that will determine the cost of your project.  You can work towards managing your budget by managing these factors. These are:

  • Archadeck of Central SC custom fire pit on slate patioThe size of the project – A 400- square-foot deck costs more than a 200-square- foot deck – not double, but significantly more.  This is an important factor that is totally up to you.  However, be careful to ensure that the project you decide on is big enough to do what you intend to do on it.  Some customers opt for a small space due to budget constraints, and then are disappointed when certain furniture won’t fit in the space.  If you know how you want to use the space, line off an area of the yard or house the size of the proposed project and actually put the furniture there to see if it works.  This is a mistake that does happen, and is hard to fix after the fact.
  • Composite deck and open porch in Kings Grant, Lexington SC is rustic and elegant with plent of room for dining and entertainingThe materials you choose – a pressure treated yellow pine deck costs far less than an Azek PVC composite deck.  However, it may not look as impressive, last as long or be as easy to maintain.  In addition, you will need to spend money every 2-3 years to protect the pressure treated wood, and over the life of the deck this may cost more than the up-front investment in maintenance free materials. Your salesman should be able to walk you through your choices.
  • Amenities – features that you add to the project can be what makes it special for you. Items like bench seating, lighting, a fire pit, a water feature, or a built-in outdoor kitchen make a project beautiful and impressive. However, they can be the most expensive part of the project.
  • Spacious elevated deck on Saluda River in West Columbia SC by Archadeck of Central SCEnvironment – The area where your project is built may affect the price – for example it’s easier (and therefore cheaper) to install a patio in a flat yard than in a yard that needs to be backfilled and built up.  It’s also easier to build a deck three feet off the ground than it is 12 feet off the ground.  This is an area that you may not have much control over, but it is a factor to bear in mind.
  • Quality of builder – this is the tricky one.  If you search hard enough, you can find a cheap builder.  But there are reasons why he is cheap. It could be his quality, his reliability, or the stability of his business. If you bet wrong here, you risk having a finished project that you are not happy with, or worse, having an unfinished project that he has abandoned. The highest priced contractor isn’t necessarily the best. If you are paying for a quality builder, you should expect him to have adequate General Liability and Workers Comp insurance, builder’s licenses, permits, stability in terms of years in business and warranties that he will stand behind his work.

Mahogany Hardwood Deck with trellisIn addition to creating an appealing design that fits within your budget, you should be comfortable that the design of your project is structurally sound.This again is an area where you have to rely upon the quality of your builder. Areas he should focus on are the size/strength of the foundation (posts for decks, pillars for sunrooms, and ground preparation for patio structures), proper spacing of beams and joists, and roof tie-ins built properly to avoid leaks. These are all important factors that will ensure you can enjoy your project for years to come. Building codes come into effect here, but these are often minimal standards that should not only be met but exceeded in a quality structure.

PlansAs a side note, every builder who takes the time to create custom designs he is proud of has had the frustrating experience of having an unscrupulous customer take his design and give it to a cheaper builder to do the work. So don’t be offended if/when a builder won’t release the design to you until a contract is signed.  It is an unfortunate necessity of protecting his tradecraft.

In summary, your project will only be as good as its design.  Is it sound?  Is it something you can afford?  Does it suit your personal lifestyle?  And most important, is it something you will be proud of every time you use it?  If you have found a contractor who can provide you with such a design, you have likely found a contractor who is a good fit for you.

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 SC today for a free design consultation at (803) 603-2160 or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net.

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

Archadeck of Central SC discusses why a “warm, fuzzy feeling” is key to creating your customized project

7 keysTHE SEVEN KEYS TO FINDING A GREAT CONTRACTOR, PART FIVE: CUSTOMIZED PRODUCT

This is our fifth installment in our series about the Seven Keys to Finding a Great Contractor. To review, the seven keys are:

  1. Experience
  2. Professionalism
  3. Process
  4. Value
  5. Customized Product
  6. Attention to Details
  7. Warranty & Protection

Building an outdoor living project that is right for you is key to the long-term enjoyment you get for your money.  A cheap, cookie-cutter project is not going to give you a good feeling when you use it.  However, an overdesigned, over-priced project is not going to give you a good feeling either.  You need a project—whether it’s a deck, sunroom, screened porch, combination, etc.—that meets your individual wants, needs (and budget).  One of the keys to finding a contractor that fits with you is whether you are able to “connect” when it comes to designing what you want to build.

A contractor should have a large experience base of designing projects similar to yours for you to draw upon.  He should ask lots of questions, and give you lots of information regarding what you can and can’t do, and what factors are going to affect the function and cost of your project.  You aren’t expected to be the expert, nor should you have to come up with the design yourself.inside and out

Further, a contractor should point out smaller features you may not be aware of that will enhance the project without adding major costs.  This is part of the value add that a full-service contractor should bring to the table.

During the “selling” phase of the project, you get a great opportunity to go through much of the process with the contractor.  You should get a feel from his ideas and suggestions whether he is adding value to the process.  He should be doing a lot of listening to make sure he understands what you want.  At the same time he should be giving you lots of feedback and ideas and education about what your options are.  If you find his input valuable, then you may be well on your way toward having identified the right contractor for you.

Archadeck custom projectOne note about a contractor’s design.  If the contractor values his time, experience and expertise in project design, don’t expect him to leave his design drawings with you unless/until you sign a contract.  It’s not fair or reasonable to expect him to “give” you his work product for free.  Too many contractors have had the experience of finding that their original designs, which they invested hours in creating, were passed along to cheaper carpenters to re-create.

Cheaper doesn’t mean better and the proof of this is evident through the way you view, and use, your outdoor space in the years ahead. Here at Archadeck of Central SC  we realize the thrill of a bargain can soon fade and is often followed by a structure that doesn’t meet your expectations. Keep in mind the pride and satisfaction of a really good project can last forever!

In summary, you should expect that a full-service contractor will add value in helping you design your own unique outdoor living project.  You should be able to see him in action during the design phase, which conveniently is before you make a decision to commit to a contractor to build your project.  If you don’t have a warm, fuzzy feeling that he is thoughtful, considerate of your ideas, and responsive, then now is the time to move on to someone else.  But if he takes care of you during the early stages of the project, then odds are good that you will be able to work well with him to bring the job to completion and that you’ll have the custom-built outdoor living space of your dreams.

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 SC today for a free design consultation at (803) 603-2160 or email us at centralsc@archadeck.net.

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