Wondering what the top 2013 deck trends are? You’ve come to the right place! Today, homeowners are placing more importance on the outdoors — from roof decks to sunrooms, from gazebos to patios and pools. What was once considered a … Continue reading
May is National Deck Safety Month, as declared by the North America Deck and Railing Association for the past 7 years. To help ensure safety, especially for decks that are more than 10 years old, Archadeck is sharing these seven deck safety inspection guidelines with the acronym of “BE SAFER”:
BE SAFER with these 7 Deck Safety Tips from Archadeck.
Deck safety is no accident. Ensure that your deck is safe by following these tips and suggestions from Archadeck Outdoor Living.
Look at the condition of your deck boards. Most wood will show some minor cracks and splits over time, but is the general condition of the boards good or are they damaged and unsafe to walk on?
A deck should be built using a variety of fasteners and metal hardware connectors. Check every connection on the deck to make certain that they are not corroded or otherwise compromised. Be on the watch for nails backing out, red rust and other signs of corrosion that can weaken the integrity of the deck.
If visible, look at the posts, beams and joists that provide the structural framework of the deck. What is their condition? Is there any noticeable sagging between supports?
The attachment of the deck to the house (also called the house band) is where most deck failures occur. Pay special attention to this area and check to make sure that the deck is properly attached to the house with bolts and that it is properly flashed for water protection. Nails should never be used for this type of attachment.
Foundation / Footings
The foundation / footings receive and support the weight (also known as the load) on a deck and the columns that bear on them. A footing that is sinking may cause a noticeable sag in an area or a column to separate from a beam.
Check the areas where people exit from the deck. These exits usually involve stairs so be sure to check the condition of the material used on the stair stringers, stair treads and risers. Do the stairs require a handrail? Is there adequate lighting to safely use the exits at night?
Look at the condition of the rail posts and sections of railing to make sure that they aren’t loose or wobbly. Verify that the pickets/balusters are fastened securely and spaced no more than four inches apart.
BE SAFER by taking these precautions and preventative measures. The number of deck failures and related injuries has been increasing, and each year we hear about more deck collapses and accidents. Recent statistics show that about 40 million decks in the US are over 20 years old, so it’s crucial for homeowners to be proactive and check their decks.
Archadeck of Central Maryland is a leader in outdoor design & construction for Baltimore, Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County and Prince Georges County MD. Our team has been designing & constructing outdoor living spaces for over 11 years and has been the recipient of CotY (Contractor of the Year) awards and other distinctions, plus featured in the Washington Post. If you have an old deck that needs repair or remodeling, we’d love to help create the perfect outdoor living space for you, whether you’re thinking of building a new deck, 3- or 4-season room, sun room, screened porch, patio, trellis, pergola, arbor, fire pit or other project. We offer a free, no obligation design consultation. Give us a call at 301-926-3001 or email us to schedule yours today.
Have you built the perfect outdoor living space and are now wondering what are the best materials for outdoor furniture, that will insure not just aesthetic and function, but durability? Here at Archadeck of Central Maryland, for over a decade we have designed and installed sunrooms, screen porches, hardscapes, patios, decks, gazebos and more. Once our clients have their new outdoor living space, they often ask us what the best types of outdoor furniture would be as they decorate their space. So consider this post a round-up of the 5 best types of materials for your outdoor furniture!
Cedar and Teak make our list as the top two. They are both types of hard wood that can withstand the harsh elements of the outdoors. They don’t hold as much heat as metal furniture, and see little effect from rain due to their natural enzymes which prevent decay. Wood furniture is a classic choice for decorating your porch, patio or deck, but can be considerably more expensive than furniture constructed from other materials. It’s important to note that other woods that are softer, can absorb moisture and rot over time, so other types of wood would require paint or sealant.
Wicker is another popular material for outdoor furniture. It comes in woven wood or synthetic form. The synthetic wicker stands up well against nature and the elements, while the woven wood type is best with a coat of sealant for protection. The benefits of wicker is that it is lightweight, durable, and easy to clean. Some considerations and perhaps drawbacks of wicker furniture, are that the furniture sets tend to have high price points and can appear massive for smaller and more intimate outdoor settings.
Steel is a durable material found in many outdoor furniture applications. Furniture constructed from steel won’t move around in strong winds. Steel is sturdy and hefty, but can be pricey in outdoor furniture form, plus difficult to easily move or reposition. Steel furniture also necessitates a protective coating to safeguard against rust.
Aluminum is our fifth and final top outdoor furniture material. It is a malleable, lightweight material that works great in a variety of environments, including coastal settings which experience harsh salty/wet and extremely sunny conditions. Aluminum furniture with a powder-coat finish is particularly durable and resistant to both rust and fade. Another benefit of this type of material, is it is simple to clean. Outdoor furniture constructed from aluminum tends to come in a wide variety of styles due to the malleability of the metal.
Archadeck of Central Maryland is a leader in outdoor design & construction for Baltimore, Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County and Prince Georges County MD. Our team has been designing & constructing outdoor living spaces for over 11 years and has been the recipient of CotY (Contractor of the Year) awards and other distinctions, plus featured in the Washington Post. We’d love to help create the perfect green, outdoor living space for you, whether you’re thinking of building a new eco-friendly deck, 3- or 4-season room, sun room, screened porch, patio, trellis, pergola, arbor, fire pit or other project. We offer a free, no obligation design consultation. Give us a call at 301-926-3001 or email us to schedule yours today.
Image courtesy of Trex Looking for the best tips on how to build an eco-friendly deck or patio? This is the first in a 2-part series of articles on how to construct a green outdoor living space. Today we answer the … Continue reading
We were recently asked what the upcoming top home improvement trends for decks and outdoor living space materials are for 2013. Since we here at Archadeck of Central Maryland work with many clients to create the perfect outdoor spaces, including decks, patios, sunrooms, screen porches, hardscapes, gazebos and more, we were happy to tackle the question. So what materials, techniques and types of projects do we think will dominate 2013?
Short answer: Top materials trends we’re seeing are Cap Stock materials & PVC technology.
And a more thorough answer: Three technologies exist today for producing low maintenance decking: composite, cap stock and PVC.
Composite was first introduced by Trex and is still available from all of the major manufacturers today. However, composite is prone to staining, scratching, fading and is more susceptible to mold and mildew. Many of the composite product do not look very natural. Its only advantage today is cost. As a result of the improved products on the market composite is quickly losing market share. Many of the products have been discontinued and those still in production will likely not be around much longer.
We’re seeing a trend in PVC Technology using top-notch materials like Azec and Fiberon. The benefits of using these types of materials for decks and outdoor living areas are that it’s stain-, mold- and scratch-resistant. The product can dent, but is a lower price point, and we’re seeing a growing number of decks and outdoor structures constructed from it. PVC is generally the most expensive material compared to the other materials we’ve already described.
Another top 2013 trend for outdoor structure materials are Cap Stock materials. These are recycled wood and recycled plastic on the inside with an acrylic, high density polypropylene or other propriety formulation shell. This provides extra protection for the boards and helps extend the life of the deck. Cap Stock has all of the stain, mold, mildew resistance as PVC, looks more like natural wood, is almost as scratch resistant, and is lower in cost than PVC. As a result this has been the most popular choice for customers looking for the best value in low maintenance flooring. All of the major manufacturers including Trex, Fiberon, TimberTech (acquired by Azek in August 2012) and some of the other lower profile manufacturers like Rhino Deck all offer this technology.
We’ll be sharing more top home improvements trends and projects right here on our blog, so feel free to email us any related questions and we may feature your query in a future blog post!
Archadeck of Central Maryland is a leader in outdoor design & construction for Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County or Prince Georges County MD. Our team has been designing & constructing outdoor living spaces for the past 11 years and has been the recipient of CotY (Contractor of the Year) awards and other distinctions, plus featured in the Washington Post. We’d love to help you with your next home renovation, whether you’re thinking of building a new deck, 3- or 4-season room, sun room, screened porch, patio, trellis, pergola, arbor, fire pit or other project. Our design consultation is free. Give us a call at 301-926-3001 or email us to schedule yours today.
Do you have a home improvement project on your New Year’s Resolution list? Maybe it’s the project that your spouse has been hinting for you to look into and start for the past few years… a deck that has been weathered and worn down after decades of use. A patio or hardscape area that needs to be expanded. Or perhaps you never get the chance to even enjoy the outdoors and your own yard, so you’re resolving to make 2013 the year in which you truly enjoy the nature and beauty of your own property?
According to USA.gov, these are the most popular New Year’s Resolutions. Many involve improving health, such as getting fit and running more regularly.
Credit: Hryckowian on Flickr
Not surprisingly, there are also many popular resolutions revolving around enjoyment of life and luxuries, such as going on a trip or saving money toward other goals.
Many people start off the new year with good intentions to keep their resolutions, but according to a recent Forbes article, only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals. If you are in the majority, and have trouble sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions, here are 6 tips to keep you on task:
- Write it down. Physically writing down your resolutions or goals on paper, makes it more real. Commit your goals to writing can make you 33% more successful, according to a study by Dr. Gail Matthews at Dominican University of California.
- Get accountability. Ask a friend or family member to keep you accountable. Ask them to regularly call or e-mail to find out your progress on meeting your goals and sticking to your resolutions.
- Save up. If you haven’t budgeted for the project, start examining your finances and options as well as setting aside additional money each month.
- Set a timeline. Place dates and mark up your calendar or planner so you know when you to begin. For your home project you’ll need to allot time towards research, interviewing contractors and beginning the design process.
- Do your research. If your resolution is to finally tackle a big home improvement project, make sure you take the time to thoroughly research the company/contractor you hire. For your own protection, you’ll want to make sure they hold the proper contractor’s license. In Maryland you can check the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation website to search for contractor licenses here. You’ll also want to make sure the company is insured and verify their warranty protection.
- Stick to it. Don’t give up! If you start to lose steam toward meeting your timeline or accomplishing your goals, you can place a picture of your dream house project on your fridge or on your desk at work. Visualize your goals. Be realistic, but also work hard to achieve your goals and be a part of the 8%.
Take these simple steps to get your project on track and complete your New Year’s Resolution home improvement project before another New Year’s Eve transpires.
If you’re thinking about building a new deck, 3- or 4-season room, sun room, screened porch, patio, trellis, pergola, arbor or fire pit at your home in Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County or Prince Georges County MD, give us a call to discuss ideas. We’d love to help you with your next home renovation and help you check that off your New Year’s Resolution list! Our design consultation is free. Give us a call at 301-926-3001 or email us to schedule yours today.
Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy and Martha Stewart Living
It used to be said that every good party ends up in the kitchen. Nowadays, the best parties always end up outside. Nothing is more relaxing than going out on that perfect summer night. With a cool breeze, a glass of wine, perfect lighting, comfortable outdoor furniture, and engaging conversation, you just might have the party everyone remembers all year.
Once the party is over, you have your own private getaway to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Everyone knows that after working all day and battling DC traffic, you need to unwind. Leaving the televisions, iPads, iPhones, and all other distractions inside, come outside to relax by yourself, or surprise your spouse by just having a conversation. Having the perfect patio, deck, or porch allows you to extend your home outside. It is like a room out in nature.
I can already hear people saying, “what about the bugs?”
With our screened in patios, you can enjoy the outside completed protected. Our customers have told us that one of their favorite times to enjoy their screen in porch is when a storm is coming in. Completely protected from the rain and able to sit back and listen is an experience that a night on the couch will never duplicate. For our deck and patio customers, we have other solutions from our sister company, Mosquito Squad, to make certain the bugs never ruin an evening.
Besides the bugs, another concern people have is wondering if they will ever use their new outdoor living area. Who wants to invest money into a patio and never use it? When an outdoor living area is designed specially for you, you will wonder how your ever lived without it. It becomes our customer’s favorite part of their home.
If creating your own private getaway sounds like something you would like to at least explore, have us come out and see what options are available to you. If you’re thinking about building a new deck, 3- or 4-season room, sun room, screened porch, patio, trellis, pergola, arbor or fire pit at your home in Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County or Prince Georges County MD, give Archadeck of Central Maryland a call to discuss ideas. Our design consultation is free. You can call us at 301-926-3001 or email us to schedule yours today.
Maybe you can relate to this scenario… You move from your existing home into a home that offers more of what you need and want out of a house. The basis for your move may be a bigger home, a better address, a shorter commute to work or possibly all of the above. Once you get settled into your new location and it begins to feel like home you realize that the outdoor structure that you had at your previous home has been much more sorely missed than you would’ve ever imagined. Even though your interior living space exceeds your expectations, when you reminisce about the old deck and porch you left behind you find yourself humming the tune of the Michael Bolton song, ” how am I supposed to live without you”?
This is exactly what happened to these Chevy Chase, MD homeowners upon their recent move. They really enjoyed spending time outdoors and they found themselves in a most unfortunate circumstance; their wonderful new home had no outdoor living space at all. Their old home had a nice deck that they used frequently and they contacted us to get the ball rolling to design an outdoor space for them to help quench their thirst for outdoor living.
We set out to design an elegant and formal looking space for them that would incorporate a roomy new deck and open porch. The couple’s existing home is a two-story with a basement that grades up from one side to the other. Our challenge was to overcome the slope of the space as well as incorporate a large tree that the outdoor structures needed to harmonize with. Our solution was to concentrate our design on the homes rectilinear design to create a space that compliments the home, offers a comforting flow to and from the home’s interior spaces and lends itself to future projects in the back yard.
We are constructing a deck which also includes a large rectangular open porch which matches the architecture of the house. The area will tie together with a hip roof on an open porch. The open porch is six plus feet above the grade of the lot so they will enjoy insect control because of the elevation. The french doors that are being installed off the home’s dining room will spill out onto the porch and will also provide access to the family room addition which was added to the home a few years ago. We are flanking either side of the doors which will serve as eating and seating areas. From one side of the open porch the homeowner will have close proximity to the interior kitchen. We also designed the deck to include the family barbecue area in close proximity to the kitchen area for ease and convenience when entertaining or dining outdoors. Since one of the homeowner’s wishes is to focus on the elegance within the outdoor space, the columns will be trimmed to blend the front exterior of the home and will make the design refined, tight and cohesive.
The stunning deck is designed to allow for future projects in the backyard as the homeowners see fit. On the deck and open porch we are using Guardian Prestige in weather wood with Shoreline railings. The entire project was carved like a diamond out of the rough for these Chevy Chase, MD homeowners. Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County was able to overcome the designing obstacles with ease and perfection. The homeowners are eager to enjoy their completed deck and open porch for many years to come.
Contact Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County to find out how to create an outdoor oasis in your own backyard. We provide quality outdoor structures that will not only add value to your home, but enrich your life as well. (301) 926 – 3001
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See more deck and open porch designs by Visiting our Deck galleries and porch galleries located on our website.
You can probably feel the sting in your wallet every time you visit the pump to fill up. With the ever-increasing price of gas, many aspects within our economy can be affected. Gasoline is derived from crude oil, which is a commodity, and like many other commodities when demand is on the rise, the price goes up. Everything from hand lotion, to dish washing detergents and even frozen foods are made using derivatives of crude oil in one form or another, and when the demand from crude oil rises, so do the prices we pay for these everyday items.
One aspect that is affected by the rising price of crude oil, is composite decking materials. One major component that goes into creating composite decking is plastic and plastic is a bi-product of refining crude oil . The plastic is costing the composite manufacturers more so the composite prices will increase. Throughout the year the trend in rising crude oil prices fluctuates and intermittent pricing of materials that are derived from crude oil will be affected, however through past price hikes we have seen a trend in crude oil prices experiencing a brisk rise during the month of December in recent years. There is always an increase in composite deck materials which occurs twice a year. The increases are generally seen in December and during the mid-summer months. This means that deciding to go ahead and build that deck or outdoor structure you have had on hold now may save you quite a bit of green in the long run. Aside from the avoidance of rising composite prices, there are many other reasons why building your outdoor structure now, rather than later can benefit you greatly.
Not only will you avoid the long lines and waiting periods that usually accompany Spring construction, your structure will actually be ready for you and your family to use and enjoy in the Spring. You can enjoy the first blooms of spring from your deck or outdoor structure instead of saying, ” I wish we already had our outdoor structure up and running”. There are also fewer winter weather delays now than in the months of January and February. The cooler weather conditions also means the crews can work longer hours because of the absence of the summer heat which can sometimes create a longer than expected building deadline to occur if weather conditions are too hot and require more hydration breaks for the workers.
Another key aspect of choosing to build now is there is less damage caused to your turf and landscaping when materials and construction crews are upon it. Most plants and turf are dormant during the late fall and winter months which helps protect them from damage that may occur from construction, as well as cooler temperatures creating a firmer ground to work on with less risk of turf damage. Archadeck of Montgomery County also encourages homeowners to consider building now because of the savings that can be accrued by just the concrete aspect of your outdoor structure. During the cooler months concrete is being poured below the frost line which means you can use cold water concrete and this can be poured down into the lower single digit temperatures, and financially this comes out to a great deal for the homeowner.
If you are yearning and dreaming of a new deck, patio or other outdoor structure choosing to build now can mean a big difference in the savings, and in having your structure sooner than you could’ve imagined by avoiding the spring backlogs. Even choosing to wait until April or May to begin construction could put you into mid-summer having your structure completed. Right now Archadeck of Montgomery County is offering up to $2,500 off your project if you sign up before the end of 2011. Our offer gives you 10% off with a cap of $2,500, contact us for details.
Don’t wait any longer, wouldn’t the perfect outdoor structure be the perfect holiday gift for yourself and your family? Contact us today to get in on the savings, from the gas pump to your backyard. (301) 926 – 3001
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Imagine dreaming, planning and saving to build your outdoor structure. Imagine hiring what you think is a reputable builder to bring your dream patio, screened porch or deck to fruition, only to have the builder walk off the job with your structure half completed, never to return. Unfortunately, this scenario is becoming more and more common among the building industry. Now more than ever it is important for consumers to learn the true meaning of what it means when a builder is licensed and insured, which safeguards the homeowner from having this type of travesty from happening to you.
I recently had a call from Bel Air, MD where a homeowner had a contractor start a deck for her over a year ago. The contractor was a reputable builder that had been in business in her market for many years. The contractor then went “belly up” as a result of the recession. The builder had references and a good reputation, and the homeowner felt the builder she had hired did good work until her deck was halfway completed and the builder went out of business. The homeowner then had no protection because the builder’s insurance did not cover guaranteeing her deck would get 100% finished. Archadeck of Central Maryland went in and picked up the pieces and finished the homeowners deck to her complete satisfaction. Had she went with a company such as Archadeck from the beginning, this ordeal would have never happened because we are licensed and insured with Archadeck’s own National Guarantee Corporation which gives the homeowner a performance guarantee with no additional cost to homeowner. The frequency of these occurrences and scope of the problem is being felt nationwide according to national statistics.
According to recent data the 18 month recession which began in 2007 and formally ended in 2009 represents the longest economic downturn America has experienced since World War II. The NBEA, ( National Bureau of Economic Analysis) has noted that the economic recovery actually began in 2009, and they also noted that as of yet the economy has not returned to normal capacity. Among the hardest hit during this economic downturn are the contractors that make their living in various trades of building. From commercial to residential building, contractors are competing for less work and their failure rates are rising sharply. Some of the hardest hit are the “fly by night”, unlicensed and uninsured contractors. All over the country the failure rates for contractors that are not adequately licensed, permitted or insured are extremely high. The failure rate is impacting the entire genre of building as a whole. From bankruptcies and foreclosures, the wave of failure rates can be felt all the way down to the consumer, leaving unfinished structures and shattered dreams in their path.
This cannot happen when you choose to hire Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County to build your structure. We not only enjoy the benefit of being part of a national company that’s nearly 25 years old. But, we have an unprecedented guarantee in the business. We GUARANTEE that your project will be finished. Even if the unforeseen were to happen like someone in the family falls ill or I get stuck in Saskatchewan and can’t get back, someone else will step in from Archadeck and finish your job. We know that things happen. We’ve seen it happen everywhere in this recession. But you can have the most peace of mind with Archadeck. We are a fully funded corporation, guaranteed – I have been the chairman of the board for two of my last six years on the board and I am still board member. Not one single customer has been left holding the bag in the six years that we’ve had the corporation.
We offer protection for homeowners that no other contractor can provide and ensures project completion. Our guarantee also includes a two-year structural guarantee and a one year workmanship and material guarantee. This is why we call our warranties a “performance guarantee”. We also have million dollar liability protection and all of our worker’s are covered by workman’s compensation which means that if a worker gets hurt while working on your structure, you are not held liable for any injuries or medical bills that may incur from an accident or injury.
If you are ready to turn that dream of an outdoor structure into a reality in your own backyard by a builder that will stick by you through thick and thin and see that your outdoor structure comes to completion in all it’s glory, contact Archadeck of Central Maryland or Archadeck of Montgomery County today to learn more.
(301) 926 – 3001
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