Tips to Build An Eco-Friendly Deck or Patio

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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

2013 Top Home Improvement Trends for Decks and Outdoor Living Space Materials

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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.

PVC

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.

Cap Stock

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!

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandArchadeck 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.

Fill ‘er up with a new deck this year. What does the price of gas have to do with your new deck?

Archadeck of Central Maryland AZEK deck

This deck by Archadeck of Central Maryland is constructed from AZEK, a composite decking material that looks lovely against the backdrop of autumn leaves.

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.

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This composite deck with pergola by Archadeck of Maryland, is just one example of the many outdoor structures we can have ready for you by spring.

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.

An outdoor oasis by Archadeck of Maryland

An outdoor oasis by Archadeck of Maryland

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.

GuardDeck Guardian Elite decking Maryland

GuardDeck Guardian Elite composite decking by Archadeck of Maryland

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.

Composite deck by Archadeck

This deck by Archadeck shows the beauty that can be yours with a composite deck.

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.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandDon’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
centralmaryland@archadeck.net or montgomeryco@archadeck.net

For more beautiful composite and PVC deck designs, visit our composite and PVC deck photo gallery on our website.

This Gaithersburg screen porch and deck combination takes memorable to a new level

Gaithersburg screen porch

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The slideshow above gives a glimpse of what our design meeting will be like. When we propose and illustrate a solution to our clients, we show them a true-to-life rendering and show it from the various important angles so the homeowners know exactly what they will be getting.

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This Gaithersburg screen porch and deck combination lends plenty of room for rest and relaxation

These Gaithersburg  homeowners came to us with a full walkout basement on their 18-20 year old existing home and asked that we create a screened porch and deck combination that they can enjoy everyday. They wanted the type that would transport them back to a time when the days moved a little slower and the pressures of the everyday were non-existent. They wanted the design to provide functionality and style. We were able to give these homeowners both with a rustic screen porch that is reminiscent of the screened porches we enjoyed when we were all children. The kind of structure that takes you back to a time of fewer worries, more fun and a lot more time to relax.

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This angle of the custom design rendering shows how Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County solved the roof height concern.

When we first began construction on this Gaithersburg screened porch, we were concerned because the roof lines were a challenge with the garage roof being one story and the existing home being a two-story roof. Wherein lies the challenge that half the roof was over the garage and half was over the home.  We love the challenge in overcoming even the most difficult challenges to find a design solution. We utilize design software to help us illustrate these challenges once we create a design solution to fit the homeowners’ needs and design challenges.  We were able to present these Gaithersburg homeowners with a professional design rendering that encompassed everything they wanted and more. This is perhaps the most fun part of the job – being able to come up with creative solutions.

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The new location of the stairs adds more accessibility into the backyard.

Our solution was to re-structure the homeowners’ existing deck to support the weight of the screened porch. We then enlarged the deck to provide a barbecue area adjacent to the screened porch.We usually find that when homeowners add a screened porch to their deck area they don’t need as much of an open outdoor area as they would if they did not have the advantages of a screened porch. Homeowners end up utilizing their deck space for a barbecue or grilling area and additional seating and dining. We then relocated the stairs to provide access to the backyard. The enlarged deck was then  re-decked with TimberTech composite decking in beautiful twin plank in redwood. This color choice adds to the rustic charm of the entire structure. To complement the new deck, we used black Deckorators balusters.

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This Gaithersburg screened porch is big on rustic detailing and style

The screened porch is designed with an open screened gable to provide ample light and ventilation. This open and airy design element is further carried out with the use of open, exposed rafters. The combination of the exposed rafters and the open design of this screened porch gives it a country casual, rustic feel that is really popular among screen porch owners right now. Rustic never goes out of style, they are just more detailed versions of the beloved screen porches our parents had growing up.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandIf you are ready to be transported back in time to a time period when you could breathe easier and time seemed to stand still, the addition of a magical outdoor structure may be the answer. Contact Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County to plan, design and build an unforgettable outdoor structure to make new memories within. (301) 926 – 3001
montgomeryco@archadeck.net or centralmaryland@archadeck.net

Composite, PVC or Capstock Decking? That is the question.

Composite deck by Archadeck

This deck by Archadeck shows the beauty that can be yours with a composite deck.

Composite, PVC and capstock decking materials are fairly new to most of us although they are trusted and true materials in the world of outdoor structures. You may have heard about all of these different types of expensive, fancy and maybe good decking materials, but the dilemma is how does the homeowner make sense of it all?

How to decide?

When selecting a material for your new deck or re-decking needs, the variance in selection can make this task quite daunting. Archadeck of Maryland wants the task of selecting the right material for your individual needs to be an easy and pleasant experience, this is why we have taken the three basic types of decking materials and broken them down to explain the basic components and functions of each group.

Composites ( also known as synthetics) are by far the oldest decking product on the market. Composites have been around for quite a few years, and being the oldest means all, or most, of the “kinks” have been worked out with this product. Over the years we have watched this product improve greatly in appearance as well as durability. Many composites promise the best of everything, from stain resistance to low maintenance and a myriad of other benefits. Because there are now so many choices and options within the realm of composites, we want to quell the fears of the unknown by giving homeowners a simple and concise picture of what these types of decking are and the pros and cons of each.

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Composite deck with pergola by Archadeck of Maryland

Composite decking material requires a lot less maintenance than its solid wood counterparts – even those treated with preservatives. Composites can be made to emulate the look of real wood, with wood graining that in a quality composite can rival the real thing. A high quality composite can also inhibit the growth of mold and mildew by the addition of mold inhibitors present in the makeup of the composite.

Composites can be cleaned by simple soap and water cleanup. If stains sit for a period of time, they may take a little more effort to clean. There are many good composite cleaners on the market. As with any deck that contains natural derivatives you will still have to contend with fading, scratching and dirt. Composites, even though they do require maintaining, do no compare with the chore of staining and painting on an annual basis that is necessary with a pressure treated or other entirely wooden deck.

One composite brand we use quite a bit of is Fiberon Professional. Fiberon Professional requires no painting, staining or sealing. It comes in rich colors and is resistant to termites, splinters and decay.

Fiberon Professional color options

Fiberon Professional color options

TimberTech is another well-known brand of composite decking. Their line offers scratch, stain and fade resistance that carries a 25 year warranty. TimberTech,  like the majority of the leading composite manufacturers has created stunning similarities with the appearance of the composites with wood graining and details that closely resemble the look of real wood. In the case of these quality composites it is like real wood, but even better.

AZEK deck by Archadeck of Maryland

This AZEK deck is accented with a TimberTech radiance rail.

PVC Decking

Cellular PVC decking is very high performance and similarly is most often the more expensive option. PVC decking materials have fade and stain protection through their warranties. PVC is a solid cellular plastic. This makeup creates a non porous and denser decking material. PVC decking only requires minimal maintenance. It will not fade, warp, crack, splinter or stain. PVC is also moisture friendly and is used heavily around pools, spas and as a docking material.

Guardeck Elite PVC decking Maryland

Guardeck Elite PVC decking Maryland

When you think in terms of the price point when choosing any decking material, Archadeck of Maryland urges the homeowner to take the long-term investment into consideration when choosing the material for your deck. PVC has superior protection because of the 25 year stain and fade warranties that some PVC manufacturers offer, but that type of quality does cost a bit more. We really like Guardian Elite decking and use it quite a bit.

GuardDeck Guardian Elite decking Maryland

GuardDeck Guardian Elite decking Maryland

Guardian Elite decking offers very strong fade, stain and moisture resistance. It does not require any painting, staining or sealing – ever. No splinters. No cracking or rotting. And, it’s resistant to mold, mildew, fungus, moss – and even insects.

Fiberon Horizon is a  product that we have used many times and has proven itself as a superior PVC material. This product uses PermaTech innovation to offer superior stain and fade protection and only requires soap and water cleanup. There are other PVC brands on the market as well such as AZEK and TimberTech XLM just to name a few.

Fiberon deck with vinyl pergola

This Fiberon deck is breathtaking when accented by this vinyl pergola.

What is capstock?

Capstock is the newest material on the market. It is made up of a proprietary PVC polymer shell and contains a composite wood and recycled plastic core. It is considered a composite decking material but boasts a durable PVC shell. It is also known as a composite hybrid, as well as being referred to as capstock decking. These products are being backed with some of the best warranties in the business, therefore we expect good things from Capstock products.

Guardian Prestige Deck

Guardian Prestige Deck in Weathered Wood

As far as capstock goes, we really like Guardian Prestige and Fiberon Horizon. The Guardian Prestige line has advanced fade, stain and scratch resistance. Like other composites and capstocks, it requires no painting, staining or sealing. Guardian Prestige has a very nice realistically embossed woodgrain. On top of that, it’s made right here in the USA.

Guardian Prestige Decking Colors

Guardian Prestige Decking Colors

Guardian Prestige comes in four colors: Pewter, Weathered Wood which you see above, Cedar and Walnut.

Another really strong capstock decking material is called Fiberon Horizon. The Fiberon Horizon line offers the look of tropical hardwoods with some of its darker colors including Ipe, Rosewood and Tudor Brown.

Fiberon Horizon color options

Fiberon Horizon color options

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandIf you are considering a deck of composite, PVC or capstock, contact Archadeck of Maryland to help you decide which material is the best for you and your family. Our knowledgeable and talented team can pair you up with the deck of your dreams. Call (301) 926 – 3001 or email us at centralmaryland@archadeck.net

Sneak preview of this in progress transformation in Silver Spring, MD

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Canyon blend pavers by Fendt, add a rustic touch to this transformation

Red is one of the most powerful of all the warm colors used in design and these homeowners in Silver Spring MD are in the midst of a wonderful transformation within their backyard by transforming their less than functional  and unattractive hardscape into one that whispers  relaxation along with the rustic hues of red they chose for this endeavor.

These homeowners are busy professionals and have two teen-aged sons, so they wanted the backyard to promote relaxation and fun so their family could make the most out of the time they spend together. They decided upon a screened stand-alone gazebo, a patio with a seating area which encompasses a fire pit, a deck,  a hot tub with loads privacy, and an outdoor grill/kitchen area. This construction is “in progress”, but once completed will be the perfect family hot spot or a great place to spend a “stay-cation”.

Silver Spring patio deck gazebo and pergola design rendering plan

Each Archadeck of Maryland client gets a design rendering showing exactly what their project will look like. This is the plan for this Silver Spring backyard.

Archadeck of Maryland had a difficult challenge to overcome because the yard slopes as it descends into the back, and the deck inside corner portrays close proximity to the family room and kitchen, the family room is actually two steps down to the kitchen. It was tough to incorporate the deck and it’s traffic flow with these close quarters. The homeowners did not want to drop the deck down to the latter level because that would entail having three steps down. We were able to make it all fit together as you will see in the design rendering submitted for this structure.

Silver Spring deck patio gazebo in progress

Still in progress... We are finishing up the gazebo, deck and patio.

The screened, stand alone gazebo is going to be placed at a 45 degree angle with arches in between the screened panel opening for a stunning effect. The color palette chosen by these homeowners is stunning as well, with hues of brick-red, and red tones used alongside grays for a beautiful rustic feel.

These Silver Spring, MD homeowners chose a Guardian Guardeck in a brick, red-toned color. The paver color they chose is called, Canyon Blend, and it will blend in the red tones with the gray stone. The paver in made by Fendt, and is part of their Spectrum Collection. The fire pit is going to be finished with Onyx red, and the grill will be finished in Onyx natural. The fire pit is gas so we will be running a gas line to it. The homeowners had to get the meter updated to accommodate the fire pit running off the gas line from the house.

We are really excited to see the finished product for these Silver Spring, MD homeowners. Stay tuned for more pictures to come on this glorious project.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandIf you are thinking of a transformation in your own backyard, contact Archadeck of Maryland to find out more  at (301) 926 – 3001 or email us at centralmaryland@archadeck.net  and don’t forget to visit our photo galleries to see design ideas and pictures from other stunning outdoor structures.

Take a look at our Archadeck of Central Maryland website.

Switch over to “Island time” with a new pool or spa deck from Archadeck of Maryland

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Trex composite deck and railing over spa by Archadeck of Maryland

It’s that time of the year, when the weather is hot and the living is easy. The kids are on summer break, and summer is a time when the whole world moves just a little slower, more relaxed, a time for friends family and the great outdoors. A great way to cool off, slow down and have a little summer fun is to take a dip in the pool, and a great way to add beauty and accessibility to your pool or spa is with a custom pool or spa deck from Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County.

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Pool and spa deck combination in Trex composite by Archadeck of Maryland

Pool and spa decking can play a huge role in the aesthetics and range of uses for your pool or spa. A well planned and executed pool or spa deck can transform your pool area into an extension of your living space. A place you want to spend time on even when you aren’t using your pool or spa. There are a wide variety of shapes and styles available to complement your area and a wide range of quality materials to construct your outdoor oasis from. One such material is composite decking which lends itself to use around a pool or spa because of all the attributes it carries.

Composite pool decks such as this can transform your backyard into a spa-like oasis

Composite pool decks such as this can transform your backyard into a spa-like oasis

Composite decking materials such as Trex, AZEK, TimberTech, and Fiberon are mold and mildew resistant and won’t fade or warp from exposure to the summer sun.  Composites come in a multitude of finishes, some so close to real wood you have to reach down and touch it to know the difference. Many of today’s composites are made with slip resistance in mind, providing a safer decking material to use around pools and spas. Composites won’t retain heat or splinter on those hot summer days, so they are easy on the feet as well as on the eye. Leaders in the composite decking industry have warranted their decking boards for as much as 30 years, proof positive that composites are the real deal.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandIf you are ready to move your clock over to “Island time” with the addition of a luxurious and hassle free pool or spa deck contact Archadeck of Central Maryland and Montgomery County  to find out more. If you live in the areas listed below call us to discuss your next pool, spa or water feature deck or living area ideas call 301-926-3001 or email us at centralmaryland@archadeck.net or you can also email us at montgomeryco@archadeck.net

Check to see if we cover your area. Here is a list of the locations we cover:

Montgomery County, MD
Ashton, Aspen Hill, Barnesville, Beallsville, Bethesda, Boyds, Brinklow, Brookeville, Burtonsville, Cabin John, Chevy Chase, Clarksburg, Cloverly, Colesville, Comus, Damascus, Darnestown, Derwood, Dickerson, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Glen Echo, Glenmont, Hillandale, Hyattstown, Kensington, Laytonsville, Leisure World, Montgomery Village, Montgomry Vlg, N Bethesda, N Potomac, Norbeck, North Bethesda, North Potomac, Olney, Poolesville, Potomac, Rockville, Sandy Spring, Silver Spring, Somerset, Spencerville, Sunshine, Takoma Park, Takoma Pk, Unity, Westlake, Wheaton

Anne Arundel, Howard, Prince Georges Counties, MD

Annapolis, Annapolis Junction, Aspen Hill, Baltimore, Beltsville, Bowie, Brooklyn, Brunswick, Catonsville, Cheltenham, Clarksville, Clifton East End, Colesville, College Park, Columbia, Crofton, Crownsville, Daniels, Davidsonville, Dayton, Eastport, Edgewater, Edgewater Bch, Elkridge, Ellicott, Ellicott City, Fort Washington, Frederick, Fulton, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Glen Burnie, Glenarden, Glenelg, Glenwood, Glyndon, Granite, Greenbelt, Hagerstown, Hanover, Harmans, Henryton, Highland, Hunt Valley, Ilchester, Jessup, Kettering, Knoxville, Lake Shore, Largo, Laurel, Lineboro, Lisbon, Loch Raven, Lutherville, Lutherville Timonium, Manchester, Millersville, Mitchellville, Montpelier, Oella, Olney, Oxon Hill, Pasadena, Pikesville, Reisterstown, Riviera Beach, Rockville, Savage, Scaggsville, Severn, Severna Park, Sherwood Forest, Silver Spring, Simpsonville, Timonium, Towson, Upper Marlboro, Uppr Marlboro, W Friendship, West Friendship, Westminster, Woodbine, Woodstock

Fiberon composite deck in Montgomery County MD

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Fiberon composite deck with white railing by Archadeck of Maryland

In the world of decks composites are leading the way in strength, durability and aesthetic appeal. This deck and pergola combination by Archadeck of Maryland in no exception. This deck was built of Fiberon. Fiberon like other composite brands enjoys the benefits of low maintenance, fade and stain resistance, water and mildew resistance and hues that match the natural beauty of real wood.

Fiberon Horizon Ipe color decks Maryland

Fiberon Horizon decking board in Ipe color used by Archadeck of Maryland

Composite decks give you the freedom and flexibility to create a myriad of outdoor structures in all shape and sizes. Upkeep and maintenance on composite decks is limited to washing it twice a year to remove any dirt or pollen. This can usually be achieved with as little effort as sweeping.

Composites such as Fiberon are earth friendly as well, being constructed of recycled materials. You get a deck as strikingly beautiful as it is carefree deck!  Composite decking uses polymer technology and high density polyethylene resin.

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Composite deck with pergola by Archadeck of Maryland

This particular construction is stunning with the contrast of the wood hues against the white railing. We also created separate spaces for grilling and entertaining by utilizing a step down area for these homeowners.  The pergola adds a design element and a defining focal point for the structure. This deck is definitely the place to be all season long.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandIf you are considering a deck in your near future, composites are a solid choice in decking. Give Archadeck of Maryland a call to design and construct your deck. We have many composite decking choices to choose from right at your fingertips. 301-926-3001