What is the cost per square foot of Trex composite decking in Charlotte, NC?

Most people have no idea how much a deck should cost when they are planning on either replacing their deck or building a new one. There is a lot of bad information and misunderstandings about what the cost per square foot should be and even if is that is all there is to pricing a composite deck.

Let’s start with common sense. If I called you and asked you how much a square foot you charged to install for example Trex Transcends composite decking and you gave me a straight forward answer like $35 per square foot, I would expect to pay $6,720 for a 12′ x 16′ standard size deck, right? WRONG!

Think about all the variables. How many feet off the ground is the deck going to be, in other-words, how many steps will need to be constructed? What size joists will be required based on the height? What size columns will be required? Am I expecting the deck boards to be laid on a diagonal or parallel to the house? What about rail, does the house project around 1,2, or 3 sides of where deck will be built? This affects the amount of rail necessary! There are so many variations of rails with very different price points. What about fascia or trim around the perimeter of the deck? Is it expected to be composite as well? What about lattice or skirting under the deck?

Trex Transcends Spiced Rum photo at Lake Norman in North Carolina with Trex Transcends black rail and a custom bench

Trex Transcends Spiced Rum photo at Lake Norman in North Carolina with Trex Transcends black rail and a custom bench

When people ask how much a square foot do you charge and someone answers with a number, that is when you should be very suspect. As you can see from the above scenario, you have little idea what you are going to get based on that question alone. Think through what you really want or consult with a deck expert to get advice to help you better understand what you need and don’t need. The real question is what is the total investment you will need to make in order to get the features and benefits that you desire in a deck. The only way to truly determine that is to ask the appropriate questions. For more advice, go to http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com

Trex Transcends deck and rail with vertical deck skirting and an outdoor kitchen by Archadeck of Charlotte

Trex Transcends deck and rail with vertical deck skirting and an outdoor kitchen by Archadeck of Charlotte

Great Deck Plans and Deck Designs for backyards in Charlotte

We are often asked for deck plans or deck designs for various backyards in the greater Charlotte, NC market. Our deck plans have been developed over the past 27 years and take many things into consideration.

Decks overlooking water:

A deck plan to overlook water whether it’s Lake Norman, Lake Wylie, Overlook Mountain, or simply a pool is all about the rail! When we put together a deck plan that have a scenic overlook, we want to minimize the line of sight obstacles so as to maximize the view. This can be done through either glass rail, cable rail, thin metal, and so forth. A great way to to maximize the view from the inside of your home is to lower the deck level so it does not osbcure the view from inside the house.

Large Decks for maximum entertaining:

While multi-level decks are beautiful and visually appealing, a functional deck design to maximize space means keeping the entire or most of the deck on one level. This way you can easily arrange furniture, grills and smokers, accessories, and so forth without worrying about a step-down. If you want a small private area for an intimate gathering while all the same time having a lot of space to entertain, building an octagonal off-shoot with it’s own benching is a great touch or perhaps a 10’x10′ recessed area off to one side will do the trick.

Aesthetically Pleasing Decks:

Curves and clipped corners really add to the visual appeal of a deck. Knowing where to place them so you do not cut down on a lot of your square footage is key and consulting a design professional. Here is where multi-level decks really make sense. You can also utilize multiple colors with picture frame borders and decorative insets that really differentiate your deck from any other! We love to design unique decks and have a showroom to show off the options at 2311 Village Lake Drive in Charlotte, NC 28212.

Trex Transcends deck and fire pit by Archadeck of Charlotte

Trex Transcends deck and fire pit by Archadeck of Charlotte

Trex Transcends composite deck and rail by Archadeck of Charlotte

Trex Transcends Tiki Torch with Trex Transcends Vintage Lantirn skirting and black pvc capped composite rail and an outdoor kitchen on the deck by Archadeck of Charlotte

TimberTech Earthwoods Rosewood Composite deck and rail

Multi-level and pattern composite deck design by Archadeck with composite rail

How to build a Charlotte deck…the Archadeck way!

Multi-level deck with stone outdoor fireplace by Archadeck of Charlotte

Multi-level deck with stone outdoor fireplace by Archadeck of Charlotte

At the risk of teaching all of you “do-it-yourselfer’s” how to properly construct a deck, it is worth it to us to make sure that whatever is built by whomever, is done so with safety first!

Decks do require building permits in North and South Carolina.

Archadeck has been designing and building decks for over 25 years and literally has over 23,000 decks built here in the Charlotte area. Here are some guidelines formed from our experience:

1. Ground conditions are a very important factor to start with. If there is a lot of fill dirt where you are going to place your footings, you may need a soil engineer to design a proper footing that will disperse the weight load so that your deck does not begin to sink. If there is soft or bull tallow soil, the same remedy applies.

2. It all starts with your footings. In North Carolina, we typically dig 12″ – 24″ or until we find solid soil if possible. Then you can either purchase 16″x16″ cinder blocks and make sure your 6×6 columns are placed squarely on the blocks before filling in the dirt over and around them. You may also need to add concrete depending on the conditions of the soil, the height of the deck, lateral bracing constraints, and so forth

3. Once you have passed your footing inspection, it is time to start framing. We typically will use either 2×8 or 2×10 floor joists that will attach to a 2×12 band or ledger boards we tie into the actual house if the house is on a crawl space. If the house is built on a slab, that we are forced to build what is referred to as a “free-standing” deck meaning we will add footers up next to the house wall. If we are cutting into a vinyl or fiber cement sided house, we need to purchase and install metal flashing to avoid having moisture get in behind the siding and rotting the house wall.

3. We typically will purchase pressure-treated wood deck boards that are 5/4×6 in dimension and screw them down. We space our floor joists 16″ on center unless we are using composite decking and laying the boards on a diagonal, then we will space them 12″ on center.

4. We use a 12″ fascia board to hide the ends of the decking boards to create a clean finish around the perimeter of the deck

5. Rail is required here in North Carolina once the height of the deck is 30″ above grade or greater. The standard rail height minimum is 36″. There a vast amount of choices of rail systems ranging from custom made to kits.

6. If you are installing dried lumber (that is our preference), it is important to have the deck sealed/stained shortly after installation to protect the deck itself. We find Cabot or the proprietary stain from Renew Crew to be quite effective and protecting the wood decking.

If you’re considering adding a deck to your Charlotte area home, we would love if you would give us a call for a free consultation at (704) 944 – 1350.

This si a good example of Renew Crew of Charlotte can clean and protect wood decking

This is a good example of Renew Crew of Charlotte can clean and protect wood decking

Ipe Brazilian Hardwood Decking is becoming popular for Lake Wylie decks

Archadeck of Charlotte designs and builds over 1,000 decks each year throughout the greater Charlotte area that includes Lake Wylie, South Carolina.

Deck species vary from the least expensive option of pressure-treated wood Southern-yellow pine, cedar, composite decking, bamboo decking, and Brazilian hardwood decking such as Ipe (pronounced ee-pay). It is easily recognized for it’s beauty and if you have ever held a piece of Ipe, you would notice the extreme density of the board.

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built this beautiful screen porch using Ipe Brazilian hardwood decking as the porch floor

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built this beautiful screen porch using Ipe Brazilian hardwood decking as the porch floor

The board comes in a tongue and groove design that is best utilized inside a screen porch or sunroom as pictured above. It truly brings out a finished and can be highlighted as a rustic deck.

This Ipe deck was built by Archadeck of Charlotte and utilized a powder-coated aluminum balluster by Dekorators with a twist in the spindle for added character

This Ipe deck was built by Archadeck of Charlotte and utilized a powder-coated aluminum balluster by Dekorators with a twist in the spindle for added character

Ipe decking can have a variety of rail systems to mix with it. In the above captioned deck, we used pressure-treated wood posts with an Ipe rail cap and mixed in Deckorator aluminum balusters that are low-maintenance.
Ipe does not rot and does not even need staining if you like the look of weathered wood. If you want the rich deep look it has when applied, you will want to keep it oiled with very specific treatments. If you would like further information on Ipe decking or care and maintenance, go to http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com

Looking to build a deck in Charlotte?

Are you looking to build a deck in Charlotte? Here are some tips from the largest single deck builder in the Carolinas?Image

First, do your research! Go and look at at least 3 – 4 decks that the deck builder has done NEAR your home. This will insure he knows the local building codes, the landscape of the area, and you can find out how the experience was with the homeowner’s. Secondly, think about materials you may want to use on the deck. Whether you want the authentic look of a real wood deck, the low-maintenance of a composite deck like Trex, or the exquisite beauty of a Brazilian hardwood material such as Ipe.

Charlotte deck building continues to expand into alternative designs and elevations. It is now common to see multi-level decks, decks with built in outdoor kitchens and fire features, and deck lighting is more popular than ever! When you look to build a deck in Charlotte, check out the following web site for great deck photo’s:  www.charlotte.archadeck.com

Composite Decks the latest technology and the best bets!

Consumers really have a difficult time getting through all of the information on the various brands, technology, and styles of low-maintenance composite decks that are available. This blog will help you the consumer make some sense out of all of this and share with you the best bets from a nationally recognized custom deck builders perspective!

Trex invented the category of composite decking over 15 years ago. The category started with a combination of reclaimed wood and low-density polyethelene that was produced as a “no maintenance” deck board. Shortly thereafter, the demand grew and so did the competition with brands like Choice Deck, Smart Deck, Timber Tech, and so on. By 2003, there were over 40 different composite manufacturers all competing for shelf space at the local levels. Like any other high growth category, there needed to be a “weeding out” of competition and let the strong survive. In addition, there were inherit problems with the technology and what the consumer wanted. The deck board while “low-maintenance” certainly was not “no-maintenance”. Most of the boards had a propensity to scratch easily, stain, and fade.  A smaill company called Procell came along with no wood in their formulation at all and quickly started to make a name for themselves as they could promote even lower maintenace as the board did not scratch or stain. Most of the major players jumped into this “ultra-low maintenance” category by removing all wood from their product and mostly PVC. There are still some flaws with the value proposition as it looks a little too fake and the price was even higher than the original composite materials.

    Last year (2009) Trex introduced an “ultra-low maintenance” board called Transcends that put them back in the leadership role in the industry. This product combined the value proposition of an all pvc board and the original composite through taking the original technology as the main part of the board and putting a pvc and acrylic cap stock around it to provide protection from staining, fading, and scratching. In addition, the board has an attractive wood grain with great colors that meet today’s consumers tastes. TimberTech is now introducing Earthwoods Evolutions that also is a capped product with a great color pallet. Both the Trex Transcends and the TimberTech Evolutions feature the latest technology with a strong value proposition without the exorbitant price of an all PVC board! Archadeck of Charlotte is one of the nations largest custom deck builders. We can use any of the boards available but only want to feature products that are produced by well financed companies that can back up their claims. Check out our photo galleries to see these products and many complimentary outdoor living products.  http://charlotte.archadeck.com  or http://archadeckofcharlotte.com

Trex Transcends composite decking is catching on in Charlotte

At Archadeck of Charlotte, we get asked daily to recommend a brand of composite decking. Since we are a design/build company, we can use any of the brands out there. Out of the 40 plus manufacturers of composite decking, there are only a few that we are comfortable with in terms of availability, the company that stands behind the product, and the performance. Trex has been around the longest and invented the category. Until recently, we had been reluctant to market their product due to mildew and staining issues. Last fall I was introduced to their new Trex Transcends product and was quite impressed. They found a way to wrap their composite product with a PVC and Acrylic capstock. This allowed them to put a great warranty against staining and fading on the product. We are now actively marketing this and it has caught on very quickly! There are 4 attractive colors and an authentic wood grain that give it a nice appearance. The performance is what we are most excited about! See our photo gallery at either of our web sites…  http://www.archadeckofcharlotte.com    or  http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com