Is Cedar a good choice for decking or screen porches in North and South Carolina?

We field thousands of questions each year around which materials are best suited for our climate here in North Carolina and South Carolina. The products we specify are used for screen porches, pergola’s, decks, exterior cladding, etc….

One of the products that generates many questions is Cedar. Cedar is a beautiful product with many great qualities that includes a natural grain and beautiful knots that give it a rustic character. To get the best authentic look at Cedar, you would want to stain it rather than paint it as the paint hides some of these characteristics. You can use cedar as a time accent, a structural member, or a decking.

Here in the Carolina’s, we typically see cedar used more for wide decorative columns on a pergola or holding up an open porch than anything else. There are two major pitfalls with cedar. One is that cedar is not pressure-treated and will rot over time. The second is that cedar is quite costly relative to pine. We are a natural grower of pine and so there is no real freight charge where we live and it keeps that price on the low end.

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built this cedar pergola in south Charlotte with a fieldstone outdoor kitchen and Green Egg

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built this cedar pergola in south Charlotte with a fieldstone outdoor kitchen and Green Egg

With our moist climate, we do get a lot of wood rot in the Carolina’s. It is important to keep the cedar stained. To see a great variety of wood species and design ideas, go to

What are my best options for shade structures in NC/SC?

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Stone Outdoor Fireplace in Charlotte on patio in porch

Most people in the Carolinas at some point are looking for shade options for their backyard. Whether it is to cover a patio, cover a deck, or even an outdoor kitchen, people want protection from the elements.

There are many options to achieve this depending on budget, architectural concerns, and size. Pergolas, arbors, and trellis’ are words often used interchangeably that are relatively inexpensive options to provide some shade. They are generally custom built in materials that range from wood to vinyl. They are not rain resistant but can be with the appropriate covers that are now available on the market. You can purchase fabric for the top of the pergola, aluminum ceilings that install under the rafters, and even polycarbonate roof sheathing that allows lights into the structure but does stop rain from coming through.

Retractable awnings provide wonderful shade protection and are available in a wide variety of colors and sizes.

Solid roofs or what we refer to as covered patios or covered decks (“Open Porches”) are going to be more expensive but ultimately provide the most protection from all of the elements. They can be designed and built with matching roof shingles to your home, matching gutters, and matching soffit and fascia that will make the cover to appear to be a natural extension of the house!

Archadeck of Charlotte is a custom builder of shade structures and outdoor living spaces, to see a large photo gallery of options, go to

Covered Pergolas over deck and patios in Charlotte

What is the use of a pergola? We get asked that all of the time when we are consulting homeowners on different design options for the backyards! One of the more aesthetically pleasing ways to cover a deck or patio is with a pergola. Pergolas can provide great shade with or without a fabric cover. By spacing the wood closer, pergolas actually block out quite a bit of sun and keep you cooler. If our customers wants total sun blockage, we can install a weather proof attractive fabric that goes on rollers below the ceiling rafters of the pergola. There are many desing options for pergolas that one should consider. The width and height of the columns, the cuts on the ends of the rafters, the decorative detail on the top and bottom of the posts all play a part in making your pergola more fitting for your home. There are also material choices that come into play that really drive the cost up or down depending on low maintenance materials or the type of wood selected for the project. For more information, please visit either of the two web sites below: