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

People are telling me I can’t build a roof over my Charlotte deck or patio, what can I do?

Unfortunately, there is lots of advice being given on what can and can not be built by many inexperienced contractors and wanna be contractors. Most of the time, with little exception, there are ways to construct roofs over decks and patio’s even though you cannot visualize how it would tie in both aesthetically and functionally.

Having constructed thousands of screen porches throughout Charlotte,NC over the past 27 years, we can both show and tell you fist hand how it can be possible.

Most of the obstacles can be narrowed down to windows that may be in the way of where you want to tie in the roof line or the house has different protruding roof lines that would appear to interfere with constructing an additional roof over the space.

It takes some visual imagination and construction know how, but there is almost always a way to tie a roof in over a deck or patio you can block the sun and have a pretty outdoor living space.

We look at the general architecture of the house to see where your windows are, what the current roof lines look like, take into account how much light might get blocked out of your house by adding a roof line, and finally any drainage issues that may occur as a result of the additional roof. Once we assess these issues, we can come up with creative and functional roof lines that make it appear the roof was there when the house was originally built, which is always the goal. I have attached a few of the projects we have built to give you some ideas of how you can cover a deck or patio that has seemingly difficult roof lines to deal with or large windows. In addition the photos, you can also visit http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com and go to the photo gallery and seek out both screen porches and covered patios to see wonderful ideas!

Archadeck designed this covered pool patio with a difficult roof line in Charlotte

Archadeck designed this covered pool patio with a difficult roof line in Charlotte

Screen Porch by Archadeck of Charlotte with outdoor fireplace and pergola

Screen Porch by Archadeck of Charlotte with outdoor fireplace and pergola

Stunning 2-story sunroom by Archadeck utilizing unique architectural design to overcome a difficult roof line

Stunning 2-story sunroom by Archadeck utilizing unique architectural design to overcome a difficult roof line

Have to clean the pollen off of your screen porch? Not with EZE Breeze Windows!

We have turned the calendar to a new year, in North Carolina,  spring will be in site in just a couple of months! Each and every year our city of Charlotte gets bombarded with the greenish yellow powder that gets everywhere better known as pollen.

If you own a screen porch and like to be outside in the spring, it is nasty to have this powder all over your furniture, dining table, and porch floor. What do people do to remedy this? The cleaning is not fun because you are never quite sure when the pollen will stop and the particles are so fine that they get right through the screen.

A great solutions is a retractable screen porch window system called EZE Breeze windows made by PGT Industries out of Florida. These are constructed of a sturdy powder-coated aluminum frame that has a lifetime warranty and then with  “memory-vinyl” window panes that are both durable and clear. Archadeck of Charlotte has distributed the product for years and it has done nothing but grow in popularity. Whether the home is valued at $250,000 or $2mm, the product is stylish and functional.

Once you enclose the porch with the EZE Breeze windows, they prevent the pollen from spreading all over your porch. When the pollen season is over, you simply slide the windows up or down and they retract returning your porch to screen room. There are great videos on You Tube on the Archadeck of Charlotte channel that really show how the windows operate!

Additional benefits to the product include the fact that they keep rain out, dirt out, and can extend your outdoor living season! I have personally installed them in my porch and can testify that they have converted our porch from a screen porch to a fully functional outdoor space!

Screen Porch with EZ Breeze windows and stone outdoor fireplace

Stone outdoor fireplace with EZ Breeze windows in screen porch

Screen porch with EZE Breeze windows and pressure-treated wood steps

Screen porch with EZE Breeze windows and pressure-treated wood steps

I want a screen porch but I am worried about blocking the light out of my Charlotte home?

A big concern for people wanting a screen porch added to the back of their home is how much light it may or may not block from getting back into their home, and rightfully so!

Archadeck of Charlotte designers are as close to experts as it gets after 26 plus years of designing and building screen porches and over 23,000 projects built. There are several considerations and things that can alter the lighting.

When people ask me if a certain roof line is going to darken their home, the first thing I ask or observe is to see if the house is currently dark where the porch is going to be built? If the answer is yes, my response is simple. If your family room for instance is currently dark, it is going to stay dark with or without adding a screen porch so we can eliminate that as one of your concerns.

If the current portion of the house is actually light from the way the sun hits the back of the house, roof line is a big consideration. The roof line that allows the most light in is a gable roof or what looks like an “A-Frame” roof. When we design it with an LVL ridge beam, it allows us to vault the ceiling, completely screen the gable (or triangular opening), and allow the maximum light through back into the house. The more pitch we can get on the gable, the more light that will be allowed back in. If you cannot have a gable due to 2nd story windows that are in the way of a gable pitch, there is a way where we actually design a shed roof and in the middle we design and build a gable dormer that is pitched to allow light back in.

Finally, sky lights are a great light source when placed properly and designed to allow light in the right spot! This takes a well-thought-out design approach. Sky lights are notorious for leaking but when you buy the right flashing kit and install them properly, they should not leak! To see various roof lines, go to http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com and the photo gallery and there are great illustrations and examples where you can envision what it might look like on your home!

paver patio with screen porch

Outdoor living in Charlotte with a screen porch

How can I heat my Charlotte screen porch in the winter?

A screen porch or screened in deck is extremely popular in Charlotte, North Carolina. At Archadeck, we design and build over 200 screen porches every year and have so for over 25 years now! One of the few reasons people seem to want a sunroom over a screen porch, is they want to be able to use it all year around and during the colder weather especially!

So, how do we go about giving our customers a heated screen porch? There are some functional options and like anything else at varying price points. The most cost effective way to heat a screen porch is to buy a simple space heater from your local big box store and it will heat the area right in front of where you place it. Secondly, you could add Eze Breeze retractable screen porch windows that will trap the heat inside the screen porch and heat more than just the area in front of the heating unit.

If you want to heat the entire porch area, you can buy a mounted porch heater that we install on the header of the porch around the perimeter of the inside and this is a common practice at are restaurants that have outdoor dining.

If you want to maximize the heat retention, you could insulate the porch floor and ceiling and this would help trap heat as well especially when combined with the EZE Breeze windows!

Finally, having an outdoor fireplace integrated into the screen porch like the one featured below is a wonderful way to provide heat for the porch. If you have an existing screen porch and are wondering if it is too late to add the outdoor fireplace? It is not, we have retrofitted many existing screen porches with our carpenter working along side our masons to provide the custom outdoor fireplace feature to heat the porch! Archadeck is a licensed general contracting outfit in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Archadeck of Charlotte stone outdoor fireplace inside screen porch

Screen porch in Charlotte with stone outdoor fireplace

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