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

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

What is the proper depth for deck footings and material to use?

For those of you that wonder what is the proper depth to dig footings for your deck columns and the best material to use, this blog by Archadeck of Charlotte will give you the answers!

Depending on where you live geographically, will help determine the answer. Up north where the frost line is deeper, it is common to have to dig your footers 3 – 4 ft deep and pour concrete. Down in the Charlotte, NC market it is only necessary to go 12 – 18″. It is common to use 2 – 16×16 cinder blocks stacked to provide a solid footing for the 6×6 columns to sit on. It is not necessary to add concrete on top of that unless you cannot find solid soil or the deck is unusually high off grade.

Finding solid soil can sometimes be a challenge. In rare cases we run across what is called “bull tallow” soil. This feels like quick sand in that you can take a prod and it will go straight through the soil. In this event,  a soil engineer will be required to design a footing that will be structurally sound and safe for the deck to be built on. Deck building in Charlotte does have its own codes.

Timber Tech Earthwoods Teak composite deck and Black Radiance Composite Rail

Archadeck of Charlotte custom designed and built this TimberTech Earthwoods Teak Composite deck and Black Radiance Rail

To gain more perspective and get hundred of deck and outdoor living photos, go to 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