How should I design my deck steps?

Stairways leading from decks to grade can be viewed 2 different ways. One is simply to get from Point A to Point B with comfortable accessibility. The other is to design the stairway to offer architectural flair or make them welcoming and grand!

At Archadeck of Charlotte, we have been designing and building decks for nearly 30 years in the Carolina’s. When your deck is low to the ground, you can do more interesting designs like the ones above as they do not take up a tremendous amount of space since there few steps needed.

 

Casuwel Outdoor Furiture is the most comfortable and complete line of all weather furnishings available through Archadeck of Charlotte

Casuwel Outdoor Furniture is the most comfortable and complete line of all-weather furnishings available through Archadeck of Charlotte

By trying to make several steps more dramatic, you can see from the photo above how much space the steps can chew up on your patio or ground! To see a wide array of deck design ideas, visit archadeckofcharlotte.com

 

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7 Ways to Design the Perfect Deck!

People spend months agonizing over how to design the perfect deck. Having design and built over 20,000 such projects in Charlotte, NC, Archadeck can lend some solid experience and expertise in this area.

Pressure-treated wood deck stained with pergola and outdoor kitchen by Archadeck of Charlotte

Pressure-treated wood deck stained with pergola and outdoor kitchen by Archadeck of Charlotte

We start by asking questions about the project.

1. How many people on a normal basis will be on this deck?

2. What is your outdoor living lifestyle now and what will it be going forward?

3. Do you mind maintenance or are looking for low-maintenance?

4. Are you looking to maximize space or are you wanting some curves and design flair?

5. Think about where you want your stairway to land?

6. Do want a traditional rail or something low profile?

7. How about accessories, do you want benches, planters, cooking station?

Unique deck with multiple levels and an outdoor fireplace in South Charlotte by Archadeck

Unique deck with multiple levels and an outdoor fireplace in South Charlotte by Archadeck

If you keep the above questions in mind and answer them, this simple blog will lead to the perfect deck!

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

Small ideas that have a large impact on your deck!

What are some things you can do to make your deck just a little bit nicer than your neighbors? What makes your home unique either aesthetically or functionally? This blog is about ideas that are simple that can vastly improve your deck!

Starting with aesthetics, sometimes it’s nothing more than just clipping the corners to create more character and give the deck a more interesting shape. From there, the direction in which you have the deck boards installed can improve the appearance. Whether it is on a diagonal or possibly a herringbone design. A nice touch is to create a picture frame look by running a couple of deck boards a different direction following the perimeter of the deck. This will require some blocking in between the floor joists. Railing options are plentiful. You can consider metal rail as an option or simply metal pickets that come in a variety of colors and styles. Finally, color makes a big difference. If you are selecting a composite you want to make sure it’s a color that compliments your house colors. Many times,we combine 2 different colors like making a border a complimentary color to the deck board or rail.

Functional considerations include step placement and width. The higher off the ground your deck is, you probably do not want real wide steps because they chew up a lot of your yard. The lower decks it is a nice touch to have wide steps, flared steps, or octagonal steps. By placing the stairway to one corner of the deck keeps the rest of the deck available for furniture placement. Lower decks also do not require rail in North or South Carolina as long as the rail is less than 30″ off grade. It can look nice using rail as an accent without going all the way around the low deck. We find multi-level decks add great aesthetic appeal but are not as functional unless you make each level large enough to accommodate either furniture or a grill or a whatever your thought is for utility of the space. This is an important consideration in deck design.

As you review this blog and have questions, feel free to comment and we will respond and clarify! In addition, you can go to either http://www.archadeck.com or w

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

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built this lattice privacy screen to keep neighbors view limited

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built this lattice privacy screen to keep neighbors view limited

ww.charlotte.archadeck.com

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

http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com

Charlotte deck builder discusses deck design and material options

Travertine Tile stone deck with iron rail by Archadeck of Charlotte

Travertine Tile stone deck with iron rail by Archadeck of Charlotte

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

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

Archadeck of Charlotte designs and builds hundreds of decks every year since 1988. The one constant has been change. The options for a deck are numerous and allow for creativity in function and form.

As the largest Charlotte deck builder, Archadeck sees most every grade, drainage problems, difficult house designs, and space restrictions due to set backs or customer preferences. Loaded with a staff of experienced designers, here are some of the various options when designing a deck:

1. Multi-level decks

These are particularly effective when you are designing a deck that is large. It keeps it from looking like a giant appendage or rectangle and with the right designer, you can create separate meeting spaces and nooks to keep your grill or fire pit. When you have large elevation changes, it also affords for the multi-level design.

2. Material options

While pressure-treated southern yellow pine is still the largest substrate used in residential decking, composite decks like Trex and AZEK have picked up considerable share over the years. Their value is now often outweighing the cost differential for homeowners who do not want the constant maintenance. In addition, stone and tile decks are gaining in popularity as people want a higher end look for the outdoor living spaces. For the real creative tasted, mixing materials such as stone borders with composite in-lays are a great option.

3. Railing

The building code for the Carolina’s insists on have a 3′ rail of some type once your deck structure is more than 30″ off grade. Independent of your decking substrate choice, people have multiple options for railing and mix many times. Once again, pressure-treated wood rail is still the most popular due to price, but wood rail with powder-coated aluminum pickets is a close second now. There are options of vinyl rails, iron rails, composite rails, and even stone and brick posts with metal or composite in between.

To get some great ideas on deck and rail designs, go to http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com and visit the deck photo gallery!

Today’s decks are anything but square…deck design ideas

Unique deck with multiple levels and an outdoor fireplace in South Charlotte by Archadeck

Unique deck with multiple levels and an outdoor fireplace in South Charlotte by Archadeck

Trex Composite dekcing installed by Archadeck of Charlotte

Trex Transcends composite deck and fascia in Charlotte, NC

Like most outdoor living spaces, decks have gone through an evolutionary change. Gone are the days of square and rectangular decks. At a minimum, people want corners that are on a 45 degree cut. That’s just the beginning! As people have moved from inside the home to outdoors, they want unique deck design features.

At Archadeck of Charlotte, we began seeing this evolution about 7 years ago and it has accelerated. People are looking at multi-level decks as creating areas of interest, even if it’s just one-step down or elevated. There are wonderful spaces being designed into the deck that create family or small group gatherings with comfortable benches and furniture. Deck boards are being installed in multiple directions to create more visual interest. Deck boards are being installed as a picture frame around the entire deck and stained in a different color much like a beautiful photograph.

Trex, the leading manufacturer of composite decking sends out wonderful design ideas from their multitude of professional installers that is a frequent reference guide.We are seeing outdoor fireplaces being installed on and next to decks, fire pits, outdoor kitchens, and even Green Eggs in built-ins.

Deck designs are so unique that movie sets are looking for ways to glamorize their scenes with unique outdoor spaces. In many ways, living outdoors has become the vogue. For great deck designs, go to http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com