We all know decks can be made of low maintenance decking. Can pergolas and porches be made to have lower maintenance too?

Low-maintenance in outdoor living has been a growing trend over the past two decades. It seems that while the appetite to move outdoors has grown, so the desire to have products that require little to no maintenance.

Decks have led the way in this category. Trex came on the scene 20 years ago and revolutionized the way we think about product attributes. There have been many other providers such as Azek and others that have jumped in and flourished in the low-maintenance category.

Trex Transcends composite deck with a hot tub recessed onto a cement pad and composite beching for the ideal

Trex Transcends composite deck with a hot tub recessed onto a cement pad and composite beching for the ideal relaxing backyard!

So what about screen porches, covered patio’s, pergola’s, and other outdoor products? Here is what we have found over our 27 years in the design/ build outdoor living space.

Pergola’s were one of the first additional products that were tackled and it was achieved using PVC or vinyl as a substrate. While these are still available, they are approximately 3 times more in pricing and are usually made is standard sizes rather than custom. The other knock on the vinyl pergola’s is they are a bit shiny or not natural in appearance.

PVC trim is a category that has flourished as a low-maintenance alternative to wood. The use of trim boards has been expanded to include wrapping posts on porches and pergolas, soffit and fascia, and any type of exterior trim application. While it again is more costly, this is an area that has not met the price resistance of the pergola’s primarily because it is a smaller ticket and so the overall cost does not seem to be a barrier.

To find dozens of low maintenance alternative products, go to charlotte.archadeck.com and the photo gallery!

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

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What are the top 3 ways to repair your deck?

Pressure-treated wood deck that is multi-tiered and designed and built by Archadeck of Charlotte

Pressure-treated wood deck that is multi-tiered and designed and built by Archadeck of Charlotte

If you simply need to bring your deck up to speed, there are 3 simple things that can be done to repair your deck or even enhance the deck.

First, make sure your footings are solid as this is the foundation that keeps your deck upright and level. This can be achieved by using a level and then figuring out which of the footings are out of level. You would then dig around the footing and expose it. Make sure it is properly dug to the correct depth per the code in our area and reinforced with concrete.

Secondly, most deck issues are with the hand rail and deck boards as they are exposed to the sun. If the boards are not rotten, take a palm sander, smooth out the splinters then come back and clean and seal the deck boards.

Finally, you may have simple cupping or deck boards lifting off of the joists. Take a screw gun and make sure you hit the floor joist solidly to get a good grip on it.

If you need assistance or want to see great deck examples, go to charlotte.archadeck.com

Frequently Asked questions about Trex decking/ Composites?

Trex Transcends Spiced Rum with ledgestone firepit and benching in Charlotte

We frequently get asked the same questions surrounding Trex decking and composite decking in general.

1. What is the price difference between composite decking and wood decking?

The answer is dependent on whether you are building a deck from scratch or simply replacing the deck boards. If you you are going to have a brand new deck built, you can anticipate paying

from 35-45% more for composites. If you are simply comparing at least double.

2. I hear there are a lot problems with mildew and staining?

Trex Transcends is a product that is stain resistant and carries a 25-year warranty against it!
3. What about the composite decking fading?
Trex Transcends has an acrylic cap stock that acts as a UV inhibitor and they also have a 25-year fade warranty!

To get more information, go to http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com

Can you place a fire pit on a deck?

Archadeck of Charlotte built this Trex Transcends Spice Rum composite deck with a composite bench and stone fire pit that is gas burning

Archadeck of Charlotte built this Trex Transcends Spice Rum composite deck with a composite bench and stone fire pit that is gas burning

Can you really place a fire pit on a deck? The answer technically is yes. Archadeck of Charlotte has been doing it for the past several years and has consulted with local building code officials to do it legally and as safely as possible.

The safest ways to build a fire pit on a deck is to use gas logs as you can then control the flame. If you really want a wood-burning fire pit, you want to keep it at least 10 feet from your home and control the amount of wood you place in the pit. You will also want to think about building the pit a bit taller in order to handle the ashes.

Building a stone fire pit on a deck is more cost effective if your deck is low to the ground as you will need a footing directly under it to handle the weight. The taller the deck, the taller the support structure will need to be to handle it and therefore increase the cost of the project. If you would like to see more ideas on fire pits and decks, go to www.charlotte.archadeck.com

How do I choose the correct paint or stain color for my screen porch or covered patio?

Screen Porch by Archadeck of Charlotte with outdoor fireplace and pergola

Screen Porch by Archadeck of Charlotte with outdoor fireplace and pergola

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built this gazebo style screen porch with Cabot Stain

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built this gazebo style screen porch with Cabot Stain

How would I go about choosing the appropriate paint and/or stain color for my screen porch? We have 25 years experience at Archadeck of Charlotte designing and building screen porches and covered patios.

The first thing we look at is the existing trim color of the home. Is this a color you are going to stay with? If so, it makes sense to paint the porch columns the same color and the house trim to make it appear as if the porch came with the house and was not an after thought!

Secondly, what look are you going for in your outdoor living space? Do you prefer a more rustic porch? Are you looking to have a soothing or uplifting ceiling? Dark stains are quite in vogue today and give a deep and rich feeling to the room.

Finally, think about maintenance considerations. Generally speaking, stain is going to be lower maintenance than paint and does not show dirt as readily! To get great color ideas for your screen porch, go to http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com

 

 

How do I know if I have to replace my deck or I can use the existing structure and simply replace the boards?

How do you know when your deck needs to be replaced completely versus simply replacing the deck boards and rail? Experience tells us the life expectancy of the wood structure is somewhere betweeen 20 – 30 years depending on how it was constructed and maintained.

Once your deck hits the 20 year mark, it would be a good time to have a professional come out and assess the wood itself, the method in which it was fastened, and the supports that carry the load. There are certain conditions that can determine the longevity of the deck such as the soil and the grade of the land. Soil and erode over time and the footings can be exposed which makes the integrity of the structure weaken considerably.

Wood decks need to be sealed either with paint or stain to keep it from the harsh weathering of the sun. In addition, building codes change every 2 – 4 years on how decks are to be constructed and fastened. There are times that simple enhancements can be made to your existing deck to bring it up to the current building codes for safety concerns.

To gather more information, go to http://www.charlotte.archadeck.com  or call 704-944-1350 and ask about a free deck safety inspection.

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Top Deck Builder’s First Super Bowl Ad for Archadeck!

Archadeck outdoor fireplace and patio

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built this flagstone patio wiith an outdoor kitchen and outdoor fireplace

Archadeck of Charlotte is so excited about this Sunday’s Super Bowl for more than just the game itself. All throughout the pre-game shows and leading up to opening kick-off, Archadeck will be running both :15 and :30 commercials to show off beautiful outdoor living spaces on TV for the first time! What a better way to kick off the campaign then being associated with Super Bowl Sunday.

Archadeck of Charlotte has been designing and building decks, screen porches, patio’s and hardscapes for 25 years in the Charlotte and surrounding areas. This is our first real venture in television and we would love your feedback as we will be on CBS network TV all year long during news casts and the show 60 Minutes on Sunday evenings as well! For more information on Archadeck and it’s subsidiary companies, Value Remodelers and Handyman Services, and Renew Crew, you can go to www.charlotte.archadeck.com or www.valueremodelers.com or www.charlotte.renewcrewclean.com .