Patio or Deck, how do I decide?

Travertine stone raised patio in Charlotte by Archadeck with stone steps

Travertine stone raised patio in Charlotte by Archadeck with stone steps

How does one go about deciding whether to build a patio or deck? This is a common dilemma for homeowners. Some recommendations from Archadeck of Charlotte are highlighted below.

The first thing to consider when you are looking at whether to build a deck or a patio is the grade of your land. If you are living in a home where it is built on slab and there is little to no slope to your grade where you want to build the structure, a patio is a logical choice. In addition, look at the height of your back door threshold from grade and make sure there is at least 6″ so there is enough room to add “sleepers” to construct a deck. Otherwise, you would need to have a free-standing deck that you would need to build a step to go up to.

If you are living on a home constructed on a crawl space, a deck can be a natural selection because you can adjust the height of the deck to accommodate any rise and add attractive design options like making the deck mulch-level. This even gives you the option of designing a deck and a patio together.

We have great deck design options and patio options to view at

How can I get the best ideas for my outdoor living space?

Archadeck designed this outdoor fireplace and outdoor kitchen and patio

stone outdoor fireplace with flagstone patio and outdoor kitchen in Charlotte

So many people want to get ideas for their outdoor living space, they just don’t know where to look or who to go to! There are some very efficient  and effective ways to go about gathering good design ideas and concepts for your backyard.

You can start by attending Home and Garden Shows in your local market. Here in Charlotte, there are 3 in the spring and 2 in the fall where a large number of vendors display beautiful projects for you to view.

You can go to web sites where remodeling professionals often have extensive photo galleries that you can search for the particular types of projects you are looking for.

You can also hire a design professional that may be willing to come out to your home free of charge to discuss the possibilites with you and share expert advice! For great ideas for your outdoor living desires in Charlotte, either call 704-944-1350 (Archadeck of Charlotte) or go to

What is the best and safest way to clean decks, patios, and house walls?

Wood renewal Charlotte Bench - Before and After

Archadeck of Charlotte has been searching for methods that are the safest and most effective ways to remove dirt, mildew, algae, and mold from various exterior surfaces such as decks, patios, sidewalks, and house walls.

We finally found the combination of organic chemicals through a franchise called Renew Crew. We love the 3-step process that is prescribed by company founder Stan Krempges. First, there is the soaking and foaming of the surface with the proprietary organic chemical that loosens all of the mildew, mold, algae, and dirt. Secondly, there is the power clean (not as severe a pressure as power washing). The next day or so, we come back with a protectant and seal the surface to insure it stays clean for a much longer period of time.

Renew Crew’s safe process has been proven and improved over the past 2o years and is now being used successfully in the Charlotte, NC and Ft. Mill and Rock Hill areas of SC. It is much less abusive than straight power washing and contains NO bleach. It will not discolor the surface like the other bleach based cleansers! For photo and text information, go to

Screen porch flooring options

What are realistic options for screen porch flooring? There are several. Archadeck of Charlotte designs and builds hundreds of screen porches every year for 25-years now. Here are your options:

1. Plywood with an outdoor rug would be the least expensive

2. Wood decking with screen underneath would be next

3. Composite decking

4. Tile

5. Stone


See photos below or go to


Screen Porch with wood burning stone fireplace

Archadeck of Charlotte design and built this screen porch and stone outdoor fireplace

Travertine tile screen porch with stone outdoor fireplace

Screen Porch with integrated outdoor fireplace and outdoor TV and tile on screen porch by Archadeck of Charlotte


What is the true function of a Pergola or an Arbor, do they work?

Archadeck of Charlotte is constantly asked, what does a pergola or arbor really do? It is just decorative or does it have a function?

Archadeck of Charlotte built this pergola and paver patio

White pergola and paver patio in Charlotte, NC by Archadeck of Charlotte

Depending on how it is designed and what your objectives are for it, it can absolutely serve a function. While pergola’s/ arbor’s will not stop rail or wind, they definitely can provide shade. The closer you space the rafter’s and the perlins together, the more shade they will provide!

There are products on the market that will provide even additional shade and protection. For example, there are both fixed and retractable fabrics that can be installed that will provide complete shade from up above when you want it. These come in various colors and price ranges and we are able to give you great and up to date information on these.

The bottom line on pergola’s is that they can definitely provide shade and they add tremendous aesthetic appeal to a deck or patio! To see a wide variety of pergola’s, go to

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built this deck and pergola

Composite deck and pergola in Charlotte

How do you make outdoor fireplaces and fire pits safe?

wood burning stone outdoor fireplace with fieldstone on a flagstone patio in Charlotte

Archadeck of Charlotte designed and built this flagstone patio and fieldstone outdoor fireplace

Paver patio with wood burning fire pit and cover on it and stone sitting wall

Paver patio with wood burning fire pit and cover on it and stone sitting wall

Safety is an important and under valued consideration when designing outdoor fireplaces and fire pits.

At Archadeck of Charlotte, we have to consider out clients safety in our design process and are always looking for new ideas and codes. We have found there are several things you can do to make your outdoor living spaces safer by both design considerations and the way you use them.

First, keeping the fire pit or fireplace at least 10′ away from any part of your house is a building code and something you should begin your design considerations with (unless it is gas and has a direct or ventless system). Secondly, with fire pits, you want the walls of the fire pit to be at least 18-20″ tall or more so kids and pits don’t fall into the fire or coals. Third, keep the size of the fire contained especially if you are near trees or shrubs.

Fireplaces generally speaking are safer than fire pits due to the fact that there are walls and a chimney that keep the fire contained. You still want to keep similar design considerations and not over build your fires. For more information and design ideas on outdoor living spaces, go to

What is the price difference between wood decks and composite decks?

As a Charlotte deck builder that builds over 400 decks each and every year, we want to share our answer to one of the most common questions we get asked. What is the price difference between a wood deck and a composite deck?

Pressure-treated wood deck with wood rail and Deckorator Baroque pickets in Charlotte, NC

Custom built pressure-treated wood deck and rail with Deckorator Baroque style pickets with low-voltage deck lights and a paver patio

If a consumer were to price the difference at Home Depot or Lowes, they would see the price per board would be almost triple in North Carolina and South Carolina. However, when you purchase from a professional deck builder that has significant purchasing power, you should expect to pay approximately 40% more for a brand new composite deck versus and brand new wood deck. Additional factors include that the labor rate is the same and the sub-structure is going to be wood either way. So, the only additional cost is of the deck boards themselves. Railing is an entirely different issue because people tend to mix and match rails out of wood, metal, composite, vinyl, and stone. To get additional information, go to

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