A Contractor for your Outdoor Living Space

One of the most important decisions when building a new outdoor living space is choosing the right contractor. There are so many factors to deciding who is a reputable company and who will leave you unsatisfied. The following tips will give you the peace of mind that you’ve chosen the right contractor for your project.

deck-design-boston1. Think Local

Choose a company with an established reputation in your area. Only someone who has built decks, porches, and outdoor living spaces in our community will have the local knowledge you need to ensure that your project is beautiful and functional. A local expert will know what types of weatherproofing your deck will need, implement the right treatments, and plan for protecting appliances in your particular climate.

2. Visit their Business

Don’t just meet with the contractor at your home, go to their place of business too if possible. Again, this lets you see yourself that this contractor is an established local business that is here and here to stay.

3. See the Work

Take time to personally inspect three or four projects the contractor has done near your home. Doing so will let you have full confidence that a specific contractor knows the local building codes and the landscape of the area. Seeing projects a company built and talking to several references is the only way to know for sure that other homeowners have had a good experience with a contractor. Reading online testimonials and reviews is another good way to see what others think of the contractor.

Hawkinsville-GA-round-deck-Archadeck14. Verify their Level of Expertise

Especially if you’re considering an alternative design or elevation, you want to be sure your prospective contractor has considerable experience with multi-level decks, built-in outdoor kitchens, fire features, and the latest outdoor lighting systems. By looking at examples of their work, you can also see if a contractor has experience with the type of materials you’re considering for your project.

5. Check Regulations

Many states, but not all, require contractors to be licensed and/or bonded. Contact your state or local licensing agencies to ensure a contractor meets all government requirements.

6. Investigate Possible Complaints

Check with the government Consumer Affairs Offices and the Better Business Bureau to ensure they don’t have adverse files on record for the contractor.

By following these six steps, your are more likely to find a deck contractor that will leave you with the outdoor space of your dreams.

Building a Deck at Archadeck Corporate Headquarters

Posted by: janegwalker

It’s been a few weeks since we updated you on the progress of our deck and patio installation at the Archadeck Outdoor Living headquarters, and there has been a lot done! We have a fully installed and functional outdoor kitchen and the large deck is in progress.

installing-outdoor-kitchenWe didn’t show you in the last picture, but there is a smaller patio that is set down beyond the deck. It was installed at the same time as the rest of the Belgard paver patio and retaining walls. We designed the space with this extra patio for our outdoor kitchen as it could be a little removed from everything else. Our team of designers kept the layout of the kitchen simple, with a large grill (yes, we already broke it in) and some counter and storage space. The kitchen was finished with a natural stone to complement the Belgard patio pavers, but we chose a dark black countertop to dress it up a bit.

deck-frameOnce the patio and outdoor kitchen were complete, the Archadeck team of deck builders was hard at work on this 900 square foot composite deck. The footings were dug prior to the patio going down, but the deck frame took a few days to complete before the county inspected it. The frame was built using a pressure treated wood and you can see that each beam and joist were securely put in place with large bolts as no deck can be safely built with only nails (that’s a deck collapse waiting to happen).

After the county inspector came on site and passed the deck frame, we began laying our deck boards. For the decking material, we chose a TimberTech composite from their Evolution line. As we hope to get a lot of use out of the deck, including hosting corporate events, we needed something that would stand up against scratches and wear and tear, which TimberTech does.

timbertech-deckYou notice in the picture of the decking going down that you don’t see a lot of nails, and that’s because there aren’t any. These decking boards have hidden fasteners that lock everything in place without the need for nails, which helps create a clean look.

While building the deck, we also constructed the stairs leading down to the outdoor kitchen and small patio. The framing of the stairs were inspected at the same time as the deck and the decking began shortly after.

Unfortunately, as with many outdoor builds, Mother Nature hasn’t been too cooperative and has put us a little bit behind. The team is finishing the decking and then will begin on the railings. The railings will be white vinyl  from TimberTech that will border the entire deck for safety and code purposes.

If you have questions about designing custom decks, porches, patios, sunrooms or some combination thereof, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Third Place Dream Backyard Makeover Winner Receives New Lighting Package

It’s been nearly a month since the winners of the Dream Backyard Contest wrapped up. While the first and second place winners are currently having their new outdoor structures designed by the respective Archadeck Outdoor Living  offices, the third place winner is already enjoying his prize: an outdoor lighting system from Outdoor Lighting Perspectives.

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives is our sister company who designs and installs residential, commercial and holiday outdoor lighting. They were gracious enough to offer up an outdoor lighting system (a $3,000 value!) to our third place winner. Our third place winner, William Jakes, is located in the Columbia, South Carolina area and had an unfortunate experience when trying to update his backyard:

“We hired a contractor to rebuild our deck and he did about half the work and abandoned the work site. After inspection, we found out that nothing was to code and he did not have a contractor’s license. This was part of our retirement savings and now we will have to wait until we can save up the money to have the deck torn down and rebuilt.”

lighting-winnerWilliam’s story is all too familiar and something we heard over and over again the contest submissions, people left stranded by deck contractors mid-way through a job to find out that they weren’t a reputable company. We were thrilled to award the Jakes family with a lighting system to enhance their home and sent Kenny Kaufman of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Columbia to the house to design and install a system. Understandingly, William decided to have the system installed in his front yard as opposed to his backyard (he didn’t want to install lighting on a space that doesn’t get any use right now due to unsafe conditions).

The Outdoor Lighting Perspectives team installed architectural and landscape lighting around the front of the home. The house itself had some interesting textures with its siding that Kenny wanted to highlphoto 2ight using well lights that shine up on the house. Column lighting was added to the porch columns to accentuate the covered porch structure and to allow some additional lighting on the porch as well. In front of the porch, there is a paver patio that didn’t have adequate lighting for family and friends. Copper path lights were installed in the surrounding planters to light the patio.

It not only looks great, but William and his wife are thrilled with the results. Here’s an email we received from him last week…

columbia-outdoor-lighting“I cannot express the excitement we had in winning 3rd place in a national contest. It was fantastic and the lighting is unbelievable. Since it was installed, we have stayed up at night to watch the lights. It really showcases our house. Also, I want to that your company and Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Columbia, especially Kenny Kaufman. They were very professional and have restored my faith in having work done on our house. I just wish there were more professional companies with your work ethic.”

We are so happy that the Jakes are happy with their lighting system and can’t wait to see the next steps for the grand prize winners as well as the second place winners. Our Archadeck Outdoor Living owners are currently designing the winners’ new backyards and then permitting and building will begin!

If you have questions on how to enhance your outdoor living space, please reach out to your local Archadeck office. Whether it’s a deck, porch, patio, pergola or other structure, our locations are trained to design and build custom projects that fit your property, tastes, needs and budget.

Upgrading your Home: Ideas for Outdoor Kitchen Design

Outdoor kitchens bring all the best features of an indoor kitchen into the privacy of your own backyard. While they are a hot trend in landscaping design, you don’t have to build a custom home to enjoy an outdoor kitchen. Materials, appliances, and design plans allow for outdoor kitchens to be possible for just about any budget.

The Benefits

Homeowners who may initially believe an outdoor kitchen to be a splurge soon learn that there are practical benefits, including:

  • Simple entertaining options, especially for large crowds
  • Easy clean-up, because the mess doesn’t spill into your home
  • Lower utility bills, because charcoal and propane doesn’t show up on your gas or electric bill

Three Outdoor Kitchen Necessities

Outdoor kitchens can be installed on an existing patio, or deck contractors can build a beautiful outdoor kitchen as part of a larger home landscaping project. The best outdoor kitchens feature three pieces that are both beautiful and functional.

Grill

It’s not just for hamburgers. Upgraded grills come with accessories like a smoker drawer, a warming rack, and even a rotisserie.

Refrigerator

It’s a convenient place to store drinks you want to serve guests. Outdoor refrigerators are also recommended for food safety, because your raw food can sit in the refrigerator instead of in the sun.

Refreshment Center

This appliance is what makes your outdoor kitchen just as functional as your indoor kitchen. Features available on most refreshment centers include cutting boards, drain boards, sinks, faucets, and towel racks.

Four Outdoor Kitchen Storage Options

When it’s time to choose outdoor storage or counter tops, deck contractors can help you pick materials that are both budget friendly and durable.

Masonry Cabinets

A metal or cinderblock frame is covered in brick, stucco, or decorative stone, which makes this extremely weather resistant.

Wooden Cabinets

Wooden cabinets are available in a wide range of budgets. However, they aren’t weather resistant, so they will fade and break down over time.

Stainless Steel

These cabinets look like metal, but they don’t corrode. Stainless steel will show fingerprints and becomes hot to the touch when the sun shines on it.

Polymer Cabinets

This synthetic material closely resembles plastic, which makes it weather resistant and easy to clean. However, it comes in limited colors.

Your outdoor kitchen is as versatile as you want it to be. If you can dream it, there are outdoor kitchen design ideas to make it happen. To make your outdoor kitchen dreams come true, contact Archadeck.