When Does an Archadeck Outdoor Living Project Require a Surveyed Plot Plan?

At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, one of the benefits we offer our clients is that we obtain any permits, inspections, and plans that are needed to ensure the compliance and safety of a new outdoor living structure. While most of our clients are familiar with permits and inspections, not everyone is well-versed in what a surveyed Plot Plan is, or why some projects require one.

What is a Surveyed Plot Plan?

A surveyed Plot Plan is a drawing prepared by a professional, registered land surveyor. It shows the dimensions of your property as it currently exists, including the measurements of existing buildings, setbacks, easements, and other property elements. When you are building a new outdoor structure or renovating an existing one, the building department may require a plot plan (drawn to scale) be submitted with the proposed changes.

Why is a Surveyed Plot Plan Needed?

A surveyed Plot Plan is required when seeking a permit for any deck, porch, or other property development that alters the existing footprint of structures on your property. The Plot Plan is meant to ensure that additions or changes are not built within the existing setbacks or easements, nor do they exceed impervious surface area limits. If you are renovating an existing outdoor structure without changing the overall footprint, a surveyed Plot Plan may not be required to obtain permits in some jurisdictions.

Surveyed Plot Plans are submitted to your local building municipality. You can read the City of Raleigh’s Survey Plot Plan page for more details; be sure to check with your local municipality for their specific requirements if you live elsewhere. If you don’t have a surveyed Plot Plan, we can arrange for you to obtain one. These can also be used for additional home improvements you may do in the future.

At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and the Greater Triangle, we will identify whether your new outdoor living project requires a surveyed Plot Plan and handle every part of the permitting process for you. We are pleased to manage all of the details of the building process so you don’t have to worry about them. If you’re ready to get started on a new outdoor living project, call today for a design consultation: 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

Read more about impervious surface limits.

How Impervious Surface Limits Can Affect Your Outdoor Living Project

There are many rules, building codes, and zoning ordinances that guide outdoor living projects in Raleigh, Durham, and the greater Triangle. Many property owners are familiar with the need to obtain a building permit and subsequent inspections for safety, but many do not know about the environmental regulation limiting impervious surface areas. If you’re planning to add to, renovate, or alter your property in any way, staying in compliance with impervious surface limits is an important consideration.

What is an impervious surface limit?

An impervious surface limit is the amount of surface area on your property that can be covered by a material that significantly reduces the natural drainage of water into the soil. Land covered by materials such as concrete, stone, wood, or asphalt – which are commonly used in driveways, sidewalks, patios, and decks – count as an impervious surface area.

Impervious limits are monitored by local Stormwater Management Offices and vary by locale. Regulating impervious surface areas is an environmental effort to promote a healthy drinking water supply. Rainwater that runs off of these surfaces can flow back into the drinking water supply without the benefit of filtration through the soil, and raise the risk of contaminating the local drinking water.

What if I exceed my impervious surface limit?

When preparing for a new outdoor living expansion, you will need to find out if you are currently complying with your impervious surface limits and, if so, how much room remains on which you can build. Homeowners who exceed their impervious surface limits will be responsible for removing materials in order to comply.

Archadeck can help you determine the impervious surface limits of your property. If you discover you have already exceeded or are at risk of reaching the limits, we may be able to find design solutions to achieve your project goals while staying within the limits. While this may mean some alterations in your project’s scope, it could be as simple as adding a special infiltration device, rain garden, or cistern to comply.

What is my impervious surface limit?

Impervious surface limits vary widely from county to county, city to city, town to town, and even from neighborhood to neighborhood. For example, the unincorporated parts of Wake County, outside of watershed areas, have a 30% impervious surface limit. The City of Raleigh has five zoning districts, each with a different impervious surface limit. You can look up your property through iMAPS to determine your specific impervious surface limit. These limits will be anywhere from 20%-65%. With such a broad range, it is vital for a homeowner to get the precise limit for their specific address from the local municipality.

What documentation is required to add impervious surfaces to my yard?

When adding on to your home, a survey or plot plan is required to be submitted to the building department as part of the permitting process to ensure you are staying within your impervious surface limits. The survey or plot plan should be completed by a licensed surveyor and indicated existing and proposed additions to your home. (If you do not already have a survey or plot plan, Archadeck can connect you with a licensed surveyor. Surveys can be used for any additional home improvements you may do in the future.) A stormwater tracking permit will then be issued for projects subject to the impervious surface limits.

When you work with Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham for your deck, patio, porch, or combination project, we will identify your impervious surface limit, submit a survey or plot plan, and obtain subsequent permits and inspections on your behalf. If impervious surface limits pose a challenge for your project, we have the experience and design capability to manage the limitations with creativity. If you’re ready to renovate an existing backyard space or add a new one, call today for a design consultation: 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

Use Archadeck’s Advanced Design and Build Services To Create the Custom Deck, Porch, or Patio of Your Dreams

When you decide you want to add a new outdoor living space to your home, you have a number of options for help. You may find contractors who build decks or porches as part of a range of services. Or, you may meet with companies that focus on decks or porches but only offer a single or limited number of designs to fit your space. At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, we provide professional design and build services focused exclusively on outdoor structures. We customize each design to our clients’ unique needs and prioritize high-quality customer service along with expert construction.

With more than 28 years of experience in the greater Triangle area, Archadeck has expertise in designing and building all types of custom outdoor living structures using many different materials. We also offer advanced design services to help clients visualize their backyard dreams. This includes 2D and 3D drawings that can make it easier for you to envision your new outdoor living space before construction begins.

Getting Started

During the at-home design consultation, an Archadeck design consultant will listen closely to your needs, assess and measure your project site, discuss materials and design options with you, and answer any questions you may have. Using your input and our expertise, Archadeck will carefully plan every detail for your new outdoor space. We will find ways to meet your design and functional goals while complementing your home’s distinct architecture and your property’s particular features.

Two-Dimensional Drawings

As part of our process, we create a 2D project proposal that is similar to a building floor plan. The project proposal shows the placement of your new outdoor space relative to your home’s exterior. It includes dimensions, decking patterns, and special features to provide you with an easy-to-understand, birds-eye view of the potential project.

We use this 2D project proposal to present our custom design recommendations and quotes. From the drawing, the design can be further customized to reach the final specifications that are satisfactory to your wants and needs. After the contract is signed, the 2D drawing is yours to keep for reference.

Three-Dimensional Drawings

If you are struggling to envision how your project will look from the 2D drawing alone, there are other ways we can help. As part of our advanced design services, we can provide you with a 3D drawing that shows what your custom outdoor living project will look like in a more specific rendering of your particular home and property.

This visualization can also be useful if you are torn between multiple ideas, or have concerns about specific details. 3D renderings can show functional and spatial details such as stair placement, decking patterns, and furniture placement. Being able to review these design details in greater depth before construction begins allows you to make adjustments before construction begins rather than once it’s in progress, which can increase costs and delay completion.

We believe there is no one-size-fits-all outdoor living space. At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and the Greater Triangle, we are proud to offer fully customized design and build services to create your new deck, porch, patio, or combination project. Our advanced design serves, such as the 3D drawings, are unique among Raleigh deck builders. Call today for a design consultation: 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

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How do I Remove Stains from My Patio?

There is so much to love about autumn in the Greater Triangle. The richly colored leaves and cooler temperatures provide a stunning backdrop for hiking, football, and roasting marshmallows in the backyard. Despite all the fun, there can be a few downsides to autumn beauty…such as the stains from falling leaves on your outdoor patio. Whether your patio is made of pavers or concrete, decomposing leaves can create unsightly stains on their surfaces. Luckily, these stains can be removed in a few simple steps.

What you’ll need:

  • Cleaning Solution: 10 parts water thoroughly mixed with 1 part bleach or a specially formulated paver cleaner of your choice. (You can find paver and hardscape cleaner at your local hardware store.)
  • Stiff bristled scrub brush or broom.

How to Remove Stains from Patios

Step 1: First remove all loose debris and dirt with a broom and a garden hose or power washer. Be careful with power washing pavers, so you don’t expose the aggregate on the surface of the paver.
Step 2: Protect nearby plants and other accessories, so they don’t get direct exposure to the cleaning solution.
Step 3: Dampen the pavers and pour your chosen cleaning solution on the affected area, letting it sit for about 5 minutes. If you have a specific stain that might be more challenging such as rust, red wine, or grease, using a specialized paver cleaner will achieve the best results.
Step 4: Scrub the affected area with a stiff bristled brush or broom until the stain is gone. Be sure to rinse away the cleaning solution with water thoroughly.

General Patio Cleaning

If your patio has not been cleaned in some time, spot cleaning can make your patio look blotchy. To clean the entire surface of your patio, use a paver cleaner. Follow the directions on the bottle, spraying the cleaner on the surface of the patio and scrubbing it with a push broom. Rinse your patio until all the cleaner is removed to avoid leaving a film.

Leaf Stain Prevention

Regular removal of fallen leaves from your patio is the best way to prevent stains from organic decomposition. Using a broom or a leaf blower, remove all leaves as often as possible. Additional protection can come from sealing your concrete pavers. Belgard recommends sealing patio pavers every three to five years to maintain color and beauty. While sealing won’t prevent all stains, it can make stains easier to remove.

At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, our commitment to our clients extends beyond the building process. If you would prefer to hire a professional to clean or seal your patio (rather than do it yourself), we would be happy to recommend a local service provider. Give us a call at 919-973-1523. We look forward to helping you.

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Durham Deck Replacement and Three-Season Porch Addition Transforms A Once Lonely Backyard

To meet today’s needs for versatile living spaces at home, outdoor living trends have shifted heavily towards multi-functional combination projects. One of our Durham clients decided to expand their deck replacement into a larger combination project including a tiered deck, three-season room, and wood-burning outdoor fireplace. The magnificent results are a great example of how we blend form and function in Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham custom designs.

Multi-Level AZEK Deck Provides Ample Space for Many Activities

As deck builders, nothing satisfies us more than to transform a once-loved and well-worn deck into a new deck to be fully enjoyed again. That satisfaction is amplified when we replace wood with AZEK composite decking, which we know will stay functional and beautiful with very little maintenance for decades. An AZEK deck won’t fade, cup, splinter, or crack like pressure-treated lumber and is backed by an industry-leading 30-year limited fade and stain warranty.

This Durham multi-level deck features AZEK Hazelwood decking. The light exotic wood coloring is cooler on feet during hot sunny weather, which works especially well for homeowners who have a southern facing deck or scarce shade. The white posts and railings with black aluminum infill provide a complementary contrast with very little obstruction of views to the yard.

With two large levels, the deck has a space for every activity. The upper level provides gorgeous views of the wooded lot, as well as a perfect place for grilling and dining outdoors. The lower level is ideal for relaxing, hanging out, and enjoying a good book or a conversation with a friend. With a built-in planter box between levels, the wide staircase offers an easy transition between levels and provides additional beauty.

Durham Three-Season Room Addition is Both Airy and Warm

The upper-level of this AZEK deck flows directly into a three-season room addition featuring Eze-Breeze vinyl porch windows. Eze-Breeze windows are multi-functional. They provide this Durham family with the flexibility of opening the windows to invite fresh breezes through the screens or closing them to block out unwanted rain, pollen, or cooler temperatures.

The large three-season porch features an open gable vaulted roof with two skylights. By combining these features with a white tongue-and-groove ceiling, the space feels larger and accentuates the open air feeling with maximum natural light. The contrasting dark wood beams match the fireplace mantel and add a bit of warmth to the room.

For additional warmth and rustic charm we added a Superior wood-burning fireplace featuring Canyon Ledge stone veneer. The burnt amber, gray, and slate tones of the stone veneer provide a warmer color palette to contrast the cool floor and white trim for an immediate transformation of the space.

Design Details Make Outdoor Living a Dream

The great functionality of this new Durham outdoor living space is matched by the beauty of its design details. The gorgeous white trim, columns, posts, and custom latticework make the view of the home from the yard something out of a fairytale. The grand staircase with riser lights and the stunning half-octagonal shape of the lower-level deck add to the elegance. Our client said it best: “the end result is beautiful, even better than we expected, and the craftsmanship is excellent. This project has extended our living space into the outdoors and given us new use for our once lonely backyard.”

At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, we are pleased to help homeowners to enjoy their backyards better. If you’re ready to extend your living space into the outdoors, we’d love to help. Call today for a design consultation: 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

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Featured Vendors:
Canyon Stone

Why Doesn’t Archadeck Paint, Stain, or Seal Your New Wood Deck?

Are you interested having Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham design and build a new pressure-treated wooden deck for you? Terrific! We look forward to working with you to bring your new outdoor living space to life. One thing we’re sometimes asked is: “Why don’t you stain or seal the projects after they’re completed?” While we are happy to provide you with design ideas and service referrals for this type of work, because of timing and expertise, we do not seal, stain, or paint our pressure-treated decks.

Pressure-treated wood cannot be stained or sealed until it is fully dried out. The drying time for a new wood deck can vary dramatically depending on sun exposure and weather conditions. Temperature and humidity also affect the time required for staining and sealing. With this variation in scheduling, it is simply not feasible to predict, schedule, and coordinate our crews to provide this service weeks or months after project completion.

At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and the Greater Triangle, our focus is on building, replacing, and renovating gorgeous outdoor spaces. Being the expert in custom outdoor living design and construction of decks, porches, patios, and three-season rooms is important to our team. Likewise, we think it is best to allow the professionals in deck sealing, painting and staining to provide you with their expert services when your deck is ready. Or, you may want to do this work yourself.

If you’re planning to tackle the staining, painting, or sealing of your deck yourself, it is vital to make sure the deck is truly ready. Test your new deck by placing a few drops of water on the surface. If it absorbs quickly, it should be ready. If it beads up, you need to wait longer. Find out more in: Archadeck of Raleigh Durham and the Greater Triangle Answers 10 Top Questions About Sealing and Staining Pressure-Treated Wood Decks.

If you are looking to build a new pressure-treated wood deck or have more questions about the finish of a wood deck, give us a call today at 919-973-1523. We are always happy to help you, or refer you to trusted and reputable area businesses as needed.

Enjoy a mix of wood and composite decks in our deck gallery for design and deck finish inspiration.

Southern Traditions: The History of the Screened-In Porch

It is no secret that screened-in porches are a popular feature in Raleigh-Durham area homes. Today’s families are eager to bring the outdoors in and to take indoor comforts outside. Screened porches accomplish both of these tasks by offering a shaded space to enjoy a fresh breeze and the soothing sounds of nature, with protection from rain and pesky insects. Today’s screened porches are prime spots for relaxing, enjoying family time, and entertaining. But did you know the origins of the screened porch started with a strictly functional purpose, sleeping?

Southern Sleeping Porches

Porches are a long-standing architectural tradition in the south. While the classic southern front porch was a place for receiving visitors and staying connected with neighbors, the screened porch also had a very particular function: sleeping.

Southern summer nights can be sweltering. Before the use of air conditioning, sleeping comfortably in the heat of the summer could be a difficult task inside a hot, humid house. When window screens became widely available in the 1880’s, the screened-in sleeping porch was born.

Sleeping porches could be found on balconies off of bedrooms and on the front or back of homes. Most often they were large spaces located on the back side of homes, on the lower level. During the hot summer months, an entire family could sleep on the porch with cooler night air flowing freely through the screens, while keeping bugs and inclement weather at bay.

While the original purpose of sleeping porches was for comfort, they became even more popular in the 1920s due to the increased awareness of germs. People believed that fresh air would combat the transmission of diseases that were known to spread fast in overcrowded indoor conditions. Families viewed sleeping porches as offering a significant health benefit.

The Transformation of Sleeping Porches to Screened Porches

With increased knowledge about germs and hygiene, and the invention and use of air conditioning, the sleeping porch became less necessary. While the demand for screened porches waned, for those who still had porches, they began to use them more as we do today. Outfitted with outdoor furniture, screened porches became a favorite summertime living space. As homeowners began to see the benefits of an outdoor living space, screened porches rose in demand again. Screened-in porches have cycled in and out of popularity with building and home-buying trends ever since.

While screened porches are currently in demand nationwide, their use continues to evolve. With improvements in the quality and availability of vinyl porch windows like Eze-Breeze, outdoor fireplaces, and flat screen televisions, screened porch usage is expanding outdoor living into the cooler months of the year. Screened porches and their counterpart, the three season room (a porch with windows), are used for football parties, watching movies at night, and hosting family gatherings during wet and cooler weather, as well as the heat of summer.

If you’re interested in adding a classic southern screened-in porch or a three-season room to your home, call Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and the Greater Triangle today: 919-973-1523. We enjoy building classic outdoor living spaces as well as modern backyard retreats, and look forward to working with you!

Would you like to see a sleeping porch in person? The Reynolda House in Winston-Salem features sleeping porches off of the bedrooms and makes for a fantastic day trip. With an upcoming Georgia O’Keefe exhibit and the Southeast’s finest collection of American Art, you won’t be disappointed.

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Gray Decking is a Brilliant Color Choice for Your Raleigh-Durham Deck

Choosing a color for your deck is a personal decision based on individual style and your home’s exterior. For the past several years, gray has been growing in popularity among Raleigh-Durham homeowners for decking, paint, and stain colors. With the increased use of gray color schemes in interior design, it is no surprise the color has been embraced in outdoor design as well. While we don’t know exactly why gray is making strides where tans and browns once dominated, we can share the top benefits of today’s favorite gray decking colors. Gray decking complements a broad array of home exteriors, the cool tones keep temperatures comfortable for bare feet, and the neutral color palette offers flexibility for outdoor aesthetics.

Gray Tones Complement Most Homes and Properties

Gray is a single color that can have many different shades, from cool grays with blues and greens tones to warm grays with orange and yellow tones. It is easy to find some shade of gray decking to complement the building materials of most homes, including vinyl siding, brick, or natural stone. Gray decking pairs particularly well with stone or brick, as these materials often have flecks of gray in them, which can be highlighted by an adjacent gray structure. The unobtrusive color palette is typically easily approved by a Home Owner’s Association and also integrates well into the adjoining landscape, flowing softly into nearby hardscapes or blending seamlessly with the surrounding foliage.

Lighter Colors Work Well in the Heat

Gray can make your outdoor space more comfortable as well, especially in the Triangle, where we enjoy considerable sunshine throughout the year. Light gray tones absorb less heat from the sun, thus helping to make a deck’s surface area more comfortable on bare feet. This is true whether you opt for gray composite decking or a wooden deck with gray stain or paint products.

Gray is Flexible for Outdoor Decorating

Gray decking offers exceptional flexibility for style choices. For a beachy or classic feel, light gray decking with white railings and white accents offers a classic accent to the architecture of traditional home designs. Changing the railings to black or a matching gray can make the same light gray deck feel sleek and modern, perfect for contemporary homes, mid-century homes, and traditional homes getting a fashionable update.

Dark gray decking offers a similar flexibility that is highly dependent on deck design and accents. Choose cable rail or a sleek black railing for a dramatic industrial feeling, or contrast the dark gray with white railings and lattice skirting for an update on a time-honored look.

Homeowners will also enjoy the additional flexibility that gray provides when decorating your new outdoor space. Gray provides an attractive but neutral backdrop for furniture, umbrellas, outdoor rugs, throw pillows, and accessories, in any type or color. With the benefits of choosing gray for your decking, you can transform your space throughout the year as each season’s color palette is sure to harmonize. Be sure to check out our decks gallery to see gorgeous gray decks and design inspiration.

As gray color palettes have taken over interior design, it is a natural progression to extend it into outdoor spaces. If you’re interested in a new gray deck, deck expansion, or re-decking at your home, please call Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and the Greater Triangle today for a design consultation: 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

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Mebane Deck, Patio, and Pergola Project Promotes Fitness and Relaxation with Specialized Construction Materials

Custom building for outdoor living is about addressing each client’s specific needs. Creating a perfect design to meet the unique needs of this Mebane family meant including outdoor relaxation and entertaining areas that focused on their health and well-being.

The Mebane homeowners came to the Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham design team with specific priorities. They wanted to redo their existing multi-level deck with composite, low-maintenance decking. They also needed a nearby patio addition to provide a location for a new swim spa, and they wanted a pergola to provide shade from the hot sun. To meet their needs, we created a customized combination project using specialized materials from some of our favorite product partners: Timbertech low-maintenance re-decking, Earthstone recycled granite pavers, and an Arcadia adjustable pergola.

Outdoor Fitness

It’s not every day that we are asked to create an outdoor area for fitness. Our client wanted a patio that could withstand the weight of a swim spa. We recommended recycled granite patio pavers from Earthstone Products to create a large patio in a three-piece pattern. With a natural slip-resistant surface and four times the strength of concrete, Earthstone recycled granite pavers were the perfect choice for this multi-functional space. Recycled granite pavers offer a luxurious paver patio look with long-lasting, eco-friendly durability.

Backyard Relaxation

The homeowner’s back yard is large enough that we were able to design a spacious patio with room for outdoor dining, entertaining, and relaxation adjacent to the swim spa. To fulfill the family’s desire for a shaded area, we added a pressure-treated wooden “Adjust-A-Pergola” by Arcadia Roofs.

With an easy adjustment, the pergola can provide the exact amount of shade desired by whoever is using the space at that time. If the weather is cooler and they want a little bit of sunshine, they can tilt the louvers to allow the sunlight to shine through. If the hot summer sun is uncomfortable or has moved across the sky, with a tilt of the slats they’re in full shade again. An Arcadia “Adjust-A-Pergola” offers flexible shade options, perfect for maximizing the function of a patio or deck during a variety of weather conditions.

Low-Maintenance Entertaining

There are few better places to entertain guests than on a backyard deck. This Mebane family was already enjoying a multi-level deck but wanted to give it a facelift, and wanted the result to be low-maintenance. Since the underlying structure was still sound, we decided to re-deck the entire multi-level space. (Re-decking is a great choice for updating an aging deck. Rather than incurring the cost of replacing the entire deck, it is more cost efficient to use the original support structure. Typically the support structure has been protected by the decking boards and remains strong and sturdy much longer than the surface. This makes it possible to just replace the boards, which have been exposed to everyday weather.) We used TimberTech Antigua Gold for this Mebane deck. Not only do the color and appearance look great, our clients won’t need to worry about staining, sealing, and upkeep in the years ahead.

At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, we are pleased to help families achieve their backyard living dreams. Whether those dreams are about relaxing, entertaining, wellness or all of the above, we’ll make it happen with a custom backyard project just for you! If you’re ready to build, update, or renovate your outdoor living space, call Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and the Greater Triangle today: 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

Featured Vendors:
Earthstone Products
Arcadia Roofs

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Hillsborough Composite Deck Remodel and Expansion Maximizes Forest and Wildlife Viewing

Outdoor swings are a wonderful and comfortable way to enjoy nature right outside your back door. One Hillsborough family wanted an outdoor swing on their back deck to enjoy the views of their surrounding woods and the wildlife it attracts. Unfortunately, their existing wood deck was too small for a swing and was in poor shape overall. Deciding it was time for a low-maintenance deck upgrade, they called Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham to revive their deck with low-maintenance decking and an expansion. We used a tiered deck design, composite decking, and black rail balusters to give them the space they wanted and to maximize their lovely view.

Re-Decking and Expansion

Re-decking offers an affordable alternative to replacing an entire deck by reusing the existing frame and replacing the old deck boards. (It is important to make sure that the frame is in good condition before re-decking.) Re-decking can be done using either wood or composite materials. As these homeowners wanted a low-maintenance upgrade, they chose composite decking. They also wanted to expand the size of their deck and chose a multi-level or tiered deck so that they could gain maximum square footage while preserving the gorgeous view from the upper-level.

Space-Enhancing Design Features

To maximize the view of our clients’ backyard and visiting wildlife, we removed the original deck railing to create an open area joining the original, upper-level deck to the deck addition. We chose a wide stair configuration to establish an open-floor-plan feeling, make the upper-level appear larger and increasing the actual space needed for the outdoor swing. Next, we added the lower level deck expansion two steps down from the upper deck. This sunken-living-room transition provides a separate but adjoining space that drops below the sight line of those relaxing on the swing. The black railing balusters are thin in size and subtle in look, minimizing obstruction of the view as well.

TimberTech Re-Decking

Gray composite decking is a popular choice for today’s deck surfaces. This Hillsborough family chose to re-deck their wooden deck in composite decking, using TimberTech Terrain in Silver Maple. The neutral light shade of gray provides an updated appearance, and the surface stays cooler in the hot summer sun for greater functionality. Without the need for staining or sealing, the TimberTech decking met the family’s desire for less time spent on deck maintenance as well.

To complete the aesthetics of the Hillsborough deck renovation, we finished the project with Dekorator aluminum balusters and Cedar rails. In addition to enhanced visibility, the black balusters provide a modern, clean look that complements the distinct color and classic grain pattern of the cedar. Cedar also requires less maintenance than pressure-treated pine, with a natural resistance to moisture, weathering, and insects. The combination of the two design elements results in a lovely marriage of modern and classic, a growing trend in today’s exterior and interior designs.

At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, and the Greater Triangle, we design every new or remodeling project with the specific homeowners’ needs in mind. We look forward to working with you to achieve your goals with a fully customized, professional design solution. Call today to schedule a design consultation: 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

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Are Your Allergies Worse in Raleigh this Year? Porch Windows Can Help You Enjoy the Outdoors in Greater Comfort

Are you a screened-in porch lover? Do you look forward to winter ending each year, just so you can enjoy your porch once again? If you answered yes, and you suffer (like many of us) from seasonal allergies, you may find you’re not spending as much time outdoors as you’d like this year. Don’t worry — Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham has a solution for you! Adding windows, such as Eze-Breeze Vinyl Windows, to your Raleigh screened porch or open porch will allow you to block out the pollen but continue to enjoy the warmer weather. If you don’t have a porch already, you may want to consider adding a three-season room to provide the flexibility needed for an allergy sufferer who loves the outdoors.

Adding Porch Windows

Whether upgrading your existing screened or open porch or creating a new space entirely, using Eze-Breeze windows is a great solution for keeping unsightly yellow pollen at bay and reducing sneezing and itchy eyes common during allergy season. Eze-Breeze windows are a combination porch window system made of ultra-clear vinyl and screens. They are easy to open and close for a quick change of airflow and keep you feeling immersed in the outdoors when opened or closed. During high allergy season, closed windows can block unwanted pollen and the yellow cover it creates. When the allergen count comes down, the windows can easily be opened again to provide the classic airy effect of a screened in porch.

Benefits Beyond Allergy Season

Adding Eze-Breeze windows will convert your existing space to a three-season room, which offers greater versatility in use beyond allergy season as well. In addition to pollen, porch windows can also keep rain and wind out of your porch on blustery days. In combination with approved independent heating and cooling units, Eze-Breeze windows can also extend the use of your outdoor space longer in the fall and earlier in the spring, outside of pollen season. Adding porch windows to an existing space or creating a new three-season room is one of the best investments you can make in outdoor living at your home.

Get Inspired!

Would you like some design ideas for three-season rooms and Eze-Breeze window upgrades? Check out our online gallery for the latest in project inspiration.

At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and the Greater Triangle, our top priority is making sure your outdoor space is precisely right for you and your family. No matter what your unique needs are, we’ll work closely with you to recommend, design, and build the right outdoor room for you. Call today for a design consultation: 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

Raleigh Louvered Roofs: The Charm of a Pergola with the Function of a Covered Porch

Covered porches and pergolas are popular choices for outdoor living in the Triangle. Having an overhead structure gives homeowners more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors on sunny or rainy days. The question is, what look and level of coverage do you want? If you’re torn between the charming look of a pergola and greater protection of a covered porch roof, we have good news: you can have both! Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham is pleased to offer Arcadia Louvered Roofs for flexible shade with great style.

What is a Louvered Roof?

Arcadia Louvered Roofs are a roofing system that combines the traditional look and appeal of a pergola with adjustable louvers for greater coverage. Arcadia roof louvers can tilt in different directions to lessen the amount of precipitation or light that shines into your outdoor space. When the louvers are closed completely, they lock together for 100% rain protection. A patented built-in gutter system transfers water off of the roof and away from your home.

Automated Rain Protection

Arcadia Louvered Roofs can be controlled by the touch of a button on your smartphone. They also feature rain sensor technology that allows you to set your system so it will close automatically when it rains. Imagine that you are planning to enjoy cocktails on your deck after having dinner downtown but, while dining, an evening thunderstorm rolls through the area. With the automatic rain settings, you’ll arrive home to a covered outdoor space and dry furniture so you can enjoy an evening outside without a hitch.

Hard Wired or Solar Powered: You Choose

The choice is yours for how to power your louvered roof. We can hard-wire the roof into your home’s electrical system, or you can choose solar for a more environmentally-friendly option.

Low-Maintenance and Easy-Cleaning

Made from powder-coated, extruded aluminum with stainless steel components, Arcadia Louvered Roofs are a long-term, low-maintenance investment. With no painting, staining or upkeep required, simply use a garden hose to remove dirt, dust or pollen that may accrue.

At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and the Greater Triangle, we enjoy finding innovative outdoor solutions for our clients. Our carpenters have been trained directly by Arcadia Louvered Roofs for the best installation and the highest degree of knowledge about the pergolas. If you’re ready for a multi-functional and beautiful pergola for your outdoor living space, call today for a design consultation: 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

Check out this Arcadia installation by Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham done in Cary, NC.

Utility and Style Shine in a North Raleigh Patio Addition and Re-Decking Project

At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, we enjoy working with clients to transform their existing outdoor living spaces with simple changes that have a lot of impact. This is what we did for a wonderful family in North Raleigh’s North Ridge Estates that wanted to update their worn-out deck with new decking and rails, and a new patio as well.

Re-Decking Done Right

While updating the aging North Raleigh deck for safety and function was the primary goal, we were also able to give it a beautiful design makeover. We replaced the existing deck railing with white posts and low-maintenance aluminum Dekorator baluster rails. The black balusters give the deck a modern look, and they open up the view to the backyard.

To the lower level of the multi-level deck, we added premium pressure-treated wood decking laid in a diagonal pattern. With a parting board in the center, the design is custom and luxurious, while also providing additional strength. Running the decking boards in a different direction on the upper level provides a visual cue to step up between levels.

Beautiful Patio with Custom Inlay

The custom paver design of this North Ridge Estates patio is a focal point for the new outdoor living space. By mixing Techo-Bloc paver styles and colors, we were able to create a striking geometric design within a larger curved space. We used Monticello Slab pavers in Azzurro for the main part of the patio space. The custom inlay features a mix of Flagstone pavers and Eva pavers, both in Champlain Grey. Taking every detail into consideration, the Eva pavers are used again in the walkway, and the sitting walls feature Manchester blocks in Champlain Grey. The continuity of color ties the whole patio together visually.

Location, Location, Location

At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, we enjoy working with our clients to find creative solutions to their project goals and design challenges. One challenge for this project was deciding where to place the patio in order to meet their functional, design, and budgetary goals. Working together, we decided to place the patio between the deck stairs and the walkway that leads around to the front of the house. This creates a seamless flow around the home while providing multiple places for the family to gather and enjoy their beautiful outdoor space.

With an upper-level deck for lounging, a large lower level deck for dining and grilling, and an expansive patio for any function they choose, this North Raleigh family has created the ultimate backyard entertaining space. If your Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill deck is ready for a make-over or a porch or patio addition, call today for a design consultation: 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

A Customized Cary Deck and Patio Expansion Complements This Bright and Airy Home

Where do you put a deck when your home has nine sliding glass doors?

This Cary family asked Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and the Greater Triangle to create a custom-designed outdoor space for their home, which features nine sliding glass doors on the backside. To maximize the family’s use of its many doors, we created a unique combination project that allows each of the doors to open to a comfortable backyard retreat. An outdoor dining and kitchen area, an upper-level lounge complete with an adjustable pergola, and a dry, covered patio downstairs offer multiple settings for enjoyment and relaxation regardless of the weather.

Flexible Shaded Lounge

This home’s main living room enjoys a great deal of natural light streaming in through two sliding glass doors with transom windows above. The homeowners’ design challenge was that they wanted shade on the deck directly outside of the living room but didn’t want to diminish the light coming into the house.

At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, we pride ourselves on finding innovative outdoor living solutions to meet our clients’ unique needs. To meet this particular design challenge, we installed an Arcadia Adjustable Pergola over the deck. The Arcadia System offers a flexible shade solution with louvered roof panels that can be adjusted to let in full or partial sunlight, or to provide complete coverage. In fact, the Arcadia System features a built-in rain sensor that will automatically close the louvers when it detects inclement weather.

Convenient Outdoor Dining

Three of the clients’ glass doors open from the kitchen and dining room onto their new deck. In order to create a seamless transition between their indoor and outdoor dining spaces, we designed this portion of the deck to be large enough to accommodate a dining table and barbecue grill.

With a modern diagonal decking pattern and pressure-treated pine, this Cary deck is as beautiful as it is functional. The deck’s railing features black aluminum balusters, which allow an unobstructed view of the back yard. The aluminum balusters are also a terrific low-maintenance alternative to wooden spindles.

To further refine the new outdoor dining space, we added a gated fence and two matching planter boxes to conceal the nearby air conditioning units with plants and flowers. The planter boxes are on wheels, so the homeowners retain the flexibility to move them to other areas as desired.

Covered Dry Patio

The walkout basement’s three glass doors open onto the back yard at ground level. The small existing patio did not take full advantage of the abundant opportunity for additional outdoor living space here. An expanded patio now offers this family a permanently dry and shaded outdoor area under the deck for new seating and direct access to the yard.

In creating this new outdoor living area, the first thing we did was add TimberTech’s DrySpace to the deck above the patio. The DrySpace is a vinyl drainage system that is installed underneath the deck, directly to the deck’s framing. The system channels water runoff to a gutter system, which is piped away from the house. This keeps water away from the home and the area underneath, maximizing the functionality of the patio space.

Next, we extended the concrete patio to make a larger, more functional lounging, dining, and entertaining area at that level. We tied the upstairs and downstairs areas together visually with a pressure-treated wood landing and cascading staircase leading from the concrete patio into the yard. Not only do the homeowners have an easy passage from the patio to the yard, but the wide staircase provides additional seating during large gatherings.

Given this home’s exceptional design and the homeowners’ desire for shade, we were pleased to provide two shaded outdoor spaces for the family to enjoy without sacrificing the benefits of their home’s bright and airy features. If your home presents a unique design challenge or opportunity for bringing the comfort of indoors outside, call Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and the Greater Triangle today at 919-973-1523. We work closely with every client during the design phase to meet their unique goals, and we look forward to working closely with you!

How Do I Clean My Eze-Breeze Vinyl Porch Windows?

As we say good-bye to winter and look ahead to summer, it’s time for spring cleaning! This includes cleaning Eze-Breeze® windows, which are one of the most popular choices for porch ventilation by Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham clients. (Eze-Breeze® windows are a combination window system made of screens and ultra-clear vinyl that allow you to easily change your screened porch into a 3-season room simply by opening and closing the windows.)

What Cleans Eze-Breeze Windows?

Eze-Breeze® windows makes a cleaner specifically for their windows. If you are interested in getting this product from us, please let us know. We are happy to help you.

If you want to use a DIY solution, we recommend using a lint free cloth rinsed with clean water to apply Woolite® or Murphy Oil Soap® and warm water. We recommend using one cap full per gallon of warm water.

Don’t be tempted by the cleaner that you use for your other windows; it can damage the vinyl and void your warranty. NEVER use alcohol, ammonia based, dishwashing soap, or products with abrasives or other harsh chemicals.

How to Clean Eze-Breeze Windows

Follow these steps for maximum cleaning performance.

  • Step 1: Make sure the windows are cool before you wash them.
  • Step 2: Vacuum the frame using a soft brush attachment.
  • Step 3: Hose off the exterior of your Eze-Breeze windows to remove loose dirt and debris.
  • Step 4: If the frames and tracks need cleaning, use a soft cloth and clean water to wipe them clean.
  • Step 5: Close all of your vents.
  • Step 6: Start with the bottom panel, raise it about one inch, release the thumb latches and tilt it in, resting it on a chair.
  • Step 7: Lower the remaining two panels by raising the bottom panel an inch, repeating Step 6, and letting the second panel rest down on the first panel. Repeat Step 7 for the last panel.
  • Step 8: Start with the top panel. Use a lint free cloth rinsed with clean water to apply the Eze-Breeze® or DIY cleaner (see above).
  • Step 9: Be sure the panel is dry and free of spots before putting it back in place and moving on to the next panel.

For even more information about care and maintenance of your Eze-Breeze porch windows go to the PGT Eze-Breeze Maintenance page.

At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, our commitment to our clients extends beyond the building process. If you have any questions, concerns, or issues with your deck, porch, patio, windows, or other features, please feel free to give us a call anytime. 919-973-1523 We look forward to hearing from you.

How to Choose a Porch or Deck Builder in the Raleigh-Durham area

Finding the right porch or deck builder can be a daunting task. We’d like to help you think through a selection process to use when considering us or any other company. By doing so, we hope you’ll feel comfortable with the due diligence you put into making your decision, no matter whom you choose.

Here are some important items to consider when choosing a deck or porch builder:

  • Ask around: If friends, family members, co-workers, or acquaintances have had an outdoor living space built in the last five years, ask what company they used and how they felt about their experience. It is important to have great customer service throughout the process as well as a great result at the end.
  • Find out what services they provide: Know what services the deck and porch builder offers. For instance, at Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, we are a custom design and build firm. While we do have some pre-designed projects available, our expertise is creating a unique project to fit your exact home and lifestyle. Some other contractors may only offer pre-designed options or may be less comfortable with complex projects.
  • Check online reviews: A great place to look for known issues is through the Better Business Bureau. If there have been any major issues with the company, the BBB generally will have a report. You can also use Google to search “[Contractor Name] complaints” to get the full picture.

  • Meet the builder: Once you’ve finished your initial research and feel you are ready, schedule a consultation with the company to obtain a bid. Get a sense of the person you’ll be working with and ask for examples of their work to verify their expertise. Since you’ll be working closely with this person and their crew for a few months, it is key that you feel comfortable with each other and that communication is clear.
  • Check References: Even if you have a trusted referral, it can also be useful to speak with other references for the deck or porch builder. And, it is especially helpful to see a company’s work in person. At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, we will connect you with clients who would be happy to let you view our work in-person at their home.
  • Check for license and insurance: It is essential that your builder is licensed and insured and offers a warranty on their work. No matter how good you feel about a company or how strong their reputation is, unforeseen events can happen. Protect yourself and your investment by making sure the deck and porch builder you choose is licensed and insured in case of accidents. Also be sure they offer a warranty backing up the quality of their work. At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, we have the best industry warranty, including a third party guarantee that your project will be completed to the specifications in the contract.
  • Accurate contract scope: Once you’ve chosen your deck or porch contractor and they’ve provided a suitable quote, make sure the scope of work is exactly what you’ve outlined in discussions to avoid added costs later. If any element is missing from the scope or the design, ask the company to add it in before you sign the contract. The contract should provide a clear picture of the project, its costs, the payment schedule, and other important service terms.

We are confident if you take the time to learn about the reputation and professionalism of a deck and porch builder, you will make an excellent choice and be on your way to enjoying a new outdoor living space soon. If we can be of further service to you, give us a call at 919-973-1523. We look forward to meeting and working with you!

A 3-Season Room, Deck, Patio & Fireplace Combination Project Provides Endless Opportunities for Durham Outdoor Living & Entertaining

What does your dream outdoor living space include? A deck and porch? A patio and deck? A fire feature? Let Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham build you a space that has it all. That’s what we did for this wonderful Durham family that wanted to be able to enjoy their backyard throughout the seasons, in any weather, in an attractive space. We designed and built a custom combination project that gave them exactly what they wanted, in the comfort of their own home.

Durham 3-Season Room

A focal point of this combination project is the Eze-Breeze 3-season room that serves as a great two-for-one space. The family can use the screens on lovely summer days to let warm breezes in and keep pesky insects out. In cooler temperatures or on rainy days, a quick close of the windows keeps unwanted weather outside.

To accommodate the homeowner’s tall height, we lowered the deck floor so the roof would be higher, yet still fit below the second story windows. We also designed the roof of the 3-season room with an open gable in the center for further loftiness.

One of the design features our clients wanted was a Carolina blue ceiling, in the classic southern tradition. Blue porch ceilings give the space a bright and open feeling while mimicking the blue sky. We added skylights to the roof to add to the sense of airiness and increase the daylight that streams into the space. This is a wonderful place to spend time dining, reading, and relaxing with friends and family.

A Deck and Patio Provide Open Air Enjoyment

Outside of the porch, a two-level deck provides additional outdoor living space and serves as a natural transition to the yard. Guests can step down one level to enjoy the outdoor dining area on the deck or head all the way to the patio. The deck offers a perfect space to relax in the sun while watching kids play in the yard. The black Fortress rails minimize obstruction of the view from the deck to the yard and patio and require little maintenance, for ease of use.

A patio and fireplace combination area sits below the deck and 3-season room, providing an adjacent but separate space that allows for easy entertaining with large groups. The built-in wall creates seating that never has to be stored or protected from the weather. We also added deck lighting to the stair risers to allow for safe navigation from the patio to the deck and 3-season room when entertaining in the evening.

Finishing Touches Add Elegance and Beauty

Some of the finishing touches that separate this project from others are subtle; yet add up to create a truly polished product. Lattice underpinning, Fortress Iron Railings, decorative post caps, and a unique but functional deck design all work together to give this homeowner a fully customized and elegant space.

If you’re dreaming of a deluxe outdoor living space that incorporates all of your favorite outdoor living features, call Archadeck of Raleigh, Durham and the Greater Triangle today: 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

How to Winterize my Raleigh Screened-In Porch

Are you looking for an attractive and well-functioning way to winterize your Raleigh screened-in porch or covered porch? As the weather cools down, many people seek ways to block out winter weather so they can keep using their favorite outdoor living spot for more of the year. If you search online, the most popular DIY projects for winterizing use plastic sheeting, vinyl curtains, and acrylic panels. While these solutions work well on a seasonal basis, another option is to install Eze-Breeze windows. Eze-Breeze windows give you the flexibility of switching between screen and vinyl windows all year long.

Below we’ll explore the pros and cons of different porch winterization strategies.

1. Replacing summer curtains with heavy-duty, clear vinyl curtains is one of the better looking and easier ways to winterize your screened-in porch. The look is not perfect but is reminiscent of an outdoor eatery at the beach. Having the flexibility to open and close the curtains on an occasional warm winter day is a plus. Curtains are a great way to simply block a cool breeze and keep leaves off the porch, but won’t do much to keep the temperature on your porch warmer.

2. Using plastic sheeting or window insulation kits are an inexpensive way to block out wind, leaves, and rain. In addition to their low cost, they can provide greater coverage than curtains. It is important to consider though, that when the wind is blowing, the sheets can be very noisy and don’t block cold temperatures. Sometimes wind and debris can also tear the sheeting if it is not thick and durable enough. Using double-sided sticky tape or staples to secure it can also cause damage to your porch, so be mindful of your installation technique.

3. Acrylic panels are a more effective method for winterizing your porch. The results will be a make-shift 3-season porch that stays a bit warmer than winterizing with the first two methods. This solution also helps to keep pollen at bay more than curtains or sheeting. The DIY approach to acrylic panels most often involves building your own storm windows and figuring out the best way to mount them on your specific porch. These efforts can be time-consuming and mounting can be risky to the individual and the porch, if it wasn’t built to hold storm windows. Also, keep in mind that some acrylic can become discolored over time, making it less attractive.

4. For a more permanent winterizing option of screened-in porches, you can transform your porch into a 3-season room with Eze-Breeze vinyl porch windows. At Archadeck of Raleigh, Durham and the Greater Triangle, Eze-Breeze windows are a popular choice for many of our clients, for all of their year-round outdoor living needs. Eze-Breeze windows bridge the gap between screen enclosures and 4-season rooms. Their unique screen and pane combination allow you to use the screens when you want an open and airy porch feeling, and to simply close the panes when cold weather, heavy pollen, or rain arrives. There is no need to spend time setting up and taking down winterization materials; Eze-Breeze windows stay in place year round for the ultimate flex-space in any weather. By transforming your porch into a 3-season room, you gain an additional room that you can enjoy with family and friends for much of the year. With a small space heater or built-in fireplace, you may even find the space to be comfortable on cold winter days. For even more information, read our Eze-Breeze vinyl porch windows page.

If you are interested in using Eze-Breeze windows to winterize your porch for years of enjoyment to come, call Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and the Greater Triangle today for a design consultation: 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

Winter is a Terrific Time to Build a Porch in the Greater Triangle

Are you considering adding a deck, patio, porch or sunroom to your home in the spring? Why wait? Unlike for other parts of the country, winter can be a great time of the year for outdoor living construction in the Raleigh-Durham area. In addition to having your new space ready to go when spring arrives, there are many potential benefits to building in the winter, such as saving time and money, easing the impact on your lifestyle and landscape, and taking advantage of optimal material performance.

Save Time

We appreciate how important time is to our clients. When it comes to building decks, porches, and patios, the process can take more time than some people might think. There are many steps to take in a project, beyond actual construction. These include completing a design, securing HOA permissions and local permits, ordering materials, conducting demolition and site preparation, and passing inspections. Scheduling busy crews and the variability of weather can further extend a timeline, especially during the spring and summer rush.

Building during winter can help your project move through the process more quickly. Not only are builders less busy, but suppliers and inspectors are also less busy, making the turnaround on custom orders and inspections quicker. Also, as a leading deck and porch builder in the Raleigh area, we often have a waiting list for each of our crews. With fewer projects on the docket, our clients’ wait times in the production queue are significantly decreased.

Save Money

Did you know that annual increases in price for decking and construction materials (such as lumber) often take place around the New Year? By choosing winter for your outdoor living project, you may be able to take advantage of last year’s pricing before those changes take effect. While the change in prices can be quite low, if you are building a large or complex outdoor structure, those price changes may add up. Consider signing a contract before January 1 for the best value.

Limit Life and Landscape Disruptions

Home construction of any kind can disrupt your regular schedule and the everyday enjoyment of your home and property. For outdoor living, building in the winter maximizes a time of year when you are less likely to be using your outdoor space anyway. Also, even with the most thoughtful builder (as we try to be), construction creates some degree of wear and tear on a yard. Winter building gives your lawn and landscape time to recover after the construction wear and tear before the spring season begins. With plenty of time for you to re-seed and fertilize your lawn before the heat of the Carolina summer arrives, your yard and landscape will be looking good just in time for those spring and summer outdoor activities.

Optimal Material Performance

Compared to other places in the country, winter in the greater Triangle area is relatively mild. The dry and cool weather actually has some benefits for those seeking pressure-treated wood. Pressure-treated wood is a porous material that is affected by heat and humidity. Wood that is put down in the humid and hot summer months can shrink more when the weather cools, leading to bigger gaps where boards intersect and some warping and cupping. Because temperatures and humidity are milder in the winter months, pressure treated lumber has a slower drying time, which allows it to acclimate to its new environment with less chance of warpage. While this issue doesn’t affect the strength of the structure, it may be less desirable from an aesthetic standpoint.

If you’re planning to add a new porch, deck, patio, or sunroom to your Raleigh, Durham or Greater Triangle home, consider building your project this winter. There are lots of benefits to winter building, and you’ll be ready to enjoy your new space as soon as spring arrives. Call us today for a design consultation: 919-973-1523 We look forward to working with you!

Replacing a Small Deck with a Larger Screened Porch and Deck Combination Gives Life to a Seldom Used Raleigh Backyard

It is not uncommon for homes to have a small “builder grade” deck or standard concrete slab outside of the back door. We recently upgraded a Raleigh client’s outdoor living space by adding a screened porch and deck combination where a small deck once stood. Our client gained a new covered outdoor space with protection from the elements alongside an open air space for grilling and entertaining.

Multi-Functional Outdoor Living in Raleigh

Gone are the days of having to choose between a deck and porch. Our most requested outdoor living project is the combination space. A combination project can include any mixture of sunroom, screened-in porch, deck, patio, and accessories. A Raleigh favorite is the screened porch and deck, which allows homeowners to enjoy perfect weather days on the deck and have a more protected retreat from hot sun, rain, and mosquitoes.

For our client, a screened porch provided a tranquil feeling of being in a tree house, perfect for relaxing. Additionally, the enclosed porch also gave her an outdoor space with a sense of privacy from nearby neighbors. The open gable roof balances the coziness of the space by keeping the porch bright and airy.

The Benefits of a Deck & Screen Porch Combo

With so many benefits to screened porch living, why add a deck too? Adjoining decks are helpful for times when you want to bask in the full sun or cook outdoors. By having both a deck and porch, a grill master can prepare the burgers and steaks while guests remain comfortable nearby, in the screened-in porch. Separated only by screens, conversations can easily flow in between them.

This Raleigh deck and screened in porch combo benefits from a few special design features that add style and functionality. The Deckorator aluminum balusters give the space a modern look, provide unobstructed views of the lush backyard, and are low-maintenance. The exposed wooden rafters in the porch give it a warm rustic feel, while the lighted tray ceiling provides additional nighttime function.

If you’re ready to upgrade your Raleigh, Durham or Greater Triangle builder grade patio or deck to a combination project, call today for a design consultation: 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

Raleigh Outdoor Fire Pits Inspire Memory Making Moments with Family and Friends

The changing leaves, shorter days, and cooler nights make it evident fall is in the air in the Raleigh, Durham, and greater Triangle area. Autumn weather is perfect for fun fall outdoor activities, like enjoying football, going to the pumpkin patch, and taking leisurely walks through the woods. Nothing beats a gorgeous, sunny fall day, but chillier ones can be enjoyable too. Take full advantage of crisp fall weather by cozying up to a warm fire with the addition of an outdoor fire pit to your deck or patio.

How would you like to enjoy a new fire pit in your own backyard?

• Choose a wood-burning fire pit for the wonderful smell of a burning campfire that brings back childhood memories of sleep-away camp or camping with your family.

• A wood-burning fire pit is also great for creating new culinary memories for your children or grandchildren. Roast hot dogs or make homemade popcorn in the great outdoors. Find out who likes their marshmallows lightly toasted or gooey and melting off the stick!

• Impress your friends or colleagues by entertaining them in an upscale, sophisticated fire pit area, complete with a gas-fueled fire pit that turns on with the flip of a switch.

• Enjoy a romantic evening with your loved one, sitting around the fire on custom stone bench seating with classic cocktails or steamy coffee in hand.

• Enjoy a peaceful moment of reading by the fire, while wrapped in a blanket with your feet propped up on a beautiful brick border for your new fire pit.

If you’re ready to make new memories while cozying up to an outdoor fire pit in your own Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill backyard, please give us a call. 919-973-1523 Be sure to view our fire features online gallery for design ideas and inspiration as well. We look forward to working with you!

When Can I Paint, Stain or Seal My New Pressure-Treated Wood Deck?

After an Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham crew completes construction on your new pressure-treated wood deck, you might be wondering why we don’t stain or seal your deck. New pressure-treated wood needs to dry after construction before it can be stained or sealed. This process can take many months depending on your deck’s sun exposure and the weather patterns after construction is complete. Without waiting for the wood to dry, stain and sealant would not penetrate the wood properly, diminishing its ability to protect the wood from weather damage.

Why Does Pressure-Treated Wood Need Protection?

Pressure-treated wood is a porous material. Without stain, any type of paint or sealant, rainwater, dew or snow can easily penetrate the decking. The wood will then swell until it dries when it will shrink again. This pattern of swelling and shrinking can cause damage to the wood such as splits, checks, splinters, cracks, and other blemishes. Protection from UV rays is also necessary for insurance against fading, discoloration, and warping.

How Long Should I Wait to Stain My New Deck?

Pressure-treated wood has been through a process that applies preservatives into the wood, making the wood wet. It is important to wait for the wood to dry before sealing a new deck, but at the same time, you don’t want to wait too long. Drying can take several months. We recommend beginning to test the wood around 90 days after your project is completed, but this is just a general suggestion. Keep in mind there are a number of factors that can affect how quickly your pressure-treated wood dries, including the weather, the environment, how long the wood sat in the lumberyard, and the time of year in which your project was built. The best way to know for sure if your pressure-treated wood is dry is to test it.

How Do I Know When My Pressure-Treated Wood Is Dry?

A simple water test will tell you if your new deck is dry and ready to be treated. Place a few drops of water on the deck. If the water beads up, you’ll need to wait a few days and check it again. If it absorbs into the wood quickly, your deck is dry and ready to be sealed or stained.

Who Will Stain or Seal My Pressure-Treated Deck?

It is important to protect your investment with proper care and the first step in keeping your deck structurally sound and great looking is proper staining or sealing. You can always choose to stain or seal your pressure-treated deck yourself, or you can hire a professional to do it. There are many tips and tricks for how to complete the process available online. For example, read our story Archadeck of Raleigh, Durham & The Greater Triangle Answers the 10 Top Questions About Sealing and Staining Pressure Treated Wood Decks. We are also happy to refer you to a professional service that will stain or seal your deck for you.

If you have more questions or concerns about staining or sealing your Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill deck, please give us a call. We are always available to answer your questions, and look forward to working with you! 919-973-1523

Let Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham Transform Your Deck Into a Porch You’ll Adore

Now that the heat of the summer has passed, and cooler autumn days are upon us, it is a great time to transform your Raleigh or Chapel Hill area deck into a covered porch, screened-in porch, or 3-season room. Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and the Greater Triangle can build upon your existing deck or patio to create an outdoor space that you can use throughout the fall and have ready to go before the next summer rolls around.

We recently worked with a Raleigh family to transform their existing wood deck into a custom screened-in porch (with an adjacent grilling deck) for added comfort and usability in their unique setting. Learn more about what they wanted, and why.

Porches Provide Relief from the Sun

Our clients weren’t satisfied with their existing wood deck because they felt it wasn’t very summer-friendly. With little protection from the hot summer sun and pesky insects, they found that their open deck was not a place to linger and enjoy the outdoors. Adding a screened porch with an open gable roof gave the homeowners a shady spot that is still bright and airy. We also included an overhead fan and lighting, which provides additional relief on warm days and greater evening usability.

Screened Porches Reduce Insects

Our clients love the privacy of their yard, which backs up to a forest. They feel their location gives them the convenience of suburban living with the serenity of country life. But with that tranquility comes a few additional, unwanted guests…such as mosquitoes and flies. By transforming their deck into a screened-in porch, these homeowners can now enjoy the great outdoors with a fresh breeze and far fewer annoying bugs.

Porches Offer Outdoor Enjoyment on Rainy Days

Our clients love to dine outside. With heavy southern heat and humidity during the summer months, Carolina outdoor living has to be flexible. A hot sunny day can quickly change direction with an afternoon storm. The transformation from an open deck to a screened in porch has allowed this Raleigh family to enjoy their summer cookouts with the smell of fresh rain and the sound of water tapping the roof, rather than having to move indoors.

The Best Porch for Your Lifestyle

Families all over Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill are transforming their outdoor living spaces to fit our warm and sunny climate better. Choose your level of comfort with an open air covered porch for sun and rain protection, a screened porch with the added benefit of insect protection, or a 3-season room that offers more flexibility as cold air can be shut out by closing porch windows.

If sending the kids back to school and planning your last summer gatherings has you regretting the time NOT spent outdoors this summer, now is the perfect time to make sure next summer is different. Call today for a design consultation 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

View more pictures and details in our screened porch gallery today!

Gorgeous Open Porch Earns Most Pins for Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham

What’s on your inspiration board for a dreamy outdoor living project? Earning the top spot on our Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham’s Pinterest page is this stunning open porch, which has been pinned over a thousand times:

Open porches are a favorite structure in the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill area. North Carolinians love to enjoy fresh air and a nice breeze, with coverage from the hot sun and afternoon showers. Let’s look at some of the details that make this widely admired porch so appealing.

Open Gable Roof

The open gable roof is one of the most popular choices in Raleigh porch design. It is easily identifiable by its triangular shape. The open gable style maximizes natural light for a bright and airy feel inside the structure. This particular roof features a truss – a triangular framework of rafters supporting the roof – with a “king” post in the center. In this example, it is painted white to match the trim and creates a lovely visual symmetry with the double doors over which it is located.

Rustic Wooden Ceiling

Inside the open gable roof is a stunning wooden ceiling. The natural wood planks in varying shades of deep brown lend a cozy, rustic feeling to the space. The built-in recessed lighting and skylights offer soft natural lighting, for enjoying the porch in the day or evening. The ceiling fan serves a center focal point for the room, as well as helping to cool the relaxing space on warm summer days. Atop of the roof, a classic cupola with a weathervane gives the porch a vintage farm feeling.

White Porch Frame

Framing the French doors are large columns and a raised railing that wrap around the porch and add to the classic design. The porch’s white columns, tie beam, and king post truss stand in beautiful contrast to the warm browns and earth tones of the wooden ceiling, railing cap, and natural stone wall. The brown and white color scheme is continued through the open deck and stairs, creating a nice visual flow from one part of the outdoor living space to the next.

Open Deck and Tiered Staircase

The open deck and tiered staircase continue use of the TimberTech low-maintenance decking found in the covered porch. The deck boards are laid in a diagonal design that meets in the middle for a welcoming guide through the French doors. The wrap-around, tiered staircase flows down into the yard. This style of staircase creates a gentle transition from one level to the next and offers extra seating when entertaining larger groups.

If you’re in the Raleigh-Durham area and dreaming of an open porch like this top-pinned, beautiful example, call us today for a design consultation: 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

Three Timbertech Low-Maintenance Raleigh Area Decks To Inspire Your Outdoor Living Dreams

Our Archadeck team is proud to build beautiful custom decks, porches, patios and other outdoor living spaces for homeowners in the Raleigh, Durham, and Greater Triangle area. Every project design reflects the unique design interests and functional needs of each individual client.

With so many options for size, shape, materials and accessories, designing an outdoor living space can sometimes be overwhelming. Below are three different deck or deck and porch combination projects to help inspire your planning. Which one appeals to you the most? Why?

Note: Each of the projects below features Timbertech low-maintenance composite decking in the Terrain line. TimberTech is a PVC wrapped low-maintenance composite decking that does not need to be stained or sealed. Terrain decking is available in six colors: Brown Oak, Rustic Elm, Sandy Birch, Silver Maple, and Stone Ash.

1) Wake Forest Elevated Deck with an Eze-Breeze Porch

Decking: This TimberTech Terrain deck features a lovely medium-tone Brown Oak color, complemented by a lighter Sandy Birch parting board.

Railing: The deck also features a TimberTech Evolutions Builder Rail with black aluminum balusters. The black aluminum balusters are a popular choice for creating an unobstructed view (this client has a lakefront view).

Stairs: When you have a tall deck, creating a landing halfway down the staircase varies the direction so the stairs do not protrude too far into the backyard. A landing also gives people a resting place when going up or down lengthy stairs and is more visually pleasing than a single long staircase.

Eze-Breeze: This Wake Forest deck is part of a multi-structure project that includes a 3-season porch with Eze-Breeze windows. Eze-Breeze windows are a combination system of open screens and ultra-clear vinyl windows that allow you to enjoy the airy feel of a screened in porch in good weather and close the vinyl windows on cool or rainy days.

2) Durham Multi-Level TimberTech Deck with a Modern Design

Decking: This TimberTech Terrain deck was done completely in an elegant Silver Maple color. The light gray color will stay cool in the summer sun and offers a lovely modern touch.

Railing: The Silver Maple decking is complemented by TimberTech Radiance Slate Gray Railing with black aluminum balusters. The black aluminum adds to the modern feel and achieves the homeowner’s desire for clear visibility of the yard below.

Stairs: This Durham multi-level deck features a wide, two-step staircase between the upper and lower levels that can also serve as additional seating during a large gathering. The wide staircase leading down to the yard is perfectly placed to land in the open lawn area and matches the rest of the deck design seamlessly.

Design: A multi-level deck is a popular choice for creating a gradual transition from the home to the yard as well as separate yet adjacent outdoor living spaces. In this case, having a lower second level also ensures that the railing is below eye level from the top deck, further protecting the homeowner’s treasured view of her backyard.

3) Durham TimberTech Low-to-Grade Deck and 3-Season Room

Decking: This TimberTech Terrain decking is in Slate, a lovely complement to the homeowner’s blue siding. (Slate is a discontinued color, but there are other similar and gorgeous options available through TimberTech, such as: Amazon Mist from the Tropical Collection.)

Railing: No deck railing is needed on the low-to-grade deck, giving it a very open and spacious feeling. However, a rail is needed for the stairs. We placed it on the side of the planter facing the stairs, since the side of the home has windows on the other side of the stairs.

Stairs: The three short steps from the low-grade deck to ground level are tucked behind the gorgeous built-in planter that adds definition and utility to the structure. Both the stairs and planters are in TimberTech Slate decking to create visual continuity with the deck.

Design: This Durham screened in porch features an open gable roof and Eze-Breeze windows for a bright and airy space that can also be enjoyed during inclement weather. The porch also features a knee wall with siding that matches the home for a seamless look. With the inclusion of both a porch and a deck in this project, the homeowners can enjoy all types of outdoor living in sun, shade, or any type of weather.

If you love the look of one of these decking projects or want to create your own special outdoor living space, call us today for a design consultation. 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

Raleigh Multi-Level Decking: More Than Just a Beautiful Deck

Do you love the look of a multi-level deck? Two or even three-level decks are a popular choice in today’s custom deck designs. Often clients have seen multi-level decks on Pinterest, Houzz, or in our deck gallery and love the look. Other times they need the design to meet their home and family’s unique needs. There are many benefits in choosing a multi-level deck, such as creating separate but adjacent living spaces, making a smooth transition from the home to the yard, or creating that dramatic look you’ve been dreaming of for your outdoor space.

Great for Outdoor Family Entertaining

Decks are an extension of a home’s indoor living space. Building a multi-level deck is similar to the open floor plans of modern homes, which typically feature a kitchen, dining area, and family room that all flow together. By creating one large space with multiple functions, families can spend more time together while still having enough space to separate as needed. For example, when a family is entertaining outdoors, the adults can enjoy the view, cook, and chat on the upper level while keeping an eye on kids playing on the next level down.

Meet a Variety of Individual Needs Simultaneously

Multi-level decks offer something for everyone. Choosing a multi-level deck with a porch on one level is a great way to provide both covered and open-air living in one structure. This versatile combination space will meet the needs of the UV-averse people in your life while still allowing the sun lovers their space in the light. Different architectural settings can also create spaces with different ambience. A pergola or covered porch can be the perfect spot for a cozy reading or dining nook whereas a large open deck can allow seating for large groups or special features like a fire pit around which friends and family can gather.

Gentle Transition into the Yard

When designing outdoor spaces, we are keenly aware of the surrounding landscape. At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and the Greater Triangle, we aim to create outdoor spaces that really complement the natural environment. When a home’s main living space is on the second level, or their backyard is on a steep slope, creating a tiered multi-level deck leading to the yard can give the transition between elevations a smoother flow.
One of our favorite designs is to create a private upper deck, enclosed almost entirely with railings, with a wide sprawling staircase down to a lower level deck requiring no railings. We add stairs around the lower deck leading to a lovely paver patio. The organic texture of the pavers bridges the gap between nature and the decking (whether using natural wood or composite materials) while creating a lovely view from the yard of a gradual rise to the home.

Stunning Design Details

With Archadeck of Raleigh, Durham and the Greater Triangle, you’ll receive a sophisticated custom design that meets your dreams of creating a designer outdoor living space. Multi-level decks provide us an opportunity to use design elements that are elegant yet subtle, such as alternating the pattern of the decking boards on each level for an eye-catching variation (while acting as a visual cue for safety in stepping up or down). We often use the transition between levels to frame staircases with built-in planter boxes or built-in benches. We can even create wide stairs between levels that act as additional seating for entertaining.

If you love the look of a multi-level deck and know your outdoor lifestyle could benefit from the functional benefits of having several outdoor living spaces, call us for a design consultation: 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

Archadeck Uses TimberTech Decking to Breath New Life into Aging Durham Deck

Is your deck reaching the end of its lifespan? Aging decks don’t necessarily need to be demolished. Many times the columns, joists, and other support structures are perfectly solid and re-decking is a preferable option. A wonderful client in Durham was pleasantly surprised when we were able to use the existing support structures to renew and expand her deck with new low-maintenance decking and railings.

Lower Level Deck Addition

This Durham homeowner enjoyed her shaded backyard view so much that she wanted more deck space to enjoy it. To give her an adjoining but distinct new outdoor living space, we added a second, lower level to the existing deck. We designed the lower-level deck in an octagonal shape and ran deck boards perpendicular to the existing decking for a visual cue to the step-down. We also created a matching, built-in bench to offer additional seating in this space.

Placing the deck expansion at a lower level offers several benefits. In addition to easing the physical transition from the higher deck to the ground level, it also adds visual dimension to the overall outdoor structure. Our Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham design team positioned the lower-level deck addition specifically so that the railing would sit below the sight line of people sitting on the upper level or in the kitchen. This keeps their view of the yard open and unobstructed, supporting the homeowner’s goal of having more space in which to enjoy the view.

Low-Maintenance Decking

Our homeowner wanted to spend as much time relaxing on her new deck as possible, and less time maintaining it. She also wanted to make sure the new addition complimented the color of her home’s siding and trim. To achieve both goals, she chose to use TimberTech Silver Maple decking and Timbertech Radiance Slate Grey railing. TimberTech is one of the leading brands of low-maintenance composite decking. The Silver Maple board is in the Terrain collection of Timbertech decking and is a PVC-coated composite board. The subtle variegation in the boards’ coloring helps to give it a more natural look and is complemented by the black aluminum baluster infill in the rails.

For both the re-decking and the deck extension we used CONCEALoc hidden fasteners to keep unsightly deck screws from showing, continuing the seamless elegant finish. Further accomplishing the homeowner’s goals of a low-maintenance outdoor lifestyle, we used TimberTech’s Radiance rail, which will never need staining or sealing. The black aluminum balusters also complement rather than compete with the beautiful view of her woods.

This updated and expanded Durham deck is a lovely outdoor retreat, perfect for everyday relaxation or weekend entertaining. The multi-level deck design makes the transition from the deck to the yard more fluid, enticing guests to enjoy the yard and the deck more freely.

If your Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill deck could use a renewal, extension, or is past its functional lifespan, call today. 919-973-1523 Your structure might be a candidate for re-decking. We look forward to working with you!



Five Reasons to Choose Archadeck of Raleigh Durham and the Greater Triangle as Your Custom Deck & Porch Builder

Choosing a contractor for any home improvement project can feel like a challenging task. Is the builder reputable? Will they complete my project in a timely fashion? Is their work the best quality? Are they licensed and insured?

When it comes to decks, porches, and patios, Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and The Greater Triangle can answer yes to all these questions and more. As a locally owned and operated Archadeck office, we offer you the commitment and customized service of a family-owned business with the backing of a large, national company. We are proud to be part of a network of over 50 Archadeck locations that have built more than 100,000 projects in the last 36 years.

While there are many reasons to choose Archadeck of Raleigh Durham and the Greater Triangle for your next outdoor living project, here are five for you to consider:

Custom design

Your new outdoor structure will be like no other. Our work is designed specifically to meet your individual design and functional goals, your property’s unique features, and your home’s distinctive architecture. Every specification from size and shape, down to the last detail of material choices and finishes, will be tailored just for your project.

Excellent vendor relationships

We work closely with many of the country’s leading deck and building suppliers like TimberTech, AZEK, PGT Eze-Breeze, Fortress, and Belgard. This ensures our crews are well-trained by the vendors in proper installation procedures unique to each brand and keeps us up to date on their most advanced product offerings. In addition to our industry partners, we are also happy to work with any preferred vendors you may have, even if we haven’t worked with them previously.

The Archadeck Process

As the largest deck builder in North America, Archadeck has developed highly effective construction and management processes over many years of service. All Archadeck projects focus on a client-centered approach and high-quality production. We start with a thorough professional design consultation at our clients’ homes. After that, we create computer-rendered plans to share with you and final projects are documented fully in written contracts. All projects are then built and supervised by our skilled and dedicated carpentry crews, and Archadeck will handle any permits and inspections that are required.

A+ BBB rating and top building association memberships

Archadeck of Raleigh, Durham and the Greater Triangle is properly licensed and insured and has an excellent reputation in the industry. We have maintained an A+ Better Business Bureau rating for more than 25 years. We are also members of the top building associations in the country including NADRA (North American Deck and Railing Association, NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) and NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry. Each of these associations has an established code of ethics for their members to follow. The code demands strict adherence to the highest levels of integrity, quality and responsibility to clients.

Remarkable warranty

Archadeck stands behind our commitment to quality with written warranties for all custom built outdoor living spaces. A one-year guarantee on workmanship and a five-year guarantee on structural integrity provide extra peace of mind about your outdoor living investment. Further backing by the National Guarantee Corporation (NGC) guarantees your project will be completed to the terms in your contract. In addition to our warranties, we will be able to provide you with information on the warranties of the many products we install and use for our projects.

Don’t take our word for it, check out what our customers have to say about us on Google and Houzz. If you’d like a first-hand account of what it is like to work with Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, call today and we will be happy to provide you with references. We have built our business on customer satisfaction, which means top quality design, installation and service for all of your outdoor living needs. Call today for a design consultation. 919-973-1523 We look forward to working with you!

Views You Can Use: 5 Checkpoints for Raleigh Area Deck and Porch Safety Inspection

Did you know May is Deck Safety Month? Unfortunately, as people begin enjoying the outdoors each spring, we also begin to hear news of porch and deck collapses. Before you have your first family barbecue of the season, it’s a good idea to take a closer look at your deck or porch to ensure that it remains in good shape and is ready for use.

At Archadeck of Raleigh, Durham and the Greater Triangle, we recommend you check your outdoor structure annually. Most homeowners can get a general sense of a change in the safety of their deck by jumping on it, wiggling the railings, and paying close attention to visual defects. However, for a more thorough home deck inspection, check the 5 areas listed below, starting from the ground and working your way up. When you do your inspection, if anything looks amiss, or if you are unsure about the assessment itself, we recommend having a professional contractor, such as Archadeck, conduct a more thorough inspection.

1. Foundation & Columns

  • Check where your supports meet the ground for rot or decay. (If the wood feels spongy or breaks off without splintering it could indicate rot.)
  • Examine deck supports for holes. This could indicate insect damage.
  • Stand back and look at the supports from a distance to check for sagging or sinking.
  • Check to be sure there is lateral bracing on any deck over 4 feet above the ground. (Added support beams running from the columns to the main framing structure — usually at a 45 degree angle.)
  • Inspect fasteners or brackets on deck supports. Look for damage, rusting, or bending and be sure the hardware looks properly attached.

2. House Attachment & Framing (best done from underneath)

  • Look closely where the deck attaches to your home or structure. Make sure nothing looks or feels loose. Ensure it is attached with screws and bolts, rather than nails.
  • Inspect your moisture barrier/flashing between the deck and your home. If it is loose, cracked, peeling, or even missing, water could be leaking into your home’s structural framing. (This is one of the most common failures, quickly leading to rot and water damage.)
  • Look underneath at your deck’s framing. Make sure joists are attached securely to framing and foundations. If you have noticeable sagging, your joists could be over-spanned (too far apart) which can lead to deck failure.

3. Deck Boards (Move to the top of the deck to continue your check.)

  • Inspect the fasteners that hold your deck boards in place. Make sure they are not coming loose.
  • Look for rotted, splintered, split, or otherwise damaged boards.
  • Visually evaluate the overall condition of your deck for re-sealing/staining needs.

4. Railings

  • Scrutinize railing posts, making sure they are properly secured with appropriate fasteners.
  • Inspect for missing or damaged spindles.
  • Examine the rail cap for splinters, rot or warping.

5. Stairs

  • Inspect the frame of your stairs for cracks, splits, rot, or damage.
  • Review stair tread and riser boards for overall strength and condition. Look for splits, cracks or other damage. Feel for looseness.
  • Examine closely where your stairs attach to the deck. Look and feel for adequate strength and support.

If any of these items catch your attention, it is time to call for a professional deck inspection so the problem can be assessed and corrected as soon as possible. Archadeck of Raleigh Durham and the Greater Triangle offers a thorough deck safety inspection that can help you gain peace of mind for years to come. Call today 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

Archadeck of Raleigh Durham and EarthStone Recycled Granite Pavers: The Beginning of a Fruitful Partnership

We recently had the pleasure of working with a Raleigh homeowner who called us with dreams of the ultimate outdoor entertaining space. He wanted a large screened porch that would enclose his hot tub and give him plenty of outdoor living space. He also wanted to create an open patio featuring a fire pit and space for a barbecue grill. With a particular building material in mind, the homeowner introduced us to Sandy at EarthStone Products and launched a lasting collaboration.

Low-Maintenance Screened Porch plus Patio in Raleigh

For this project, our expert design team worked hand-in-hand with EarthStone Products to create a custom design to meet all of the homeowner’s needs. With outdoor entertaining being the main priority, we designed an expansive low-maintenance screened-in porch for entertaining. This included an octagonal screened-in area outside of the master bedroom for the recessed hot tub. Situated outside of the porch, EarthStone’s charming and equally expansive recycled granite patio with a fire pit and built in grill completed the combination project design.

Low-Maintenance Decking

We recommended TimberTech Legacy decking for the porch to provide a low-maintenance solution for the relaxed lifestyle the homeowner was seeking. With the combination of TimberTech Mocha and Pecan colored boards, we created a gorgeous custom design that complimented the home and the new patio beautifully. The TimberTech Legacy Mocha picture framing and parting boards are design details that ensure this room embodies the nature and finish of this truly custom job.

Recycled Granite Pavers

This Raleigh recycled granite patio was created with flagstone-shaped pavers for a rustic look. The gorgeous design matches the stacked stone retaining wall and natural-colored stained wood of the screened porch perfectly. EarthStone recycled granite pavers are an ecologically responsible choice providing durability without sacrificing aesthetics. Made from 100% post-industrial waste, the blocks are four times stronger than concrete. With their textured non-slip surface, recycled granite pavers are perfect for high traffic walkways and patios.

Custom Roofline

Successfully attaching a new room to an existing home often comes with some architectural challenges. For this project, we needed to create a custom roofline that could successfully tie multiple outdoor areas to the home with great visual appeal. The hip roof over the octagonal hot tub space combined with the shed roof over the main living area make for a unique porch design was our design challenge solution.

Designed for Entertaining

This Raleigh screened porch features built-in surround sound, recessed lighting, and ambient party lighting along the soffit for a more dramatic effect when the homeowner wanted to entertain. With the flip of a switch, our client and his friends can enjoy flickering flames over lava rock in his new gas outdoor fire pit. The stacked stone sitting wall stretches through the outdoor kitchen to provide functional seating, to define the space, and to tie in visually with the rest of the rustic design.

By working in close partnership with EarthStone, we were able to streamline the design and construction phases for our client. The cohesive project was completed in one simultaneous construction stage, allowing the homeowner to enjoy his new porch and patio more quickly than other combination projects. We are happy to work with other providers to deliver the best project for our clients.

The expert design and custom craftsmanship of this Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham outdoor space will be loved and enjoyed by this homeowner and his guests for many years to come. If you’re dreaming of the perfect outdoor retreat for your family, call us today: 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

EarthStone Products

Raleigh Covered Porches: Custom Shade for Your Backyard

Is your Raleigh-Durham area backyard too hot and sunny to use in the heat of the summer? We can add a roof to your porch, deck, or patio for better coverage and a cooler place to relax and entertain. Covered porches are sometimes referred to as open porches, which includes any outdoor living space that has a roof over it. A great extension of your indoor living space, custom covered porches offer many possibilities. To inspire your design ideas, we’ve outlined a few of the more common choices for covered porch size and location, style and materials, and custom finishes.

Location, Location, Location

The size and location of your covered porch largely depends on your family’s outdoor living needs and the structure of your existing home and property. Many factors go into determining where the location of your new covered structure should be, including; the existing home’s roof lines and design, the hours of the day when sunlight on the property is most intense, and the general intended use of the structure.

We want to make sure the roof structure is attached to the home in a location that will allow proper water run-off. We have done many complicated roof attachments over the years, and the last thing any homeowner wants is water problems down the road. We will take a close look at existing roof lines and develop a plan that will leave your space nice and dry for many years.

Seeing that many covered porches are built for protection from the sun, we will evaluate at what times of day the sun is most severe, and from which directions. We can then develop a plan for sizing and placing your new addition so that it will offer cover when it is needed most.
We will evaluate the intended uses of the covered space, as well as any other nearby living areas, and give recommendations on how homeowners can maximize all that a new covered porch or pergola might have to offer.

Style and Material Options

A roof is the key feature of a covered porch, making it the best starting point for your design style. Open gable roofs are a popular choice for their architectural beauty and the open airy space they create. They typically allow for the most natural lighting in the space and are common architectural features in this part of the country. Hip, shed, and flat roofs are also a good choice but are typically used on an as-needed basis to perform a specific function or meet a certain aesthetic need. A pergola with a polycarbonate cover for UV and rain protection is a great option for homeowners who are looking for coverage, but not quite the financial investment of a full framed roof structure. The best roof for your covered porch, deck, or patio is largely dependent on your home’s architecture, structural build, and overall design features. We can help you choose the best roof to create the outdoor living space of your dreams.

With regard to materials, we frequently advise our clients to use low-maintenance materials for their covered porch. These materials will never need to be stained or sealed and generally outlast any wood products. Low-maintenance covered porches look newer longer and simply need a little soap and water if they ever get dirty. We often use vinyl wrapped columns, and PVC trim and moldings to achieve an attractive, worry-free space. All you have to do is relax and enjoy your new outdoor living retreat.

Custom Porch Finishes

You can further customize your covered porch by choosing from a large variety of custom options and finishing touches. Add a Duke blue or Wolfpack red painted tongue and groove ceiling to show your team spirit. Install recessed lighting and a ceiling fan for greater comfort on warm, summer evenings. Add a large-screen television, outdoor fireplace, or wet bar or more entertaining options. However you use your covered porch, our talented design team will help you make the space uniquely yours for years of comfort and enjoyment.

If you could use more sun and rain protection for your Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill outdoor living space, please give us a call at 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

More Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham Decking, Please.

Does your new home have an existing outdoor space that you’d like to customize to fit your exact needs and style? We recently worked with a wonderful North Raleigh family who moved into a home featuring an existing Archadeck screened porch and small deck. The problem? They wanted more! Seeing our name placard on the structure, they called us to do some light alterations to the porch and to expand the deck significantly, creating more space for outdoor family fun.

Screened Porch Makeover

Our clients were pleased to have a screened porch already in place in their new home, but they wanted to make the space their own. To achieve this, we installed brand new screens throughout the entire porch, giving it a fresh new look and feel. A simple adjustment, such as this one, can breathe new life into an existing structure.

Customize and Expand An Existing Deck

In addition to the screened porch, the family was also glad to have a wood deck at their new home. Although the existing structure was in great shape, they really wanted it to be larger in order to enjoy the space more fully. After considering several options, we decided to expand the existing deck into a new pressure-treated wood deck with two levels.

The upper level now provides the family with a large space for dining, an efficient and attractive place for their grill, and a wonderful nook for lounging. Expanding the deck across the back of the home now gives the family greater access to the outdoors from inside the home as well. The large octagonal-shaped lower level provides additional room for seating or overflow dining. By creating two distinct outdoor living areas, this design allows the family to enjoy the spaces together or separately depending on the occasion. The wide steps between levels can also act as additional seating for extra-large gatherings, such as birthday parties, summer barbecues, or family reunions.

Ease of Access is in the Details

Access to the deck from all areas of the yard was a priority for this family, which led us to build three separate staircases from the deck to the ground level. The staircase closest to the house allows easy access to the driveway and garage. The large, flared staircase provides full access to the main open area of the backyard where our clients’ children can run and play yard games. With a third staircase on the opposite side leading out to the fire pit area, this family has yet another area to visit with friends and roast smores on a chilly spring or fall evening.

With the perfect design to meet their needs, we were able to take an existing Archadeck screened porch and deck and turn them into the custom outdoor living space of the new homeowners’ dreams.

If your Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill outdoor living space needs a bit of customizing to meet your needs better, please give us a call at 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

Five Great Reasons to Build a Composite/Synthetic Deck by Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and the Greater Triangle

When building a deck at your Raleigh area home, one key consideration is whether to choose wood or synthetic decking materials. Wood is a long-standing, traditional building material for decks. Synthetic materials have become quite popular since their introduction almost 20 years, due to their low maintenance, high quality, and excellent return on investment. (Synthetic materials can also be used for building other types of outdoor living projects, such as porches or pergolas.)

So, what exactly is synthetic decking? Synthetic decking is an umbrella term that includes PVC decking, capstock, and composite decking. PVC decking is made entirely of cellular PVC and offers unmatched protection against scratches and fading. Composite decking is a combination of ground wood, plastics, and fibers. Capstock is a hybrid composed of composite interior materials wrapped in a cellular PVC shell. Combining the two products maximizes the benefits of the lower cost of traditional composite and durability of PVC.

Below are five great reasons for choosing synthetic decking. Which one interests you the most?

1. Low maintenance means no staining, painting, or sealing. Ever.
Unlike wood decks, today’s synthetic decking requires no staining, sealing, or painting. Cleaning is the only maintenance your synthetic deck might need, and that can easily be done with a garden hose and some soap. This is one of the top reasons many of our clients prefer synthetic decking.
2. No splinters = happy feet!
One of the best parts of having a deck is to be able to go outdoors and enjoy your morning coffee, or relax in the warm afternoon sun, in the comfort of bare feet…without dealing with the mess of walking in your backyard. Unfortunately, with a wood deck, that comfort can be offset when you come across a painful splinter. Splinters are not an issue with synthetic decking, so you are free to roam, barefoot and happy in your beautiful outdoor living space.

3. Synthetic decks maintain a “new” look.
Weather and sun are tough on wood. If you’ve ever had to replace a wooden fence post or deck board, you know how unsightly it can look when you mix new and weathered materials. Synthetic decking is designed to withstand exposure to weather and sun, without fading. By retaining its original color, the synthetic deck you start with is the deck you will be able to enjoy for years to come.
4. Durability is a smart investment.
Decks are a popular (and highly visible) home feature that can receive a lot of wear and tear. Whenever improving, repairing, or updating a deck, it is wise to choose materials that are long lasting. Especially if you are planning to live in your home for the long term, investing in a synthetic deck will pay off with many years of durability and low-maintenance enjoyment.
5. Peace of mind = a 25-Year Synthetic Decking Warranty
Synthetic decking materials have improved greatly since they were first introduced. We recommend TimberTech capped composite decking and AZEK cellular PVC decking as our preferred products. They have a long history of producing a high-quality product and are backed by impressive 25 and 30-year warranties.

You may be able to convert your existing wood deck into a composite deck

Synthetic decking isn’t just for new decks. You can also use synthetic materials when converting an existing wooden deck. If the existing deck substructure is in good shape, it may only need minor corrections to accommodate switching out the decking surface and existing railing. We call this re-decking and it’s a very popular option.

For example, we completed a TimberTech redeck project for one of our clients in Mebane, NC. The homeowners had an aging wood deck they wanted to resurface with low-maintenance composite decking. We used TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions in Pacific Teak for the decking and a TimberTech builder rail. With minimal changes to the structure, we were able to retrofit the old deck to accommodate the new decking and railing. The clients love it and will enjoy the relaxed lifestyle of a low-maintenance deck for many years to come.

If you are considering retrofitting or adding a new low-maintenance deck to your Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill area home, please give us a call for a design consultation at 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

TimberTech & AZEK Warranties

Pros & Cons of Building Your Dream Raleigh Outdoor Living Space in Phases

Are you dreaming of building a stunning new outdoor living retreat at your Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill area home? Are you worried that your project may be too much to tackle at once? If your new addition is a combination of different types of structures – such as a deck, patio, and screened porch – you have the option of building in phases or all at once. Both approaches have their benefits, and we can help you decide what is right for you.

The Benefits of Building a Large Combination Project in Phases

Distributing the cost of a large multi-space project over time is the primary benefit of building in phases. A large-scale combination project can be a significant investment of money and time. Sometimes it can ease the financial commitment to build the project in phases and spread out the cost over time. A phased project will also allow you to avoid having construction in progress at your home for a lengthy stretch of time.

Having time to live in your new space and fully realize how you will use it is also a great benefit of building in phases. You may think you want mostly open deck space and then, as you spend more time outside, find that you also want a screened area for protection from insects, pollen, or weather. A recent Durham client had us design and build a deck for them, but they weren’t sure if they wanted a pergola as well. Six months later they decided to make the pergola addition. The phased approach allowed them to discover and be sure of what they ultimately wanted.

Building in preparation for future additions is an important consideration of phased projects. If you know the full scope of what you want your outdoor space to include, we will design your entire space from the start. As we build each phase, we can prepare each part of the structure for future phases. For example, if you know you want to eventually add a hot tub to your deck, we can reinforce the deck now for adding the hot tub later.

The Benefits of Building Your Large Outdoor Living Project All At Once

While deciding to take a phased approach has its advantages, so does completing a project all at once. Building your large Raleigh-area outdoor living project in one phase can actually yield cost savings through different economies of scale. For example, you can avoid multiple permit costs and inspection fees that can accrue in a phased project. Demolition, dumpster rental, and material delivery costs can also be streamlined.

This economy of scale is what one of our new Cary clients found when they wanted to build a large, multi-level, low-maintenance deck and covered porch. Because of the size and scope of the project, they had assumed they would build in stages. After going through the design process and seeing the total cost of completing the project in one phase versus two or more, they realized it was more cost effective to build the entire outdoor living project at once.

Completing a project in a non-phased approach also has a convenience benefit: you only have to be in the “construction mode” once! Sometimes the idea of restarting construction once you’ve had a break can be frustrating. If you decide to do a project all at once, when your project is done, it’s done. You can enjoy your home, indoors and out, with no further interruption.

This convenience benefit also relates to after the project is complete. Wear and tear on a client’s landscape is an unavoidable part of any construction project. With a single phase of construction, once the work is completed, you can clean up your landscape one time without repeating the process.

We Can Help You Make the Decision

Are you still undecided about a single or multiple phase approach to building the outdoor living structure of your dreams? Don’t worry. During our consultation, we will work through these considerations with you. We will help you consider every angle of your future outdoor living project to ensure you get the outdoor living space of your dreams at the right pace.

If you are considering adding a large combination outdoor living space to your Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill home, please give us a call for a design consultation at 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

A Sneak Preview of a New Cary Oversized Custom Deck and Open Porch

When these Cary NC homeowners initially called us, they had an outdated deck in need of an overhaul. The old deck was too small and had a large hole where there was previously a hot tub. They were looking to design and build a generously-sized deck with multiple living spaces. Many of our Archadeck of Raleigh Durham customers are opting for a combination outdoor project, such as this one, that creates a new structure with multiple areas to enjoy different activities. Often these combinations include a covered space attached to an open space. That’s exactly what this Cary family was seeking.

Extending outside the back door of their home, our design begins with a covered area that allows our clients to be outdoors while still being protected from the weather. Their new deck will cascade into two distinct levels, with a choice of living areas within each level, and large wrap-around steps. In this configuration, they’ll be able to cook, dine, sit and read, watch the rain, or enjoy the sunshine from the different areas of their new covered porch and deck.

To meet our clients’ goals for care and durability, we will use Timbertech Caribbean Redwood low-maintenance composite decking for the entire structure. A built-in planter, Fortress Iron railing, and lattice skirting will help to further define and design the space. The various sets of wide steps throughout the outdoor space will be able to serve as overflow seating if needed. The decking boards will be oriented in varying directions signaling transitions between levels and large areas. In addition to the built-in planter, there is plenty of space to accommodate potted plants for beauty, and to satisfy our clients’ green thumb.

The new covered porch area will feature a gable roof with custom-designed large arches. On the inside, the ceiling will showcase a tongue-and-groove finish. Two large skylights will maximize the natural light and help create an open feel within the covered space.

At Archadeck of Raleigh Durham, we can provide clients with 3-D drawings of their project to provide the most accurate view of what a combination project with multiple elevations will look like once built. It is important to us that our clients see their design ideas and objectives translated to an architectural structure meeting those needs and desires. We hope you have enjoyed this special sneak preview of a Cary combination project. As soon as we finish, we will share the finished pictures — stay tuned to see this dream turned into a reality!

If you are considering adding a new outdoor living space to your Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill area home, please give us a call for a design consultation at 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

Fortress Iron Railings

Archadeck of Raleigh Durham Supports Eagle Scout Community Project

“Our world would be a fascinating place if more people worked together for the greater good.” Thanks Archadeck! – Anthony L.

At Archadeck of Raleigh Durham and the Greater Triangle, we appreciate the opportunity to give back to our community as a whole, as well as to create new outdoor living opportunities for individual residents. Therefore it was a great pleasure to work with Anthony L., an admirable young Boy Scout in Raleigh, to help him fulfill a December 2015 community project in pursuit of the scouts’ highest rank of Eagle Scout.

For his Eagle community project, Anthony chose to focus on the Falls Lake area, where he had enjoyed camping many times over the years. He met with the Park Rangers and found out that the recreation area needed additional raccoon-proof trash and recycling receptacles.

Eagle Scout candidates work closely with their parents, leaders, and fellow scouts to learn required skills and to source necessary materials. Just prior to beginning his project, Anthony’s father was temporarily sidelined in an accident at work creating unplanned challenges in securing materials for this project. He reached out to us at Archadeck, and we were more than happy to assist with donating lumber.

Upon securing the donated materials, Anthony went to work, organizing work days for volunteers of scouts and friends to help with the assembly of his receptacles. As you can see from the picture below, Anthony successfully completed his project and is ready for his final Board of Review. The Raleigh community is now blessed with another great young leader and can benefit from more raccoon free trash receptacles in the Falls Lake camping area.

Anthony wrote us about his project sending the pictures you see here. We were so touched by his astute and mature observation – “I’m proud to say that I now have a little part in the preservation and appearance of the Falls Lake recreation area with the help of those who saw me through this project…Our world would be a fascinating place if more people worked together for the greater good.” You are most correct, Anthony!

Recreating this Wake Forest Family’s Favorite Outdoor Living Space was a Breeze

When moving to a new home, wouldn’t it be wonderful to take the features you loved most from your previous home with you? These Wake Forest homeowners were able to do just that! At their previous home, their Archadeck 3-season porch with Eze-Breeze windows was everyone’s favorite room in the house. When they called us to recreate that magic, they had three important criteria. First, they wanted another screened in porch with Eze-Breeze windows, specifically. Secondly, on this beautiful lakefront property, they wanted to preserve and maximize the view from their entire outdoor living area. Finally, they wanted to make the new space as low maintenance as possible.

A new Eze-Breeze 3-season porch with adjoining deck

The family’s top request was to design and build another 3-season porch using Eze-Breeze windows. Eze-Breeze windows are a combination window system made of screens and ultra-clear vinyl that allow you to easily change your screened porch into a 3-season room by simply opening and closing the windows. When the windows are open, screens allow you to enjoy the best of your yard’s sights, sounds, and scents. Closing the windows provides protection from cooler temperatures, inclement weather, and any pesky bugs or pollen.

In addition to creating a screened porch with Eze-Breeze windows for our clients, we also wanted to provide a space where the family could enjoy some direct sun for outdoor eating, entertaining and lounging, on those perfect weather days. To achieve this, we designed an elevated deck to work in combination with their screened in porch. This allowed for seamless flow and enjoyment from the house, through the porch, and out to their beautiful new deck.

A room with a view

Our clients’ second goal was to maintain the great view of their lakefront home. This can be quite a design challenge for a deck or porch, as railings, columns and other structural elements can easily become visual impediments. With careful design of the height of the porch, and by building the deck two feet lower than the porch, we were able to eliminate the need for railings inside the porch and keep the deck railings well below eye level to maximize the lake view. We also used oversized beams to create longer distances between the 6”x6” columns, which allowed us to place the columns out of direct view from the windows and doors (at the basement level). Last but not least, one of the features of Eze-Breeze windows is their great clarity, allowing for a nice, clear view whether the porch windows are open or closed.

Maximizing enjoyment by minimizing maintenance

Low maintenance materials are a top request by many Triangle area homeowners. Using composite materials for outdoor living structures eliminates the need for painting, staining, and sealing (although cleaning is still recommended to maximize the quality of the materials). For this project, we selected Timbertech Evolutions Terrain for the decking. We also used Timbertech Evolutions Builder Rail with black aluminum baluster infill and James Hardie low-maintenance Colorplus siding and trim. Our clients will enjoy the good looks and low maintenance of their new porch and deck for years to come. (For additional peace of mind, composite decking and other low-maintenance materials offer warranty protection of up to 25 years.)

Creating a seamless design

In addition to our client’s 3 major design goals, we also wanted to make the porch look original to the home. To achieve this, we painted the substructure posts the same color as the home and matched the roof pitch seamlessly with the adjacent gable. Additional design features that made the porch look as styled and polished as the interior rooms included:

  • 12" transom windows placed above the tall Eze-Breeze windows, to match the beauty of the interior high walls.
  • Two skylights to maximize natural light.
  • Tongue and groove pine flooring and a painted tongue and groove ceiling.
  • Natural wood colored wainscoting on the knee wall.

Finally, a ceiling fan ensures the breeze is enjoyed throughout the porch and LED low-profile recessed lights make for a lovely eco-friendly nighttime space. This porch and deck combination project started with the best features of our clients’ former home and made their new outdoor living space, even more beautiful and enjoyable.

If you’re considering adding a new porch, deck or other outdoor living structure to your Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill area home, give us a call today for a design consultation at 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

For more Eze-Breeze porch design ideas, check out our 3-season room gallery.
Timbertech Evolutions Terrain
Timbertech Evolutions Rail
James Hardie Colorplus siding and low-maintenance trim

Archadeck of Raleigh Durham & the Greater Triangle Answers 10 Top Questions About Sealing and Staining Pressure Treated Wood Decks

Do you have, or are you thinking of adding, a pressure treated wood deck to your Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill area home? Pressure treated wood is an excellent choice if you want the most natural look in your deck materials. It’s also more affordable than composite decking and is easier to replace or repaint, especially if you want to change the color or need to make repairs in the future.

If you want to maximize your investment in a pressure treated wood deck, you’ll need to seal it to protect it from UV rays, moisture, and other weather elements. This is done after the deck is completed and is separate from the design and construction phases.

Below is a list of answers to the top questions Raleigh area deck homeowners have about weatherproofing outdoor living structures. Preparation is the key to success; so reading this now can help you understand what is needed before you begin the process of staining or sealing your pressure treated wood deck.

1. What is the difference between staining and sealing a deck? Generally speaking, sealant is a clear material that prevents moisture from penetrating wood and helps preserve the deck’s natural look. Stains have added pigments that penetrate and color the wood and provide protection against fading from UV exposure. (The darker the tint, the greater the protection against fading.) There are also combination products available that add UV protection to a clear sealant.

2. Why is water protection important? Wet weather such as morning dew, rain, and melting ice or snow can be quickly absorbed by unprotected wood, causing it to soften or swell. Persistent exposure to heavy rains, humidity or shade cover can also lead to mildew or mold.

3. Why is UV protection important? Have you ever seen a wood deck that has turned gray? That graying is due to exposure to UV rays over time. Just as it’s important to apply sunscreen to take care of your skin when you’re enjoying the beach or outdoors, your deck needs similar protection. In addition to discoloration, excessive sun exposure can also lead to warping (particularly if the deck is not also protected from moisture and the boards expand and contract continuously over time). In the Raleigh Durham area, UV protection is important as we enjoy 213 sunny days per year, on average.

4. When should I seal or stain my new deck? For new structures, you need to wait to seal or stain your deck until after construction is complete and the pressure treated wood is completely dry. (In most cases, decks will need to be pressure washed after construction.) Drying time varies, depending on the amount of sun or shade that your new deck receives. Generally, a good test is to put a few drops of water on the deck. If the water absorbs into the wood, then it should be ready.

5. If I have an existing deck that is already sealed or stained, how do I know when I need to do repeat the process? If you have an existing deck that is already stained, you will likely want to re-stain it once it starts to look faded and less attractive. If you have an existing deck that is already sealed, place a few drops of water on the deck. If the water does not bead up on the surface, it may be time to seal it again. Homes surrounded by trees with very little exposure to the sun may only require staining and sealing every few years. However, if there is an abundance of leaves and pollen, your deck may need to be cleaned more regularly. Conversely, a deck that is in the open and faces south, may get lots of weathering from the constant sun and need staining and/or sealing annually.

6. How much time do I need for staining or sealing my deck? You will need 48 hours of dry weather once the stain or sealant has been applied to allow the application to fully set. Given this, it is helpful to allow three days for your project: one full day for applying the stain or sealant and two full days for drying. If you are re-staining or re-sealing an existing deck or porch, add a few extra days to the start of your project to prepare the deck for treatment.

7. How do I prepare my deck for staining or sealing? Prepare your deck for staining or sealing by cleaning it with a power washer and cleaner. A clean deck can absorb the sealant better for longer lasting protection. Cleaning your deck once a year helps it last longer too, even if it is not time to seal it. You can scrub tough spots, but try to avoid wire brushes, as they can cause rust. Make sure you read the instructions carefully on the cleaner you choose, as some are not safe for soft woods like Cedar or Redwood decks. We recommend cleaning your deck several days before you plan to stain or seal your deck. It will need a good couple of days to fully dry out.

8. What else should I consider before re-sealing or re-staining my deck? In addition to inspecting the color and water repellency of your deck, you should also inspect it for wear and tear. If you see worn out wood, splitting wood or twisting or rotting wood, you will want to repair or replace these areas before you begin re-sealing or re-staining. (If you have concerns about the overall condition and safety of the deck, we offer a deck inspection service.)

9. What kind of weather is best for staining or sealing my deck? Ideally, you want dry weather and mild temperatures (between 45-85°F, with 60-80°F as the ideal range) for the staining or sealing process. Humid weather can extend drying time. Cold and very hot temperatures (or applying the product in direct sunlight) can also affect how a stain or clear sealant dries and sets, potentially leaving your deck looking spotted or with inconsistent coloring. If you must seal or stain your deck in the fall, try to do it early or late enough to avoid leaves falling on top of the application before it dries.

10. What are some best practices for applying stain or sealant? Use a stain brush and apply a thin layer of sealant in the direction of the boards. Pay close attention to corners, railings, and board ends and cracks. Begin in one corner and work away from the home and towards the entry point of the deck. You don’t want to find after you finish you have “painted yourself into a corner” and now have to walk through your newly stained deck! The best piece of advice for painting is to simply take your time. Doing this will allow you to pay close attention to details and have a really beautiful finish on the deck once completed.

And don’t forget: Your deck will need a full 48 hours after sealing or staining before you replace any deck furniture or get the surface wet.

If you have more questions or concerns about staining or sealing your Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill deck, please give us a call. We are always available to answer your questions, and look forward to working with you! 919-973-1523

How To Choose Between a Screened In Porch, 3-Season Room, Sunroom or 4-Season Room for your Triangle area Home

Are you dreaming of adding a room to your home that will bring the outdoors inside? What types of activities will you enjoy in your new addition? How much of the year would you like to use it? Screened in porches, 3-season rooms, and sunrooms (also called 4-season rooms) are extremely popular room additions in the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill area. They all offer access to the great outdoors while also providing protection from the hot southern sun and pesky insects. Beyond that, each type has different benefits. Which type of room is best for you? We can help you decide. Let’s begin by sharing basic differences between these outdoor living options, with advantages and possibilities for each.

Archadeck’s Screened In Porches

A screened in porch is an outdoor space that is adjacent to your home, covered by a roof, and enclosed by screens. The roof offers protection from the harsh glare of a hot summer sun, the downpour of a spring shower, or the cascade of falling autumn leaves. The screens allow you to enjoy fresh breezes while keeping out unwanted pests and insects. Of all the room possibilities, screened porches offer the greatest access to the soothing sights, sounds, and scents of outdoor living, and the fewest obstructions to views of your yard. A screened in porch is a perfect place to relax all summer long and on those wonderfully mild days scattered throughout the spring and fall in the Triangle area.

Many amenities can be added to screened porches to make them more like an outdoor living room. With the addition of recessed lighting and a ceiling fan, you can be comfortable in warmer weather and use the space well into the evening. Add an outdoor fireplace, wet bar, or outdoor kitchen for increased dining and entertainment functionality. You can even hang your HDTV under the protection of the roof, and host football parties or marathons of your favorite television show in a lovely outdoor setting. A screened porch is a wonderful option for clients who want the greatest access to the outdoors with some protection from the elements, and who are content with usage being greatest in the summer and shoulder seasons.

Archadeck’s 3-Season Rooms

A 3-season room is essentially a screened in porch with the added ability to cover the screens with glass or vinyl windows. Our favorite upgrade to a screened in porch is the Eze-Breeze vinyl window system. Eze-Breeze windows allow you to easily “close” your porch in the case of unpleasant weather or that dreaded spring pollen, which can be quite plentiful in the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill area. With a small outdoor space heater or an outdoor fireplace, you can extend the use of your 3-season room earlier in the spring and later into the fall, even reaching into those more mild winter days.

The biggest advantage of a 3-season room over a screened in porch is that you get the same wonderful outdoor access and coverage of a screened in porch, with the added benefit of enjoying the 3-season room for more of the year. Like a screened porch, you can also enhance the space with customized lighting, fan, dining, and entertaining options. The greatest advantage of a 3-season room over a sunroom (or 4-season room) is that the 3-season room is more cost effective and a less complicated project. A 3-season room is a smart choice for clients who want to enjoy the extra space of a new room addition, even on days when the weather is not perfect.

Archadeck’s Sunrooms & 4-Season Rooms

Sunrooms and 4-Season Rooms are two names for the same structure. This type of outdoor living space allows you to enjoy the outdoor scenery year round in a bright and airy room that has all the comforts of the rest of your Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill home. In reality, a sunroom is an interior room addition that is designed with a focus on the outdoors. Compared to screened porches and 3-season rooms, sunrooms are a more complicated home renovation project that involves HVAC systems, insulation, and electricity. You also have more design options, as most interior room finishes can also go in a sunroom or 4-season room, such as: wood floors, ceramic tiles, wall paper, intricate wood moldings, ceiling fans, and decorative light fixtures. A sunroom is your best option if you are in need of additional indoor living space, and want a focus on the outdoors but in a room that you can use all year instead of seasonally.

If you’re considering a screened in porch, 3-season room, or sunroom in Raleigh, Chapel Hill or Durham, call today for your design consultation: 919-973-1523. We’ll help you sort through the options to find the outdoor living room that best meets your needs, design aesthetics, and budget. We look forward to working with you!

For more help deciding, be sure to check out our galleries.

Chapel Hill Patio Inspires Fun Outdoor Family Living

Does your family tend to gather in your kitchen or den? Are you looking for a new spot to enjoy family time at home? Create a luxurious outdoor living space where everyone can unwind, play games, or share a delicious meal together, like the one Archadeck of Raleigh Durham and the Greater Triangle recently designed and built for a wonderful Chapel Hill family.

Eager to spend more time outdoors as a family, these Chapel Hill homeowners sought our help in designing and building a space that would also maximize use of their backyard. Outdoor cooking, dining, and entertaining were top priorities for this family, so we decided to create a large patio with enough space for a fire pit, outdoor grill and multiple seating areas.

Patio Benefits

Patios are paved outdoor areas that can be adjacent to or free standing from your home. They are great for low-elevation areas, where a deck may not be the most suitable outdoor solution. Many patios today are constructed from concrete pavers, brick, or natural stone. Each material has its individual benefits and appearance, and we would be happy to assist in helping you make the best choice for your outdoor project.

Chapel Hill Paver Design

Our Chapel Hill family’s paver patio features Belgard Cambridge pavers colored in cobble blend and westerwood. The patio’s custom curves were designed in relation to the yard’s landscape, both for visual appeal and to maximize the size of the patio before the yard slopes upward. The design highlights of this project are the two, large custom circle inlays with contrasting colors, which define the fire pit area and separate dining space beautifully. This Chapel Hill patio fits perfectly with the home, as every detail was considered from the size and shape of the patio, to the color of the pavers, which complement the siding of the home.

Chapel Hill Outdoor Kitchen

Creating an outdoor kitchen is ideal for maximizing outdoor cooking and dining. For our Chapel Hill clients, we installed a gorgeous stone veneer counter and sandstone countertop to highlight the Peterson stainless steel grill as a focal point of the outdoor kitchen. The design also provides ample functional space for preparing and serving the delicious food cooked on it. The placement of the outdoor kitchen allows the chef easy access into the house, as needed, as well as the ability to remain engaged while cooking with those enjoying the fire pit or table seating.

Chapel Hill Outdoor Fire Pit & Sitting Wall

The stone veneer sitting wall and fire pit are a perfect addition to this Belgard patio, and mirror the outdoor kitchen design. The sitting wall both helps to define the patio, by following the perimeter curve, and helps provide extra seating for family members as they sit and relax by the fire. The fire pit is set apart visually within the patio by the custom circular paver inlay surrounding it. With a lovely space for enjoying a fire, this Chapel family can gather together for a cozy evening under the stars even on a cool night.

For more patio inspiration, check out the Archadeck of Raleigh Durham patio gallery or the patio feature in our “What We Build” section. When you’re ready for a design consultation to create your own custom patio, porch, deck, or other outdoor living project, call us at 919-973-1523. We look forward to working with you!

Raleigh Combination Project: Sunroom, Screened Porch, and Deck

When dreaming about your ideal outdoor living project, do you have trouble deciding what type of structure you want? Why limit yourself? The Archadeck of Raleigh Durham team recently created a custom combination project for a wonderful Raleigh family that brought together a sunroom, screened-in porch, and grilling deck for all the best options in outdoor living and entertaining.

As our starting point, the clients’ home had an existing wood deck with a set of matching stairs that opened into the backyard. The family’s design request was for a bright, airy addition that they (along with family and friends) could use year round. They also wanted a space for the husband to enjoy cigars outside with coverage from the weather. By adding a sunroom and screened porch, and transforming what remained of the deck, we were able to meet our clients’ needs. Together we designed and created a cohesive, three-part outdoor living space that blended seamlessly with the existing home.

A Sunroom for Year-Round Enjoyment

A sunroom addition is a fantastic investment for enhancing your indoor/outdoor lifestyle and increasing the value of your property. Building a sunroom is the most complex out of all the outdoor living structures, since you are adding a closed, interior room as opposed to an external, open structure. Sunrooms are typically filled with windows to provide a picturesque view of your landscape and to give the feeling that you are immersed in nature. They also offer greater options for heating and cooling than outdoor structures, in order to maximize year-round usage like the inside of your home.

For this Raleigh family, building a sunroom on top of the existing deck helped maximize available space and cut down on costs. We added extra structural support underneath the existing deck to accommodate the new, additional load. After removing the old decking, we installed new sub-flooring and Mannington Seascape porcelain tile (that mimics the look of wood). The sunroom also features floor-to-ceiling Jeld-Wen casement windows and a low-pitch shed roof to allow as much ceiling height as possible, while fitting beneath the second story windows. For the exterior, we were able to match the cream trim and the blue siding perfectly, making this sunroom addition look original to the home.

To add to the family’s year round enjoyment of their sunroom addition, we installed a Trane mini-split A/C unit for efficient heating and cooling of the space during really hot and cold months. We further increased the brightness of the space with two Velux skylights, allowing for as much natural sunlight to come in as possible. The windows fully open and close, allowing 100% airflow, and the drywall finish makes the space as polished and finished as the regular interior rooms.

A Cigar Aficionado’s Screened Porch

To address the husband’s wish for a well-ventilated outdoor space for enjoying cigars, we were able to build a private screened in porch right outside of their home office. The space provides a relaxing and comfortable spot for smoking cigars in rain or shine, while also keeping the smell of smoke from infiltrating the home. The open gable roof of the screened porch matches the pitch of the home’s roofline, further blending the new outdoor structure with the existing home.

A Grilling Deck

Since we used the existing deck as the base for the sunroom addition, we still needed an open-air spot for grilling. To compensate for the lost space, the space between the sunroom and the screened in porch became the perfect spot for a grilling deck. The landing and stairs further connect the porch and sunroom spaces, allowing traffic to flow effortlessly among all three outdoor spaces.

A combination project can be a terrific way to meet all of your outdoor living wants and needs. Multiple spaces can be tied together visually – and made to blend seamlessly with your existing home – through the right choice of materials, structural layout, and architectural details. Call Archadeck of Raleigh Durham today for a design consultation, the perfect first step in deciding what your home needs to successfully meet your outdoor living dreams. 919-973-1523

6 Reasons Why Fall is the Perfect Time to Build a Screened in Porch in the Triangle

Are you putting off building your perfect outdoor living space in the greater Raleigh-Durham area? Don’t wait until spring buds are popping out of the ground next year. Now is the perfect time to create the screened-in porch, sunroom, deck, or patio of your dreams.

Here are 6 great reasons why you should start building a custom screened porch today:

1. Save Money

Rising energy, supplies, and labor costs tend to increase material prices each year. Even when increases are small, they can add up quickly if you are building a large outdoor living space. Most material manufacturers like Timbertech, Trex, Belgard and Eze-Breeze set their prices at the first of the year. If you build your Cary or Chapel Hill screened in porch before the new year, you may be able to take advantage of current prices and save money.

2. Be Ready for Spring Weather

Many people decide to embark on an outdoor living project when the birds begin to chirp and flowers start to bloom after a long winter…and they are ready to get outside again! This can make spring and early summer the busiest time of the year for sought-after builders like Archadeck, and create longer project times for clients. Avoid busy schedules and longer wait times by building your screened porch in the fall or winter months. When the first warm spring day greets everyone, you’ll be ready to enjoy the gorgeous day on your lovely Haw River or Wake Forest screened in porch.

3. Fall is a Great Time to use Your Screened in Porch

Spring and summer aren’t the only times for great outdoor living. Fall is a wonderful season for enjoying screened porches in Raleigh and Durham. When the summer heat finally breaks, it can be so much more enjoyable to linger longer outside. Relax with a good book or have friends over to enjoy your favorite football game on your new porch, with the beautiful fall colors surrounding you. Special lighting, wiring for entertainment systems, and even a custom fireplace in your screen porch can help you get the most out of screened porch living.

4. Eze-Breeze Windows for Winter Use & Pollen Protection

At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham we use the best and most innovative products for our screened in porches. The addition of high-quality Eze-Breeze windows to your screened in porch can give you greater usage of your custom outdoor living space for a longer portion of the year. Eze-Breeze windows offer you the comfort and airiness of screens, with the greater weather protection of windows you can shut. Eze-Breeze windows are especially helpful when spring arrives and everything becomes coated with yellow pollen. You can close your Eze-Breeze windows and keep the pollen out, enjoying the blooming buds without having an allergy attack!

5. Outdoor Heaters & Fireplaces

Screened in porches can be a lovely spot to hang out during the mild Carolina winters. With outdoor heaters being safer and more affordable than ever before, you can use one on your porch and enjoy the fresh winter air for even longer. Better yet, Archadeck of Raleigh Durham can build an outdoor fireplace in your screened in porch, creating a lovely spot to cozy up on a cool fall or winter day.

6. Landscape Replacement

Although we work to minimize the impact of our projects, most outdoor home improvement projects require some amount of repair work to an existing lawn and landscape after the project is complete. Since the fall is a time when many people are already doing annual maintenance to their lawns and landscaping, this can be an especially good time to have a screened-in porch built. If you choose to have your porch built in the fall, you can use the fall and winter to get your landscape back in tip-top shape by spring. Your Raleigh or Durham yard can recover without the stress of scorching summer heat and when you are not as likely to be outside working in or enjoying it.

If you spent all summer talking about how great it would be to have a new outdoor living space at your Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill home, don’t wait any longer. Get ready for spring today! Fall and winter can be the best time for building and enjoying the screened in porch of your dreams. Call us at: 919-973-1523

Durham 3-Season Room Extends Outdoor Living

Delighting our clients is a top priority at Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and the Greater Triangle. To achieve this goal, we start every project by listening carefully to how our clients want to use their new outdoor space, looking closely at their unique home site, and reviewing the design elements of greatest interest.

These Durham homeowners wanted to create a new living space where they could spend quality time with their grandkids. They also wanted a space that would be relaxing and a year-round complement to their existing deck and spa patio. With free-time at a minimum, using low-maintenance materials was also a priority.

Durham 3-season Room Addition

The starting point for this project was an existing deck and patio. Adding a large, 3-season room was the perfect solution for these homeowners. The new room allowed them to enjoy indoor/outdoor living almost year round, as Durham winters are relatively mild. The large open space offers plenty of room for dining and relaxing with the grandchildren and other family and friends. The way the room is situated allows everyone to enjoy gorgeous views of the golf course on which the home sits. Stunning vaulted ceilings boasting white beams in an open gabled roof, makes the interior space of the room feel bright and airy no matter what the weather is outside.

While a 3-season may look similar to a screened-in porch, this 3-season room features Eze-Breeze windows and a knee wall. Eze-Breeze windows have sliding polyvinyl vents that nest up or down over the attached screen. This feature allows homeowners to enjoy fresh breezes through the screens on warm days and to close the windows on cool or rainy days. The knee wall creates visual continuity from the existing home and provides additional protection from undesirable weather.

Details, Details, Details

At Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham, details are what make our projects top notch. Notice that the exterior siding on the knee wall matches the siding on the home perfectly, making this 3-season room look original to the home. We also wrapped the columns with AZEK PVC to match the existing white trim of the home and keep with the low-maintenance goals of the homeowners. Eze-Breeze windows and a ceiling fan add to the comfort of the space, no matter what the weather brings.

With multiple outdoor living spaces, it is important to create a smooth transition from one space to another. In this project, we used TimberTech low-maintenance decking to create a consistent, textural transition from the 3-season room to the deck. By building a wide staircase opening onto the patio, we were able to create three distinct living or entertaining areas with a connecting visual flow. Whether these Durham homeowners are hosting their grandkids for dinner or a large birthday party, they will have the space to entertain everyone comfortably.

If you’re considering adding additional living space at your Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill area home, call us today for a design consultation at 919-973-1523. Enjoy viewing more pictures of our screened porches and 3-season rooms in our Raleigh Durham porch image gallery.

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