As a contractor, we spend a great deal of time with homeowners talking about large concepts for the overall design of a new deck, screened porch or other outdoor space.  These discussions involve topics such as layout, size, building materials, colors, function and flow.

Deck with Built In Lighting by Archadeck

Deck with Built In Lighting by Archadeck

But smaller design details such as lighting, are really important too.

And the best lighting will illuminate your whole deck including the steps and the rails to boost its style, safety and usage.

So as summer fades away and the days become shorter lighting is a way to invite visitors outside, extending the use of your outdoor space into the latter parts of the year.

But wait.

There are a few more details because outdoor lighting fixtures are available in various shapes, sizes, forms, shades and finishes; however, the most common models include: Read the rest of this entry »

OK.  You’ve decided that you want, no NEED, a new outdoor living space whether it be a deck, screened porch, covered patio or gazebo.

Pressure Treated Wood Deck by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Pressure Treated Wood Deck by Archadeck, St. Louis

Then the dilemma begins.

But which material should you use?  Wood?  Composite?  Capped Composite?  Vinyl/PVC?

The sheer number of options today can seem overwhelming… at first anyway.

Yet in a sense, all decking materials share commonalities.

Each must be weather resistant, withstand wear and tear from foot traffic and of course be aesthetically pleasing to you, complement your existing home and provide curb appeal as well.

Take comfort in the fact that there’s really no wrong choice.  It’s simply a matter of determining exactly what qualities are most important to you and then make your selection based on those features.

Professional contractors understand this and will be happy to guide you through the process.

Today though, let’s focus on pressure treated lumber because no other product can beat this building material for affordability, durability and longevity. Read the rest of this entry »

There’s no need to head inside just because cooler temperatures are on the way.  There’s still plenty of time to enjoy outdoor living.

Composite Deck with Built In Lighting by Archadeck

Composite Deck with Built In Lighting by Archadeck

The weather is stellar and the scenery, magnificent.  Don’t miss out!

So what makes the best outdoor spaces this fall?

With just a few simple features you can totally enjoy an already awesome season, outside.

Best of all, these ideas don’t have to break-the-bank.


With shorter days, lighting extends the use of an outdoor space once the sun goes down.

For a few hundred dollars, built-in lighting systems can be incorporated into a deck, screened porch, gazebo or even a pergola.

Typically lighting for decks is accomplished with step riser, rail and post lights; post cap, solar and rope lighting.

If you’d really like to splurge, explore professional systems that illuminate your entire property with companies like Outdoor Lighting Perspectives.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you’d prefer to keep cost way down,  create a festive glow for an evenings outside with decorative lanterns, solar tiki torches and flameless candles too.  One particular image on Pinterest, ‘Tiki Torch Bouquet’, is quite popular.  It’s clever, fun and easy to make!  Check it out here.

Warmth Read the rest of this entry »

Consumers today are living with an abundance, some might say an overabundance, of choices.

Fiberon Ipe Low Maintenance Decking by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Fiberon Ipe Low Maintenance Decking by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Whether you’re making a purchase at the coffee shop or trying to choose a paint sample for your living room, the options can be overwhelming.

And when it comes to massive product offerings, the decking industry is no different.

A relatively short time ago, a few types of wood were routinely used as decking material.  Choosing was a ‘no-sweat’ process.

But with the explosion of available products, decisions are no longer clear cut.  Alongside of pressure treated lumber and cedar are composites, capped composites, plastics and imported hardwoods too.  To complicate matters, product-lines exist within entire categories from manufacturers such as TimberTech, Fiberon, AZEK, Gossen, Trex and others.

Feeling dizzy?  Let’s break it down.

Really there are only two, albeit large, categories of decking:  Wood and Synthetic

For example, within the wood category, from lowest to highest in cost, you’ll find pressure treated lumber; cedar, redwood, cypress; and American hardwoods or tropical hardwoods like Tigerwood, Ipe or Teak.

Tigerwood Deck by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Tigerwood Hardwood Deck by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Within the synthetic category you’ll discover a bonanza of composites, capped composites and PVC materials (also referred to as vinyl and plastic decking).

What’s the difference among synthetics?

Composite lumber combines wood fibers and plastic.   Vinyl/PVC/plastic contains no wood at all.  And capped composite is a hybrid:  decking boards are composite however the board has a vinyl cap.  In most cases, composite is the least expensive material, vinyl is the most expensive and capped composite falls somewhere in between.

So if you crave a low maintenance deck that will look like hardwood, what are your best options? Read the rest of this entry »

Deck - Before Replacement

Older Deck – Before Replacement

Each year homeowners spend thousands-of-dollars on home improvement projects for their house, inside and out.

And rightly so, people should expect quality products and top-notch service for their hard-earned money.

But alas.  Things in-and-around the house eventually need fixing or replacement.  Nothing lasts forever.

So when it comes to a backyard deck, how long should it be expected to last?

Well, it depends but deck remodeling, redecking or replacement are great options for improvement.

Deck Replacement and Remodel by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Deck Remodel/Replacement by Archadeck in St. Louis

As a rule-of-thumb a well-built wood deck can easily last 10 – 20 years.

And decks designed and built with quality composite or vinyl materials can last even longer.

Of course, extreme weather or neglected maintenance will reduce its life expectancy.

Most customers periodically update their deck well-before it simply wears out.  And just like interior rooms folks tend to rejuvenate their outdoor spaces, every-so-often, with a deck remodel or replacement.  BUT if an older deck doesn’t pass a safety check list, then total replacement should be considered.

Deck Remodel

To avoid the cost of a total deck replacement, consider a facelift. Read the rest of this entry »

Covered Outdoor Space by Archadeck

Covered Outdoor Space by Archadeck

It’s time to bring the man cave above ground, especially now that football season is here.

There’s nothing better than watching the big-game with family, friends, food and drink… outside!

And here’s how to make it enjoyable with an outdoor space.

The Right Size

When it comes to designing an outdoor space, entertaining is a hot-topic.  And if hosting get-togethers is important to you, then first consider the number of folks on your typical guest list and try to tailor the space to fit that purpose.

But that’s not all.  There are many other determining factors.

Neighborhood – For the best value, choose a project design that’s consistent with your home and the neighborhood.

Elevated Deck with Bar and Hot Tub by Archadeck

Elevated Deck with Bar and Hot Tub by Archadeck

Think of the Goldilocks principle — not too large, not too small, just right.  Build large enough for your needs but don’t go overboard.

Home and lot – How will the layout fit-in with your existing house?

You’ll want pleasing proportions, efficient traffic patterns and seamless integration with the grade of your lot, the existing trees or other landscaping.

Attached or detached – How will an outdoor space attach to the house, if at all?  How do you want it to look, visually?  And can your vision be  accomplished structurally?

Architecture technicalities or constraints - Getting permits and complying with local building codes will influence floors, rails, stairs, roof, joists, beams and footings.  This, in turn, might influence design and construction. Read the rest of this entry »


Archadeck (636) 227-0800




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