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 »

When it comes to an outdoor living space, elevated decks are often the best design choice for many types of homes and lots.

Elevated Decks by Archadeck

Elevated Decks by Archadeck

Decks are, hands down, the best structure for any property with:

  • multiple stories
  • a walk-out lower level
  • or a sloping lot

But why?

A deck, unlike a patio, can adjoin divergent planes.

Decks can be built to go ‘up, down, over, under and around’.

So if your home’s design and landscape necessitate an elevated deck, what’s the best way to manage the leftover space underneath?

Essentially, there are four options for the space beneath:  an open area with groundcover, enclosed storage area, underdecking for an open outdoor room, underdecking for a screened-in room. Read the rest of this entry »

'Outdoor Room' with Levels, Lattice and Roof by Archadeck

Outdoor Room with Deck Levels, Roof and Lattice Privacy Screen by Archadeck

Think about it.

Before ‘outdoor living spaces’ became a popular trend, folks created impromptu ‘outdoor rooms’ in all sorts of ways.

A blanket spread-out for a picnic, a tent for backyard camping or a fort constructed with sheets draped over tree branches simulated the concept.

Everybody loves an outdoor room.

They’re fun!

Beyond ‘fun,’ any outdoor room is functional too by adding usable square footage to your home and backyard.

Outdoor Dining Room, Deck Design by Archadeck

Deck Design by Archadeck

It might sounds cliché, but in today’s market this type of home improvement will bring real dollar-value to your property.

The precise return-on-investment may vary by city or neighborhood but generally speaking, homes with an outdoor space are in-demand.

So now you may be wondering, “OK.  How do I actually add an outdoor room?”

The honest answer is, there are a lot of ways and we’ve outlined five specific strategies for your consideration right here.

And no matter if you can budget for a large-scale project or just want to begin by dressing-up an existing patio, an outdoor room can be in your future.

Pergolas create an outdoor room

If you have an existing deck or patio, consider a pergola addition.  Pergolas create significant shade and add a sense of enclosure too; yet, they cost less than a solid roof structure.  A pergola might be a great way to start.

Pergola for Backyard Patio by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Pergola for Backyard Patio by Archadeck, St. Louis Mo

Add stylish weather-proof furniture for comfortable seating or dining and VOILA, you have a bona fide outdoor room.

Go a step further and add an overhead canopy or hanging plants to supplement shade and intimacy.

Hang an outdoor mirror for depth and dimension.  Use benches as borders.  And don’t forget lighting.

Portable lanterns, string globe lights or an installed overhead light-fixture with a fan will work too. Read the rest of this entry »

Face it.

Open Porch by Archadeck

Open Porch by Archadeck – Beautiful Backyard Blog

Mosquitoes on a deck or porch can be a nuisance.

But there’s no need to let those pesky insects keep you from enjoying time on your deck because there ARE remedies.

In fact, the simplest ‘mosquito-busting’ solution just might surprised you.

Keep reading.

You’ll be glad you did!

According to The American Mosquito Control Association the best defense is a good offense.

First, ‘remove any mosquito friendly habitat’ from your property.  The biggest culprit is standing water which is a breeding ground for larvae.

Check flower-pot saucers, buckets and any other place that water collects.  Change the water frequently in wading pools, bird baths and pet dishes.  Clean rain gutters if necessary.

Deck Design with Mosquito Curtains by Archadeck, Chicago

Deck Design with Mosquito Curtains – Archadeck Chicago

Mosquito-repellents for skin or clothing?

“Deet” is the protective ingredient in these products and it’s EPA approved.

50+ years of research shows, when used correctly, Deet formulations seem to have a good safety record.

Picaridin and Synthesized Plant Oils are also deemed safe and effective Deet alternatives.

The best resources we’ve found on this topic include WebMD, Consumer Reports and outdoor health/recreation business-sites like REI.  If you have children, check with your pediatrician and if you have pets, check with the vet.

It’s a mixed bag when it comes to reviews for other gizmos, gadgets, and theories about mosquito-control.

The actual effectiveness of bug zappers, DIY misting systems, ultrasonic or CO2 expelling devices, magnets, traps, certain plants and other home concoctions are widely debated.   There’s benefit to burning citronella candles; the smoke emitted is a mosquito-irritant, maybe more than citronella itself.

So what IS the best way to eliminate mosquitos on your deck? Read the rest of this entry »


Archadeck (636) 227-0800




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