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A smart and common question among St. Louis homeowners interested in a deck: “Which is better, wood or composite (or vinyl)?”  We hear this on a daily basis!

The answer?  Both are absolutely, positively terrific options.  And when it comes to looks, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.

Cedar Deck with Vinyl Rails, Chesterfield Mo by Archadeck

Cedar Deck with Vinyl Rails, Chesterfield Mo by Archadeck

Composite Deck with Vinyl Rails by Archadeck - St. Louis Mo

Composite Deck with Vinyl Rails by Archadeck St. Louis Mo

At first glance, wood and composite seem pretty darn close in appearance, however, there ARE differences.

Distinctive features and variations are found in: the manufacturing process; overall price and return-on-investment; material maintenance and warranties.

So today, let’s look at your choices when it comes to ‘real wood’ vs. decking that looks like wood. 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 »

Computerized Deck and Pergola Renderings by Archadeck

Computerized Deck Renderings by Archadeck

Technology is everywhere and changes are rapid.

Whether it’s a software upgrade for a laptop, a new smart phone with GPS or a fuel-efficient ‘green’ car, the full-force of technology reaches far and wide.

And the decking industry is no exception.

Technological advances have had a major (a major!) impact on contractors as well.  In a good way!

Every single day, contractors like Archadeck rely on high-tech communication, digital photography, computerized design software and an internet presence including websites, blogs, Pinterest and other social media.  We utilize laptops, tablets and cell phones for all aspects of the business – the whole shabang.

Low Maintence Deck and Pergola by Archadeck

Low Maintence Deck and Pergola by Archadeck

High Tech Decking Materials

But beyond day-to-day business operations, technology has also had a huge influence on the construction-end of the business with the building materials we use.

And the scope of available products has ballooned because of this evolving technology and marketplace demand.

Of course, traditional commodities like pressure treated wood, cedar and natural hardwoods still play a big role in the enterprise of outdoor living.

More and more options, however, are now available to consumers with developments in synthetics and composites which are manufactured with convenience, aesthetics and longevity in mind.

Many folks mistakenly use the terms ‘composite’ and ‘synthetic’ interchangeably.  In reality, they are manufactured with quite different technology.

So what exactly is the difference between composite and synthetic decking material? Read the rest of this entry »

Fiberon Horizon Decking, Rosewood, photo by Fiberon

Fiberon Horizon Decking, Rosewood, photo by Fiberon

In the scope of building materials for the decking industry, composite decking is a relatively new product that has been on the market for approximately 20 years.

But during this short time-frame, composite decking has truly revolutionized the industry.

As a leading and reputable St. Louis deck contractor, customers often ask us about using composites or capped composites for decks, screened-in decks, patio enclosures, screened porches, and other outdoor spaces.

Thus, ‘composite vs. wood’ is a very common question. Read the rest of this entry »

New Deck Replacement, St. Louis Mo, Archadeck

New Elevated Deck in St. Louis West County, Ballwin area, by Archadeck

As time passes, weather conditions and daily wear-and-tear can take its toll on a backyard deck.

And just like any other type of home maintenance, deck cleaning, repair or replacement is simply a part of a home’s up-keep.

But if your old deck needs a complete tear-down, it’s best to leave it to the professionals because replacement can be tricky and involves more than just cosmetics.

It involves safety, particularly for raised, elevated, multilevel or two story decks.

Two Story Decks, St. Louis Mo, by Archadeck

Two Story Deck for Outdoor Living and Entertaining, St. Louis, Mo by Archadeck

A professional contractor or inspector can best help you determine the safety of your existing structure with tips for repairs or, if needed, a design plan for building a replacement deck too.

But maybe, just maybe, a full deck replacement isn’t necessary.

Thus, a little self-help advice or a plan for remodeling could be just-enough to revive an outdoor space for aesthetics, usability and safety.

Suggestions worth considering: Read the rest of this entry »

Fall is an ideal time to build and enjoy a deck, screened porch or any other outdoor living spaces.

Deck with Gazebo by Archadeck

Deck with Gazebo by Archadeck Outdoor Living

Even though most folks think of summer and spring as a time to enjoy backyard BBQ’s and outside get-togethers, autumn is a glorious time in St. Louis to enjoy the outdoors without the risk of extreme heat.

And at Archadeck, we are often designing, building or remodeling outdoor spaces during the fall months as St. Louis residents are planning for their 2014 home improvements too.

Simply put… if you build your deck or screened porch now, it’ll be ‘ready to go’ the moment spring arrives.

Other advantages of the fall building season include: Read the rest of this entry »


Archadeck (636) 227-0800

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