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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 »

Believe it or not, many homeowners WANT a wood deck but might feel reluctant because they’re apprehensive that wood decks are out-of-style.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Seriously.

Wood Decks by Archadeck of West County in St. Louis Mo

Wood Decks by Archadeck of West County in St. Louis Mo

In fact, the majority of decks built today are constructed with wood!  Why?

St. Louis Wood Deck Builders, Archadeck

Wooden Decks by Archadeck

Three reasons include aesthetics, sustainability, and price. Read the rest of this entry »

For many purists, the ONLY decking choice for real wood is cedar.  From shabby-chic to an authentic-rustic style, all-natural cedar decking provides outstanding visual and structural appeal.

Cedar Deck and Covered Porch by Archadeck

Cedar Deck, Railing and Balusters with Gable Roof by Archadeck

Appreciated by homeowners and carpenters alike,  cedar packs a 1-2-3 punch.

It is rich in color, has a natural beauty and is chemical and preservative-free to withstand insect infestation, rot and decay.

When compared to other building materials, cedar is more costly than pressure treated lumber but less pricey than synthetics or hardwoods.

For many St. Louis homeowners, cedar is often the ‘sweet-spot,’ budget-wise.

In terms of maintenance, cedar needs TLC but the process is straight-forward.

As a natural softwood, cedar requires annual power washing and a finishing coat every few years to protect the surface from damage.  To spiff-up its natural color, apply a cedar-toned stain; otherwise, it will weather to a nice, soft and silvery gray patina.

So you’ve decided on cedar… so what comes next?  Rails.

Cedar Deck with Fortress Railing by Archadeck

Cedar Deck with Fortress Railing by Archadeck

If you love a uniform appearance why not choose, not only cedar decking but, cedar rails and balusters too? (above)

And for added privacy, include a cedar wall where needed. (below)

Looking for a variation?

Change-up the balusters and pair cedar rails with sleek metal pickets, cable, tube or glass infill.

Would you prefer low maintenance railing?  If so, combine traditional cedar decking with composite or vinyl rails.  White is fashionable, crisp, clean, bright.  Black is contemporary, bold, masculine.

Do you love elegance?  Then wrought iron rails will do the trick.

As you can see, there is no shortage of possibilities when it comes to color, size and style!

Cedar Deck with Decorative Rails by Archadeck

Cedar Deck with Decorative Rails by Archadeck

Key Takeaways:

Cedar is aesthetically pleasing.

It’s versatile and complements most any type of home and décor.

Unlike brick, cement and synthetic decking, cedar is natural, sustainable and biodegradable.

With proper maintenance and care, this decking material is durable and long-lasting, offering a high return-on-investment when it comes time to sell your home.

And it’s simple to gussy-up your cedar deck with decorative rails, interesting décor and landscaping to stay current with trends that reflect your design preference.

Next steps for designing and building an outdoor space? 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 »

Here at Archadeck we design and build decks, porches and other outdoor structures using every imaginable type of building material including wood and hardwood as well as recycled and synthetic products such as composite, capstock and vinyl.

Front Porch with Brazilian Hardwood Floor by Archadeck

Porch with Brazilian Hardwood Floor by Archadeck

In today’s blog post however, let’s focus on hardwood decking and specifically three little-known Brazilian hardwoods: Cumaru, Garapa, and Massaranduba.

In this neck of the woods (pun intended!)  Tigerwood and Ipe are, by far, the two most frequently requested hardwoods by St. Louis homeowners.

Nevertheless, it’s worth giving a mention to Cumaru, Garapa and Massaranduba. 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 »


Archadeck (636) 227-0800

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