Inspect Your Deck this May

Now more than ever your outdoor living space should be an extension of your home. When the weather is nice, escape the walls of your home and enjoy the sun on your deck. It is important, however, to have deck safety inspections periodically.

The typical lifespan of a deck is 10 years, but they may need attention before that – that’s why we recommend a deck safety inspection on structures over 7 years old or that are displaying any cause for concern. The Archadeck deck safety inspection evaluates all parts of the deck and follows our BE SAFER acronym.

B – Boards. With their traffic, exposure to elements, etc. boards will show wear over time, but it’s important that the general condition of the boards is good. If they are splitting or pulling away from the deck frame, it is advised for boards to be replaced.

E – Every Connection. Fasteners, hardware, and nails are all used to construct a deck properly. Every connection calls for the right piece of hardware to keep the deck sound and should be looked at during any inspection to ensure the right connectors were used and are in good shape.

S – Structure. Joists, posts, and beams make up the bones of a deck. During inspections, our team looks for any visible cracking or splitting of the wood.

A – Attachment. The attachment from the deck to the house is called the house band. It should include flashing to keep water at bay and bolts for a secure connection.

F – Footings. Footings are the vertical parts of the deck that are secured into the ground with concrete. Deck collapses are often due to these needing to be replaced or not properly built originally. There should be no sway to the deck or separation from the beams.

E – Exits. Stairs can show wear before other parts of the deck. During an Archadeck inspection, we look at the stringers, treads and risers.

R – Rails. Rails are key to keeping those enjoying your deck safe. Every picket should be checked to ensure they are properly secured. Railing guidelines have also changed and show be no further apart than four inches apart.

As May is Deck Safety Month, now is the perfect time to have a member of your local Archadeck office come and inspect your deck!

Archadeck Transforms Backyard with Multi-Level Outdoor Living Space

One of the joys of creating custom outdoor living spaces is seeing how it can truly transform a property and how the homeowners utilize their space. With every project, we consult with our clients and discuss their needs, tastes and budgets. Each consultation and resulting deck, porch, patio or combination project is different. Empty-nesters that are looking for a quiet space to have their morning coffee will have different needs than the family of 5 that like to spend every weekend entertaining friends and family. When the space doesn’t fit the family is when we see those structures go unused.

Here’s a great example from Archadeck of Central Iowa that took space and needs into account for the ultimate backyard retreat.

This home in Iowa had a large rectangular deck and lower level brick paver patio. While spacious, the homeowners wanted something with more style and flow with separate and defined areas for lounging, dining and entertaining. Archadeck was brought in to design and build a more interesting space.

Harold Cross, owner of Archadeck of Central Iowa, created a space with three main conversation areas, utilizing a slight elevation change and pergola to add definition (and shade) to the deck. Although more cumbersome to build, a curved design was used to add more flow and interest to the deck. Archadeck suggested low-maintenance materials with slight color variations for the perfect finished project.

Not one to forget about the existing patio below, Archadeck installed an underdecking solution to keep that space dry when it rains and provide an additional living area. On especially hot days, the homeowners can use the lower patio as a reprieve from the sun.

At Archadeck, we pride ourselves on using the canvas a home provides and creating an outdoor addition that adds to it. Our goal is design and build custom spaces that not only look fabulous but are used by owners, enhancing their outdoor living experience.

If you’re looking to update your outdoor living spaces, please contact your nearest Archadeck location or fill out the form below.

Enjoying the Outdoors in Comfort and Style

At Archadeck Outdoor Living, our motto is “better building by design.” Each one of our projects is custom designed and built with the homeowners needs and tastes in mind. How the space functions as room is integral in any living space design, be it indoors or outdoors, and how one person uses a space can be vastly different than the next. It’s our job to take the clients’ needs and create a space that not only looks beautiful but will truly work for them.

This recent project from our deck builder outside of Denver is a great example of creating space that’s perfect for the homeowners. When designing this covered porch, the clients were clear: they wanted a space where they could cook, eat and relax outdoors when the weather was nice. They didn’t want it to be cramped and it needed to blend into the overall style of the home.

The Archadeck team knew the most important thing for this family was to create a well-equipped outdoor kitchen. It needed space for preparation, cooking and serving and needed to be the center of the structure. A U-shaped kitchen was created with everything a chef could want, including eating space for when the cooking is complete.

To ensure that the space could be used most of the ear, the Colorado weather needed to be addressed. Sometimes it’s hot, sometimes it’s cold and sometimes, it’s just right. For the warm months, the covered porch will provide some reprieve from the heat by providing shade, but even then it could be warm, so a large ceiling fan was mounted in the middle of the porch to provide some air flow. For the cooler months, two additions were strategically added to the design. As you can see there is a beautiful outdoor fireplace in the corner. It’s a focal point of the entire porch, but we weren’t sure it would be enough to keep people outdoors. In addition to the fire feature, two heaters were installed in the ceiling as well, heating the area below and instantly increasing its function.

The finishes on the entire space were all about blending it all together with the home. Knotty woods and natural stacked stone were used to complement and follow the house’s color palette and finishes to make it look as if the space had always been there.

If you’re interested in enhancing the functionality of your outdoor living space, please contact one of our local offices. We’re happy help you to move outside with our better building by design.

Stay Safe Around the Fire this Fall

We at Archadeck Outdoor Living cannot believe it is already September! Nights are getting longer and cooler as we move towards the fall months. Just because the temperatures are dropping doesn’t mean we have to move indoors though! Fall is a great time to spend outside and custom outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are a great way to extend your time outdoors. If you are considering adding a wood-burning fire feature or have one in your yard, make sure to practice these safety tips.

Consider proper placement. Fire features, especially open fire pits, shouldn’t be placed on the property without thought. Because of the heat and fire, they need to be set away from the house, a minimum of 10-15 feet. You’ll also want to look up and see if there is any tree overhang right over the fire itself. If there is low over hang, it’s not a good spot for a fire.

Look at what is beneath or around it. Fire features are pretty versatile, but need to be constructed properly as not to damage the surrounding landscaping around it. When set on a patio there is less concern about burning grass than when it’s set into the middle of the yard. Make sure there is some type of flame resistant barrier which holds the flame in if you have a wood burning pit.

Be careful what you burn. You may think that burning yard debris is the best way to get rid of it, but it can be a safety hazard. Dry leaves, for instance, create a lot of smoke making the area unsafe. Many municipalities don’t allow leaves to be burned for this reason alone.

Be prepared to put the fire out. When it’s time for you to go inside, NEVER leave a fire going unattended. Dirt, sand or water can be used to safely put out the fire. If you are investing in a fire pit, make sure you have a way to stifle the fire as well.

At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we design and build custom fire features for homeowners regularly. They are a great way to keep people outdoors throughout the year and truly make your backyard feed like a living space. When starting a project that includes a fire pit or fireplace, we’ll discuss gas versus wood-burning, size, and material. As with any outdoor living project we want to make sure the fire feature doesn’t look like an afterthought but instead looks like it’s always been part of the design.

Take a look at some of our favorite projects in our fire feature gallery.

Do You Know What to Expect from Your Patio or Deck Builder?

Have you ever gotten to the middle of a project and realize, you don’t know what’s coming next? While that can be exciting in some ways, when it comes to large investments like outdoor living spaces, the unknown can be scary. If you’re considering enhancing your property, it’s important to discuss the process with potential patio and deck builders.

At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we’re very upfront with the designing and building process. Here’s how working with us goes:

Step 1. Connect

The first step in the client/Archadeck relationship is a connection. Whether you call or submit a lead online, a member of our team will call to schedule an at home consultation at a time that works well for you.

Step 2. Consult

One of our designers will visit your home to get to know you. We’ll have a conversion about what you need or want in your outdoor living spaces. While we’re walking and measuring your property, we’ll leave you with a portfolio of past designs to give you and idea of what we can create.

Step 3. Design

From our no-obligation consultation, we will have enough information to create a deck, porch, patio or other outdoor living structure that functions perfectly for you. Our trained designers will create a custom plan and 3D rendering so you can envision what the finished project will look like on your property. We’re happy to tweak and update the design so you feel comfortable with what you’re adding to your home.

Step 4. Build

We want the building process to be as seamless as possible, that’s why we’ve created a detailed Job Progress Methodology to make everything go smoothly. From filing for any building permits to the final walk through, Archadeck Outdoor Living wants to make sure you’re informed and satisfied with the building process.

Step 5. Enjoy

At the end of the day, Archadeck prides itself on enhancing the lives our clients with quality outdoor living projects. Our goal it to give you a space you’ll love for years to come.

If you want to discuss adding an outdoor structure to your backyard, please contact your local Archadeck office.

Know the Key Deck Safety Signals

Every year there seems to be a story about a deck or dock that collapses, which can cause serious injury. May is National Deck Safety Awareness Month and it’s something that we at Archadeck Outdoor Living are very passionate about. Our deck safety inspections are thorough and let homeowners know what they need to address now, what they can wait on and what to be aware of.

If you aren’t sure if your deck is in good shape, here are a few safety signals to be aware of:

Splintering. Not only are splinters annoying and sometimes painful, they are signs of a deck that needs some TLC. When wood is out in the elements for extended periods of time it dries out, causing splintering. Splintering is the first sign of wood that needs to be attended to or replaced. Sometimes a good professional cleaning and sealing will do while other times new deck boards are required.

Creaking. When walking on your deck, it shouldn’t creak extensively. A lot of sounds could be a sign of a weakening attachment or connection. A professional deck builder can evaluate the connections and attachment and make sure a collapse isn’t right around the corner.

Swaying and Shaking. When a deck is in good structural shape, it will not shake or sway. If your deck is moving, call a professional. The issue could be that the structure is just past its prime or maybe more footings are needed.

Warping or bowing. Much like splinters, warping or bowing can be a sign of a deck safety issue. If the boards are pulling apart from the structure, it may need to be replaced with new boards.

If your deck is displaying any of these issues, it doesn’t necessarily mean your deck needs to be replaced. A deck can be structurally sound but the boards may need to be addressed for instance. That being said, it’s important to have it evaluated by a local deck builder if you have questions. Contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office to set up your deck safety inspection.

Choosing the Right Contractor can Make all the Difference

Spring has sprung and it’s time to think about moving family and friend time outdoors. Whether you’re in the market for a deck, patio, or just some new landscaping, you want to feel good about who you hire and invite onto your property. Many of us have had bad experiences with hired professionals when expectations weren’t met or communication was unclear. At Archadeck Outdoor Living we hope to make you feel comfortable about hiring us and want to leave you with the backyard of your dreams.

If you’re in the market for a patio or deck builder, visit our website and take a look at our Choosing a Contractor checklist. The checklist will help you to learn more about your choices and guide you as you make your decision. Some of the topics we include are:

Picking a contractor that understands your location. Each area of the country is different and what’s expected of a contractor is different as a result. A contractor should be able to clearly articulate what’s required for building permits and safety standards while also understanding the unique terrain and weather that may impact your structure.

Verifying their expertise and reputation. It’s one thing to say “we build beautiful decks,” but it’s quite another when a company can show you a portfolio of their work. Ask to see images of different projects they’ve built. Additionally, ask for some clients references if you’d like to speak directly with someone that they’ve worked with. A professional outdoor structure builder should have a list of happy clients they can easily provide.

Reviewing contracts is not always apples to apples. If you’re meeting with multiple contractors, be aware that not all bids can be the same. Be sure that you’re comparing estimates for the same scope of work and material quality.

Checking the warranties. If a contractor doesn’t offer a warranty on their work, not just the material warranty, there is no guarantee that everything gets completed as quoted and you may not be left with options if something goes wrong 3 months after the build date.

If you have questions on custom designed and built outdoor living spaces, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Archadeck Launches Enhanced Website

All of us at Archadeck Outdoor Living are excited to announce the launch of the new and improved aimed at providing visitors with a user-friendly more beautiful experience. opens to a clean user experience with large scrolling images of some of Archadeck’s favorite projects. Throughout the entire site you’ll see images of Archadeck’s outdoor living designs including decks, porches, patios, sunrooms, outdoor kitchens and more. You’ll also have the option of connecting with Archadeck through our “how can we help” form. Let us know what you’re interested in and your local office will reach out to you as soon as possible.

The site’s main navigation makes it easy for the user to find what they’re looking for. It includes: design ideas, why Archadeck, our process, about us and connect.

Design Ideas is where users can go to get inspired by some of our best outdoor living projects. Separated into categories, we’ve put together photo galleries of all types of outdoor living spaces, be it front porches and porticos and wood decks to pergolas and outdoor kitchens. Feel free to pin or share your favorite images so it’s easy to find them when you’re ready to enhance your backyard!

Why Archadeck will illustrate what sets us apart from your typical deck builder and guide you as you hire a local builder. Take a look at our “Choosing a Contractor” checklist to ensure that you’re hiring a designer and builder that you can trust with your property. And, if you aren’t sure if you need a new deck, take a look at our deck safety page. We’ll show you what you can look for to evaluate if you should reach out to a professional to inspect the safety of your outdoor living structure.

Our Process is simple: we’ll walk you through the steps of what it’s like to work with Archadeck Outdoor Living in five simple steps: Connect, Consult, Design, Build and Enjoy!

Specific information about Archadeck Outdoor Living can be found under our “About Us” section. We’ll tell you our story, share testimonials from our happy clients, introduce you to our preferred partners and answer some of our Frequently Asked Questions.

Lastly Connect, a section dedicated to connecting with us, our sister brands and our online outdoor living magazine.

Throughout the entire site, if you are interested in finding your local Archadeck office, simply enter your zip code in the top right and instantly be redirected to your location’s page if one is available.

We invite you explore the new

How to Decide What You Need in an Outdoor Living Space

Updating and enhancing your outdoor living space is a big decision and can be a big investment. As you go through the process, you want to be confident that the final product will be a space that you love. At Archadeck Outdoor Living, our design process is incredibly important to ensure that the right structure and space is built, leaving you with an area you’ll enjoy and use.

When creating the perfect design and structure, we ask a lot of questions, including:

How do you intend to use the space? It’s easy to say “I want a bigger deck,” but that’s too simple. Getting a clear understanding of how you’d like to use the space makes form and function a goal. Someone who wants to have a glass of wine on an outdoor couch needs a different type of space than the homeowner that hosts large parties and eats in the backyard every night. The more ways you want to use the space, the more planning that’s involved. For example, if you want to use your outdoor space into the night, it makes sense to plan for outdoor lighting and a fire feature.

What’s the topography of your yard? Do you have a flat yard? Does it slope? The topography can make a big impact on the best structure types for your property. If you have a large slope or your main living floor is higher off the ground, a deck may be the best option. Flat land is more forgiving in structure type, be it a deck, patio, porch or other structure.

Do you have favorite views of your property? If you love looking out onto the rolling hills to the east of your home, your deck designer and builder should create a space that allows you to appreciate that. Where and how the deck, porch or patio is built impacts your view.

How is your property situated? Do you need area for shade and sun? Some people like to spend time in the sun, while others prefer the shade. If you like the shade, why have a deck that’s in direct sunlight most of the day? It doesn’t make sense. Archadeck Outdoor Living often combines projects to fulfill both needs. You may have a porch that leads to a patio or a deck with a pergola.

Getting the perfect outdoor living space really depends on your preferences. We often ask our prospects and clients to download and fill out our FREE Design Guide to help guide our conversations.

If you have questions on enhancing your backyard, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Marrying Multiple Structures Together for the Perfect Combination Project

What does your dream backyard include? Is it a deck? Porch? Patio? Or maybe it is combination of several structures? For me, I’d love a screened in porch that opens up to a deck or patio with an outdoor kitchen and fire pit. That’s the dream.

Combination projects are a great way to create more space and designate different areas for different purposes. Here are three combo projects from Archadeck Outdoor Living to give you an idea of how multiple structures can work together.

This first outdoor living space includes a deck, patio and a multilevel pergola. While it’s pretty open, the different structures serve different purposes. The deck is mainly used for dining, while the patio is the area where people sit back and relax or chat with friends and family. Changing up the material and level creates the delineation of the spaces. The dining area is just a few steps up from the patio. Keeping the two spaces together is the retaining wall that incorporates colors from both the patio and the deck.

Our next example truly does have it all: a deck, open porch, stone patio and custom fire pit. Who wouldn’t want to spend time outdoors here? While designing this combination project, the Archadeck team had to consider all the different ways that owners use their outdoor space and how it can work together without taking up all of their property. First was cooking. They love to eat and dine outdoors. This was the easy decision in the design as it didn’t make sense for them to have their grill down a flight of stairs instead of right outside their kitchen door. The elevated deck created a covered space large enough for an open porch underneath. A rain decking drainage system was installed to keep the space dry so the owners could install outdoor furniture and a TV in the space for entertaining. And who wants to be forced inside at night? To fix that issue, Archadeck designed and built a custom designed fire pit on the patio.

The final example was created for owners who wanted space for sun and shade, so this screened porch, deck and patio combination was designed. The screened porch provides the shade and area away from mosquitoes from the homeowners. It has plenty of space for an outdoor living room set to host friends and family. The deck’s main purpose is dining. The lower level patio was designed as a place to lounge and enjoy the backyard.

If you’re considering updating your backyard in 2015 or later, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office. We’re confident we can help you create the backyard of your dreams.

Contact Us