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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 Archadeck.com aimed at providing visitors with a user-friendly more beautiful experience.

Archadeck.com 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 Archadeck.com.

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.

Enjoying the Holidays in a Sunroom

I’m from the great state of Maine and with it being the holidays, I often reminisce about the holiday season back home. The family, the friends, the laughs, it was great. On Christmas Eve, my large family and I would go over to my aunt’s house for lobster stew and a holiday gift swap. Oftentimes the night ended with all the cousins playing games in the (heated) sunroom watching snow fall outside. It’s memories like those that make me miss family and having a sunroom.

Sunrooms may be a larger project than building a pergola or patio, but it is truly an addition to your home that you can use day and night, all months of the year. At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we design and build sunrooms that fit your home and your needs.

Sunrooms, like any outdoor living structure, are not a one size or design fits all scenario. There are so many aspects that need to be considered to create the perfect space: the size, shape, light, etc.

Some homeowners can be surprised at how much a sunroom can impact their existing home when not properly designed, lighting being one of the main effects. For example, an existing home may get a lot of natural light in the back during the afternoon. If you build a large sunroom off the back, it may impact the amount of light that gets to the main home. Archadeck may suggest adding skylights to the sunroom to ensure the difference isn’t too dramatic to homeowners.

The windows of a sunroom are also a large consideration when designing a sunroom. The style depends on the owners taste and sometimes their location. Some clients prefer a sunroom that has floor to ceiling windows. It provides and unobstructed and open view of the outdoors. It’s stunning, but it may not be perfect for a home in New England if the owner wants to use the space year-round. They would have to spend more in heating than if the windows were smaller.

These are just a few of the considerations that come into play while designing a sunroom. If you’re looking at adding one to your home, talk to a local sunroom builder, like Archadeck Outdoor Living, who will walk you through the options and process.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Archadeck Outdoor Living!

Archadeck of Raleigh Durham Featured in Veterans in Franchising

OK, so sometimes we just need to gush, and today is one of those days. Our very own Kyle Faulkner, owner of Archadeck of Raleigh, is featured on the cover of this month’s Veterans in Franchising magazine.

Kyle and his wife Paige joined the Archadeck system just over a year ago. Having spent 8 years in the military and based in California away from family on the east coast, Kyle and Paige wanted to be closer to family and settle down and raise one of their own.

When looking at different franchise organizations, Kyle wanted something that connected to his experience in the construction world. Both his father and grandfather were carpenters and as he says “I started out doing construction from the time I could swing a hammer.” Source. When we first spoke with the Kyle during the discovery process, we learned that he loved building, but also the outdoors, and Archadeck brought both of those passions together.

Since launching their Archadeck business, Kyle and Paige have grown their territory and their family, welcoming a baby girl last spring. They both enjoy the work/life balance Archadeck allows, spending the weekends with friends and family.

Kyle is just one of the veterans in the Archadeck system. We’re thankful and proud of all of them!

Archadeck Outdoor Living has been in business since 1980, positioning itself as the expert in custom outdoor living spaces. From a simple and functional deck to a robust outdoor living structure with a deck, patio, porch, pergola, outdoor kitchen or some combination there of, Archadeck does it all. Each project is custom designed with our clients’ needs, wants and tastes in mind, ensuring the finished project is just what they wanted.

If you have questions on the Archadeck business model and if it could help you achieve your personal and financial goals, please visit us at ArchadeckFranchise.com.

The Perfect Outdoor Kitchen Just for You

When it comes to design and needs, we’re all a little different, and it shows in both indoor and outdoor design. When creating an outdoor living space for one of our clients, our Archadeck designers are sure to discuss the clients goals and how they intend to use the space thoroughly. Even within the same type of project, the needs can be vastly different. Here are some examples of outdoor kitchen designs that were created with the household’s chef in mind.

The first project comes from Archadeck of Austin. They designed a covered patio with stained concrete for the homeowners. When the weather is nice, the owners prefer to cook and dine outdoors, so they needed a well-equipped outdoor kitchen. This curved design fit the needs by providing plenty of space for prep and cooking. There’s a grill and smoker as well as an outdoor refrigerator to store food and drinks. Counter space was of utmost importance and the curved U-shape provides the perfect result. Because the owners would like to talk as they cook and eat outdoors, a bar-height counter was included as a dining space.

The free form rock works perfectly with the stained concrete for the rustic look they were looking for.

This second example is much more classic in design with straight lines and natural stone square and rectangular pavers. While these owners only needed a grill and stove for cooking, they still wanted a lot of counter space for buffet style parties. One side of the outdoor kitchen was dedicated to counter space for food prep and presentation. It was also important to the owners that all the dirty dishes aren’t brought inside all the time so a corner sink was installed for on the go cleaning.

Our final project to display is the ultimate outdoor kitchen for the gourmet chef. The owners of this space LOVE to cook outdoors and they love pizza! A custom wood-fired pizza oven was designed and built to create the perfect pizza (there is even an area to store wood underneath). Additionally, there is a grill, stove, sink and refrigerator. With ample prep space, and a bar that can fit 6 diners, there is no reason to go inside!

All three of these outdoor kitchen designs are vastly different, but each of them fulfills the needs of the homeowner. If you’re interested in creating the perfect outdoor cooking space in your area, please contact your local Archadeck office.

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