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1 Average-Sized Home + 1 LARGE Screened Porch = 1 Delightful Home, Just the Right Size in East Central Austin

East Central Austin Screened Porch BuilderThese East Central Austin homeowners proved you don’t have to have a large home to add a large outdoor living space.

After purchasing this home of about 1,400 sq. ft., our clients completely renovated the home’s interior, with absolutely beautiful results. Finally, they were ready to add a multi-purpose outdoor living space. Instead of asking Archadeck of Austin to design a space that was proportional to their small home, they wanted something bigger. Specifically, they wanted a big, open and airy screened porch, so the one we designed for them is over 600 sq. ft. in area. If you’re doing the math, they increased the size of their usable space by almost 50%. Because of Austin’s mild climate, they truly will be able to use all of this space throughout most of the year.

Austin Screened Porch Builder

The homeowners do a lot of work and entertaining at home, so they needed a larger space. They had a second reason for building this large porch: With all of the work they had done on the home’s interior to make it beautiful, they wanted the outside to be beautiful as well.

  1. Increase space
  2. Beautify exterior

Archadeck of Austin designed and built the perfect screened porch for this home. You can see how much room it has, enough for a spacious living area and a separate dining area, which could also serve as a home office when needed. It’s really the equivalent of two additional rooms. On the exterior, we matched the home’s original HardiePlank siding, so the addition blends seamlessly with the home and doesn’t look “added on.”

Austin Screened Porch Builder

On the inside of the porch, we started with a concrete floor and added a textured concrete overlayment in a color called California Smoke, which is a gray blend. For additional contrast, we added a bit more of a darker shade. For the beautiful ceiling we used prefinished tongue-and-groove ceiling planks from Synergy Wood.

Austin Screened Porch Builder

Finally, we installed four skylights to bring in as much natural light as possible. The clients were aware that adding a large porch can diminish the amount of natural light received in the home’s adjoining room, so they used skylights to minimize that impact—in addition to the huge screened window openings around three sides of the porch.

Austin Screened Porch Builder

The clients love their expanded home! With all of the work completed now, all they have to do is enjoy it.

Austin Screened Porch Builder

If you would like to learn more about expanding your home by creating the screened porch of dreams, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 259-8282 or via email at jim.odom@archadeck.net to schedule a free design consultation.

Jim Odom Archadeck of Austin

Jim Odom Archadeck of Austin

 


Dog approves of NW Austin total patio makeover by Archadeck of Austin

When we took on this project in the NW Austin area off of 620 and Boulder Ave., we didn’t quite understand that all work had to be dog-approved. Luckily we got along well with the family pet, which loves the new bigger-and-better patio and pergola combination we designed and installed. On sunnier days, this pampered pooch probably make its way over to the side of the patio that’s covered by the pergola. We’re betting on that.

NW Austin Patio and Pergola Builders

These NW Austin homeowners called patio builder Archadeck of Austin because they wanted to overhaul their patio and deck combination. The low-to-grade wood deck was not aging well and needed to be replaced. The covered patio wasn’t functioning as a patio at all, but more as a place to walk through on your way from the yard or deck to get into the house.

Before Archadeck of Austin began the project:

NW Austin Patio and Pergola BuildersThe new outdoor living space we designed for the family called for removing the low deck and extending the patio in its place. We also added a stone retaining wall that can be used for additional seating, and we built a big, beefy pergola to replace the smaller one they had on the deck.

As sometimes happens, when we demo’d the deck we came across hidden conditions the homeowners had not been aware of. The deck had included one wooden step up from the patio to the deck surface, and that step had rotted. The step had been built closely around the original posts holding up the roof over the patio, so the posts had been compromised. They were no longer sound enough to continue supporting the patio cover.

NW Austin Patio and Pergola Builders

To remedy this problem, Archadeck of Austin replaced the four original posts with what are called star posts, technically load-bearing posts that are hollow on the inside. These new posts are specifically designed to carry loads. In this case, the load is the roof over the original portion of the patio. We put a new base around each star post and painted them to match the original color.

NW Austin Patio and Pergola BuildersAnd … there was more. When we removed the deck we found that water had seeped into a gap where the deck met the house, and the house siding had rotted at that connecting point. Fortunately the homeowner had an extra piece of siding tucked away in the garage. We were able to remove the damaged portion of the siding and replace it with the extra piece. With the siding repaired, we painted the replacement piece of siding to match the house color.

So, back to the patio! We extended the patio across the area previously covered by the deck. The homeowners now have a large and truly functional patio. The patio surface is a resilient stained concrete, and we stained the original section of the patio, too, so it would all match. We built a stone retaining wall enclosing three sides of the patio, and that wall has a smooth stone top that also makes it the perfect seating wall if additional seating is needed outdoors.

The homeowners wanted a bigger pergola for more shade, and we accomplished that. The new cedar pergola looks extra beefy because we used 2x10s for the rafter system instead of the traditional 2×8″ boards we usually use for that purpose.

Finally, we installed a ceiling fan under the pergola and placed sconce lights on the pergola posts for safety and ambiance on the patio after dark.

The family dog is truly content with the wonderful new patio, and we believe is fully appreciative of the shade the large pergola will provide once warmer weather sets in.

NW Austin Patio and Pergola Builders

If you would like to talk with us about enlarging your patio or building a combination outdoor living space, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 259-8282 or via email at jim.odom@archadeck.net to schedule a free design consultation.

Jim Schallon, senior designer Archadeck of Austin.

Jim Schallon, senior designer Archadeck of Austin.

 

 

 


Archadeck of Austin rescues Hayes County, TX, homeowners from unfortunate outdoor living space design

Hayes County TX Outdoor Living Space BuilderIn these pictures you see an outdoor living project gone awry and the results after we accepted the task of making it right. Archadeck of Austin designs and builds porches, patios, decks, outdoor kitchens, pergolas and more — and we can design any combination of those structures. Sometimes we start from scratch. Sometimes we take what another builder did before us, like a patio, and make it bigger and better (much better). Or we take something old like a worn out deck, tear it down, and build a new deck-patio-outdoor-kitchen combination in its place.

And then there are times like this. To set the scene, we are in Hayes County, TX, southwest of Austin, outside the Travis County limits. Our clients purchased a new home with an outdoor living space that was nothing like they wanted. It was a brand new home, and obviously it suited them in many ways or they wouldn’t have purchased it. But the outdoor living space at this home was getting a negative approval rating from the homeowners starting on Day 1.Before

The home’s original outdoor living space consisted of a covered concrete porch/patio with a small cedar deck attached. It was all very plain and unappealing. The homeowners knew someone could do a better job of designing and building a more functional and enjoyable space for them. Enter Archadeck of Austin to the rescue.

The first problem was the covered porch/patio needed to be screened in. Insects were driving this young family crazy and they needed a no-bug zone.Hayes County TX Outdoor Living Space Builder

Then, they wanted the small cedar deck extended to cover a larger expanse across the back of the house, and they needed a stairway directly from the deck down to the children’s play area in the yard.

It sounds simple enough, but it was actually a complex project. We took out the Hardie Board ceiling over the porch and replaced it with a beautiful tongue-and-groove ceiling by Synergy Wood. We removed part of the roof on one side and built a new roof extension that came out deeper toward the yard. Of course, you can’t tell a difference where we extended the roof; it all blends in and looks original, as it should.Hayes County TX Outdoor Living Space Builder

We also had to demo some brick off the wall on the outside of the house in order to attach some of the new work directly to the original concrete substructure. Finally, we built soffits to match the original construction so that everything tied together. Once we had finished, framed and painted, we were able to install a wall of screen. Now the original porch/patio is a screened porch with a TV and seating area, and on the other side of that screen the family has a bigger deck with sheets of cedar lattice along the underside.

Hayes County TX Outdoor Living Space Builder

 

It feels like all is now right with the world, at least in this corner of Hayes County, TX. Our work is done here, and we have the Before and After pictures to prove it.

If you’re interested in reconfiguring your outdoor living space without having to tear it out and start over, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 259-8282 or via email at jim.odom@archadeck.net to schedule a free design consultation.

Jim Schallon, senior designer Archadeck of Austin.

Jim Schallon, senior designer Archadeck of Austin.

 

 


New deck in NW Austin gives new life to porch cover, thanks to Archadeck of Austin

Box of chocolatesTo borrow from Forrest Gump, a deck replacement can be “like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

When this NW Austin homeowner hired Archadeck of Austin to replace her existing wood deck, she didn’t know that her porch cover was in need of shoring up. In the process of removing the old deck, we discovered that the porch cover was no longer structurally sound. The beam that was holding it up was not strong enough to support the roof load it was carrying. See a picture of the deck and porch cover before we began the project below:

Since being advised prior to ordering the materials that she should fix the porch at the same time as the deck we included the materials needed as part of the total work order.

We conferred with the homeowner about this issue because replacing that beam and adding new support posts were tasks not included in the scope of our project. The homeowner agreed that replacing the porch roof’s support structure — while we were already in the same spot building a new deck — was a good idea. This was definitely a safety issue.

Now the homeowner has a sweet new deck with a sturdy and well-supported porch cover. For the new deck construction, she selected low-maintenance AZEK composite decking in Mahogany. Notice the deck board at the end, the way it runs perpendicular to the other boards. This is called picture framing, a method Archadeck of Austin uses now on most of our composite and PVC decks.

West Austin AZEK Deck Builder

Picture framing allows us to provide a nice, clean, finished edge around the deck perimeter. It creates an even edge for the fascia and deck boards so debris and dirt won’t accumulate between those components. That kind of debris accumulation can rot the substructure.

West Austin AZEK Deck Builder

We had room to expand the depth of the deck by about four feet, which may not sound like a lot, but it does make the deck feel much more spacious. While a portion of the deck is covered for protection from sun and rain, a significant portion remains uncovered for those beautiful days when nothing will do but to sit out in the open.

West Austin AZEK Deck BuilderTo support the porch cover, we added a new Glulam beam along its front edge. If you’re not familiar with Glulam beams, let’s just say this beam is a workhorse. Technically, Glulam is glued laminated timber. It’s “pound for pound” stronger than steel and much stronger than regular, comparably-sized lumber. And the adhesives used in the lamination process are moisture resistant.

We supported the new overhead beam with pressure-treated wood framing, and we wrapped the new support posts with cedar.  Instead of using lattice screen under the deck, we used Hardie skirt board for a cleaner, more streamlined appearance. We shifted the stairs away from the building to improve traffic flow to and from the deck.

West Austin AZEK Deck Builder

The homeowner selected the Fortress rail system in the black sand color with 2″ posts because they allow more of the view of the sloping back yard. She plans to fill the hillside with landscaping, using only plant material native to Austin.

Are you thinking of replacing your aging deck or other outdoor living structures? If you want the job done professionally, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 259-8282 or via email at jim.odom@archadeck.net to schedule a free design consultation.

Jim Schallon, senior designer Archadeck of Austin.

Jim Schallon, senior designer Archadeck of Austin.

 

 

 


3 signs it’s time to kick your Round Rock, TX, builder-grade patio to the curb for something better

  1. You’ve purchased a brand new house — new construction — that came with a builder-grade patio.
  2. You’ve purchased an older home where the prior homeowner kept the original builder-grade patio.
  3. You’ve been living in your home for a while now, and you have it set up pretty much like you want it, except for the builder-grade patio.

Round Rock TX patio builderYou’re probably picking up on our theme here. If one of the above signs describes your situation, then you have a lot in common with our recent clients, who needed a reputable Round Rock patio builder. Wisely, they called Archadeck of Austin for a free design consultation. We have built many, many patios over the years, and each new client benefits from those years of experience.

Today’s featured outdoor living project is a patio extension, but it’s really more than just an increase in the patio’s size. When you increase the size of a patio (or a deck, for that matter) you increase its function exponentially. Suddenly you have a more livable outdoor living space that you can actually do something with. Decorate! Entertain! Cook out, eat out and just sit around relaxing with family and friends.

These homeowners wanted to increase their patio’s livability even more. Their dream project included a fire pit and an outdoor kitchen. At one point they were considering a deck addition instead of a bigger patio. As they explored options with their Archadeck designer, however, it became clear that extending the patio would be less expensive than adding a deck. And a patio would be the ideal setting for a fire pit and outdoor kitchen. That settled it.

Before and After in Round Rock TX

When Archadeck of Austin builds patios, we dig trenches. Seeing the finished project, you wouldn’t know we’ve done that, but we add these trenches to give homeowners some extra peace of mind. We use a beam system under all of our concrete patios. First, we dig trenches about 12″ deep along the perimeter and some within the interior of the patio area. The perimeter and internal beams are reinforced with steel rebar to stabilize the patio. Having this reinforced beam system within the base of the concrete structure prevents the patio from moving and settling over time. While it’s still possible that the concrete will crack, as it often does, having that extra stability means ground movement will not cause structural damage to the patio.

We also dug a trench to run conduit for gas lines that would be needed for the fire pit and the outdoor kitchen. The trench specifically for this purpose must be 18″ deep.

Round Rock Patio with Overlayment

For this patio, we used an overlayment process to create the beautifully textured surface you see here.

Once the trenches are dug and steel are in place, then we can pour concrete. For this patio, we used an overlayment process to create the beautifully textured surface you see here. We also added two sets of stairs, one by the kitchen leading to the side yard and the pictured stairs running to the rear yard. We also added two gates to the top of each , as they have grandchildren and pets to contain.

Now we come to this project’s special added features, which are very popular in Round Rock: the fire pit and the outdoor kitchen. These structures are made of white limestone. The outdoor kitchen includes a gas grill and a pedestal for the homeowners’ Big Green Egg style smoker. The 4′ fire pit has a regulator and starter. Notice how the back wall of the fire pit is built up so we didn’t need to run any railing across the backside of the fire pit. While practical, the stone wall also adds character to the project.

Round Rock TX Outdoor Kitchen Builder

Round Rock TX Fire Pit Builder

The finishing touch for this patio is a black metal railing system, by Fortress, that borders the patio’s edge. The railing helps define the area visually while also providing safety.

As you can see from the before and after pictures, these homeowners gained more than just a bigger space when they extended their builder-grade patio. They gained a multi-functional outdoor living area, with an emphasis on living. These clients are so pleased with the finished project that they have already referred Archadeck of Austin to two neighbors looking for a Round Rock patio builder specializing in outdoor kitchens and custom outdoor fire features. We love referrals!

Jim Schallon, senior designer Archadeck of Austin.

Jim Schallon, senior designer Archadeck of Austin.

If you have a builder-grade patio and want to learn more about the many benefits of expanding it into a more livable outdoor living space, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 259-8282 or via email at jim.odom@archadeck.net to schedule a free design consultation.

 


North Cat Mountain, TX, homeowner enjoys the view from his new deck!

Cat Mountain Deck BuilderThis might be one of the strangest ways we’ve heard of to get a new deck. When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, right? This North Cat Mountain/Greenbelt area homeowner certainly made that statement true recently when his deck was destroyed in an accident.

This home featured a second-story wooden deck that wrapped around two sides of the house in an ‘L’ shape. The views from the deck are glorious. The home in North Cat Mountain, TX, overlooks the Greenbelt, a beautiful, wild, undeveloped area near Austin that didn’t get its name by accident.

Before Archadeck of Austin began the project:

One end of this large deck was supported by stone pillars at the edge of the home’s driveway. Maybe you can see where we’re going here, but we’ll finish the story. A neighbor’s car ran into one of the pillars, destroying not just the stone pillar itself but the deck it was supporting.

Image of damages:

The structural integrity of the entire deck was compromised. If this looks like a whole bag of lemons, our client soon found out he was getting lemonade. Although the homeowner didn’t have insurance pay for the entire project. They were able to achieve the upgrades and repairs needed by working with insurance and their own funds, which made it possible to improve the entire structure.

Cat Mountain Deck Builder

Finished project:

When Archadeck of Austin consulted with the homeowner about the design for the replacement deck, he didn’t want to make many changes. The layout of the original deck was pretty much just right. We built the new deck using cedar decking boards and applying a custom stain to the wood. We did change the configuration of the stairs leading up to the deck, and we updated the overall look of the deck by using a newer railing design. While the original deck railing was made entirely of wood, the new Fortress railing system features 3″ steel posts and railing with 2×6″ cedar railing caps stained the same color as the deck. The thinner metal pickets of the new railing system allow deck-sitters to see more of the incredible view of the Greenbelt.

View of Greenbelt from Cat Mountain Deck

View of Greenbelt from Cat Mountain Deck:

Additionally, Archadeck of Austin also rebuilt  the masonry columns and replaced the supports within because they did not meet building code. Fortunately, this was within our project realm, as we are not just a deck builder, and have the ability to do things that competitors can not. The finishing touch to the project was staining the underside of the deck which serve as a covered patio.

Jim Schallon, senior designer Archadeck of Austin.

Jim Schallon, senior designer Archadeck of Austin.

Has life handed you lemons lately? If your outdoor living structure needs to be replaced — for whatever reason! — contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 259-8282 or via email at jim.odom@archadeck.net to schedule a free design consultation.

 

 

 


Austin patio-pergola-outdoor fireplace proves outdoor living projects can be budget-friendly

Austin patio covers with outdoor fireplaces

Austin patio covers with outdoor fireplacesLet’s start with the hard question. Do you feel like your budget might stand in the way of you having a new and/or improved outdoor living space? Almost everyone is budget-conscious these days, and we understand that may mean different things to different people. But if you feel your budget is keeping you from having the outdoor living project you really want, Archadeck of Austin will work with you “every which way” to try to make it a reality.

Before we look at today’s combination-outdoor-living-project-on-a-budget, let’s talk about the process we go through to arrive at a quote for a job. First, after we listen to what elements a client wants included in their project, and we offer our suggestions, we have to be able to tell them how much it will cost. If the number is too high, we’ll look at choices the client can make — maybe different materials, maybe scaling it back a little bit — to bring the price down. We don’t expect the client to sign a contract until we quote them a price they are comfortable with.

The price we quote is the actual price the client will pay. Does that surprise you? It should not. But we’ve heard about other contractors (not Archadeck) who quickly low-ball a quote just to get the contract signed. They may not take the time to do the necessary research about materials costs, etc., to give a semi-accurate quote. The client doesn’t realize some costs have been left out of the conversation. Oh, yes, they find out eventually, when the job is half-completed. What choice do they have at that point? They approve the additional costs and end up paying more than they would have if they’d gone with a higher (accurate) quote from a professional builder like Archadeck of Austin.

Today’s featured project is in Austin, TX, and it’s a sweet combination outdoor living project that includes a patio, pergola, outdoor fireplace and privacy screen. The homeowners were upfront about their budget. Their Archadeck of Austin designer sat down with them to go over all of the specs, materials and costs for the project. Together, they worked out a cost-effective plan that addressed the homeowners’ needs and wants — within budget.

Backyard before Archadeck of Austin began project:

Backyard before Archadeck of Austin began the project:

The clients were looking to add a shade structure to the back of the home and wanted to include an outdoor fireplace. Their home had an existing covered porch at the back door. The property was not right for a deck because there’s no change in elevation behind the house. Decking “at grade” is not a good idea. So they wanted a patio to extend outward from the existing porch and serve as the base for their new shade structure (pergola) and outdoor fireplace.

patio constructionStarting with the custom patio, we always dig trenches about 12″ deep and lay a beam system within the perimeter of the patio before we pour concrete. These steel beams reinforce and stabilize the patio to prevent the concrete from settling over time (or in response to ground movement). This way we know we’re providing a strong and stable pad for the concrete patio. Keep in mind, concrete will always crack, no matter what. The added perimeter and internal beams provide more stability to help reduce the eventual outcome of any concrete deck or patio.

For this patio, we added a textured and stained concrete overlay to the surface for visual appeal.

Austin patio cover with outdoor fireplace and privacy screen

For utilities, we ran conduit and a gas line from the main meter to the rear of fireplace for service, and we ran wiring for electrical access at the fireplace and at several other points around the patio as well.

Austin covered patios

We built the gas-burning custom outdoor fireplace with a combination of Nicotine and white flagstone. The Nicotine color is white with deposits of yellow and gold running through it, and the interplay of these colors mimics the variations in the patio’s textured-concrete surface in an interesting way.Austin limestone outdoor fireplaces

Extending from the fireplace, on both sides, is a low stone wall that is extremely practical in two ways. First, it creates a visual boundary for the patio, and second, it provides seating. The bench surface on the wall is made of smooth Lueders stone, one of our favorites.

The freestanding pergola is stained cedar, and over the top of the pergola we added a Polygal cover to deliver maximum shade benefits. This durable covering is an affordable way to add protection from rain as well as from the sun’s rays. It’s waterproof and it blocks UV rays, making the patio enjoyable regardless of the weather.Austin covered patio builders

Beside the pergola, we installed a privacy screen, also made of stained cedar, because the homeowners plan to add a hot tub to their outdoor living space in the future.

Finally, we installed a flat-screen TV above the mantel for the homeowners. Their outdoor living space comes complete with a remote control for the ceiling fan and to dim/control the lights: the comforts of the indoors brought outdoors.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you create an outdoor living project on a budget, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (515) 259-8282 or via email at jim.odom@archadeck.net to schedule a free design consultation.

Jim Schallon, senior designer Archadeck of Austin.

Jim Schallon, senior designer Archadeck of Austin.