Here’s a tip: if you don’t have your aging deck replaced, you may never know your gazebo is in danger of collapsing. In North Austin, TX, the Sierra Arbor Estates deck project you see pictured here illustrates that point.
You’ve heard the expression, “One thing leads to another,” right? Sometimes homeowners are very, very glad one thing led to another when Archadeck of Austin comes around to create (or recreate) an outdoor living space.
These clients wanted to replace their small deck that wraps around the side and back of their house, bordered by a charming stone wall. Made of wood, the deck had decayed. Time for a replacement.
Good fortune was on their side; the deck was a good candidate for redecking. Not all homeowners are aware that redecking is an option – and one that can save them money. Until we inspect your deck, we won’t know if redecking will work for your project, though.
Why is redecking possible? The sun’s UV rays cause a wooden deck’s surface to deteriorate over the years. Meanwhile, the deck’s substructure is protected from the sun and doesn’t suffer the same damage.
Before committing to redecking, Austin deck builder Archadeck of Austin will examine the support structure under your deck. If that structure is not compromised – if it’s still in good shape and can support a new deck surface for a good many years – we can use it again. That saves you some of the cost of materials and labor to build your new deck.
For their new deck surface, these homeowners chose AZEK synthetic decking boards in the popular weathered teak color from their Vintage Collection. With an AZEK deck, these homeowners will not have to worry about deterioration. These decking boards will resist splitting, cupping, splintering, blistering, peeling, flaking, cracking, rotting and structural damage from termites or fungal decay, and they are covered by an excellent manufacturer’s warranty.
So … about that gazebo we mentioned earlier. One end of this deck extends out to a gazebo in the back yard. We found that the gazebo hadn’t been built correctly. It was actually bowing, its support piers sinking into the ground because the concrete footers could not carry the weight of the gazebo. Honestly, this might have been a disaster in the making.
Archadeck of Austin to the rescue! We removed all the skirting and were able to pull out the original support posts and install a proper footing system under the gazebo. In that process we leveled the surface, so everything is level now.
Finally, we wrapped up this project by replacing about 15-20 feet of the clients’ wood fence, gates and hardware because the original fencing that bordered the yard had also seen better days.
These North Austin homeowners are happy now that peace and safety have been restored to their pleasant getaway-at-home.
Could you save money by having your older deck redecked instead of replaced completely? Let Archadeck of Austin take a look at your deck to determine if it is a candidate for redecking. Call us today at 512-259-8282 or email us to schedule your free design consultation.
New and Improved Deck, Outdoor Kitchen Combination in Circle C Ranch, Southwest Austin, TX, Delights Homeowners in So Many Ways
Homeowners in the Circle C Ranch neighborhood of Austin, TX, have a fine appreciation for the design skills and craftsmanship of custom deck and patio builder Archadeck of Austin. We continue to create ultimate outdoor living spaces in this southwest Austin neighborhood, each time designing and building a unique structure that is perfect for the home it graces.
The project we’re looking at today is a deck replacement in Circle C Ranch. Based on the homeowners’ desires for their ideal deck, we needed to design an entirely new structure, so we demolished the old cedar deck and started afresh. The result is a larger deck built with low-maintenance AZEK decking boards and an updated railing system that allows a much clearer view of the pool and yard below.
How do we love this new deck? Let us count the ways:
More outdoor living space. Not only is the new deck larger than the previous one, but we also designed it to meet the patio, so the patio and deck now combine to create a larger, more cohesive space. The earlier deck was not level with the home’s concrete patio. The family had to step down from the patio to the deck and it wasn’t an easy step. By making this simple design change, deck builder Archadeck of Austin improved this family’s daily travels out to their deck, back yard and pool. File this significant improvement under “little things mean a lot.”
Low-maintenance lifestyle. The new deck will require less maintenance than the cedar deck it replaced. The clients chose the weathered teak color from AZEK’s Vintage Collection. It has a more realistic wood-like appearance than some synthetic or composite decking materials. AZEK provides a 30-year fade and stain warranty and a lifetime warranty covering splitting, cupping, splintering, blistering, peeling, flaking, cracking, rotting or structural damage from termites or fungal decay.
More interesting deck layout. The larger deck design here allowed us to be especially creative with our layout of the deck boards. This design features a 4-way diagonal deck surface with picture framing, parting boards and ribbon ends. While this design is more elaborate than some we have created, we pride ourselves in deck design and workmanship and never leave board ends visible in the midst of a deck. We make sure that in all of our decks, the board ends meet a parting board or picture framing for a neat, finished appearance.
Striking, more modern railings. The old cedar railings represented the style of their day, but since that time railing designs have moved toward thinner pickets (also called balusters) for much-improved visibility. For this new deck, the homeowners chose powder-coated steel Fortress railings in the black sand color and matching decorative caps on the posts. Like the decking boards, the railing is virtually maintenance free.
An upgrade from a patio grill to an outdoor kitchen. The covered patio adjoining the deck offered plenty of space for an outdoor kitchen. In addition to a grill, refrigerator and storage, the outdoor kitchen provides counter space for food prep, which the clients did not have before. Behind the counter is a higher ledge that the homeowners can use for plants or other décor. In addition to adding the outdoor kitchen, we stained the concrete patio to refresh its appearance.
Better access to the pool and yard. We designed the deck with two stairways, giving the homeowners direct access to the pool and also to a part of the yard on the other side of the deck. They will get more usage out of that side of the yard now.
Hot tub closer to the pool. With the previous configuration, the family’s hot tub was accessible from the patio and deck but not from the pool. We relocated the spa closer to the pool for a more convenient location.
Regardless of how great your Austin deck is, at some point, it will need to be refreshed, redesigned and replaced. The amazing selection of deck materials available today promises you will love your new deck and wonder why you waited so long to replace it.
Is your deck due for an upgrade with new materials and a larger design? For a new deck and outdoor kitchen, or any other outdoor living solution, call Archadeck of Austin today at 512-259-8282 or email us to schedule your free design consultation.
Archadeck of Austin is a master of solutions, as these Steiner Ranch, TX, homeowners learned recently. We saved money for them by redecking instead of removing their old composite deck and building a new one from scratch, and we solved their glaring sun issue as well.
Redecking is the Austin TX Deck Resurfacing Option
If you have an older deck and you aren’t familiar with redecking, you will want to look closely at this project in Steiner Ranch, TX. Redecking is an option when you want to replace the deck’s surface boards—the portion that you see and walk on—if the deck’s substructure is still sound. Because the substructure isn’t exposed to the elements, it is usually in much better condition than the surface boards.
In the case of this Steiner Ranch home, the deck substructure was still in good shape, so redecking was possible. That’s always great news for a homeowner! Redecking offers significant cost savings over building an entirely new deck from scratch.
When Archadeck of Austin works on a redecking project, we always have to make certain the existing substructure meets current building codes. If the applicable building codes have changed since the deck was originally built, we need to make whatever modifications are necessary to comply with today’s codes.
If the original deck was wood, and the clients have chosen to redeck with a new surface of low-maintenance composite decking, we may have to add more joists to the substructure. When decking with composites, specific joist spacing requirements must be met—beyond the joist spacing requirements for a wood deck.
Homeowners who opt for redecking are not always limited to keeping the size and shape of their original deck. Archadeck of Austin may be able to expand the square footage of a deck as part of a redecking project. Also, during the redecking process, you can usually make additional changes or add amenities that your original deck lacked. Examples would be adding built-in bench seating, upgrading or replacing the deck railing, adding a pergola or covered area for shade or even changing the direction and flow of the stairs. The Steiner Ranch project pictured here includes a pergola, which the previous deck did not have.
Steiner Ranch Homeowners Add Beautiful New AZEK Deck Surface and Cedar Pergola
These clients’ new deck surface is made of AZEK decking boards in the mahogany color. AZEK is a low-maintenance synthetic (PVC) decking product that is extremely durable. Projects built with AZEK resist mold, mildew, stains and scratches. You also don’t have to worry about material defects, splinters, or damage from termites or rot with AZEK.
For their deck railing, the homeowners selected a Fortress railing in the sand black color. We built the privacy skirting under the deck with cedar, and we added a new large cedar pergola for partial shade. Because the pergola covers almost the entire deck, it also creates a protected, cozy feeling there.
The Perfect Solution: A Solar Blocking Screen System
Did we mention the clients have an absolutely fabulous view from their deck of the nearby golf course and lush treetops for miles? The problem was, this side of their home gets absolutely blasted by the sun. Archadeck of Austin installed a remote-controlled, solar-blocking retractable screen system. The tracks along the sides of the screen are designed to prevent the screen from blowing around on windy days.
Wow! This solar screen makes all the difference. Instead of staring into the sun in hopes of enjoying the view, the homeowners can simply enjoy the view. The feeling of relief and comfort is amazing when they remember how excruciating that sun could be. Take a look at how the screen works in this video featured on our YouTube channel:
Could redecking be the cost-effective solution for you? For information about redecking as well as solar-blocking retractable screen systems, contact Archadeck of Austin at (512) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free design consultation.
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.
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.
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.
To 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.
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 (512) 259-8282 or via email at email@example.com to schedule a free design consultation.
Can an outdoor living space be small in scale and still be GRAND? You’d better believe it! Today’s project, located in the Steiner Ranch community of Austin, TX, drives that point home with certainty. This may not be the largest outdoor living space we have designed, but it’s unique — and one of our favorites.
This Steiner Ranch homeowner was referred to Archadeck of Austin by a previous client of ours who was thrilled with the project we designed and built at their home. And you know we love it when new clients find us through word of mouth. (If we have completed a project for you, don’t forget to tell your friends about it!)
To start, a basic concrete patio was the only outdoor living space existing at the home. Standing in the back yard, facing the patio and the back of the house, the homeowner looked up … and knew she wanted to add a pergola over the patio and a deck off of the second-floor bedroom. She also knew she didn’t want a typical deck staircase extending from the deck out into the yard. Whether a straight staircase or one that turned at a landing, either kind would be too prominent, visually, and would take up way too much space. It would stick out.
A spiral staircase was what she wanted. OK! Archadeck of Austin is all in favor of spiral staircases, but they can be expensive. We did some research online and finally located an affordable spiral staircase by Salter Spiral Stairs. We were hesitant to order it, though, because it comes as a kit. First you go through Salter’s design consultation process, giving them the measurements of your space. Then Salter creates your staircase and ships it to you in pieces — along with installation instructions. If you have any trouble with it, they provide customer service reps who can answer your questions by phone.
Based on our experience in the world of DIY, some kits are good and some are not. We decided to take a gamble that this spiral stair kit would be satisfactory. It was GREAT! The staircase installation was seamless, and we are all pleased with the staircase quality. We even got an upgrade to include welded stair treads, which add a great deal of character to the stairs.
We built the second-story deck with AZEK low-maintenance composite decking in a dark hickory color. The deck railing is a black metal railing from Fortress, and it goes perfectly with the black metal spiral staircase. Finally, we custom-made a bench using AZEK dark hickory composite decking to provide additional seating along one end of the patio.
Altogether, this combination outdoor living space now includes the original patio plus a new cedar pergola and composite deck — topped off with a spiral staircase, which is like eye candy! To support the pergola and deck, we built sturdy cedar posts matching the cedar pergola. We also added a Polygal cover on top of the pergola to protect patio sitters from sun and rain. The scene is complete with ceiling fans over the patio and light fixtures for nighttime use.
Taking it all in at once, you can see we packed a lot of outdoor living design into a relatively small space! It all works together well without crowding or giving you that penned-in feeling. This Steiner Ranch combination deck and pergola project, with patio, demonstrates that an outdoor living project doesn’t have to be massive in scale to be effective.
Let us show you how to make the most of the outdoor space you have. And if you want a spiral staircase for your deck, we know just the one! Contact Archadeck of Austin today at (512) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free design consultation.
Sometimes, fixing one thing gives you the opportunity to fix a few others as well, taking you from good to GREAT! For example, take this deck in the Hudson Bend area on Lake Travis. The aging cedar deck was worn, weathered and due for replacement. Meanwhile … hmmm … how about eliminating those troublesome steps down from the breezeway to the deck. And … hmmm … what if the new deck could hold a hot tub … and what about those old railings …?
Archadeck of Austin addressed several issues by designing a new-and-improved outdoor living space for these Hudson Bend homeowners:
- Because we replaced the wood deck with AZEK composite decking, the new deck won’t fade and weather like the old one did.
- The deck is on the same level with the breezeway now, as well as the doors to the house and garage, so several inconvenient steps have been eliminated.
- The deck was extended to include an alcove for — yes! — a hot tub.
- The updated railings are sleek and allow a better view.
In the new deck design, we were able to match the deck’s elevation with that of the breezeway, not only eliminating the awkward “step down” but also making the space more open and functional. To bring the two surfaces to the same level, we raised the new deck up to the level of the breezeway. This adjustment makes the whole deck area look bigger because the breezeway and deck blend together now, creating one larger space. Also, the new deck design, level with the doors on the back of the house and level with the garage door, works much better for the homeowners.
Ready for the low-maintenance lifestyle, the homeowners chose AZEK composite decking in the mahogany color. We installed a triple parting board in the deck pattern, which is fairly unusual, because the client didn’t want any deck boards visibly meeting end-to-end. We engineered the design to use as many full pieces of the decking boards as possible. That’s the kind of challenge we enjoy tackling.
To make the deck sturdy enough to support a spa, we installed additional cross bracing and substructure underneath to accommodate the weight of it. No one will need to worry about the support there!
Finally, the sleek, new railing runs horizontally, giving the deck an urban edge. The homeowners wanted a low-profile railing in order to have full access to the spectacular view.
The new deck is beautiful and much more functional now that the breezeway and deck are on one level. The homeowners are quite pleased with the results and are asking, “Why did we wait so long to do this?”
If you would like to learn more about updating your deck and gaining an outdoor living space that’s functionally better in the process, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (512) 259-8282 or via email at email@example.com to schedule a free design consultation.
Replacing a deck at your northwest Austin home can be somewhat like getting a new car. Your old one seemed fine; you have a history together and you’ve overlooked its quirks. However, as soon as you step into the new one – wow! The difference is astonishing, and now you can see what you’ve been missing.
That comparison comes to mind when you see the before and after pictures of this large outdoor living project that Archadeck of Austin recently completed in the Cat Mountain North area. The original deck was split into two levels overlooking the back yard and swimming pool. The homeowners had decorated each level attractively with potted plants, and overall the space had a comfortable appeal. The deck was “fine” over the years, but there were three problems with it that we were able to address when we designed the replacement deck.
First, neither of the two deck levels was quite large enough. The two separate spaces were a little cramped and not conducive to entertaining or sitting and visiting with family. The homeowners weren’t able to move furniture around easily or add more chairs for a larger group.
Second, the wooden railing of the original deck actually obscured the view of anyone seated on the deck — and also obscured the view of those looking out through the house’s many windows. The pickets, or balusters, were thick at 2×2″, and there was a 6″ horizontal board along the top of the railing, just at eye level for a seated person.
Third, the homeowners were ready to switch from natural wood decking boards (theirs were cedar) to a synthetic composite material. After years of performing deck maintenance, they welcomed the idea of a low-maintenance deck. The composite materials on the market today are as attractive as wood but require less upkeep; at the time when the existing deck was built, fewer options were available.
Premier deck builder Archadeck of Austin drafted a large, sweeping deck design that combined the two levels into one to achieve a much larger usable deck space – almost 1,400 sq. feet. The angled shape of one side of the deck was designed to clear the root zone of a nearby live oak to ensure the deck will not impact health of the tree’s root system.
Austin has “Critical Root Zone” mandates in place to protect trees of a certain size, called heritage trees. We were required to measure any trees near the deck construction. A tree with a circumference of 60” or more is considered a heritage tree, and as it turned out, the live oak next to this deck is large enough to be considered a heritage tree.
The tree’s Critical Root Zone (CRZ) is calculated by a formula, and the CRZ is indicated on the engineer’s drawing by three concentric circles around the tree. The innermost circle indicates the first quarter of the CRZ. Within that inner circle, the new deck construction cannot impact the soil in any way. Between the first and second circles, called the second quarter zone, the new deck construction can impact the soil up to 4″ deep, but no deeper. Finally, between the second circle and the outermost circle, another formula determines the depth of soil impact allowed. As you can tell from the drawing, every inch of the Critical Root Zone was mapped out in the design of the new deck.
Because the entire deck structure needed to be replaced, including the footings and support beams, we performed a huge amount of demolition before we could install the new materials.
The homeowners selected AZEK, a cellular PVC decking product, for their new decking material. To complement the Autumn Chestnut color deck boards, they selected a Solutions aluminum railing system in bronze. What a difference! The new railings and pickets are darker and thinner, allowing a clean view from the deck and from within the house. The Solutions aluminum railing is an excellent choice for another reason: it will never rust and has a lifetime warranty (as opposed to a 15-year warranty for steel).
This extensive outdoor living project included these elements as well:
- Retaining wall: We removed the original brick retaining wall and added a new wall in white limestone to match the house stone.
- Under-deck storage: Instead of building a typical wood skirting around the deck, we framed out the deck’s underside, built a solid wall from AZEK and installed a door. Now the homeowners have lots of storage adjacent to the pool, and it’s invisible to onlookers – no clutter!
- Poolside hardscape: A concrete overlay was applied by another company to cover the existing concrete surround in order to create a durable and attractive limestone effect.
- Poolside fencing: We replaced the existing wooden privacy fence with a board-on-board design, in cedar, and added custom gates. The board-on-board design keeps pickets from bowing, creates a sturdier fence in case of wind and is more attractive.
- Deck lighting: Twelve LED lighting fixtures were incorporated into the aluminum railing posts along the deck and beside the stairs for ambiance and safety. Each small, teardrop fixture projects light in two directions – up the post and down onto the deck surface – and each LED uses only 1W of power!
Is it time for a deck replacement at your house? If you are ready to explore ideas for redesigning your outdoor living space, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (512) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free design consultation.