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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com to schedule a free design consultation.
You love your eclectic, urban-chic neighborhood, and you love your charming, vintage home, but maybe your home’s vintage deck has seen better days. Is it time for an upgrade to a better deck? Archadeck of Austin, premier deck builder across many Austin neighborhoods, has the design sensitivity to create a custom deck that will not look out of place for your area.
Take a look at this unique home in the city of Austin near Mopac Expressway and 38th Street. Homes here have character, and the area is undergoing extensive revitalization. The homeowner engaged Archadeck of Austin to replace an existing deck that was aging, nondescript and lacked any shade cover.
This job was actually a redecking and expansion project rather than an entirely new deck. Once we determined that the existing deck’s foundation was strong and had not been compromised over time, we were able to use it again, with reinforcement. We needed to replace the decking boards as well as the wooden skirting that surrounds the deck and shields the underdeck area from view. Oddly, there was a gap between edge of the existing deck and the front porch stoop, so we were able to expand the deck by about two feet. Finally, the client wanted to add a pergola over the deck for much-needed shade.
Since natural wood was the client’s choice for decking material, Archadeck of Austin recommended clear cedar for the deck surface and the skirting. Clear cedar is a select grade of cedar lumber milled from the heart of the tree, and it is higher quality than the wood many other deck builders work with. For even greater quality, we used 5-and-a-quarter-inch boards as opposed to the competition’s nominal 2×6″ knotty pine. The clear cedar boards display a light wood grain with minimal (if any) imperfections such as knot holes.
Archadeck of Austin offers a choice of standard or premium pergolas, and this client selected the premium pergola, our most popular option. For our premium pergolas, we use 4×12″ beams, 6×6″ posts and 2×10″ boards for the rafters with 16” on center spacing. In contrast, our competition uses 2×8″ beams and posts and 2×8″ rafters that are 24” on center, resulting in a pergola that is less sturdy and provides less shade. The Archadeck of Austin premium pergola looks beefier, is stronger and will last longer than those built by our competition. Plus, our 16” on center spacing provides the optimum amount of shade on a hot Texas day.
For the finishing touch on this combination redecking and pergola project, we installed a metal screen on one side of the pergola to establish a privacy barrier. Vines and flowers will climb the screen to naturally obscure the view of the deck from the nearby downtown traffic. This innovative privacy screen was built using Cattle Guard panels.
If you are looking for a creative way to upgrade your existing deck while keeping it in character with the neighborhood, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (512) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free design consultation.
You want the very best builder for your Austin-area outdoor living project. You also want a builder who will work with you, no matter how long it takes, to design and build the deck, porch or patio that is perfect for your home. Want more? How about a national award-winning deck designer and builder right here in Austin, TX?
Archadeck of Austin answers “Yes!” to all of the above. We are very proud to have received Archadeck Outdoor Living’s national Design Excellence Award in the deck category. We are also very proud of the award-winning project we designed and built – a unique deck, pergola and outdoor kitchen combination in the Forest Creek neighborhood of Round Rock, TX. Take a look at these photos and a 3-D rendering, and let us tell you why we’re so pleased with this special outdoor living space. The homeowners are pleased, too!
The winning project, completed in January, is an exquisite AZEK PVC deck with stone skirting, outdoor kitchen and oversized, freestanding pergola. The 12-foot kitchen counter accommodates a built-in propane grill, Big Green Egg smoker, in-counter cooler and built-in trash container. The deck also features flush-mounted low-voltage lighting.
The clients first contacted us for this project three years ago. They had a well-lived deck, and we agreed it was past time to replace it. Our initial design featured a concrete patio, roof extension and pergola. The homeowners took their time making a decision while they considered several builders and designs. Later we circled back to propose an alternate design, a deck with an outdoor kitchen and a large, non-conventional pergola that covered the entire deck. Bingo! Archadeck of Austin had the right design at the right time.
Despite this being a relatively low-risk deck, we faced several design challenges. First, the pergola took considerable thought because we wanted to use as few posts as possible. Fewer posts in the traffic areas allow maximum usable space for furniture without crowding. Then, cedar spans would not work with conventional dimensions, so we upsized all the structural elements and used a polycarbonate cover over the pergola to get the shade required.
The home had an original concrete patio off the back door for which we ripped framing boards for the structure. There was just enough space to get adequate framing down between the deck board and the patio.
Next, we had to completely close off the under-deck space because the clients had previous issues with animals nesting under the old deck. By surrounding the new deck with a stone skirt over concrete footings – nothing will get under this deck. However, the stone skirt itself presented two complications. The stone had to be ground flat to allow for the deck boards to die seamlessly into the stone and not look jagged. And we had to complete all the electrical wiring before we could install the decking.
Finally, the kitchen and the stone column bases also had to be constructed prior to the decking. All have concrete footings, so staging of construction was interesting.
The results are beautiful. The homeowners chose Azek Harvest cellular PVC decking in the new Autumn Chestnut color, and we laid the boards diagonally with a parting board for visual interest. The stone used for the deck skirting and the pergola’s column bases is white limestone, and the caps on the column bases are brown Lueders limestone. The same brown Lueders stone tops the 12-foot kitchen counters, tying it all together visually as one great outdoor room. Finishing off the space are three Aurora Phoenix flush-mount low-voltage sconce lights, the Pyxis Recessed Louvered Step Light and the Mercer transformer/timer. Archadeck of Austin installed electrical connections for two fans, three lights and six outlets for the homeowners’ convenience.
To be recognized for this project by Archadeck Outdoor Living at the national level as an award-winning deck builder means a great deal to the Archadeck of Austin team. The project was very well thought through, and we had a lot of fun building it. The structure itself was not complicated, but we packed in a lot of design considerations and features to make it a wonderful place for entertaining family and guests. We were able to integrate the new structure seamlessly with the existing home, which is what the homeowners were looking for all along.
If you are looking for a creative design for your new outdoor living space, and a hard-working team to bring it to life, contact Archadeck of Austin today at (512) 259-8282 or via email at email@example.com to schedule a free design consultation.
Rob Roy on the Lake is located north of Bee Cave Road in beautiful West Austin. The neighborhood is known for its stunning homes and spacious picturesque landscapes making it ideal for someone who likes to spend time outdoors. Archadeck of Austin has built many outdoor living structures within this neighborhood, our most recent is this beautiful deck and porch combination:
The homeowners had an existing cedar deck but were looking to not only expand their view into the valley below, but also wanted a space that offered shade to escape their super sunny location. Archadeck of Austin came up with a deck and porch combination design that entailed expanding across the roofline on the back of the home with a hip design roof tie-in to accommodate their project. Take a look at this before & after image:
The project features warm, inviting natural Ipe hardwood decking on the floor of both the deck and covered porch. Ipe is a favorite among Central Texas homeowners as a material for outdoor living. The material is valued for its density, strength, longevity and beauty. Ipe is dense enough that it sinks in water. Its density requires that it be pre-drilled in order to be fastened. When fastening an Ipe deck we use stainless steel screws called head coat screws, which are brown to blend seamlessly with the decking itself. The ends of the Ipe boards need to be treated when they are cut during installation to avoid cracking. If you are dealing with a contractor that is not familiar with working with Ipe then you usually end up with split ends, yes in much the same manner your hair can get split ends, from not treating the ends of the boards. Ipe density is also such that it doesn’t absorb much water resulting in a lack of the normal expansion and contraction evident with other wooden decks.
As you move beyond the flooring used on this combination project, there are many stunning details throughout the space. We used black Fortress vertical cable rail that allows clear views into the valley below. Additionally, the beauty continues as you enter the interior of the covered porch area. The ceiling was built using a Synergy tongue & groove prefinished wood in Auburn Pine. The large king beam that runs the expanse of the porch cover is a focal point but it also serves a valuable purpose of helping to support the weight of the roof cover.
As is the case with all our outdoor living structure projects, none of the creature comforts were overlooked when completing the space. We installed recessed lighting in the ceiling of the porch cover and mounted the elegant sconce lighting the homeowners had purchased for the project. We also installed a pair of Minka 72″ ceiling fans the homeowner’s had chosen, adding an extra layer of cool comfort and air flow to their enjoyment.
Needless to say, the clients are elated with their new outdoor living space. It embodies all the qualities they love about the area, and now they can enjoy it to its full potential! If you would like to learn more about how Archadeck of Austin can transform the way you live outdoors, contact us today at (512) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free design consultation.