Archadeck of Austin

Materials

Soil Amendment Will Ensure New Sun City Deck in Georgetown, TX, Has a Long and Healthy Life

When premium deck builder Archadeck of Austin removes a deck that’s sick and replaces it with a healthy one, we feel satisfaction approaching that of a transplant surgeon. Of course, we don’t have to source our healthy decks from deck donors. We custom design and build each one from the ground up, including this deck replacement project in the Sun City community of Georgetown, Texas.

Sun City deck builder in Georgetown TX

What’s unusual here is that the ground was part of the problem. It’s what made the first deck sick, so it was our job to ensure the new deck wouldn’t meet the same fate: mold, deterioration, and rot.

This Georgetown TX Deck Tells a Story We Don’t Want to Repeat

The clients’ original deck included two pergolas attached to a canopy with built-in benches. We had to remove the deck, benches and pergolas because they were deteriorating. The deck had been built so low-to-grade it had started sinking.

— Before: the existing deck was sinking due to rot.

When we took out the old deck, we found was it was rotting underneath. While pressure-treated pine is rated for ground contact, moisture can intervene and cause severe problems. This deck was in contact with the moist ground, hence our discovery of mold and degradation on the underside. In a case like this, a deck rots from the bottom up because the underside is not stained or sealed.

Design, Prep, Build. And Don’t Forget to Prep …

Georgetown AZEK deck builder

Knowing the ground under this deck stays moist, we took extra precautions to prevent the same damage from recurring. This illustrates one reason Archadeck of Austin has become such a trusted deck builder. We go the extra mile to make sure our projects last and look great as long as possible.

First, we excavated the soil under the deck’s location since we were building the new deck on the same moist spot where the prior deck had stood. Then we applied a 3″ gravel base before erecting the new deck. This system will allow more air flow under the deck and prevent the humidity level from rising enough for rot to occur.

Designing, Building Custom Decks and Pergolas for Austin and Georgetown TX Clients

We custom design every project we build because each client is unique and each home is unique. You could say it goes without saying, but not every deck contractor does this. For this Sun City project, we redesigned the space by installing a proper beam system across the posts supporting the pergolas.

Georgetown custom pergola builder

Another example of the custom work we did here is the spacing of the slats atop the pergola closest to the home. The homeowner had commented that the previous pergola blocked the light coming into the home through the windows. We were able to customize the new pergola to remedy that situation.

Georgetown custom pergola builder

As you may know, adjusting the spacing between slats across the top of a pergola will affect how much shade the structure casts. For this Georgetown TX deck, pergola and bench project, we spaced the slats at the front of the pergola (farthest from the house) 3” apart for adequate shade. Toward the back of the pergola (nearest the windows), we spaced the slats every 6″ apart. The homeowners will enjoy shade on the deck where they want shade and light inside the home where they want more light – thanks to the new customized design.

The Details: Materials Used for This Deck and Pergola Project

For the deck’s surface and benches, the clients selected low-maintenance capped PVC decking from TimberTech AZEK’s Vintage collection in their weathered teak color. We rebuilt the twin pergolas – including posts, beams, slats and trusses – with cedar and applied a solid-color custom stain on all of the wood surfaces. We were able to retain the original deck railings, and we didn’t need to modify the roof structure for this project.

Georgetown AZEK deck builder

Not only was the new deck prepped thoroughly, it’s also solid, sound, more useful and beautiful! Can you make out the triangle dinner bell hanging from the pergola’s beam? These Sun City homeowners can enjoy dining on their deck safely once again.

Whether you want a new deck, replacement deck, custom pergola or more, Archadeck of Austin is ready to design and build the outdoor living space that will make your home complete. Contact us today at 512-259-8282 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.

 


Sierra Arbor Estates Redecking Project Saves Clients’ Deck and Gazebo, Too!

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.

Before

Before — aging deck in need of a refresh!

After Archadeck of Austin redecked this space with AZEK low-maintenance decking.

After Archadeck of Austin redecked this space with AZEK low-maintenance decking.

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.

After Archadeck of Austin redecked and refreshed this space.

After Archadeck of Austin redecked and refreshed this 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.

before and after Gazebo updates

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.

we wrapped up this project by replacing about 15-20 feet of the clients’ wood fence, gates and hardware

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.

Jim Schallon, senior designer Archadeck of Austin.

Jim Schallon, senior designer Archadeck of Austin.

 

 

 


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.

Circle C Ranch Deck Builders

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.”

Circle C Ranch Deck Builders

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.

Before

Circle C Ranch Deck Builders

After

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.

Circle C Ranch Deck Builders

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.

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 (512) 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.

 

 

 


Hudson Bend homeowners find deck satisfaction — and more! — with a new deck design

Hudson Bend AZEK Deck BuilderSometimes, 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.

Here is a look at the deck before Archadeck of Austin began the project:

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.

Hudson Bend TX AZEK deck overlooking Lake Travis

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!

Austin AZEK Deck Builders

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.

Archadeck of Austin redecking project in Hudson Bend TX

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?”

Jim Schallon, senior designer Archadeck of Austin.

Jim Schallon, senior designer Archadeck of Austin.

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 jim.odom@archadeck.net to schedule a free design consultation.


Archadeck of Austin asks: Are you ready to drive home a new deck?

Austin TX AZEK Deck BuilderReplacing 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.

Austin poolside patio and deck builders

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.

Austin poolside patio and deck builders

  • 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!

Austin Deck Builders at Cat Mountain North

  • 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.

Austin Poolside Hardscape at Cat Mountain North

  • Austin TX deck lightingDeck 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 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 showcases its award-winning deck design in Round Rock, Texas

Archadeck Design Award WinnerYou 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!

Austin Award-Winning Design Excellence Award Winner

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.

Before:

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.

 

Austin Pergola Builder

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.

 

Austin Outdoor Kitchens

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.

Austin Award-Winning Deck Builder

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.

Jim Odom Archadeck of Austin

Jim Odom Archadeck of Austin

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 jim.odom@archadeck.net to schedule a free design consultation.