Archadeck of Austin rescues Hayes County, TX, homeowners from unfortunate outdoor living space design
In 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com 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 (515) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free design consultation.
This 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 (515) 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 (515) 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 (515) 259-8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 (515) 259-8282 or via email at email@example.com to schedule a free design consultation.