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.
Our line of business not only entails providing high-quality designs and workmanship on each of our outdoor living structure additions and renovations, it also involves helping our customers “imagine” what their outdoor can be and making that vision come to life. This is where the expertise of a seasoned, experienced design and build team comes into play — making the unimaginable, a reality.
“Realizing the vision” is exactly what we did in one of our recent projects in South Austin, TX. We used an existing concrete patio as the base for a multi-functional outdoor oasis that includes a spacious deck with pergola, stone bar entertaining area and private spa area.
We began the backyard transformation by staining the existing concrete patio and building a low-maintenance AZEK deck just off the patio that extends off the rear of this South Austin home. The deck is quite spacious at 20′ deep and features a 20 x 20 overhead cedar pergola that anchors the space. The color the homeowner’s chose is Harvest Bronze. Fortress Sand Black rail. The sand finish is cooler to the touch and is a matte finish vs. a high gloss finish fitting with the rustic details present in the space. We also finished off the deck with a full privacy cedar skirt with a door for access to the under side. Archadeck of Austin also brought in electrical service to all the fans and hot tub.
The deck also includes a tranquil spa for the homeowner’s to enjoy. A versatile drop-screen was installed to create a privacy barrier so the hot tub can be used without the worry of prying eyes, and it does deliver an ample amount of shade, along with the pergola, if the homeowner’s choose to use the spa during the day.
Located just Northeast to the spa area, Archadeck of Austin created an outdoor bar entertaining area within the space. The bar is built using natural stone and features a Leuder’s stone top. The bar is built much like the bars seen in an interior “eat in kitchen” with ample room for bar stools and even an integrated ice bucket to keep beverages cool on the hottest of days! This custom entertainment area also features custom cabinets with plenty of drawers and clever storage.
Let us not forget all the creature comforts included within this versatile outdoor living space either; four ceiling fans are mounted to enhance circulation and keep the space comfortable for daily use, while sconce lighting and an LED light package on the face of the posts allows for evening enjoyment! This design literally has everything you could ask for in an outdoor living space, under one pergola!
If you would like to learn more about fulfilling your vision of the ultimate outdoor living space, contact Archadeck of Austin.Our talented team of designers and craftsmen can make your backyard dreams a reality! You can reach us at ( 512) 259 – 8282 or email us at email@example.com.
Being in the business of designing and building one-of-a-kind outdoor living spaces keeps us “in the know” about the best decking materials on the market. Our goal is to create a space that brings our clients the most enjoyment outdoors with the least amount of maintenance on their end. Archadeck of Austin is able to deliver almost maintenance-free outdoor living spaces through the use of many high-quality synthetic decking and porch material choices we offer to our clients. At the top of this list is AZEK decking.
Unlike other synthetic decking materials, that are wood/plastic composites or synthetics that contain a wooden core, AZEK is constructed of a cellular PVC material with a polymer cap for superior stain and scratch resistance. This material is solid and durable with a density similar to wood, but unlike wood, AZEK allows for maximum enjoyment with low maintenance. AZEK is impervious to insects and rot and stays 15 -30% cooler than typical wood or composite decks, making it the perfect choice for pool and spa decks, and welcome news for those bare feet! AZEK’s decking warranty is also something to smile about. Unlike other synthetics that come with a 25 year, pro-rated warranty, this decking product comes with a lifetime, limited warranty.
One of our most recent projects takes us to Leander, TX, where our senior designer, Jim Schallon, has created a stunning low-maintenance dream deck for homeowners in the new Travisso neighborhood. Jim’s background in outdoor living space design and building, and all facets of exterior residential building spans more than 30 years. He is a huge asset to our team and his talent shines through on each of his stunning projects!
The deck is built of AZEK decking in Hazelwood and the trim is built using Morado, both from AZEK’s Arbor Collection. The railing is beautiful black gloss Fortress iron railing which compliments and contrasts the neutral tones of the decking perfectly. The skirting on the perimeter of the deck was completed in Hardie board and painted to match the colors of the existing home. We took the design a step further by adding concrete pads at the base of the stairs to avoid a slippery surface and to reduce the debris that is tracked onto the deck from the backyard. The homeowners’ plan to install a retractable sunscreen to shade the area from the mid-afternoon sun.
Here is a look at the before and after images of this beautiful deck addition in Leander, TX:
As you can see from the before & after images, the new addition literally “opens up” the entire rear of the home. The new deck better accentuates the architectural lines of the existing home along with increasing the homeowners’ outdoor living enjoyment.
If you are ready to learn more about enhancing the way you view, and utilize, your outdoors contact Archadeck of Austin today! We would love to meet with you and your family to discuss bringing your backyard dreams to life through one of our custom, upscale outdoor living space designs. You can reach us at (512) 259 – 8282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.