In the third and final installment of our screened porch design series, Archadeck of Central SC explores the tie-in options, roof styles and exterior finish options for your anticipated screened porch project.
Our first installment in this series, 10 Things To Consider When Planning Your Columbia SC Screened Porch Addition, listed the top 10 musts when considering a screened porch. In our second installment, Interior Options For Your Columbia SC Screened Porch, we covered interior finish options. In this post, we are moving to the outside…
As always, one of our goals at Archadeck of Central SC is making sure your screened porch project doesn’t look like an afterthought. We strive to ensure our outdoor rooms appear original to your existing home and landscape. We realize your screened porch interior is what you see on a regular basis, but the exterior of your screened porch affects the view of your home as a whole.
Matching Your Ensemble
How do our designs make it all come together? The first step is to take cues from your existing home. A good option for your porch veneer is to have the exterior of your space stained or painted to match the color of your home. We can also match the fascia, trim, soffit and gutters to your home’s existing hues.
We try to match the color used on your screen porch door to that of the windows and doors of your home, too. A good example is to blend these elements using the knee wall portion of your porch. A knee wall is the area of your screened porch that runs along the lower perimeter of your exterior space. Even a small scale knee wall takes up an area from 18’ to 36’ and can be a key element of your exterior finish focus.
If your home’s exterior is stucco, vinyl, stone, HardiePlank or even brick, we recommend finishing the exterior knee wall with the same medium. With brick and stone veneers sometimes it is difficult to get an exact match because specific colors of stone and brick are often discontinued. If this is the case we will match it as closely as possible.
Many Central SC homeowners are choosing to go with low-maintenance exterior finishes by using vinyl or PVC products on the screened porch trim, roof posts and roof beams. These options offer the ultimate convenience. Even small areas can be matched to keep the colors cohesive. If your home’s windows are trimmed in white we can special order aluminum-framed screen porch inserts in white as well. These inserts are available in other colors, too.
A lot of our customers look for our guidance on the type of screen porch roof to build and where to attach a new porch to their home. Consulting an experienced builder is the key to success in this area. Your existing home’s structure will often dictate where we can tie in the addition and what type of roof will work best for your project. Existing roof lines, dormers, windows, existing skylights, bump out areas such as bay windows and many other factors must be considered.
— Columbia screened porch with gable roof
— This shed roof screened porch is part of an amazing outdoor living combination project we built on Lake Murray.
The three most common roof styles here in the Central SC region are gable, hip and shed. It is not always necessary to match your screened porch roof style to that of your existing home. Often different roof styles can be combined to complement one another. Shed roofs are usually not as complex as a gable or hip roof, and they are the least expensive to build.
- A hip roof has 3 or more sides that all slope downward from a common point.
- A gable roof is our most popular roof style. It looks like a triangle with two sides sloping down from a center line.
- A shed roof is a flat roof that slopes in one direction from the home.
Roof Tie-In, Sidewall Or Detached?
One important decision when designing your new screened porch addition is where to attach the structure to your existing home. This can be achieved through a roof tie-in or a sidewall connection. In most situations, a roof tie-in connection is more elaborate than a sidewall connection, pictured above. Roof tie-in connections require greater experience and expertise to make the connection structurally sound and watertight. As part of a national company, our Archadeck engineers design all the structural details of each screened porch project whereas a lot of local companies let the carpenters make those decisions. Archadeck of Central SC also employees roofing specialists, so rest assured your porch structure will be solid as a rock in terms of where and how it is attached to your home.
When attaching a screened porch to your existing home, we cannot attach the roof where windows sit. The placement of second-story windows makes this a huge challenge. Depending on the style of roof (gable, hip or shed) we accommodate the integration by either keeping the roof line below the window(s) or raising the new roof to cover the windows. We also take water flow and appropriate drainage into consideration when making roof placement and style recommendations for your particular project.
Whenever you consider adding an outdoor space to your home, make sure you pay attention to the finishing touches, both inside and out. As your Columbia, SC, screened porch builder, our goal is to design a space that delivers aesthetic and structural harmony by using compatible design elements.
Contact us today to learn more about our custom screened porches and the many ways you can make your structure truly one-of-a-kind. You can reach us by phone at (803) 603 – 2160 or via email at [email protected]
In the second installment of our design series on Columbia screened porches, Archadeck of Central SC explores the menu of interior options available for your screened porch addition.
Our first installment in this series, 10 Things To Consider When Planning Your Columbia SC Screened Porch Addition, listed the top 10 musts when considering a screened porch. In this story we elaborate on what goes inside your screened porch…
As with any element of design in custom building, you have a wide array of screened porch interior finish options. Screened porches can be constructed with simplicity or sophistication in mind. Areas to consider using as a design focal point when planning your screened porch addition are the floors and ceilings. For each of these areas, Archadeck of Central SC offers a host of options.
Screened Porch Flooring Options
A screened porch can be finished with as much flair as any other living area. Just because a screened porch is an outdoor structure doesn’t mean you have to skimp on style. When choosing flooring for your new porch, it is important to take into consideration the livable, visible space it will add to your home, as well as your lifestyle.
Considerations when choosing a flooring material should include how you intend to use the porch. For example, will you use the area as more of an outdoor living room or for dining, or both? In many cases, the flooring material our clients choose is influenced by what material is used on the interior ceiling or on the posts. Wood is a favorite and since it is under the cover of a roof you don’t have to worry about damage caused by rain or sun exposure. Other flooring options include tile, pavers and concrete.
— Columbia screened porch with low-maintenance composite floor
We do get requests for low-maintenance flooring in screened porches. Synthetic flooring in a screened porch is not necessary because the area is already protected from the elements so degradation of the flooring itself is minimal. Some of our clients, however, choose synthetic or composite flooring in their project. This is especially the case when the goal is to unify a screened porch with an attached deck where synthetics are used. Another reason to use synthetic decking as flooring in your porch is that some synthetic decking companies offer tongue and groove products solely made for use on porches, such as AZEK porch.
— Ultra contemporary screened porch interior
Some of our customers also like to use area rugs to define seating or dining areas on their screened porches. The use of rugs is purely a cosmetic element to convey intimacy, unity and warmth.
Screened Porch Ceiling Finishes
The ceiling area on a screened porch is usually quite large and is the perfect spot to add style and flair to your structure. There are many choices of styles, materials and detailing that can be used to finish your interior ceiling. Here are some ceiling finishes popular among Central SC homeowners:
Pine or cedar tongue & groove — You may want to upgrade your ceiling from pressure-treated pine to cedar. This is especially popular with clients who choose an open rafter ceiling for their porch. When we wrap in cedar, we usually use a rough finish cedar that adds a rustic, log cabin feel. We can also use smooth cedar, which is little more expensive but a nice upgrade from pine.
— Open (exposed) rafter screened porch ceiling with natural wood
Low-maintenance synthetics such as vinyl or PVC — If you are looking for a ceiling material that will never require staining, painting, sanding or sealing, synthetic is the answer.
In most jurisdictions, the local building code dictates any structure or floor that is 30″ or more above grade requires a barrier, which can be a rail or knee wall. The view from your Columbia screened porch is important and if the code in your area requires an installation height of 36" or more, the rail may block your view somewhat when you’re in a sitting position. (In this case you may want to consider a knee wall instead of a rail.) Rails can be mounted either on the inside or outside of your screening. If kids and pets are part of your scenario then it is usually best to mount the rails on the inside.
— Screened porch with 24" knotty pine knee wall
Knee wall height is commonly set at 24″ — which gives you more options in terms of barrier height. In order to be completely accurate on the specified height in your area check with your screen porch builder or your particular jurisdiction for the proper code requirements regarding approved knee wall height. Both the inside and the outside of the knee wall can be trimmed to match your house. Another plus to using knee walls is that it allows space for electrical outlets. Putting outlets in a rail is much more difficult and is not attractive. Knee walls can also be finished in Ply-Bead with a wainscoting design to add style to the knee wall itself. Some homeowners take advantage of the knee wall’s improvisation benefits, for example, the top edge of the knee wall can double as a drink shelf or be used to display small decorative items.
Divider rails or posts are vertical elements of a screened structure that allow for maximum visibility and also allow for an area to “break” the screen to add more strength. This added strength is beneficial for families with small children and pets to protect the screen from damage.
To Wrap Or Not To Wrap
Wrapping the posts on your screened porch delivers a beautiful finished effect. Posts can be wrapped in a wide variety of materials including vinyl, cedar and pine, which can be painted in a color of your choice. We often recommend wrapping posts in the same material used for your knee wall to allow continuity of design. Leaving posts exposed, however, can lend a rustic and more natural effect. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and with this in mind, your posts can be finished in the medium that best suits your individual tastes.
— Columbia screened porch with PVC-wrapped posts
Choosing the most appropriate interior finishes for your new or updated screened porch doesn’t have to be difficult. With the help of an experienced porch builder like Archadeck of Central SC, planning and building your project can be an exciting experience start to finish!
Contact us today to learn more about our custom screened porches and the many ways you can make your structure truly one-of-a-kind. You can reach us by phone at (803) 603 – 2160 or via email at [email protected].
The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu.
Screened porches have always been a great option for enhancing outdoor living enjoyment and they have increased in popularity even more over the last few years. Here at Archadeck of Central SC we have valuable insight and knowledge about designing and building screened porches that serve as an extension of the interior and exterior living areas.
There is such a diverse menu of materials and design ideas available for screened porches, planning one that best suits your needs and wants can be a daunting task in itself. So we have compiled a list of the top 10 musts when considering a screened porch. These are in no distinct order, but each one is important to getting the best screened porch for you!
#1 Consider Zoning Requirements
This is first and foremost in planning any screened porch or outdoor room addition. It is crucial to know the zoning requirements in your area with respect to building this type of structure. Possible HOA restrictive covenants should also be addressed before moving forward with your project.
#2 Consider Roof Style
Your screened porch roof style most likely will be dictated by the roof of your existing house and the amount of light you wish to receive within your structure. In some cases, a different type of roof from your existing home’s roof is possible and may actually look better. As your licensed screened porch contractor, Archadeck of Central SC will help you choose the roof best suited to complement your home and to your needs.
#3 Consider Your Porch Ceiling
Make sure you consider what type of interior porch ceiling you desire, such as flat or cathedral. Flat ceilings give your screened porch a more formal room feel while the cathedral (or vaulted) ceiling is open and airy. Keep in mind that the roof style and pitch can influence ceiling height options within.
#4 Consider Potential Loss Of Light
When considering a roofed addition of any kind you have to consider the potential for loss of light in your home. A screened porch may reduce the amount of natural light that enters your home. Take into consideration how much light you want within your screened porch and what means you wish to use to obtain that light. Do you want recessed lighting? Ceiling fans with lights? These are options that need to be decided prior to any electrical work. You may also consider one or more skylights if you want a tremendous amount of natural light within your screened porch to reduce the amount of light you lose within the rooms adjacent to your new addition.
#5 Consider Doors
This includes door placement and the type of door to use. When choosing door placement you want to ensure it doesn’t impede your traffic flow to and from your screened porch. We recommend an aluminum door because a wooden door may sag over time, preventing you from getting a clean seal when you use a wood door.
#6 Consider Screening
We recommend you always stay away from hand-stretched screening. It creases very easily. When it becomes time for screen replacement it will be tedious because it requires trim removal. Archadeck of Central SC uses Screeneze on our screened room projects. It creates a nice tight finish with no creasing and also makes changing out the screen easy.
#7 Consider Your Electrical Needs
This relates to how many outlets you will need and other electrical needs such as ceiling fans and the type of lighting you decide to use. Many of our customers like to install wall-mounted flat screen televisions on their screened porches. TVs may require cable and other input sources, so your electrician will need to know about these ahead of time to make preparations for you.
#8 Consider Materials For Your Porch
You must consider the materials you wish to use in your screened structure and how they look and work together. There is a huge selection to choose from. These are pressure-treated wood, composite, aluminum and vinyl to name a few. You should also consider your flooring choices, exterior materials and your interior trim. Interior trim finishes such as beadboard and wooden ceilings can add character to your structure.
#9 Consider How Your Will Furnish Your Porch
It is a good idea to have furnishings picked out or already in mind so you know what will fit. A good rule of thumb is to measure a room within your existing home to get a true feel of realistic room size in relation to furnishings.
#10 Consider Your Screened Porch Builder
Here at Archadeck, our engineers design all the structural details of how each screened porch project is to be built whereas a lot of companies let the carpenters make the decision. In the field is where theory turns to practicality and having the right contractor can ensure the integrity of your new porch and your existing home. Our goal is to provide a cohesive design that looks original. A successful project ends with a quality structure that harmonizes with all the elements of your home and landscape.
If you are ready to plan and design your screened porch or outdoor structure, give Archadeck of Central SC a call. We can make your anticipated screened porch addition effortless and worry-free from start to finish. Contact Archadeck of Central SC to get started. You can reach us by phone at (803) 603 – 2160 or via email at [email protected].
The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu.
As we move into the outdoor living season, many Central SC homeowners are ready to begin the outdoor room project they have in mind. This may be a conditioned interior addition such as a sunroom, a three season room with an interchangeable vinyl window and screen system or a traditional screened porch. No matter which type of outdoor room addition you have in mind, one thing is certain; getting the most value and versatility from your outdoor living space investment is important.
Just as we discussed in our story Everything you have always loved about a convertible is now available in our outdoor rooms, versatility and value are always a driving force when making selections or purchases geared toward enhancing enjoyment. An aluminum porch enclosure from Archadeck of Central SC can provide both when considering the options for your outdoor room addition.
You can extend the function and versatility of a new or existing screened porch by converting it into a three season room through the use of a convertible panel system such as the ones we offer with our aluminum and vinyl outdoor rooms or via our porch enclosure systems. These can be integrated into the initial design of a new porch or outdoor room addition, or added as an enhancement/upgrade to an existing structure
Our porch enclosure systems are versatile, attractive and strong. We can ensure your system is designed to match your home’s architecture and colors. Our custom made-to-order components allow you to have fun designing an outdoor space that’s just right for you. Unlike other aluminum outdoor rooms that are built using a kit, we custom design your outdoor room according to your spatial needs, roof and the interior amenities you desire.
Not only does an aluminum porch enclosure bring more value to your outdoor living space investment, they also take less time to build than traditional screened porches.This means you will be enjoying your new porch sooner, rather than later!
Contact Archadeck of Central SC to learn more today! You can reach us by phone at (803) 603 – 2160 or via email at [email protected].
The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu.
Deluxe outdoor living spaces combine multiple features allowing homeowners to enjoy the outdoors however they see fit. Like each component of a fancy dinner, these living spaces (decks, porches, and more) all have individual strengths that create a tasteful collaboration when combined with one another. Columbia homeowners considering the addition of a combination outdoor space should consider the patio, specifically the paver patio, as the main course when planning their project. Here at Archadeck of Central SC, our team of experts can design and customize a paver patio to fulfill the vision you have for your hardscapes.
Paver patios open up a wide range of design possibilities like no other outdoor living structure can. Homeowners can integrate different structural elements, textures and colors in order to craft a space that brings them joy and comfort. From those looking to get their hands dirty in the garden or in the kitchen, to folks just looking for a place to soak up the sun, you can easily customize your paver patio to nurture your lifestyle.
If you have a green thumb, custom planters and retaining walls are a fantastic way to make your plants stand out, as their decorative stone look will complement your flowers’ natural beauty. Those who love to cook and entertain outdoors will enjoy a paver patio equipped with an outdoor kitchen designed with visual style and versatility in mind. Of course, with paver patios, you aren’t limited to just one feature! Your patio could include planters, an outdoor kitchen, built-in seating or retaining walls and more!
A great alternative to a paver patio is a stain and stamp concrete patio. At a more economical price than pavers, this stained concrete allows room in your budget for other elements. Take a look at the way we combined a stain and stamp patio with a stone retaining wall and custom fire pit on this project in NE Columbia:
That’s not to say a patio alone offers the best outdoor living experience. Some of the best Columbia SC Deluxe Outdoor Living Spaces creatively combine the strengths of different structures in order to deliver a beautiful and practical living space. For example, backyards with a beautiful view could really benefit from a well-designed deck. Fortunately, there are no rules that dictate you can’t have it all — a spacious deck and a beautiful paver patio!
Comparing decks, patios and other outdoor living spaces is a lot like comparing apples and oranges: at the end of the day, you’re better off enjoying both. Still, one of the reasons so many people consider paver patios is because they are incredibly low-maintenance.
Once your patio is installed, it is so easy to maintain. Often times the only thing you’ll need to do to get it ready for a get -together is sweep off any leaves that have blown onto it! Occasional cleaning will keep your paver patio looking just as beautiful as the day it was installed. We do however recommend resealing once every two-to-three years to ensure your patio stands the test of time.
Contact Archadeck of Central SC today to schedule an outdoor living design consultation and discuss creating the perfect patio for your Columbia-area backyard! Call us today at (803) 603 – 2160, or email us.
Here is What You Need to Know:
Chances are likely, if the headline above piqued your interest, you are considering the addition of an outdoor room to your Columbia-area home. You may have heard various terminology used to describe different types of outdoor rooms such as screened porches, three season rooms, sunrooms, and depending on what part of the country you hail from, four-season rooms. We realize as a homeowner, it is often hard to decipher what the differences are between the various choices. Each type of outdoor room addition is different in the benefits each provides and in their design and construction profiles. Archadeck of Central SC is here to discuss the specifics of each type of outdoor room and make choosing the right outdoor room easy!
Typically, here in Central South Carolina, outdoor rooms can be classified into three different categories. These are screened porches, 3-season rooms and sunrooms — all of which include a roofed structure.
Columbia Screened Porches
Screened porches consist of a covered porch with screened openings instead of windows. The screens serve as a barrier from bothersome insects, allergens and inclement weather. Having a screen porch gives you the opportunity to enjoy your Columbia backyard without exposure to the harsh elements. Since screened porches are roofed structures, they are also a welcome source of shade on those warm Central SC days.
Screened porches can be built using a large selection of materials. These include pressure-treated wood, ceramic tile, composite and vinyl to name a few. Interior trim finishes such as beadboard and wooden ceilings can add character and uniqueness to your structure, too.
Screened porches can also be custom designed to reflect your individual tastes. This may include integrating an outdoor fireplace or outdoor kitchen into your design. Many of our customers like to install wall-mounted flat screen televisions on their screened porches. TVs such as this will require cable hookup and electricity. Your electrician will need to know ahead of time to make preparations for you.
Columbia Three Season Rooms
Taking the ideals of a screened porch a step farther are three season rooms. This type of outdoor room is a great fit for those wanting the feel of a sunroom without the requirements of an interior room addition.Three season rooms are more fully enclosable than a screened porch because they include a four-track window system or convertible window system such as the EZE Breeze porch system. These use window panels in unison with screens by allowing you to control the amount you leave exposed. You can close completely to create a room with the feel of a sunroom without the extra installations required to have a sunroom. By pairing this enclosure system with a space heater you can make use of the screened porch beyond the typical Central SC outdoor living season, even through the winter months.
Keep in mind that three season rooms still require the use of outdoor materials, because the room is not completely weatherproof. All of the same flooring and finish options available on a screened porch would also be recommended for use in a 3-season room.
It is a common misconception that all-glass windows are required to have a bright and sunny room. As long as your porch or three season room has wide openings and is positioned well in relation to the direction of the sun, you can essentially have as bright and airy of a room as you desire.
Sunroom additions consist of a conditioned space attached to the home. Being a conditioned space means it has insulation as well as heating and air conditioning. A sunroom addition requires the same construction fundamentals required of any interior room addition.
— Lexington, SC, sunroom addition by Archadeck of Central SC
Sunrooms open up a greater realm of interior finishing choices that you cannot get with other outdoor living structures. The materials available include hardwoods, wooden detailing and moldings, just to name a few. Since the use of sheetrock comes into play with a sunroom, you can use paint, faux finishes, wainscoting, and even wallpaper to show off your personal style. The possibilities are endless. A sunroom will often have a dual entry from the interior of your home as well as the exterior via a patio or porch to offer you the ultimate in convenience for indoor/outdoor entertaining.
— Imagine celebrating the holidays in your own sunroom!
Choosing an outdoor room design that is the best fit for your home’s architecture, your desired function and your budget is important. This is why consulting with an experienced outdoor room builder is crucial. Archadeck of Central SC has been designing and building custom outdoor rooms for homeowners all over the Columbia area for over 13 years.
If you are thinking about the addition of an outdoor room or another custom outdoor living space, contact us today! You can reach us by phone at (803) 603-2160, or send us an email.
The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu.
When it comes to holiday gift giving, it is the thought that counts, right? So, why not treat yourself and your family to a gift that will keep giving for years to come with a new outdoor living space from Archadeck of Central SC.
A new deck, open or screened porch or sunroom may not classify as a traditional holiday gift, but the timing couldn’t fit more perfectly if you are considering an update to your outdoor living space in the coming months. This is because choosing to move ahead now will ensure you get the most value by locking into 2017’s pricing and the added benefit of our December special.
A Bounty of Benefits!
As is the case with any home improvement project, timing is important. Many homeowners are under the impression that outdoor structures are best to build during the warm-weather months. The truth is that Archadeck of Central SC builds year round, and anytime that best suits your circumstances and budget is the right time to build. However, there are certain advantages to moving ahead with your project during the cooler months…
Save Time — The backlog of work is generally shorter during the cooler months making it the perfect time to build. Required permit applications and HOA approvals have shorter waiting periods now, too, thus saving time in the overall project schedule.
Save Money — Prices for building materials generally increase during the early part of the 1st quarter. Many elements can influence price increases on building materials; these include fuel prices and supply and demand. The new year is the time when many manufacturers set their new pricing modules. Moving ahead with your outdoor living project now instead of waiting will ensure you are locked into this year’s pricing.
Not to mention, for a limited time, Archadeck of Central South Carolina is running a December special. We are offering $500 off any new outdoor living project totaling $10K or more or $1,000 off any new outdoor living space totaling $20K or more. In order to take advantage of this special, your contract must be finalized and signed by December 31st, 2017.
Still on the Fence?
Maybe you are ready to move ahead with a new outdoor structure, but the timing just won’t work for your budget. We understand the financial stress of the holiday season, too, and that is why we offer flexible financing options to help achieve your dream of a new or improved outdoor living space. Archadeck of Central SC offers many hassle-free financing options.
- Lower Rates
- Fast, Easy, Paperless Process
- Secure and Confidential
- More Programs Means More Choices
- Loans and Credit Cards For All Credit Grades
The most important timing factor for your new outdoor living project is when you first make the call us to schedule your free design consultation. The sooner you start the process, the sooner your outdoor living space will be completed. Why hold off on the project of your dreams? Call today to learn more about the gift that will keep on giving, season after season, for years to come!
You can reach us by phone at (803) 603-2160, or send us an email.
The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu.
Archadeck of Central SC just completed this wonderful redecking project on Lake Wateree. The homeowner is elated with the outcome and we are too!
When we initially consulted on this redecking project, the homeowner’s aging pressure-treated wood deck was showing signs of exposure. Since the deck encompasses the entire rear of the home and is also used as a poolside outdoor living space, they thought it might be time to consider a low-maintenance decking upgrade.
Using the footprint of the existing deck, Archadeck of Central SC redecked the entire area with new AZEK decking. The new decking a capped polymer product engineered to last beautifully from installation throughout all the seasons in the life of your deck. This new deck will stand up to extreme weather conditions, mold and mildew and will resist stains, scratches and fading. In addition, the new decking boards will be a blessing on those in bare feet coming in from the pool because AZEK is known for its superior heat dissipation.
In addition to the redecking, we also installed new railing around the entire perimeter and a low-maintenance pergola. For the railing, we used Westbury white aluminum railing, and the pergola is aluminum as well.
Last but certainly not least, Archadeck of Central SC replaced the flooring within the homeowner’s existing gazebo (not shown) with AZEK as well.
You can see more of our incredible lakeside outdoor living spaces by visiting our Lake Murray Outdoor Living Structures page located on our website.
Learn more about increasing your outdoor living enjoyment lakeside by contacting Archadeck of Central SC today for a free design consultation. You can reach us by phone at (803) 603-2160, or send us an email.
We specialize in waterfront decks, porches, docks and much more!
The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu.
When it comes to outdoor living, much like the other elements that make your home more enjoyable, the difference lies in the details. The details enhance our ability to enjoy the everyday rituals we take for granted. When it comes to porches, there is one detail in particular that can totally transform the way you use, and view, the time you spend outside
- the screen.
As modest and transparent as the addition of screens may seem, screening provides a powerhouse of benefits to a porch. Screens will keep the bugs, allergens and outdoor debris at bay, and when paired with the protection of a roof, a screened room becomes an all-weather room. However, there’s more to love about screened porches than just the shelter and versatility they provide. Just imagine the way they can enhance your everyday activities.
Archadeck of Central South Carolina has listened closely to the comments from our screened porch customers, and we have compiled a list of the ways they are enjoying their outdoor rooms:
A screened porch is a great place to welcome the arrival of a new day. Enjoy your morning coffee or read the newspaper on the porch. You can enjoy the fresh air and the music of songbirds and nature as it wakes all around. Depending on the placement of your screened porch, you may even be able to watch the sun rise.
We had Archadeck build a screened porch for us recently and we couldn’t be happier…Every morning when I sit out on the porch with my morning coffee, I am amazed that we have this beautiful screened porch. It is both beautiful and functional!
- Houzz review from Carol P.
You don’t have to look far to find references of sweet tea sipping in conjunction with porch sitting here in South Carolina. You need only look on the Discover South Carolina website for a delightful example.
Porches and sweet tea—now there’s a match made in South Carolina heaven. From the fanned, ferned and wickered verandas of Southern homes, bargains have long been struck with the devilish heat by sweltering folk seeking a reprieve. In these parts, it’s tradition for such deals to be sealed with sweating glasses of sweet iced tea. Though they hail from different sides of the Mason-Dixon, porches and sweet tea crossed the line a long time ago to officially become a couple. This pairing is now a cultural, time-honored fixture at humble farm houses, majestic manors and every kind of Southern abode in-between.
Screened porches make the perfect spot to enjoy your favored cool beverage on a hot afternoon, or warm beverage when cooler temperatures arrive. Additionally, many of our projects are designed with ceiling fans to nurture the breeze on those balmy summer days and with ample room for dining outdoors — lunch anyone?
Evenings spent on a screened porch make for mosquito-free outdoor living loaded with ambiance. Outdoor fireplaces are a favorite accompaniment and promise coziness and relaxation. Many of our clients also opt to add televisions to their screened porch space. Imagine being able to dine outdoors or watch movies and sports in the great outdoors!
Screened porches are also a great place to decorate and enjoy during the holidays. Whether it is Halloween, Christmas or the Fourth of July, a screened porch gives you versatile living space and more room for family and friends.
With a screened porch built by Archadeck of Central South Carolina, the joys of outdoor living are endless! Contact us today to learn more at (803) 603-2160 or via Email: [email protected].
The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu.
Before air conditioning became the “norm,” the screened porch was considered a necessity for many southern households as a respite from sweltering heat and humidity. The screened porch even served as a safe, cool place to rest at night. This is where the term sleeping porch came from. Over time, as different notions of outdoor rooms for all sorts of uses caught on, the screened porch’s popularity waned.
Over the past decade, the popularity of the screened porch has re-emerged. The buzz in outdoor living design is now all about ways to bring the outdoors in — and a screened porch does that perfectly! This time around, however, escaping from the heat is not the only focus. Our focus includes protection from bugs and the serious health issues they bring, especially the mosquito. Mosquitoes are responsible for West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Heartworms in dogs and cats and many more illnesses.
At least 61 different species of mosquitoes exist in South Carolina. Mosquitoes are pests that can cause itchy bites, but they can also cause serious health issues. Mosquitoes can carry harmful viruses and parasites that infect millions of people worldwide each year. Mosquito-borne diseases can cause brain inflammation (or encephalitis), birth defects, internal bleeding, complications from parasites and even death in some cases.
Second on the list of dangerous bugs are ticks. The major tick-borne diseases in the southeastern U.S. include Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI), Ehrlichiosis and Tularemia. According to TickCheck, South Carolina had 465 confirmed cases of Lyme Disease between 2000 and 2015. However, due to the fact that the CDC’s data only represents confirmed cases, the actual quantity of Lyme Disease cases may be far greater. The site estimates a total of 4,650 true cases of Lyme disease in South Carolina, making tick-borne illness a major concern for residents.
In our endless pursuit of outdoor living enjoyment, while trying to escape the annoyance and dangers of insects, we recommend the screened porch — a functional, attractive outdoor room that allows you to feel like you’re outdoors, while safely indoors. All over the Columbia, SC, area, we are getting more and more requests for screened porches — especially in waterfront areas like Lake Murray and Lake Chapin where mosquitoes are more prevalent due to many properties’ proximity to standing water. Having a screened porch gives homeowners a variety of benefits, and having protection from insects is definitely high on the list!
Archadeck of Central SC specializes in being able to provide quality outdoor spaces for homeowners with varied budgets and lifestyle needs. We offer custom-designed screened porches along with low-maintenance, budget- friendly alternatives to traditional wood-framed screened porches.
Contact us today for a design consultation— the call and the consultation are free, but the benefits you will get from a screened porch addition are priceless! You can reach us by phone at (803) 603 – 2160, or via email at [email protected].
The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu.
Archadeck of Central SC knows just how many Columbia-area homeowners still want wood when it comes to building a deck. We receive many inquiries each week about wooden decks and low-maintenance composites alike. Despite all the competition, pressure-treated wood is still the number one decking material sold today. Nearly 75% of all new decks are finished with pressure-treated lumber. We specialize in designing and building decks of various materials, including wood and synthetic, in all shapes and sizes. However, when it comes to wooden decks, it is important to know that not all wooden deck builders and wood decking boards are created equal.
We are often asked why our quote to build a wooden deck is higher than others. The answer is as complex as it is simple because there are many factors that set our wooden decks apart from others.
The first factor is the quality of the wood we use for all our wooden outdoor structures. We use lumber that is not readily available to the average handyman, builder or do-it-yourselfer from “big-box” stores. Our pressure-treated pine is quite different and is the highest quality wood available through specialty lumber suppliers. Professional deck builders, like Archadeck of Central SC, only obtain wood from selective, high-quality suppliers. This means that the wood we use is free of knots, warps and other inconsistencies evident in lower-grade pressure-treated pine. In addition, the PT pine we use has been rated for ground contact and has been treated with an Eco-life treatment that ensures better weathering of the wood itself.
Second, we don’t design and build “cookie-cutter” wooden decks. Our customized designs ensure that your deck is truly one-of-a-kind and made just for you. We always tailor your deck to the existing landscape, the character of your home and to address your needs. Each of our decks is designed with professionally-engineered blueprints, not a sketch on the back of a napkin.
Along with the integrity of having professionally-engineered blueprints, we also use building practices that ensure more stability in our deck construction. We use screws instead of nails when installing all our decking boards. This process is more timely and labor-intensive, but it ensures a stronger structure. All of our decks are built using free-standing construction which means the deck doesn’t have to rely on the strength of the tie-in location (the house) for support. Archadeck of Central SC adds extra strength by always installing the decking boards on a diagonal, unlike less-seasoned deck builders who haphazardly install boards without thinking of loads, weight or structural stability.
In addition to using only the finest PT boards and a customized deck design, we also use professional, trained crews to install and build our decks. Our crews are fully insured and covered under general liability. We maintain a minimum of $1 million in liability coverage and full workers compensation insurance (where required by law) to protect you from any possible mishaps. This brings you peace of mind when you choose Archadeck of Central SC to build your wooden deck.
Last but certainly not least, our decks are built the dedicated service of a committed and responsive local business owner/operator combined with the strength and assurances of an established national corporation. Your deck is backed by Archadeck’s written warranty for the workmanship for one year. That warranty is further backed by the National Guarantee Corporation, which guarantees that your residential outdoor living project will be completed to the terms of your Archadeck contract and built to the agreed-upon specification and a warranty of performance for up to two years. Additionally, depending on the building materials you select, manufacturers’ warranties may apply to protect you against defects in materials. And Archadeck’s intensive training and, in many cases, certification as an official installer help reinforce your confidence that those manufacturers’ warranties won’t be adversely affected by installation issues.
Simply put, no other company in the remodeling industry provides this level of client assurance and protection. When when you elect to work with Archadeck of Central SC, you can rest assured that you’ll enjoy quality construction and unmatched protections not available from any other builder in the Columbia, SC, area.
We are the premier builder of custom decks in Columbia, SC, and the surrounding region. Building custom outdoor living environments and structures is all we do, and we do it best. Our consultation is completely free. Call us to discuss your ideas at (803) 603 – 2160 or email us at [email protected].
Here at Archadeck of Central South Carolina, we stay on our toes with regard to what our customers want. We listen carefully to our clients when they describe the design features they crave in their outdoor living spaces. In 2017, much of what we are hearing from Columbia-area homeowners is shadowing the trend forecast on a national level.
According to a recent article in Nasdaq news, “fun meets functionality” best describes 2017’s hottest outdoor living trends: “If 2016 was about blurring the lines between the indoors and out, 2017 is the year that erases it completely. The newest designs in outdoor living spaces do not simply feature the look of the indoors — but the functionality as well.”
When it comes to identifying trends in our service area, Tony, our lead outdoor living space designer, is the person to talk to. He points out that one of the most requested outdoor living projects is converting an existing wooden deck to composite. The reason for the popularity in redecking with synthetic material is simple. While people are spending more time outdoors on their decks, they are not interested in spending much of that time on deck maintenance.
Here is how the Nasdaq news article describes the trend: “Instead, their desire for comfort with functionality extends to the decking material itself. Wood alternatives, particularly wood-plastic composites, are expected to experience above average annual gains in demand through 2020. As the economy rebounds, analysts predict this segment of the decking industry will grow at a faster rate than traditional wood.”
Tony goes on to point out that outdoor room additions, especially sunrooms, are a close second to low-maintenance decks in popularity. Columbia-area homeowners are requesting open and airy outdoor rooms that serve as a conditioned outdoor escape providing cool comfort in the summer and coziness in the winter. Sunrooms also add tremendous value to your home because they increase the heated square footage of your home.
Other elements our clients find appealing include outdoor lighting for decks; gable end windows and horizontal sliding windows for outdoor room additions; and of course, cathedral ceilings to extend a sunroom’s open feel.
To learn more about choosing the perfect outdoor living space addition that speaks to your needs, tastes and budget, contact Archadeck of Central SC today at (803) 603 – 2160 or email us at [email protected].
Would an outdoor room addition such as a sunroom, screened porch or 3 or 4-season room satisfy your need for more livable space for the holidays?
When a deck is not enough, consider a Columbia outdoor room addition!
Outdoor rooms provide various levels of comfort while still allowing you to enjoy the beauty and splendor of the outdoors, even during the ever-changing seasons of fall & winter. With the impending arrival of the holidays and the flurry of family and friends coming to call, wouldn’t it be nice to have additional outdoor and indoor living space? We know how “cramped” conditions can get as loved ones converge on your home. Having additional functional room for dining, relaxing or even extended holiday decorating can put your mind, and your patience, at ease.
Our large portfolio of outdoor room designs includes structures that function as additional conditioned indoor space, as well as rooms and porches that can be used for three and even four seasons throughout the year.
A sunroom is a room that functions as an interior room but allows you to take in the vistas of the outdoors year-round. You can enjoy a cup of cocoa from a warm and cozy nook inside your sunroom and watch the snow fall in the winter undaunted by the chill of Mother Nature. A sunroom, in essence, is an interior room with many windows. Sunrooms require the same construction fundamentals that an interior addition requires, such as HVAC systems , meaning they are insulated, heated and cooled.
Choosing a sunroom for your home opens up a greater realm of interior finishing choices than you can get with other outdoor living structures. These materials include ceramic tile, hardwoods, wood trim and moldings, and more. Since the use of Sheetrock comes into play with a sunroom, you can use paint, faux finishes, wainscoting and even wallpaper to show off your personal style. During the holidays, a sunroom or four-season room will allow you extended decorating capabilities and even provide an alternate spot to trim a holiday tree. A sunroom will often have dual entry from the interior of your home as well as the exterior via a deck, patio or porch to deliver convenience for indoor and outdoor entertaining and indoor to outdoor transition.
Screened porches and three-season rooms
The screen porch is a covered porch that has screened openings instead of windows. The screen serves as a barrier from bothersome insects and inclement weather. Having a screen porch will give you the opportunity to have an “outdoor” room without the exposure to the harsh elements. Since screened porches are shade structures because they are built under the cover of a roof, they supply superior protection from the sun, heat and inclement weather as well.
Screened porches can be outfitted with a wide range of amenities much like an interior room. Ceiling fans, recessed lighting and even a place to mount your outdoor TV have become common among homeowners building a screen porch. You can even upgrade your screen porch by adding luxurious amenities such as an outdoor fireplace or a sliding window system.
Aluminum & vinyl outdoor rooms
Aluminum and vinyl outdoor rooms you a luxury living space, are custom-made to order and designed to match your home’s architecture and colors. Unlike other aluminum outdoor rooms that are built using a kit, we custom design your outdoor room according to your spatial needs, your roof pitch and interior amenities desired.
Our convertible outdoor rooms are designed to make your porch or patio more usable year round. We offer custom made-to-order components allowing you to have fun designing an outdoor space that’s just right for you. You can use them to replace existing screened enclosures or to add a new one. These porch enclosure systems deliver the best of both worlds — screen when you want it, or a more enclosed “windowed” room when you want that, too!
Archadeck of Central SC can help you choose the perfect outdoor room addition with our helpful design team. Contact us today to learn more, and begin planning your home for holidays that can be enjoyed for years to come! You can reach us by phone at (803) 603 – 2160 or via email at [email protected].
The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu.
Many homeowners initially—and often hastily—invest in an outdoor living space without thinking about what elements will bring them the most enjoyment. In essence, this means they don’t factor in the benefits they would like to gain from adding or enhancing an outdoor living space. This may be due to various reasons. The rationale of “putting the cart before the horse” and not considering how your outdoor space should function or flow may be due to the eagerness and excitement of first-time homeownership and finally having your own “custom” space to call your own. However…
There comes a point for all homeowners when they are ready to take their outdoor living space design to the next level. For some, that time comes when they realize they want to settle into a home and make it livable for years to come. Others reach that decision after children have grown a bit and family entertaining becomes more focused on “quality time” rather than running about. And still for others, an outdoor living structure investment comes later in life when homeowners desire to mold the home and landscape of their dreams, a refuge for relaxation and spending time with the ones they love.
Whenever this time comes for you, and you are ready to improve your outdoor space, it is important to carefully consider what you want to achieve from your investment.
The first step to enhancing your existing outdoor living space or starting anew is to use your imagination. We encourage our clients to DREAM. It may sound corny, but pretend your backyard is a canvas and your imagination is the brush. What do you want to create? Ask yourself what activities you wish to enjoy within your outdoor living space. Such as, would you like to cook and dine on the deck or patio under the stars instead of going out for date night? Do you invision spending fall evenings with the kids making s’mores or singing songs around an outdoor fire pit? If this method doesn’t help, we then suggest going indoors and look out the windows to envision what you’d like to see when you look outside. Initially, we encourage dreaming without constraints. There will be plenty of time to prioritize and set practical, workable goals, but your long-term vision will help identify the necessary steps to achieve your outdoor living dreams.
The next step is to compartmentalize. If you find it overwhelming to look at your backyard as one big void to be developed, we can help! Through our experience we have found that with many clients it may be easier to imagine your outdoor living space as several different “rooms” in the same way your indoor space is broken up. For instance, as we take notes during your initial consultation, we might document an area where you might like to have an outdoor fire pit or a built-in seating or retaining wall. Compartmentalizing the wants for your outdoor living space will prevent planning overload and make your vision more attainable. You and your outdoor living space builder can then develop a plan to bring each area to life all at once, if possible, or in stages over time as your lifestyle and budget permit.
The final step is to prioritize. If you choose to create your ideal outdoor living space over time, know that our goal is to give you the best value so as to save you money while providing the greatest lifestyle impact in the long run. For instance, if you eventually wish to add an outdoor kitchen but want to install a simple patio first, it is helpful to know where plumbing, electric and gas lines should be installed before the patio is built. “Archadeck of Central SC”: http://central-south-carolina.archadeck.com/can help you prioritize the projects in a way that will stay within your budget parameters and still give you the most immediate satisfaction.
If you are having trouble prioritizing, we can be the trusted advisor you turn to for help. We can sit down with you and help identify the key components you want out of your outdoor living space addition that will bring you the most enjoyment now and in the future!
Contact Archadeck of Central SC today to get started at (803) 603 – 2160, or via email at [email protected].
Making the decision to add a screened porch is loaded with many considerations. It can be a daunting task deciding the appropriate location, placement and tie-in that will best suit your desired function. Function also plays a huge role when deciding which type of enclosure system to use on your porch. Archadeck of Central South Carolina has been servicing the Columbia, SC, and surrounding areas for over 10 years. We specialize in creating outdoor spaces that heighten the beauty and function of your backyard. Screened porches and three-season rooms are among the most popular outdoor room additions clients request.
Screened porch considerations
The popularity of screened porches spans decades and continues to increase as homeowners realize just how much benefit they add to a home, outdoor living space and lifestyle. Screened porches have also evolved past the days of flimsy screen and wooden framing with very little character. As their popularity increases, their design and the elements that go into building a screened porch have become lower-maintenance and higher-aesthetic! Traditional screen porches consist of fixed screened openings and provide protection from both insects and inclement weather. They also provide cross ventilation on those humid Carolina afternoons. Here in the Columbia area, we take these elements a step further by using a four-track enclosure system on many of our screened porch additions.
Choosing a four-track screened porch enclosure makes it possible to keep the screens and maintain the comfort. A four-track screened porch enclosure consists of windows and screens that can be used separately or together. This system allows you to open up to 75% of the window area for added ventilation and to indulge in better backyard views. This system also enables homeowners to get more use out of their screened porch for longer intervals through the changing seasons. Pollen is a constant headache here in the Central South Carolina area. Pollen not only makes you sneeze, it also leaves a yellowish-green film on all your unprotected outdoor spaces. Cleaning off the pollen in order to use your outdoor space during the spring and early summer can be quite overwhelming. A four-track enclosure will keep your outdoor room cleaner because it keeps dust and pollen outside where it belongs, and not inside your screen porch area. A four-track system still gives you protection from insects and debris, adjusts in just seconds and allows more use of your porch.
The four-track panel windows will allow you to keep the screened porch feeling. If you want to transform your screen porch into a room that you can also use year round, your porch can be completely converted to an all-season sunroom. A four-track enclosure enhances the livability of your screened room. When the window panels are closed, they provide shelter from the summer heat and inclement weather. Our four-track enclosure system is also weather-resistant and shatterproof and opens the door to endless outdoor living possibilities.
If you are interested in learning more about our screened porches, three and four season rooms including our four-track enclosures, contact Archadeck of Central South Carolina today. Call us for a free consultation (803) 603 – 2160 or email us at [email protected].
The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu
More often than not, when homeowners are planning a deck addition for their central South Carolina home, one of the most important preliminary decisions they need to make is just how big their deck design should be. Of course the size of the structure is contingent upon a few factors, such as the budget, the amount of available space in which to build it and the anticipated uses for the deck. However, for homeowners for whom available space is not an issue, we here at Archadeck of Central South Carolina are seeing an increase in requests for larger, multi-level structures that provide more of an “outdoor room feel” than the plain, 10 × 12 builder-grade decks.
The outdoor room has grown in popularity in conjunction with the increased trend of families opting for staycations. The creature comforts of home beckon us to spend as much time enjoying our homes and property as possible, and a spacious outdoor living structure with zones similar to those inside a house will provide ample opportunities to do so. Besides, exactly how much living can we really do outside without areas for dining, sitting or socializing and of course preparing and cooking food?
According to Remodeling Magazine “the 200-square-foot deck is increasingly looking like a relic of the past as more homeowners push for more outdoor living space, and remodelers and builders are lining up to accommodate them.” Archadeck of Central South Carolina understands the desire of homeowners throughout Columbia and the surrounding areas to gain more value from their homes and property. That’s why we custom design each detail of our decks to cater to the individual functions our customers seek.
Here are 10 ideas courtesy of Remodeling Magazine to ensure the best use of space when planning your dream deck:
1) Think in layers – For the most style and versatility, a simple, flat platform just won’t do. A larger deck is more functional and aesthetically pleasing when it has curves, multiple levels, staircases, built-in seating and railings.
2) Capture the curves – Flexible composite decking allows for accentuation of the curves within a deck design and is a favorite among deck builders who are partial to curved surfaces, sidewalks and staircases, which can create an eye-catching segue between two levels of the deck.
3) Move the eye along – Built in planter boxes, fire pits or integrated seating along the perimeter will create a focal point that draws your eye. For drawing the eye upwards and extending functionality, consider adding a pergola to your deck.
4) Create drama – Accentuate curves, railings and fascia boards with a contrasting color to create a frame around the deck floor, often referred to as “picture framing.” You may also incorporate inset designs, like diamond shapes in alternate colors, to create something unique for each homeowner; these methods are often seen with composite deck designs… And don’t be shy about mixing materials on your deck: faux stone columns, a metal roof or a granite countertop within a built-in food preparation area will make the outdoor room look more upscale and custom-designed.
5) Proportions matter – Plan your outdoor space to seamlessly blend with the size as well as the style of your home. A 1,800-square-foot deck on the back of a 2,000-square-foot home is probably too big to “go” with that house.
6) Add some shade – Adding low-maintenance elements to help you get more out of your new space, like a pergola, awning, canopy or roof over the deck will allow cooking, entertaining or relaxing outdoors to continue on hot, sunny days or even when a rain shower pops up.
7) Be prepared to wait a little longer– A larger deck is typically a project that takes a little more time to complete. This is especially true if the outdoor room is full of custom features or will be home to electric or gas appliances; the job will include an electrician, a plumber and the local building inspector. If the deck includes multiple tiers, the builder might need to consult with an engineer or architect.
8) Consider the view – If the upper tier of a two-story deck is right over the lower one, take special care with the placement of the posts so they’re not too close to doors and windows, where they can block the homeowner’s view and path to the yard. Also, build in an under-deck gutter to catch rain that falls on the upper deck so it won’t soak the deck’s lower level and its inhabitants.
9) Leave enough room – Even a big deck can run out of room if the design includes a hot tub. A typical 7-by-7-foot spa takes up at least a 10-by-10-foot space so there’s enough room around it for a railing, a privacy screen or a path for bathers and maintenance technicians to walk around it in order to gain access in the event of scheduled maintenance or repairs on your spa or hot tub.
10) Make it useful – Don’t let cooler weather or darkness limit the time you spend using your deck. Include warmth and light so you can use your deck after dark and during at least three seasons. Popular options: built-in fireplaces and fire pits and ceiling-mounted heaters. You’ll have plenty of room for them.
So, as you can see, when it comes to designing the right outdoor living space, “size does matter” and your wants, needs and personal tastes play a large role in figuring out just how big your deck should be. If you are looking for a deck that delivers layers of extended function, or a deck with that outdoor room feel — then, most definitely, bigger is better!
Contact Archadeck of Central SC to learn more about our unforgettable deck and outdoor room designs today! You may call us at (803) 603 – 2160 or email us at [email protected]. Our design consultation is free, but what you gain in outdoor living enjoyment is priceless!
The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu
Find a great contractor to design and build your dream outdoor living space in 7 easy steps
If you are like most homeowners, when it’s time to add a new outdoor living space or renovate your home’s existing one, you want to hire a professional you can rely on to get it done right. But exactly how do you go about finding a qualified and experienced contractor without just relying on the luck of the draw? As a leader in the outdoor living space design and construction industry, we here at Archadeck of Central South Carolina believe luck has absolutely nothing to do with it.
Your home is probably one of the largest investments you will make in your lifetime. Spending extra time to find a great contractor who specializes in outdoor living structures to work on your home will pay off in the long run. Much like there are hundreds of doctors available in our area, there are just as many contractors. However, scheduling an appointment with a veterinarian for your annual physical exam just won’t get the job done quite right. Although a veterinarian can perform physical exams, they’re qualified to perform them on animals, not humans.
There are seven basic qualities or aspects you should consider when selecting a contractor that’s just right for the job:
• Ability to Offer a Customized Product
• Attention to Detail
• Warranty & Protection
A contractor’s experience in his field directly affects your overall experience as a client. It’s essential that an outdoor living structure contractor possess the skills to manage a project and the many details involved from start to finish. Many of these skills, such as initial property assessment and designs that include structural integrity, come from years of hands-on experience working in the field of outdoor living space design and construction. A lack of experience can lead to a structure that doesn’t blend seamlessly with your home’s architectural style, isn’t structurally sound and will probably not last longer than a few years.
Be sure to ask some probing and investigative questions regarding a potential contractor’s experience, like: How many projects like yours has the contractor done? And not just the business owner, but what about the organization behind him? What experience does the supervisor and the tradesmen have? Is there a support organization behind them providing engineering and technical guidance if they get in over their heads?
Pay attention to how they answer these questions to get a good picture of their customer service skills. The answers to these questions go a long way toward determining the outcome of a project, even before it begins. In addition, a good contractor should be more than willing to give you a list of the last five projects he did so you can verify their knowledge and experience as well as their past clients’experiences.
Finally, experience means not only good technical experience and commitment to good customer service, it also means staying power. Is this their full-time career or a part-time…on the side…weekend job? A true indicator of a contractor’s future longevity is actually how long they have been in business and their true commitment to the trade.
By definition, professionalism means possessing the skill, good judgment and business-like behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well. No matter what service is being performed, every homeowner deserves and should demand professionalism.
Even though it’s clear what being professional means, sometimes it’s hard to determine a professional outdoor living space contractor from a builder. Don’t forget, you can stand a veterinarian and a medical doctor side by side and not know the difference without checking a few things like their licensing/credentials and insurance. Likewise, a professional outdoor living space contractor should have a high standard of knowledge and should carry proper insurance. He and his tradesmen should be properly licensed with a solid knowledge of building codes. A residential contractor’s license in S.C. takes a minimum of two years of working experience plus passing an extensive exam regarding building codes and best practices. Ask for proof of these items up front, so you can verify them.
A professional should be reliable in not only their technical commitments for the project but in communication with you as well, right from the beginning with the initial consultation. They should be competent in the construction field, following building codes and requirements and stand behind their work with the appropriate warranties. A professional will provide a finished product that you will live with every day, a pain-free construction project and the maximum value at a fair price. You can easily check for these qualities from the references a potential contractor should provide.
Adhering to a process, or series of steps in which to do something, garners consistent results, improved efficiency and higher quality work. Using checklists and procedures combined with proper planning reduces the opportunities for overlooked items and delays.
How do you know if your contractor effectively uses good processes? Start by checking their sales process and then ask during your vetting process. Find out what your contractor’s method for planning and monitoring construction will be. Do they actually use written checklists for ensuring that all steps get addressed before, during and after construction? Is there a supervisor or manager holding the crews responsible for following these processes?
At Archadeck of Central South Carolina, our careful attention to process is one of the factors that sets us apart from other builders:
• Our process begins with a free design consultation
• We then conduct a comprehensive needs analysis uncovering what you’re looking for in an outdoor living space
• Our in-depth site survey buttons down the particulars
• Our detailed photo gallery and portfolio of completed projects will stimulate your imagination
• We work with you to refine or streamline your design
• Rather than an estimate, you’re given a precise price quote
• Our quality-focused Job Process Methodology (JPM) is put into play
• Archadeck of Central SC obtains all necessary permits necessary for your project
• Once your project is started, progress almost always proceeds without lags
• Our workers respect your property
• Construction debris is removed regularly and project site is kept clean and orderly
• You approve the final structure and enjoy!
Based upon your needs and the specifics of your site, you can choose to move forward in one of two ways. With a project retainer, Archadeck of Central SC will draw up custom plans using three-dimensional drawings to illustrate your proposed structure from a variety of angles. Or, instead of developing a custom plan, you can choose to move forward in stages as part of our staged, or phased, building program. This will allow you to complete your ideal outdoor living space in stages as your lifestyle and budget afford.
Providing clients with more bang for their buck makes a contractor more valuable. What types of additional services can they provide and still maintain quality? As part of the Archadeck franchise system, North America’s largest deck and porch builder, Archadeck of Central South Carolina is backed by a national network of experts. We have an established national relationship with several preferred material vendors and gladly share our expertise in form and function to create the perfect outdoor living environment just for you.
Ability to Offer Customized Product
You should expect that a full-service contractor will add value in helping you design your own unique outdoor living project. You should be able to see him in action during the design phase, before you make a decision to commit to a contractor to build your project. He should point out smaller features you may not be aware of that will enhance the project without adding major costs. If you don’t have a warm, fuzzy feeling that he is thoughtful, considerate of your ideas and responsive, then now is the time to move on to someone else. But if he takes care of you during the early stages of the project, then odds are good that you will be able to work well with him to bring the job to completion and that you’ll have the custom-built outdoor living space of your dreams.
Attention to Detail
A high-quality contractor increases their level of thought and effort for defining the details of a project to help make it unique. Sometimes the only way to determine a contractor’s attention to detail is to look at his work and compare it to the work of others. If you don’t have an experienced eye for noticing these details, your prospective contractor should be able to easily and proudly point them out to you. But I bet that you can tell by looking at some examples of projects if they display the style and touches that you expect, even if you can’t put your finger on exactly what those touches are.
Warranty and Protection
The warranty serves as the back-up plan for a consumer if things don’t go right with the builder. This applies to major problems in having the project completed (unscrupulous contractors have been known to walk away from a job when it gets difficult or too expensive to make things right), or may apply to things that come up after the job is done and the contractor has been paid.
A warranty is important because it outlines in advance what the builder is and isn’t willing to do to fix problems after the fact. Without a warranty, the homeowner still has certain protections under the laws regarding implied warranties. However claims under these laws require the homeowner to file a legal claim, and can be time consuming and expensive, not to mention stressful. A homeowner’s best protection regarding warranty issues is to use a builder that is stable and has a good reputation.
Archadeck of Central South Carolina is backed by a warranty that covers the entire project (meaning that we will fix anything that’s not right) for one year, and further covers structural issues (foundations, integrity of framing, roof leaks, etc.) for a period of five years. In addition, Archadeck actually provides a guaranteed insurance program that covers customers if the local Archadeck office cannot complete a project due to death, illness or going out of business. In this event, the Archadeck corporate office will pay to have the project completed by another Archadeck location.
The Proven Choice
Although checking these seven aspects of a contractor doesn’t guarantee that you will find the perfect contractor, they do help you narrow down the playing field in order for you to more easily identify a top-notch contractor, like Archadeck of Central South Carolina. We can help you create the outdoor living space of your dreams that seamlessly blends with your home’s existing architectural style. Contact Archadeck of Central South Carolina today at (803) 603-2160 or via email at [email protected]
The Archadeck of Central SC team – Mike Reu, Marshall Reu and Tucker Reu