Birmingham Homeowners Trust Archadeck of Birmingham to Bring Their Outdoor Lifestyle Vision to Life

Your design sensibilities don’t change when you go outdoors, so why shouldn’t you design your deck the way you design your home’s interior rooms? These Birmingham, AL, homeowners found that Archadeck of Birmingham supported their design choices 100% for this low-maintenance, multi-level deck project with several remarkable amenities.

For their decking boards, the homeowners selected low-maintenance TimberTech Terrain composite decking and a striking deck railing system with an urban retro feel. The railings are from TimberTech’s Evolutions Rail Contemporary line. The homeowners selected black low-maintenance posts and rail caps with see-through stainless steel cable infill instead of the traditional balusters or pickets. Looking through the railings, the cables are barely visible, so anyone on the deck has an unobstructed view of the yard and surrounding foliage.

And the bed swing! The custom cedar bed swing is a work of art set apart on its own level of the deck and suspended from a magnificent, pergola-like cedar frame. This bed swing makes a bold statement about the way these homeowners prioritize relaxation!

To obscure the neighbors’ view of their private outdoor space, the homeowners asked for a substantive privacy screen. We built the privacy screen of cedar to echo the cedar bed swing and its frame and to tie the two sections of the deck together. The overlapping cedar boards provide strong visual interest that says, look at this beautiful wall, rather than, see how we’re blocking the neighbors’ view.

A wonderful feature not visible in these photos is a wood-burning fire pit in the center of the deck’s seating area. Archadeck of Birmingham designed and built a recess in the middle of the deck to accommodate the homeowners’ metal fire pit. We imagine the homeowners and their friends will spend many an evening on this deck sharing good times and gazing into the hypnotic flames.

The finished deck project is exquisite, multi-textured and endlessly inviting on several levels (pun intended). The homeowners are pleased that their vision coupled with Archadeck of Birmingham’s design and seamless execution has resulted in an outdoor space that functions as an extension of their home. With emphasis on a low-maintenance lifestyle, relaxation and comfort, this Birmingham deck with privacy screen, fire pit and bed swing may just give you some outdoor lifestyle ideas of your own!

Archadeck of Birmingham would like to design and build the perfect outdoor living space for your lifestyle. Call for a free design consultation at (205) 970-0121 or email us at [email protected].


— Derek & Carissa Crews, owners Archadeck of Birmingham

Composite or Wood Deck? At Archadeck of Birmingham, We Want to Help You Select Materials That are Right for You

Picture your two outstretched hands, palms up and slightly cupped, weighing the differences. Left, or right? Ask yourself these two questions: Wood deck or synthetic materials? Composite or natural wood? Will the contents of one hand outweigh the contents of the other? Which selection is going to come out the winner?

Archadeck of Birmingham is here to help you work through this decision as you get ready to build a deck or a combination deck and porch outdoor living space. We know it’s a hard decision. While it’s one we hear about and talk about almost every day, as your Birmingham deck builder, we know it could be a new decision for you, the homeowner. Stop for a moment and think about these questions.

How much do you know about composite and synthetic decking?
How much do you know about wood decks?
What kinds of decks do your friends have?
What are their experiences with their decks?
Have you owned a deck before, or will this be your first one?

WHAT IS SYNTHETIC OR COMPOSITE DECKING?

These two words are sometimes used interchangeably, but there can be differences.

• Purely synthetic decking is made of PVC. AZEK makes synthetic decking boards and railing systems, probably the most durable of all decking products on the market.

• When people refer to composite decking, they are usually referring to products made by AZEK and TimberTech, among others. Composites are synthetic but not made of PVC. Composite decking boards are formed from a mixture of plastic and wood fibers. Some of these manufacturers also produce a composite board that is capped on three or four sides. The cap, or shell, provides an extra layer of protection and durability. These boards are called capstock and are usually the most expensive composite decking products.

• While all synthetics and composites are more expensive than pressure-treated wood, several of the composite manufacturers offer a few different product lines at different price points. Some composite decking is less expensive than some other composite decking.

• The technology for producing composite and synthetic decking materials is constantly improving. Newer product lines may look more “like wood” — with wood-like grain, texture and streaking — than older ones. You can get more information from the various manufacturers’ websites about their newer product lines.

THE DIFFERENCES: SYNTHETICS/COMPOSITES VS. WOOD DECKS

Wood Decks (Pressure-Treated Pine) — Pros and Cons

Synthetic/Composite Decks — Pros and Cons

HOW DO YOU DECIDE? SYNTHETICS/COMPOSITES VS. WOOD DECKS

Here are some questions to help you decide:

1. Which type of material do you prefer to look at and touch? If you have a strong preference for the aesthetics of one type of deck over another, and price is not an issue, that preference might supply your answer. Select the decking material that looks and feels the best to you. For some people that will be wood; for others it will be synthetics. Remember, this applies if price is not an issue. That means if you prefer wood decks, you can afford to pay someone to handle the annual maintenance.

2. How do you feel about the annual chores of wood deck maintenance, including sanding, staining and sealing? If you don’t want to spend your valuable free time on these chores, can you afford to pay someone else to do the work?

3. How long do you plan to stay in your current home? A general rule of thumb is that if you’re going to be in your current home for five years or more, a synthetic/composite deck can be a wise investment. You will recoup much of the cost of a composite deck in what you will save on maintenance costs and time spent working on the upkeep of a pressure-treated wood deck.

Archadeck of Birmingham would like to answer any questions you have about decks and decking materials. Call Archadeck of Birmingham today at (205) 970-0121 or email us at [email protected].


— Derek & Carissa Crews, owners Archadeck of Birmingham

From Hoover, AL, to Brook Highland and all of Birmingham, Outdoor Living Spaces are for Everyone

YOU deserve the biggest and best outdoor living space you want. It doesn’t matter whether you want to enjoy it with bunches of other people or if it’s all just for you. Now and then we encounter someone holding the preconceived notion that a deluxe outdoor living space is just for families or just for entertaining lots of guests. In contrast, Archadeck of Birmingham believes an outdoor living space is just for anyone, for whatever reason, whenever.

Today we’re looking at two different outdoor living spaces that illustrate how Archadeck of Birmingham custom designs each and every outdoor living space we build for the needs of one specific client. No two clients are alike, and no two outdoor living spaces are exactly alike, either. That’s how you know, working with us, you’ll get the space you’ve been dreaming of.

Deck time is playtime in Hoover, AL

Wouldn’t it be fun if your porch and deck doubled as a playground? If you have kids who love to play outdoors, and you enjoy being outdoors with them, then this “playground” in the Sulphur Springs area of Hoover, AL, is for you. It’s an elevated screened porch and deck combination with a couple of unique features. First, they have a plastic tunnel slide that starts on the deck and ends at ground level near the foot of the deck stairs. Sorry, no adults allowed on the slide! Children only!! Then, for more fun, they installed two swings hanging from the lowest deck beam. (Adults, if you’re very well behaved, you may swing.) The swings are literally under the deck.

Archadeck of Birmingham designed the screened porch and deck combination around the tunnel slide the homeowners had purchased. We know what’s important here! The large screen porch is built of pressure-treated wood, while the deck is made of low-maintenance TimberTech decking. The clients chose a low-maintenance composite material for the deck since it will be uncovered and exposed to the elements.

Originally the deck was designed to be the same level as the porch, but to make the slide work we lowered the deck and installed another landing to accommodate the specifications of the slide. We will do whatever it takes to build the project you want. In this case the homeowners love spending time outside with their children and asked us to add on to the original design to give them ample space for outdoor play.

Brook Highland, AL, pool pavilion for one; nieces optional

This homeowner in Brook Highland, AL, wanted the perfect poolside porch. It is large and grand and she doesn’t have to justify it to anyone. We love this project. Sometimes the client’s nieces come over to enjoy the pool and porch with her. It’s the perfect space offering shade and relaxation after an energetic swim in the Alabama sun. The client had custom cedar bed swings made for the space, and of course now that’s her nieces’ FAVORITE place to spend the night.

The cedar poolside pavilion features a cathedral ceiling with can lights, a chandelier and ceiling fans, fit for a queen and princesses, too. As you can imagine, these swinging day beds are perfect when you want to relax and unwind after a long work week.

No matter the size of your family or the makeup of your household, Archadeck of Birmingham is ready to design the perfect custom outdoor living space to meet your needs. Whatever outdoor living space you desire, for you and your fur-baby or you and a cast of others, let us help you select the shape, size and materials that are right for you.

Call Archadeck of Birmingham for a free design consultation at (205) 970-0121 or email us at [email protected].


— Derek & Carissa Crews, owners Archadeck of Birmingham

Understanding Your Outdoor Living Project Timeline...

It is only natural that many people think of building outdoor projects in the moment. This is usually during the outdoor living season when the weather is nice and they want to spend time outside, but sometimes it can be challenging to hire a quality contractor during these busiest of times. Choosing to secure your project design and details early has many advantages. That is why I am often stumped when a customer has their preliminary design in place and says we will just wait to sign the contract in order to confirm moving ahead with the project.

From our 25+ years experience as an outdoor living space designer and builder, procrastinating about when to begin a project can mean waiting longer to enjoy your finished space. Any reputable contractor will have some lead time before they can begin construction on your project. In addition, there are many timing factors that are beyond our control and moving ahead will prevent less hold up of your anticipated project.

The timing factors you cannot control
Scheduling

When you sign a contract with Archadeck of Birmingham to build your project, we will add your project to our construction schedule. Keep in mind that we have other jobs underway in the Birmingham, AL, area. This means more projects, with signed contracts, which were scheduled to begin in the order they were confirmed.

Before we build anything, we work with you to design the outdoor living space you’ve dreamed of. The design process may take several iterations from rough sketches to polished 3-D renderings. Some clients think of elements they want to add or change each time they see a new version of their design. That’s okay because it’s your home. But each change must go back to our drafting department and be added to the architectural renderings. Archadeck of Birmingham is one of the few local Archadeck offices that still structure their own drawings in-house. We are a certified office and supply our clients a rendering for every porch or outdoor room we design.

When the design is finalized, we also finalize all of your material choices including the genre of materials you choose to use on your project, including woods, synthetics, amenities, porch ceilings, railings, pillars and beams, etc. Knowing what materials you want in your design enables us to give you an exact quote for your project. At that point, we can sign the contract and schedule the job.

Permitting

We must submit the confirmed design and specifications to the local permitting agencies, either city or county, depending on where you live. Sometimes we encounter delays at these agencies. Permitting usually takes 3-5 days, but the permitting process is unpredictable. If zoning issues arise, additional action is required. You may have to meet with a zoning board, and you must get on their calendar a certain number of days in advance of their meeting. If you just miss getting on the agenda, you may have to wait a month until the next zoning board meeting.

HOA approval

Does your community or neighborhood require Homeowners Association approval of your construction plans? How often does this group meet, and how far in advance do you need to notify them of your plans? In most of the neighborhoods in and around the Birmingham-area, HOA approval usually takes about 3-5 weeks.

Material Availability & Delivery

We special order many of the materials we use from reliable vendors we have worked with for many years. Some of the materials may not be available during the timeline we need them or in the amounts required for a particular project. In these cases, additional material arrival date and delivery may be affected. While we can usually predict when materials will arrive, every now and then we encounter delays.

Mother Nature

Every season has its share of bad-weather days that can set a construction schedule back. Weather can be unpredictable. For example, the Birmingham region is just coming out of a rainy spell, and now would be a perfect time to get your project underway.

As you may have gathered from the details outlined above, you cannot call a contractor in May to build a project you plan to start enjoying by Memorial Day. With so many factors beyond your — and our — control, the timing works out best if you begin planning farther ahead.


— Isn’t it time you called Archadeck of Birmingham today and start living the outdoor lifestyle you deserve?

The most important timing factor for your new outdoor living project is when you first make the point of contact schedule your design consultation. The sooner you start the process, the sooner your new porch, deck, screened porch, (or outdoor living combination space) will be completed. That’s why you should go ahead and get started now, while spring is fresh in the air. Before you know it, summer will be here! If you take steps now to begin setting up the project, you’ll be showing off your new outdoor living space in no time at all!

Call Archadeck of Birmingham for a free design consultation at (205) 970-0121 or email us at [email protected].


— Derek & Carissa Crews, owners Archadeck of Birmingham

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