TimberTech vs AZEK: Choosing the Best Low Maintenance Materials for Your Deck

Which composite decking is the best? Archadeck brings a comprehensive guide to the low maintenance and composite decking products TimberTech and AZEK offer.

TimberTech vs Azek Composite and Low Maintenance Decking

Are you considering a low maintenance or composite deck?  Low maintenance materials are a great option for those who want a deck but do not want to go through the hassle of sanding and staining frequently.  One quick search on the internet, however, can leave you feeling bombarded with options.  How do you know which companies are the best and which products will be right for your project?   Continue reading “TimberTech vs AZEK: Choosing the Best Low Maintenance Materials for Your Deck”

Pergola with Mosquito Curtains; an Alternative to a Screened in Porch

Have you thought about adding an enclosure such as a screened in porch to your backyard, but are looking for a more cost effective alternative? Adding a pergola with mosquito curtains is a creative and affordable way to create an enclosed space for enjoying bug protection.


Pergolas by themselves provide shade on brighter days. These structures are made up of four posts with cross rafters. The further apart the rafters are, the more sun that will come through.


Mosquito curtains are made of a sheer netting fabric which is used to protect against mosquitoes and other bugs. This material can be attached to pergola structures on tracks, which can be opened or closed depending on the weather. Mosquito curtains not only provide the functional need of insect protection, but they also add a decorative touch as well as privacy to the outdoor living space.


Combining the structure of a pergola along with the mosquito curtain feature creates a great cost effective alternative to an enclosure, like a screened in porch. By placing the mosquito curtains on top of the pergola as well as surrounding, a bug free enclosure is possible.

If you are considering adding a pergola or enclosure to your outdoor living space, we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call at 847-496-4333 or sign up here for a Free Design Consultation.

See you in the backyard!

Top 4 Things to Consider When Planning a Poolside Deck or Outdoor Living Space


Are you ready to turn your backyard into the ultimate summer stay-cation? Summer is just around the corner which means it’s the perfect time to turn your space into a relaxing retreat. One way to do this is with a poolside deck or outdoor living space. The following are important considerations when planning your pool and deck/outdoor living project.

  1. How do you plan to use the space?

Function is a very important factor to consider when planning for your new space. Will you just need space for a couple chairs and a place for towels? Or do you want enough space for a grill and table for dining? How you plan to use the space will go hand in hand with how much space you need and how to best plan for your project.


  1. Is your pool above ground or built in?

If your pool is above ground, do you want a wrap-around deck, or a deck on just one side of the pool? We can install decks that are on one side of the pool or that wrap around. Function wise, a wrap-around deck may not leave you with much space for seating or grilling, as much of the space is used for walking around the deck. Having a pool deck that’s built on one side of the pool gives more room for purposes such as lounging, grilling, or dining.

Small Above Ground Pool Deck Design by Chicagoland Pool Deck Builder Archadeck

If your pool is built in, remember decks aren’t the only outdoor living space to consider. Paver patios are a great way to compliment your pool. Paver patio designs can create aesthetically pleasing landscaping to your space. When building a patio, we always suggest pavers over concrete, since they are easier to maintain and require fewer repairs.Patio Pool Deck Design with Fire Pit and outdoor Kitchen by Chicago Suburb Pool Deck Builder Archadeck of Chicagoland

  1. Do you already have an existing pool and living space installed?

Not every project needs to start from scratch. Many of our clients build in stages; do you just want a project to compliment what’s already in your yard? Adding a deck coming off the house to an existing built in pool area or pergola for shade creates an extra place for gathering with family and friends and makes a great area to watch the kids play in the pool.

Pergola Design Over Pool by Archadeck of Chicagoland

  1. Cost

There are many variables that go into the cost of a poolside deck or outdoor living project. The materials used, for instance, if you use wood or low maintenance/composite decking, as well as the size of the space will be important factors that determine the project cost. If you have an above ground pool and are considering a wrap-around deck, or adding a deck to a circular pool, it will cost significantly more than a deck on only one side of the pool.

If you are considering adding a deck or outdoor living space to your pool area, we would love to hear from you! Contact us for a Free Design Consultation or call us at 847-496-4333.

See you in the backyard!

Radio personality Roe Conn gets his deck built with Archadeck


When radio personality, Roe Conn, was looking at his old, chipped deck out back, he decided he wanted something better; a sanctuary worthy of enjoying his fresh cup of coffee in the morning or glass of wine at sunset. What did Roe do when he realized his current deck wouldn’t cut it? He called Archadeck!

FB Before

Roe knew he could trust our owners and outdoor living experts David and Kristen Berryhill, and the Archadeck of Chicagoland team with his project. Our senior carpenter, Paul Taylor, and production manager, Anthony Amodeo, worked hard to build this simple but beautiful deck. The old, worn out deck was replaced with a brand new Timber Tech low maintenance/composite deck.

Chicagoland Deck Builder Archadeck of Chicagoland

Our owner, David Berryhill suggested to make the simple deck more interesting by designing the deck as a “picture frame” by having a border going around the edges of the deck with a parting board in the center. This is a very unique design detail and creates separation even within a smaller space. The brown oak and gray deck boards create a stunning contrast and gives the space a modern appearance.

FB After

We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Roe; he has been an absolute pleasure to work with. The best part is, he loves his new deck and has been happy throughout the process. Like many of our clients, Roe is building his project in stages; stay tuned to see the new paver patio we’ll be building for him later this spring!

If you’re ready for your “before” to turn into “after” for your backyard space, we’d love to hear from you. Sign up for your free design consultation or call us at 847-496-4333.

See you in the backyard!

Top 3 Things to Consider When Budgeting for a Wood or Low Maintenance Deck

2016-08-08 07.49.52

 Spring has officially sprung which means it’s the perfect time to consider a deck addition to your outdoor space. With many customers who contact us about future deck projects, a common question we get is what to expect budget wise when thinking about a wood or low maintenance/composite deck? The following points are necessary considerations to help you determine which is the best fit for you.

   The Difference

 It’s important to understand the difference between a wood or low maintenance/composite deck first, before you can know which is the better investment option for your budget. Our wood decks are made using pressure treated pine decking. We use Timber Tech or AZEK brand products for our low maintenance/composite decking; which is made from either cap stock (composite core with PVC skin), or full PVC boards. Click here for more details on this type of decking.




 Wood deck boards can fade, splinter, expand, or shrink over time. However, these effects can be dramatically minimized if maintained properly, which includes staining and pressure washing every 2-3 years. Low maintenance/composite decking on the other hand will not experience this same wear and tear, but it may scratch. However, there are low maintenance/composite deck options that are stain or scratch resistant. Low maintenance decking also does not need to be stained or painted.



If considering a low maintenance deck, plan to budget about 70-100% more than a wood deck. It may sound expensive, however if you plan to be in your home for several years, it may be the better investment. With this in mind, you would not need to worry about the cost of hiring someone to wash, stain, or sand your deck.  These maintenance costs would end up recouping the cost of a low maintenance/composite deck in about fifteen to twenty years; if you plan to be in your home for many years, it may be the better investment long term. If you only plan to be in your home for a couple of years, a wood deck may be the better option.

If you are considering adding an outdoor living space to your home, such as a wood or low maintenance/composite deck, we would love to hear from you. You can sign up for a free design consultation or call us at 847-496-4333.

See you in the backyard!

Archadeck of Chicagoland is awarded 2016 Angie’s List Super Service Award

For the sixth year in a row the Angie’s List Super Service Award is awarded to Archadeck of Chicagoland for consistently high levels of customer service.

Archadeck of Chicagoland has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2016.SSAnew5

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2016 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.

At Archadeck of Chicagoland, we strive to provide excellent service and craftsmanship to keep our clients happy. If you are considering an outdoor living project and value great client service, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at 847-496-4333 or download our Free Design Guide.


Is a Combined Deck and Patio Project Right For You?

How do you know if a combined deck and patio will fit your outdoor needs?

When planning your outdoor living project, there are many factors to consider as far as which project is best for you. Many of our clients end up combining spaces, very commonly decks with patios. But how do you determine if combining these different spaces is right for you?

One of the first questions our design consultants ask is “how do you plan to use your space?” This answer will be different from client to client, whether it’s for cooking, dining, entertaining friends, gathering with family, or for relaxation. Many times we learn our clients need their outdoor area for multiple functions. By having separate outdoor spaces, different places can be designated for different activities. Doing this expands the function of your design and increases your area for multiple uses. Maybe this need applies to you?

What different activities could you use your outdoor space for? Perhaps you have a pool that needs a neighboring deck, but you still want a separate area for seating. Or maybe you want a paver patio specifically for a fire pit to gather around with friends in the evening, while still needing a different area for a grill and dining. Sound like anything you might need?

 Here are some different examples of deck and patio combination projects we have custom designed and built.


This low maintenance deck with patio project meets a few different needs for the home owner. The deck features a large area for a spa, as well as a separate space on the deck for a grill. The paver patio creates another living area featuring a seat wall and fire pit for the client to enjoy.


This combined patio and deck space also features a pergola to be used for a shade structure. The large deck space can be used for seating, dining, and enjoying some shade. The paver patio features a fire pit as an additional area for the family to gather on a summer night, or a cool fall evening.


This deck and patio combination creates separate areas for different activities. The deck is used to access the above ground pool, and can also be used as a seating area. The paver patio defines a separate space for dining, entertaining, and enjoying the fire pit!

At Archadeck of Chicagoland, we are the premiere builder of combined outdoor living spaces. If you are considering a combined deck and patio project, we would love to hear from you to create your outdoor sanctuary. Feel free to contact us for a free design consultation at 847-496-4333 or download our Free Design Guide.

See you in the backyard!


Top 4 Things to Consider Before Building Your Outdoor Project

You know you’re ready to add an outdoor living space to create your dream sanctuary, but how do you know which project is right for you? Are you dreaming of a gorgeous paver patio to add to your landscaped garden? Or maybe you’re thinking about an enclosure to enjoy protection from the rain. When it comes to deciding between a deck, patio, room, or maybe a simple shade structure, there are many factors to consider. Our process at Archadeck will help guide you to the project that best fits your outdoor living needs.


  1. Timeline

Do you need a deck built in time for an upcoming graduation party? Or are you looking for a room to enjoy a warm cup of cocoa in time for a chilly fall evening? In the Archadeck process, one of the first questions we ask is the time frame you’re looking to build your project. Having plenty of time to allow for the design process, obtaining permits, material delivery, building, and checking final details is important to keep in mind. Knowing what type of space you want and when you need it by is necessary before we begin the design process.


  1. Space and Function

Maybe your current deck is too small for your large family and needs to be replaced with a larger alternative. Or maybe a smaller patio will meet your need for an intimate area for seating and dining. Our design consultants will learn about how much space you want and specifically how you plan to use it. Do you want a deck that runs along the entire back of your house? Or do you need a combination project to separate different areas of your yard? When you and the designer discuss these details, it will help them create a design that will match your needs; this is an essential step in our process.


  1. Aesthetic and Taste

Looking for rich colors low maintenance Timber Tech decking offers? Or maybe you are deciding between Mega Arbel or Lafitt pavers for your patio. Your design consultant will discuss your taste to get an idea of what best fits your style. We will also show you pictures of previous projects to get an idea of your likes and dislikes. The second meeting with our design consultant is held at our showroom so you can see examples of specific pavers, low maintenance deck boards, and screened window options.

Belgard patio with stone grill surround and outdoor bar by North Chicago suburb patio builder Archadeck of Chicagoland


  1. Budget

Knowing your budget is an important piece of our design process. This is covered initially during your consultation so that we create a design appropriate to what you’re comfortable investing.

Whatever project you decide on, whether you fall in love with a paver patio, wood deck, or screened in porch, your Archadeck design consultant will learn about these four considerations to build your dream project. No matter which space you are considering, we’d love to hear from you. We can be reached at 847-496-4333 or sign up for our free design consultation.

See you in the backyard!

The s’more, the merrier

smores3Winter has arrived in Chicagoland and that means two things; sweater weather and outdoor fire feature weather! As it turns out, both have a lot in common when it comes to their cozy benefits.  Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are now considered the “must have” accompaniment to any outdoor living space combination. Chicagoland outdoor fire features make the perfect partner to a backyard patio or porch, and outdoor fireplaces are often used to add style and ambiance to a screened porch or 3-season room. You may be asking “what’s all the hub-bub about?” If you have ever had the chance to sit in front of an outdoor fireplace on a crisp winter evening with friends and family–you already know the coziness of its warmth, the crackle of the fire, and the intoxication of watching the flames dancing–destined to draw you into their magic as it does a moth to a flame.

As if all these reasons weren’t enough, an outdoor fire feature is the perfect spot to prepare and enjoy sweet treats. An open flame is truly the only way to toast marshmallows and indulge in the age-old favorite – s’mores! The practice of making s’mores originated from a 1927 recipe for “some mores” which was published in Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts after Loretta Scott Crew, who allegedly made them for Girl Scouts by the campfire, is given credit for the recipe. This warm, delicious treats always leave you wanting some more, hence the name. Today the recipe is called s’mores which is thought to be a contradiction to the recipe’s original name.

homemade marshmallow s'mores with chocolate on crackers
homemade marshmallow s’mores with chocolate on crackers

The name s’mores stuck as a campfire favorite. However, the concoction of marshmallow and chocolate melted between two graham crackers has come a long way since the Girl Scouts first enjoyed it. Decadent variations of the original include everything from integrating brownies to indulgent Tiramisu into the mix!

Add an outdoor fire pit to your yard and roast s’mores year round right at home. Visit our website to fill out a form for a free consultation. Or, give us a call at 847.496.4333 or email us at chicagoland@archadeck.net.

Do you have to choose between a screened porch and a porch that also includes vinyl windows?

Screen Porch with FireplaceWhether you have an existing screened porch or are thinking about adding a porch, you might want to consider a porch that includes both screens and vinyl windows. You don’t have to choose.

There are a couple popular brands that make 4-track window systems for screened porches. These include WeatherMaster by Sunspace, Eze-Breeze by PGT and some smaller brands such as EzePorch. At Archadeck of Chicagoland, we have been installing porch window systems for years on both new porches and retrofitting existing porches.

If you’re just getting started with your research on whether to consider an open porch, screened porch, 3-season room, 4-season room or sunroom; you certainly have your work cut out for you. A good starting question would be whether you are looking for protection from dust, pollen, precipitation and some temperature protection. All of these protections are afforded to you when you have an enclosed system whether it’s with vinyl windows or in a full window sunroom.

Here is how the window systems work. The vinyl windows work on a track system with 4-tracks. This provides the ability to open three tracks to expose 75% screen or to only open one track exposing 25% of the screen. If you take a look at either of the videos above, you can see 2 different porches with installed vinyl window systems. You’ll note the extreme clarity of the vinyl. It’s durability rivals it’s clarity.

Vertical 4 Track windows on custom screen porch
Vertical 4 Track windows on custom screen porch

As mentioned above, when determining which porch option is best for your home, among the key considerations are what you want to keep out of the room. For example, if you want to have full exposure to all of the elements and want to be able to walk freely from your porch to your yard, an open porch or covered porch is the best option.

Adding screens to your porch encloses your porch to a degree. This provides protection from flying insects and from some flying particles such as dust or pollen. Depending on the screens and strength of a rain shower, it will also provide some protection from the rain allowing you to enjoy the sound of the rain under cover. You will not receive sun protection from screens but you will receive sun protection from the roof itself. The degree of sun protection from roof cover depends on the strength of sun to that area of your yard which is influenced by your home’s orientation and the degree of shade your porch achieves due to trees and other structures.

Screen Room with 4-Track Windows - Designed by Archadeck of Chicagoland
Screen Room with 4-Track Windows – Designed by Archadeck of Chicagoland

For those of us who struggle with airborne allergens such as dust or pollen, being able to turn screened windows to clear vinyl windows with the ease of opening or closing a window, you will love having a track window system. If the transition to lower temperatures forces you indoors, a vinyl window system can provide a reprieve for you. Depending on the transition to your house and whether you have a space heater and ceiling fan, you may be able to enjoy your porch quite a bit longer in the cooler months.

As you can see, there are a number of benefits of selecting Eze-Breeze or SunSpace windows for your porch. If you have an existing porch and would like us to retrofit your windows, give us a call for a free consultation. We look forward to your call.

Do you want composite, capstock or PVC for your Chicagoland area low maintenance deck?

Composite TimberTech deck with Built-in Bench by North Chicago Suburb Deck Builder Archadeck of Chicagoland
Composite TimberTech deck with Built-in Bench

If you’re considering adding a new deck to your Chicagoland area home, you have no doubt considered the amount of maintenance you are willing to do on your new space. Do you want to scrape? Do you want to strip? Stain? Sand? How about splinters? Fading? Insect damage? Believe it or not, all of these maladies that befall natural wood can be eliminated by using low-maintenance materials. You have probably heard the term “composite” as it relates to low-maintenance decking. What you may not realize is there are several different types of composite decking – enough that the material choices are now lumped into the category of “synthetic” because of the number of different materials and compositions. Our goal is to share those with you to help you make your decision.

Composite decking

To provide good information about composite decking, we have to talk a little bit about the history. Believe it or not, synthetic decking has been around for 20+ years. The industry has grown and evolved quite a bit over that period of time. Quality issues sprung up many years ago that were later greatly reduced with product improvements.

TimberTech Twin Finish composite deck
TimberTech Twin Finish composite deck

Composite decking was the first generation of synthetic decking. As the name implies, it consists of a combination of wood fibers and plastic. This combination allows composite to claim protection from material defects, from splinters and damage from termites or rot. Although traditional composite is still available, we work exclusively with the two upper end synthetics because mold issues still exist on traditional composite.


Capstock low-maintenance decking is a composite core surrounded by a stronger polymer shell or cap. Some capstock boards are protected on 3

TimberTech Terrain Capstock decking
TimberTech Terrain Capstock decking

sides and some have the polymer shell on all 4 sides. This shell does provide the additional benefit of stain resistance, scratch resistance and fade resistance. It has all of the same protection as composite in that it resists mold and mildew along with resisting moisture damage. Depending on the board or collection, many include texturing or other custom finishes that emulate natural wood textures or more current textures. One of the best benefits of capstock is that it comes with not only the 25-year limited warranty that composites have but also has a 25- to 30-year fade and stain warranty. TimberTech has a couple lines of capstock decking including the Legacy Collection, Tropical Collection and Terrain collection. Check back for a future post to look at these options in greater detail.

Solid Synthetic

AZEK deck by Archadeck of Chicagoland

At the high end of the synthetic decking options is solid synthetic decking. Solid PVC has the greatest strength because it does not utilize any natural materials. While intuitively, natural materials such as wood may seem desirable, solid PVC eliminates all of the maladies that befall wood or wood fibers.

Solid synthetics come with the longest and typically the most comprehensive warranties. AZEK’s warranty covers your decking boards for 30 years. It’s quite likely that you will have moved to another home before your decking warranty expires.

How in the world do you choose?

Don’t try to choose on your own. Work with a local custom deck builder that’s experienced in working with all of these materials. They will give you the pros and cons as well as provide insight about colors and how those look when they are installed on a large deck vs. on a website or a small color block.

David Berryhill Archadeck of Chicagoland
David Berryhill, Owner Archadeck of Chicagoland

Give us a call for a free consultation at 847.749.2373 or drop us an email at chicagoland@archadeck.net. We look forward to working with you to design your Chicagoland area deck.