How to Create a Unique Deck Design

Looking for a unique deck design? From colors to materials to amenities, explore creative design elements with your local deck builder, Archadeck of Chicagoland.

Mother Nature offers the best design inspiration, so look no further than your backyard when planning your outdoor living space.  Bold colors beautifully accent blended neutral tones while countless textures tease your senses. Pulling design ideas from these earthy elements helps you create a natural looking space that complements both your home and yard. We did just that with this unique deck design.

Deck Design with Picture Frame by Chicagoland Deck Builder ArchadeckBy incorporating both wood and composite materials we were able to create a stunning multi-colored deck design.  The main deck areas are constructed with natural wood, beautifully stained to pull in accenting colors from the yard.  The surrounding border you see is a double picture frame. Continue reading “How to Create a Unique Deck Design”

Chicago Area Outdoor Living Trends for 2016

Archadeck brings you 2016’s top 4 outdoor living trends for the Chicago area.

As Jack Frost starts painting Chicagoland with his frosty charm and outdoor building begins to slow, we at Archadeck take a moment to reflect on the great year we had, favorite projects we built, and the trends we see coming for 2016.

Chicagoland Outdoor Kitchens

Designed for climates that cycle through seasons, these outdoor kitchens are durable enough to withstand cold Chicago winters so you can enjoy your kitchen summer after summer.  Completely customizable, Archadeck’s Chicagoland outdoor kitchens are designed to only include amenities you want and plan to use.

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

Built-In Fire Pits

Easily incorporated into your outdoor space, a built-in fire pit comes with plenty of design options, including the choice of wood burning or a gas line and ceramic logs or fire beads. Continue reading “Chicago Area Outdoor Living Trends for 2016”

4 Reasons to Plan Your Outdoor Living Project in the Fall

Make your backyard alive with fun and laughter, plan your 2016 outdoor living project now!

Summer is winding down and the crisp fall weather is moving in, bringing with it the brightly colored leaves, bonfires and hoodies, and pumpkin spice everything. Though you may be packing up your outdoor furniture and cutting back your perennials, now is the perfect time to start thinking about next year’s projects. Plan your 2016 outdoor living project now and make your backyard alive with fun and laughter!

TimberTech composite deck with paver patio by Chicago Suburb deck builder Archadeck of Chicagoland

Continue reading “4 Reasons to Plan Your Outdoor Living Project in the Fall”

Fire Pit Safety Tips from Archadeck of Chicagoland

Learn how to keep your family and pets safe with these important fire pit safety tips.

Backyard fire pits are a rising trend among outdoor living spaces.  Fire pits conveniently provide a way to enjoy the backyard during cooler weather and are perfect for homeowners who enjoy entertaining or spending time outside with their family. A warm fire creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere, whether you’re curling up quietly under the stars or laughing with a group of friends.  Ensure everyone has a good time and stays safe by implementing these important safety tools.

Built-In Patio Fire Pit Design in Chicago Suburbs

Continue reading “Fire Pit Safety Tips from Archadeck of Chicagoland”

Design-Build Companies: Why You Should Hire One For Your Next Project

A design-build company works with you from the first concept through the completed installation, simplifying the process. Here are a few of the best benefits to using a design-build contractor and questions to ask when hiring.

Design-build companies are a great solution for many homeowners preparing to start a new home improvement project.  A design-build firm provides design and installation services for your project.  They work with you from the first concept through the completed installation, significantly simplifying the process.  Here are a few of the benefits to using a design-build contractor and questions to ask when hiring.

Screen Porch and Patio with Fire Pit - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Reduction in Time to Project Completion

When planning to build a new deck, patio, screen porch, or some other sort of addition, the traditional approach has been to meet with a designer, an engineer, and a contractor.   This takes a significant amount of time and leaves more room for error with each company your project passes through.   With a design-build company, you would work with one company from start to finish.  This usually means fewer meetings required and more time saved.  There is also greater efficiency and less room for error when the same company is designing, creating the architectural plans, and building.  Your project will move through the channels more quickly and the carpenters will be at your home in no time.

Screen porch with fireplace - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Elevated Costs Are Prevented

One of the greatest benefits to the design-build process is that your project is designed to your budget.  With your budget discussed early in the process, your entire project is planned to fit within the parameters you create, preventing elevated cost.  No one likes sticker shock, especially after all the time and work put into creating the perfect design.

Simplified Design Process

The design fee is often rolled into the total project cost.  Because the design is created in house, the cost is often much less than if you were to hire a designer separately.  Also, because the firm is creating your project from start to finish, there is no question as to whether or not the design can actually be built.  There is nothing worse than taking your new design to an engineer, only find there is much more to building that new pergola than you fathomed.   A design-build company eliminates these all too frequent time consuming and costly issues.

Patio Crew for Archadeck of Chicagoland

Knowledgeable in Construction Methods

Part of the uniqueness of a design-build company is the amount of knowledge they bring with them.  Because the designers are in-house, they have a greater knowledge of how their company builds.  They know what is and is not acceptable, what village codes they need to adhere to, and more.  A good design-build company will keep up to date with the latest in construction standards and should have procedures in place.  This simplifies the process and ensures your project is built with high quality workmanship and care.

Sunroom custom designed and built by Archadeck of Chicagoland.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Design-Build Company

  • How much experience does the company have with your type of project? At Archadeck of Chicagoland, we only design and build outdoor living companies.  Sure, we could renovate a kitchen, but a company who specializes in kitchens will probably build it better.
  • What is their background and history? Look them up on Angie’s List, Yelp, or the Better Business Bureau.  How do their previous clients describe their experience with the company?
  • What is the company’s design and construction process and what systems do they have in place to ensure your project runs smoothly? Knowing what to expect from the beginning is beneficial, and understanding how a contractor manages the multiple issues that can arise during the course of the job should be important in deciding who you want to hire for your project.
  • What safeguards do they have in place? Every design-build company should have Liability and Worker’s Compensation insurance and licensing in place.
  • What kind of warranty do they provide and will they stand behind their work? All too often we hear about contractors or companies that hide behind a clause in their warranty.  A good contractor will stand behind their work and do the right thing, regardless of the warranty terms.

See our article, How to Choose the Right Contractor, for a more detailed list of what to look for while interviewing design-build contractors.

Planning Your Project: 5 Reasons Fall and Winter is the Best Time of the Year

Fall is here, with its brightly colored leaves, crisp air, and cooler temperatures.  Many are thinking about packing up and preparing their decks and patios for the cold winter months.  At Archadeck, we are not only still building, but we are already planning for next spring.  If you’re thinking it’s time add a new screen porch or patio, or update your weathered deck, now is the time to start planning.

Deck Patio Pergola

  1. Choosing to build during the fall and winter months means you’ll have less of a wait time than during the spring and summer months.
  2. Less imposition on your daily life. Families tend to spend more time indoors during the winter months.  This makes it the perfect time to let the carpenters into the backyard to do their digging and building without being in your way.Screen Porch with Fireplace
  3. Extend the time you can spend outside. Not ready to bundle up inside yet? According to the latest trends, many homeowners agree.  We are seeing an increasing number of requests for outdoor fireplaces and fire pits.  The warmth of a fire allows you to spend more time outside when the weather grows cooler.
  4. A winter build just isn’t for you? That’s ok!  Now is the perfect time to find a contractor and lock in this year’s pricing.  This will help you to avoid the price increases often seen in early spring.
  5. Planning your spring build now ensures your project is at the top of the list. As soon as the ground thaws, you’re project will be ready to go.  Instead of spending your spring and summer vetting contractors and waiting on the completion of your project, your deck or patio will already be in place and ready to use.

DIY: Top 5 Fourth of July Decorations

Make this year’s 4th of July party one to remember with these easy and creative Do-It-Yourself decorations and party favors!

Patriotic Star & Stripes Sign

Bold and beautiful, this patriotic sign may be used as a decorative piece long after 4th of July.

Stars and Stripes Sign- Archadeck of Chicagoland

4th of July Jar Candle

Quick and easy, this fun craft is perfect for all ages.  Place around the edges of your deck or patio to create a soft glow for your nighttime lighting.

4th of July Jar Candle - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Fabulous Faux Firecrackers

Festive center pieces your guests will love!

Fabulous Faux Firecrackers - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Patriotic Party Favor Bags

Patriotic party favor bags your guests will be able to use time and again.

Patriotic Party Favor Bags- Archadeck of Chicagoland

4th of July Glow Stick Party Favors

Quick and easy party favors your guests can use during firework celebrations.

Glow Stick Party Favors- Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Looking for tasty 4th of July recipes?  Click Here!

5 Awesome Gifts for the Awesome Dad

Looking for the perfect gift for the awesome Dad in your life?  Here are five unique gift ideas that are sure to make his Fathers Day a memorable one!

 

Wood Beer Caddy

Showcase your favorite brews in this rustic, handcrafted beer caddy.

Wooden Beer Caddy

 

Maple Chocolate Bacon Skewers

Can you ever go wrong with bacon and chocolate?  These tasty treats are perfect for the bacon loving dad!

Bacon Maple Skewers

 

Baseball Glove Oven Mitt

Perfect for the grill master who loves to knock his guests’ taste buds out of the park!

Baseball Glove Oven Mitts

 

Natural Branch Coasters

Unique and creative DIY Branch Coasters for the outdoor lover.

Tree Branch Coasters

 

Father’s Day Photo Collage

Give Dad a timeless gift that won’t fail to pull at his heart-strings; perfect for the hardworking family man.

fathers-day-photo-collage-3-001

DIY: Top 8 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s day is just around the corner.  Over the years, your mother has sacrificed, worked tirelessly, and shown you unconditional love.  Show her your appreciation with a thoughtful gift.  Here are eight Mother’s Day gift ideas that are sure to touch her heart.

Tea Cup Herb Planters

Give your mother a lasting gift that will flavor her dishes and brighten her kitchen or deck.

Tea Cup Herb Planters - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Bloom a Smile

Smiles are contagious!  This creative gift is sure to make any mother or grandmother grin from ear to ear.

Bloom a Smile - Mothers Day

 

Mommy Survival Kit in a Jar

Perfect for the busy mothers on the go.

Mommy Survival Kit - Mothers Day - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Paint Swirl Vases

This easy craft creates a beautiful center piece.  Fill with flowers and bring the outdoors in!

Paint Swirl Vases - Gift Idea - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Photo Flower Pots

What better way to showcase the precious little smiles of the children and grandchildren?

Photo Flower Pot - Gift Idea - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Spa in a Bag

Mothers that work tirelessly deserve a little spa treatment.

 

Spa In A Bag - Gift Idea - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Herb Garden Gift Basket

Everything she needs to start her herb garden all in one basket.

Herb Garden Gift Basket - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Footprint Step Stool

Create precious memories with footprints painted on a step stool.  Mothers and Grandmothers will adore this memento.

Footprint Step Stool - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Deck Safety Checklist

Family on Deck - Archadeck
May is deck safety month. With barbecues, outdoor parties, and summertime fun around the corner, now is the time to inspect your deck and make any repairs necessary. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Follow these guidelines to ensure a thorough inspection.

Boards
Look at the condition of your deck boards. Most wood will show some cracks and splits over time, but is the general condition of the boards good, or are the boards splintering and unsafe to walk on?

Every Connection
A deck should be built using a variety of fasteners and metal hardware connectors to create a continuous pathway to ensure deck stability and safety. Check to see if the appropriate fasteners and connectors were used when constructing the deck. Is the hardware in good condition or need to be replaced?

Structure
If visible, look at the posts, beams and joists that provide the structural framework of the deck. What is their condition? Is there any noticeable sagging between supports?

Attachment
The attachment of the deck to the house (at an area called the house band) is the area where most deck failures occur. Pay special attention to this area and check to make sure that the deck is properly attached to the house band with appropriate screws or bolts and that it is properly flashed for water protection. Nails should never be used for this type of attachment.

Foundation / Footings
The foundation / footings receive and support the weight (also known as the load) on a deck and the columns that bear on them. A footing that is sinking may cause a noticeable sag in an area or a column separating from a beam.

Exits
Check the areas where people exit from the deck. These exits usually involve stairs so be sure to check the condition of the material used on the stair stringers, stair treads and risers.

Rails
Look at the condition of the rail posts and sections of railing on the deck to make sure that the railing is secure. Check to make sure that the pickets/balusters are fastened securely and spaced no more than four inches apart.

If you’re not sure you want to take the responsibility of inspecting the deck yourself, look up a local company in your area and have a professional complete the inspection. Nadra.org and AngiesList.com are great places to find competent, trustworthy professionals or go to Archadeck.com to see if there are deck safety inspectors in your area.