Superior quality and service is alive and well in Chicagoland outdoor living spaces

Testimonial: “I have had bad experiences with contractors in the past and Dave Berryhill from Archadeck was by far the best we have worked with, and he worked hard to earn our business.”


As I read the most recent news about the Toyota quality problems, it makes me so very thankful for the high standards we hold so dear here at Archadeck of Chicagoland. I love receiving letters and calls from customers after we finish their jobs.

Here’s one of my favorites.  I received this from Alan Weisz in Deerfield, Illinois.

“I have had bad experiences with contractors in the past and Dave Berryhill from Archadeck was by far the best we have worked with, and he worked hard to earn our business.”

Alan then continued by listing the five key things he most appreciated:

1. Professionalism
2. Courtesy
3. Staying informed of each step of the process
4. Exceeding his expectations by going “above and beyond”
5. Our personable demeanor

Well, Alan, back at you. You were a delight to work for, and we are so pleased with the outcome of your beautiful new screened outdoor room.

Decks, still a good investement!

Combine the value that new outdoor living projects retain with the enjoyment that families receive and a new backyard project becomes a very attractive investments.

The 2009 – 2010 Cost vs Value Report by Remodeling Magazine is out.   Again Decks have held strong when considering their return on investment in the Chicago area.   Amongst several common home improvement projects wooden deck additions ranked 3rd highest with an 80.6% return.  This is based upon an average deck price of $10,675 in 2009 dollars.   Composite decks also offer a strong return but do not hold up quite as well, at a 71% return.  The difference is due to the higher initial cost for the project at an average of $15,619.    Check out the full report at Remodeling Magazine.   Combine the value that new outdoor living projects retain with the enjoyment that families receive and a new backyard project becomes a very attractive investments.

How do we begin the design process for our deck or patio?

Outdoor design begins with understanding what you want to do. A great place to start this process is by identifying what furniture groups you plan to use. Form should always follow function!

Creating outdoor living spaces requires outdoor design.  Obviously outdoor furniture will be a central element to enjoy the spaces with your family and friends.  The outdoor furniture you plan to use is a great starting point for planning your outdoor living space(s).   Knowing what type of furniture and activities you plan on using will drive the new spaces design.  Obviously it will affect size but also shapes and transitions. Form should always follow function.

When we begin the design process for a screen room, paver patio, deck or any of our projects we start by asking about use.   I like to understand what rooms they wish to have in the new outdoor spaces.   Most want an area to dine and to cook, some want a family room, many want a space for a fire pit or fireplace, some want spaces for hot tubs, and many have other ideas for outdoor spaces.   Often getting this conversation started is difficult.   Most people have not thought about their backyard in this way.   Asking about the outdoor furniture that they plan to use gets the conversation started.  Most home owners want to include a grill and a table for dinning.  Beyond these two staples each home owner adds those elements that create their unique outdoor space.

The base for creating outdoor design always flows from the functional needs.   Once we know the basic spaces that the homeowner wants to have we begin blocking out the project.   When we apply the aesthetic tastes of the client the design takes a more exact shape and form.

Deck, patio, pergola

Rehabing your deck (replace decking and reuse the structure)

Often we can replace the decking, trim, and/or the rails but keep the existing structure. The top three issues I look at are signs of structural rot, the deck to house connection (especially the flashing), and the soundness of the concrete footings. Redecks are an option that provides significant savings.

Will that deck make it through another summer?    As the snow melts, hopefully soon, thousands of decks throughout the Chicago suburbs will be revealed.   The wear and tear from another season of sun, rain, freeze, and snow will show itself.   What options does a home owner have?   If the deck boards are beyond normal maintenance, pressure washing and staining, it’s time to consider new material.  Does that mean a new deck?  Not necessarily, often we can replace the decking, trim, and/or the rails but keep the existing structure.  Have the structure evaluated by a professional deck builder or qualified contractor to insure the structure is safe and worth saving.  Poor structure with new surface material is a bad investment.  Having said this, it is very common that the structure can offer many more years of support for your deck.  The top three issues I look at are signs of structural rot, the deck to house connection (especially the flashing), and the soundness of the concrete footings.   Of course, we also review the structural plan for the deck. Healthy material won’t compensate for poor design.

Assuming the structure is sound, perhaps with minor structural repairs, there are many options to rehab and reuse your deck space.  The decking can be replaced with new wood, low maintenance deck boards (such as TimberTech or Azek), or even “stone like” tile options.  With in these choices exists a multitude of natural as well as synthetic materials.   The pros and cons of these choices are best left for another blog.  Okay, several blogs.   The key is that a deck rehab, or redeck, is a very viable option.  Redecks are an option that provides significant savings. 

These rehab’s can involve replacement of decking only or any combination of surface components.  We have done many combinations of deck rehab, including several that involved shape changes, adding screen rooms, or integration of a paver patio.  As always we start by asking questions to understand the homeowner’s priorities.  Once we have a clear picture we will offer recommendations.  Ultimately, we will build what the client wants assuming, it’s safe and legal.  However, there are a couple issues that really make sense for most deck rehab’s.  First, if you are planning to replace the decking on the stairs, it’s best to replace all elements of the stairs.   I don’t reuse strangers.  Second, reuse of non structural materials from the old deck is not worth the effort.  Using new material is so much faster for carpenters that it’s less expensive then reusing old materials.  Not to mention that I have never met a carpenter who is happy working with old material.  Remember, the carpenter is a craftsmen and their happiness will directly affect the results of your project.  Happy carpenters equal a successful project; that sounds like another future blog topic.

A deck rehab is often the perfect solution.   Whether you simply need deck boards replaced or wish to recreate your outdoor living space(s), using the existing foundation can give savings.  It can give savings of both money and time for your project.

Plan your 2010 outdoor project now!

January is the perfect time to design your new outdoor living project.

January is the perfect time to design your new outdoor living project.  Begin the process now by contacting Archadeck to have your new deck or patio for the full 2010 outdoor season.  As the premier outdoor living builder in Chicagoland, Archadeck Is ready to discuss your new backyard space.  For 30 years we have created outdoor living spaces for America’s families.  Now is the prefect time to connect with our professional Design Consultants. Get in front of the spring rush and have your new deck or screen room ready when the weather comes.   View our variety of projects at

We can complete your design process in one meeting for an hour or multiple meetings with a variety of design options.  Most often, we can create a design with you in two meetings.  Usually, your new deck, gazebo, pergola, or patio will be ready for you, eight weeks from the day we have a design & agreement. Of course, the times can vary based upon the project & village requirements.  As an example screen rooms and sun rooms will usually take an extra four to five weeks to complete.  Call today to get your project started so you will enjoy the outdoors with your family all spring & summer.

The Latest News in Chicagoland’s Outdoor Living Spaces

Hello, Chicago. This is my blog about the creation and enjoyment of outdoor living spaces in our great town. It is also about my company’s quest to create awesome leisure spaces for my clients.

For me “outdoor living” is the extension of your home with living space beyond the walls and roof. Outdoor living certainly includes the creation of outdoor rooms. This is our business; we create rooms that are physical structures for people; such as decks, screen porches, gazebos, pergolas, sun rooms, or patios. Outdoor living also includes landscaping, outdoor lighting, water features, hardscaping, and anything that connects us with nature.

For 30 years, Archadeck has dedicated itself to the design and construction of outdoor living spaces. Founded in Richmond, Virginia, in 1980, Archadeck has grown to more than 70 franchise offices around the country.  Collectively, we have built more than 70,000 outdoor living projects. So, if you’re looking for trusted experience, there is no need to look any further.

Each Archadeck office benefits from this experience, through training, industry relationships and the professional support network that is the Archadeck community. Archadeck has had franchise offices in the Chicago area for 20 years.

My name is David Berryhill. As the designer/owner of Archadeck of Northern Chicagoland for the past 6 years, I welcome you to my blog – “an outdoor living space,” if you will.

For the record, this is my first blog. My wife, Kristen, and I purchased our Archadeck Franchise in February of 2004. We always wanted our own business. In the summer of 2003, after the bubble burst and the company I had helped build for nine years was no more, we began a search. We sought a business that would provide a desirable, tangible product, that had strong potential, and we would enjoy.

That last criteria might sound odd, but I had spent my career with companies offering products or services that were not very exciting.

I was drawn to the construction element, but especially attracted to the creation of outdoor living spaces. For several years I was a landscape hobbyist, including taking classes at the Morton Arboretum. For as long as I could remember I enjoyed arranging interior spaces but once I had a yard I found my true passion.  The opportunity to start and build our Archadeck Franchise has offered a convergence of passions.

I am very passionate about outdoor living!  Decks, Screen Porches, Sunrooms, Pergolas, Gazebos, and Paver Patios are the products we custom design and build.

However, what we really promote and sell is outdoor living…an outdoor living lifestyle. Our mission, our passion, is to design and blend those products to flow with your lifestyle. We create designs that look original to your home and blend with your landscaping. Ultimately, our goal is to enhance your enjoyment of your home while enhancing the value of your property. This takes more than just throwing a few sticks on the back of your house and calling it a “deck.” Many do-it-yourselfers and many “carpenters” have tried this approach and I’m sure we all have various examples of the results throughout our neighborhoods.

Archadeck has refined a different approach – we believe, a better approach – to developing outdoor living spaces for our clients’ lifestyles. We are one of the few companies devoted to this aspect of your home, your lifestyle at home. We are probably the only company devoted to it for 30 years.

If you are interested in learning more about outdoor living and the difference Archadeck brings to those spaces, then I encourage you to connect with us here often. We will discuss and promote various concepts, products, and issues related to outdoor living. We’ll offer perspective on the art form that is outdoor design and the difference that is Archadeck.

Of course, we hope that when the time comes we can create your new outdoor space and your friends.  If you share our passion for outdoor living, we welcome you to share your ideas and thoughts with us here on our blog.

So, welcome to “an outdoor living space” blog by Archadeck of Chicagoland, authored by David Berryhill.  I’ll try to make it informative and entertaining. Maybe sometimes even go off-topic, because an outdoor living space is a great place to; live, talk, share, relax, dine, and entertain.

Please call me at 847-359-8002 anytime with questions or just to chat about my favorite subject…the great outdoors.