What roof style should your new Chicagoland porch or sunroom have? Gable? Shed? Hip? Flat?

As you begin dreaming about adding a new porch to your Chicagoland area home, one of the the first things you will do is envision what what your new room will look like. You will likely have a general room shape, location and roof style in mind. You will have some “must haves” and some “absolutely nots” on your list. We have seen a lot of these lists as we’ve helped homeowners translate their requirements and visions into a porch design for their home. Almost inevitably, the first thing on the list is “lots of light!”. Whether you are looking for a screened porch, an open porch, a sunroom, or a 3- or 4-season room, you are most likely hoping for a sunny and bright space to enjoy your home and your backyard too.

Some of the key decisions we will help you make early on include where your porch should attach to your home, how large your porch should be and what roof style is best. In this blog, we want to share some information about choosing the porch roof that’s best for you. Your options for your Chicagoland area porch include a gable roof, shed roof, hip roof or a flat roof. Here is some information and key considerations for each type.

Gable roof

A gable roof is one of the most highly sought roof shapes. It is the shape that essentially makes a triangle. It has a high point in the middle and slopes down in 2 directions from that high point.

There are a couple reasons this style is popular. First, it creates a vaulted ceiling on the inside. Secondly, the elevated ceiling lets a good deal of sun into the room. Third, the gable end or ends can be transparent using glass or screening to further increase the visibility out into the yard. If you have your heart set on this style, you first need to find out if it works with your home. There is a key functional and key aesthetic factor that influence this decision. Functionally, you do not want the roof of a new room to block second story windows. If your second story has a number of windows, that may limit the height and style of roof that will work with your home configuration.


Because of the second story window configuration, a gable roof would cover these windows and would not work with the configuration on the back of this home

From an aesthetic design perspective, it’s important to make sure the roof style is a fit with the roofline or rooflines of your existing home. You want your new porch or room to look like it is original to your home. Does your home have a gable roof? A Shed roof? Does it have a couple different roof lines? We want to make sure the new roof shape fits your home by complementing what exists. It’s important to note that you do not need to match the roof shapes with your existing rooflines but you do want to make sure they complement eachother.


This home has a shed roof over the home section and a gable roof over the garage section. Take a look at how nicely this gable roof screened porch looks on this home.

Shed roof


This sunroom has a shed roof which is connected at the house and slopes downward away from the house

A shed roof style essentially makes a half triangle. It is connected to the house and slopes downward in one direction from there. It is a great option if your second story limits connecting a higher roof or if a more elevated roof style would block the view from the second story. From a light perspective, this roof style does not generally allow in as much light as a gable roof but that depends on the orientation of your backyard to the room, the height of the roof connection, the number of trees in your yard and other factors. Like the gable roof, a shed roof can be open on the ends with either glass or screening depending on the room type. This ensures that more light enters the room.


Above is the interior view of the shed roof sunroom shown above. You can see that the space seems very spacious vertically.

Hip roof

The hip roof style is very popular especially with more upscale homes. This roof shape has a high point in the middle and slopes downward in three or more directions from that high point. A hip (or hipped) roof essentially creates the shape of a pyramid. It is the most complex from a construction standpoint and may cost more than a different, simpler roof shape. This roof shape is aesthetically pleasing to the eye especially from the inside. The geometric complexity adds more visual interest than a more traditional shape.


Hip roof screened porch in Chicago’s Hawthorne Woods community

As you see in the pictures above, the new room’s roofline does not need to match the home as long as it complements the home. One thing you’ll notice in the picture immediately above is that shed roofs can have tremendously varying heights. This roof shape is an alternative to a shed roof or flat roof for a house with second story obstructions.


The above gazebo style open porch has a shed roof. Note the visual interest of the ceiling shape from within the space

Flat roof

The first question we always receive about a flat roof is whether it will hold water. The good news is that flat roofs are not completely flat for that reason. Any good builder will build a slight angle and proper drainage into the space to ensure no resting water. This being said, if this room addition is in an area subjected to falling leaves and other debris, those can certainly accumulate on the roof.


We built a multi-level porch on this home with a large deck atop the second level effectively creating 2 rooms each with a flat roof

A flat roof is often selected when there are significant vertical constraints. But there is also tremendous appeal to this roof shape especially as it relates to an open porch. This shape is also very pleasing to the eye. The height of the roof can often compensate for the fact that less light enters the room than if it had a more elevated roof style.

Additional options

It’s important not to forget about great options for any roof shape. One of these is skylights. Skylights have multiple benefits including being aesthetically pleasing and helping to allow more light into the house.

If you are considering adding a porch, sunroom or 3/4 season room to your Chicago-area home, give us a call for a free consultation at 847.496.4333. You might also want to take a look at some of our photo galleries:

Screened porch photo gallery

Front porch and portico image gallery

Chicagoland open porch photo gallery

Sunroom image gallery

How Much Does a Chicagoland Screened Porch Cost?

I love to enjoy my first cup of coffee while sitting outside on my back porch. The summer air is peaceful and a little cool from the previous night and all around me, nature is waking cheerfully to meet the early morning sun. For many, the idea of a screen porch is appealing, especially for outdoor living enthusiasts. Screen rooms are a great way to enjoy the great outdoors while also enjoying the shelter, bug protection, and comfortable living they provide.

One of the things we find when people call in looking for someone to design and build their screen porch is that while they have a pretty good idea of what they want, they don’t know where to start or how much to budget for their project. And it’s no wonder when a quick Google search shows such wide a variety of kits from a hardware store, aluminum kits professionally installed, and custom designs that tie into your home.

In the world of custom design and build, knowing the elements that go into pricing a screen porch is helpful. Everything from the materials you choose to the roof style and foundation can greatly impact how much your screen porch will cost. As you look for a contractor you trust to build your new porch, keep these key components in mind.

Materials

Knowing the differences between material options will help you create a reasonable budget for your screen porch. The most common flooring materials we use are wood, composite decking, and pavers. Wood and pavers are usually comparable in price while you can expect to spend 50% or more for low maintenance materials like TimberTech and AZEK.

Window styles vary from standard rolled screening that is left open year round, to windows that include acrylic inserts for winter, to lightweight vertical 4-track systems, like Eze-Breeze. Eze-Breeze window systems give you the look, protection, and ease of windows. Their light weight frames are easy to open at varying degrees, providing you with the warm, breezy feel of a screen porch while allowing you to customize the air flow.

Stain, paint, and trim are also important to consider among material options. Staining and painting must be maintained on a regular schedule, making this an important cost to include when considering what you’re comfortable investing overall. AZEK offers a low maintenance trim that gives screen porches a crisp, clean look. It is easy to clean, is impervious to moisture and insects, and comes with a 25-year warranty.

Amenities & Design

Including amenities allows you to customize your screen porch for your specific lifestyle needs. Most of our screen porches include some sort of electric. Standard electric options usually include a ceiling fan with a light, a couple of outlets, a light switch, and a coach light. Canned lights in the ceiling, cable hookups or wiring for sound systems are also popular options.

Fireplaces are growing trend with Chicagoland screen porches, especially when 4-track window systems have been included in the design. Incorporating a fireplace allows homeowners to use their screen porch during the colder months, giving them the most use of their investment. A fireplace adds character to your screen porch design, is a great way to encourage people to gather and socialize, and without a doubt is the perfect place to curl up with a good book. Be aware, though, that a fireplace will substantially increase the total cost of your screen porch, often by close to $10,000.

Foundation

Depending on where you live, the foundation required can be the biggest driver of cost. Most often we build our screen porches on pier footings. Pier footings are concrete cylinders placed in the ground to support your structure. Even the Sears Tower (ahem, I mean Willis Tower) was built on pier footings!

Here in the Midwest, we have a very distinct freeze and thaw cycle, and as such we construct our footings to be 42” deep and 18”-24” in diameter, putting them below the frost line. Comparatively, in the warm southern states, most can get away with building a screen porch on footings that are only 6” deep. We also use belled footings to prevent any uplift that may occur when the ground freezes, further protecting your project. Occasionally we run into a village that requires a trench foundation. A trench foundation is a solid wall of concrete, 42” deep (or where the frost line falls), that runs along the perimeter of the porch. Unfortunately, such a foundation can increase the cost of your project by $5,000-$10,000. Before designing your screen porch, we contact your village’s building department to determine their foundation requirements. This allows us to let you know in advance if their requirements will have a larger than expected impact on your project.

Roof Style

Even you’re the style of your screen porch’s roof can impact the total cost of your project. Usually, we tie into your existing roof, matching your existing roof style and color. The three common roof styles we use are a shed roof, gable roof (which is more than shed), and hip roof (which is more than gable). The gable roof is the most popular roof style among our clients as it opens up the room with cathedral ceilings. With your choice of roof style also comes ceiling choices. Exposed rafters cost less than enclosed rafters and can give a screened porch a beautiful rustic look.

More than Material

Another piece to consider is the work that goes into designing and building screened porches. At Archadeck, your skilled Design Consultant walks you through our design process so they can create a design that will meet your functional needs and aesthetic tastes. Our Production Team manages your project from start to finish. We have a Draftsman to structure your project so that is engineered to be structurally sound and meet code requirements. Our Permit Coordinator works with the surrounding village building departments and handles all of the necessary permitting for you. The team also schedules material deliveries and inspections, manages the crew building your project, and coordinates with you in an effort to disrupt your daily life as little as possible.

The Bottom Line

So when we put all of these components together, what does the cost of a screened porch come to? A price or estimate that falls in or around $20,000 – $50,000 would be reasonable for a professionally designed and built screen porch in the Chicagoland area. A good contractor will work with your budget. Our Design Consultants will let you know if it looks like your design might run higher than you planned and will discuss possible solutions in order to keep your design within your budget.

If you are considering adding a screened porch or other outdoor living space to your backyard, we’d love to hear from you! Give us a call at (847) 496.4333 or sign up today for a Free Design Consultation.

How to Choose the Best Contractor

Spring is a great time to work on new projects around the house. Whether you’re adding a new deck or patio to your backyard, remodeling a kitchen, or updating your bathroom, one thing remains the same; you need a skilled contractor you can trust. How do you find a contractor that leaves you feeling confident your project will be built well and according to plan? Here are a few important areas to focus on while interviewing.

Experience

Choose a contractor who specializes in your type of project. Many contractors try to do all forms of construction, but there are subtle differences in materials and design that affect the outcome of each construction project. For example, Archadeck specializes in outdoor living spaces. Could we remodel a kitchen? Absolutely, but you might find there are several little things that just don’t look quite right. A good rule of thumb is if a company has done at least 100 projects in a category, they have probably learned the nuances that ensure the project is done right.

Background

Choose a contractor with positive references that back up their experience. Looking up a contractor on Angie’s List, The Better Business Bureau, or Houzz is a great way to learn how the contractor treats their clients. It is also worth noting how they respond to clients that had a negative experience. Do they ignore complaints or do they work with the client to make the issue right? Also, if possible, take a look at other projects the contractor has completed. A good contractor has a proven record of providing quality craftsmanship and customer care for their clients.

Performance Indicators

Pay attention to how your potential contractor interacts with you. If you notice they are not meeting your standards before you sign a contract, odds are they will fall short during the project. Ask yourself these five questions before you sign on the dotted line.

  • How quickly do they respond and what is the quality of their response?
  • Are they on time?
  • Do they ask questions to help avoid mistakes?
  • Do they listen and understand the priorities for your project?
  • Do they commit to follow-up, and more importantly, do they fulfill these commitments?

Evaluate the Contractor’s Method

A good contractor seeks to understand your personal priorities for your project by asking questions and listening to your ideas or concerns. At Archadeck, we use a proven design process to help us understand individual client needs for each project. Even if your project does not involve a design process, your contractor’s method should strive to understand your needs and wants and should clearly document the plan you agree to. Protecting your investment starts at the beginning with three important details.

  • Clear and written details. Project specifications should include details regarding materials and finishing information. Any items the client will be responsible for should also be included. For example, we note number one grade decking and stainless steel screws for our deck projects. Or when we build screen porches, we note that the client buys the ceiling fan which we install.
  • Design plans. In many cases, it is helpful to visualize your project. With every project we build, we offer a plan view (view from above). This helps ensure Archadeck and clients are in full agreement with what the end result should be.
  • Price or estimate? Some contractors give estimates. Estimates can change and some contractors purposefully give a low estimate that they plan to increase once the project begins. We guarantee that the price we agree to will not change unless the project is changed by the client or something unforeseen (not visually present or a requirement by a building department outside of noted building codes) occurs.

Project Management

Project management is crucial in construction. 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 system does the contractor have in place to ensure your project runs smoothly? At Archadeck, we have a system called the Job Progress Methodology. This is an elaborate checklist with over four supporting guides for the field personnel that keeps us on track. We use this tool in conjunction with a series of construction standards that clearly reflects how each detail of the project will be built.
  • Who are the crews and how are they managed? We work hard to find skilled, reliable, and trustworthy tradesmen. We issue a written test, conduct background checks, follow up with references, check that all insurances are up to date and that our crews are properly licensed. With new crews, our Construction Manager is on site daily for the first two to three weeks to ensure they are building to our expectations.
  • Does the contractor handle permitting and inspections? If you want a full-service contractor, they should handle all issues related to the permits and inspections required for your project. This includes contacting JULIE (Illinois utility locator service) and providing any drawings and information your Home Owners Association might require.
  • Do they keep their clients informed of the job progress? Some of the feedback we often hear from our clients is how much they appreciate our daily communication and updates about the progress of their project. It is helpful to understand what’s been done, what is planned, and if there are any problems that need to be or were addressed. This grants peace of mind that every detail is being handled and allows for less disruption in our clients day to day lives.

Safeguards

It is important to understand what the contractor has in place to protect you and your home. The safeguards they have in place and the manner in which they respond to these questions help indicate how trustworthy a contractor may or may not be.

  • Liability insurance is a must. This protects your home from any damage caused during the construction process.
  • Workers’ Compensation is also important and required for any company with employees. This protects you from an employee of the contractor getting injured on the job and suing you for the bills.
  • Contractors should be licensed in the town or city the construction is being performed. Request a copy of their insurances and applicable licenses.
  • What type of warranty do they offer? We offer a warranty of one year on workmanship and five years on structural issues. For added protection, we also offer a third-party guarantee of performance and warranty coverage. Archadeck clients receive a National Guarantee Corporation Warranty. This ensures their project is completed and they receive at least two years of warranty coverage.
  • Will the contractor 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.

Follow Your Instinct

What do your research and instincts tell you about the contractor or company? Can you trust them to do what they say, to stand behind their work, and to do what is right? After interviewing with your contractor, you should feel comfortable in your decision, knowing they are experienced, insured, organized, and ethical.

If you are considering an outdoor living project, we would love to hear from you! Sign-up today for a Free Design Consultation or call our Palatine Showroom at 847-496-4333 to speak with one of our talented Design Consultants. Together we can bring your outdoor living dreams to life.

How Much Does a Chicagoland Pool Deck Cost?

We often think of summer as a time to get away and vacation on a beach in a relaxing spot of the world. But have you considered making your backyard a relaxing summer destination? When you add a pool to your backyard you have the opportunity to create your very own summer retreat by incorporating your favorite outdoor living elements. Whether you’re an adult, a child, or simply a child at heart, there is nothing better than cool water on a hot summer day. With the help of an Archadeck Design Consultant, you can design a space that incorporates your pool, compliments your home, and transforms your yard.

As you begin looking at the many pool options available to you, consider the differences between above ground and in-ground pools and how those differences can affect the cost and design of your pool deck. Before purchasing my own pool, I did plenty of research and learned that investing in an above-ground pool with a deck was comparable to installing an in-ground pool with a patio. Of course, these numbers will depend on materials, size, and location, so please take care to do your research. Before you take the plunge and purchase your pool, here are a few things to consider that will help you make a decision that matches your family’s lifestyle and budget.

Above-Ground Pool Decks

Above-ground pools are often associated with a lower price tag and easier installation, making this an attractive option for many homeowners wanting to add a pool to their backyard. In contrast, above-ground pool decks tend to be expensive and can easily cost more than the pool itself. As with any deck, the under structure must include perimeter footings and deck supports to ensure a safe, long lasting structure. A square or rectangular deck requires fewer supports. A rounded deck (as one would find wrapping around a pool) requires several, raising the price considerably.

To avoid such an increase, we often recommend building the deck along one side of the pool. This gives you more deck space for your money and gives the swimmers space to sit, sunbathe, or dine near the water. Wrapping the deck around the pool often leaves you with little functional space as most of the deck space is more of a walkway around the pool. This walkway, however, makes cleaning the pool easier than if you’re standing on the ground. Depending on your personal preferences, you may decide wrapping the pool and creating such a walkway is well worth the investment.

Another consideration to keep in mind is how the pool and deck will look aesthetically in your yard. Will they stand alone away from the house or will the pool be installed near the home so you can step right outside onto your pool deck? Either way, it is important to consider how the pool and deck will look as you relax in your backyard. While you are adding a pool for the benefit of enjoying the water on a hot summer day, much of your time will be spent looking at the pool from your yard or home. A good pool and deck design will compliment your backyard, successfully turning your backyard into your very own summer retreat.

In-Ground Pool Decks (Patio Pool Decks)

In-ground pools can add value to your home and are known for their beauty, enhancing your landscape as a water feature and creating an attractive view from inside your home or outside in your backyard. Patio pool decks are a popular option as they are easy to maintain and seamlessly blend the outdoor living spaces while beautifully complementing your home and backyard. With no need for the structural elements you find with decking, a patio pool deck becomes a budget friendly option.

At Archadeck of Chicagoland, we recommend installing pavers instead of concrete as pavers are easier to maintain and repair whereas concrete will crack over time. Pavers also allow for easier access to any piping that runs beneath. Simply lift the pavers and relay them when finished (though we do recommend speaking with a professional first).

When to Design Your Chicagoland Pool Deck

The pool deck design process can vary depending on the type of pool you are installing, the materials you’re using, the location of the pool, and how you want the design to affect your current landscaping. Consider how you want to use your pool and how much space you will need. Perhaps you only want a couple of lounge chairs and place to hold your towels or maybe you would like a space large enough for dining and entertaining. It is helpful to have an idea as to how you are going to use the space before you begin making any decisions.

If you are purchasing an above-ground pool, it’s usually best to have it installed before we get too deep into the design process. Although if you have the measurements and exact location it is possible to discuss design plans before it’s installed.

There is a little more flexibility with patio pool decks. It would be beneficial to work with both your pool and patio companies to create a design that compliments both features, incorporating the aspects you want for the outdoor space. This includes determining any additional amenities that may be added, such as a built-in fire pit, an outdoor kitchen or a grill surround. Alternatively, you may also install your patio first, keeping in mind that your pool will be added at a later date. Once the pool is installed, pavers can be added to fill the space between the pool and patio to complete the design.

If you are considering adding a pool deck or other outdoor living space, we would love to hear from you! You can sign up for a Free Archadeck Design Consultation or give us a call at (847) 496-4333. Our experienced Design Consultants are happy to help you turn your backyard into the ultimate summer destination spot.

See you in the backyard!

How to Build a Deck with Archadeck of Chicagoland

How do you build a deck? When you ask our Construction Manager this question, he says “Hire Archadeck!”

From the outside looking in, designing and constructing a deck may not appear to take much effort. If you look closer though, you’ll see there are many details and design elements that that pull the shape, structure, and functionality of the deck together for one amazing outdoor living space.

Design Before You Build

Before your Design Consultant begins to form ideas and suggestions for your new outdoor space, they’ll want to learn about your needs and wishes for your project. We come to your home for the Initial Design Consultation. It is during this meeting that your Design Consultant will go over four key elements. You can expect to discuss spatial issues and functional needs so they understand how you plan to use the space. They’ll show you pictures of previous projects we’ve done so they can get a good understanding of your personal aesthetic tastes. They’ll also discuss your budget so they can develop a design that meets your specific needs while staying within the parameters you set. With this information, as well as measurements they take of your backyard, they are able to present you with a couple of different designs at the next meeting. At this time, working with your Design Consultant, you’ll make any changes or adjustments necessary until you’re satisfied with the final design plan.

Know Your Deck is Structured Properly

Once your deck design is finalized and your project is set into motion, we give the design plans to our in-house draftsman. Through our many checks and balances, our draftsman ensures your deck design is structurally sound before we go in for permitting. As a franchise, we are also backed by our national offices and their drafting team, confirming your structured design meets our highest expectations. This includes knowing how deep to dig for posts, how far off the ground your deck must be, the best hardware for your project and/or material, at what height rails are required, and many other elements.

Follow Your Village’s Permitting Procedures

Prior to building your deck, it is important to apply for and receive a village permit to construct your project. Archadeck takes care of this process for you. We speak with the village to determine the requirements they have set in place. Once we have all of the paperwork and structural details put together, we send it all in. Once the village has had time to look over it (anywhere from a few days to a few weeks) they will notify us when the permit is approved or if there are any adjustments necessary to meet their requirements. If this happens, we discuss the changes with your before moving forward. When the permit is approved we schedule your project start date.

Know Your Material and Have It Ready

It is at this time we set up delivery schedules for your dumpsters and material. Often your material will be delivered on the same day. Sometimes though, the scope of the project or the type of material dictates a multiple deliveries. We do this for a few reasons. We don’t want to take up too much of your yard space, we don’t want to have material sitting too long on your grass, or the material needs to be installed soon after it is delivered. Properly scheduling material deliveries helps the construction process run smoothly and efficiently.

Use a Skilled Carpenter

It’s not hard to find someone who can use a hammer and nails, but if you’re going to have family and friends moving about on your deck, you’re going to want a skilled carpenter to build your project. Through their knowledge of the industry and years of experience, they will build a sturdy deck that is strong enough to withstand decades of use. Further, their skilled expertise will shine through their work. The tiniest details are covered, making sure end pieces line up, boards are even, rails are smooth, pickets evenly spaced, and trim or skirting are properly installed. Throughout your project, you can expect the crew to be respectful of your home and to keep the site clean. At the end of every construction day you’ll receive a quick update via email explaining what was completed that day and what the crew expects to work on the next day.

Know Your Project is Protected

At Archadeck of Chicagoland, we stand behind our work. Your safety and satisfaction is our highest priority. Backed by Archadeck’s national office, the security of the best warranty in the industry, and a 3rd party guarantee of project completion and warranty fulfillment, you can rest assured your project will be completed and protected.

If you are considering building a deck or other outdoor living project, give us a call at (847) 496-4333 or sign up for a Free Design Consultation. We would love to hear from you!

See you in the backyard!

TimberTech vs AZEK: The Leading Manufacturers of Low Maintenance, PVC, and Composite Decking

A popular and fast growing trend in the outdoor living world is low maintenance and composite decking. Low maintenance decking allows you to create an outdoor space without the hassle of staining or painting to contend with; leaving more time for you to spend with your family. As you begin your research, you’ll find there are many different varieties of materials, color choices, and brand options, such as Trex®, TimberTech®, and AZEK.® How do you know which material will be better suited for your yard and lifestyle, or which brands confidently stand behind their products?

As your local Chicagoland deck builder, we at Archadeck have done the research, tested the products, and vetted the companies for you. We confidently recommend TimberTech and AZEK decking for our clients. Both companies stand behind their products and offer quality options. TimberTech and AZEK offer several products and colors to choose from, each with distinct characteristics designed to complement various environments and lifestyles.

Before your head starts swirling with synthetic blends, capstocks, and PVC decking options, take a look at our comprehensive guide to low maintenance material. We’ll go over the important details for each type of decking, the product lines TimberTech and AZEK offer, and the unique characteristics that will help you determine the best product for your new deck.

TimberTech

Wood-Plastic Composite Decking

  • A synthetic blend of wood flour and plastic
  • Sensible decking options designed for the value-conscious homeowner
  • Economical price points
  • Traditional wood-like appearance

TwinFinish
A versatile plank with different textured surfaces on either side of the board

ReliaBoard
A step up from wood with a low maintenance wood-like look

DockSider
Ideal for heavy-use public places and docks near water

Capped Composite Decking

  • A synthetic blend of wood flour and plastic with a PVC skin for additional protection
  • VertiGrain™ surface won’t trap dirt or dust and mimics the look of real wood
  • 25-Year Fade and Stain Warranty

Earthwood Evolutions Legacy
A hand-scraped hardwood look that adapts to any décor

Earthwood Evolutions Tropical
Tropical tones with multicolored streaking creates an authentic grain pattern

Earthwood Evolutions Terrain
Value-conscious price points with the timeless appeal of earthy tones

AZEK

PVC Decking

  • PVC engineering guarantees the ultimate in scratch, mildew and stain resistance.
  • Flat grain surface texture
  • Stain and scratch resistant
  • Mold and mildew resistant
  • Resistant to moisture and insects

Vintage Collection
Realistic wood appearance with rich textures and colors

Arbor Collection
Warm, vibrant tones of exotic wood

Harvest Collection
Soft shades that compliment most popular siding colors

PVC Trim

  • Covers the wood structural pieces with low maintenance materials, pulling the whole project together
  • Maintains a “like new” appearance in all types of weather
  • Resists cupping, swelling and chipping for lasting good looks
  • Resists moisture and insects.
  • 25-year Limited Warranty

Column Wraps
Provides a smooth, finished look for your deck’s structural posts

If you’re looking for a Chicago area deck builder for your new deck or other outdoor living project, we would love to hear from you! You may sign up for a Free Design Consultation or call us at (847) 496-4333. Our talented Design Consultants will walk you through every step of the design process and will help you determine the best low maintenance material for your family’s needs.

See you in the backyard!

Fire Pit Pros and Cons with Archadeck of Chicagoland

Imagine a cool summer evening. The sun has gone down, but your closest friends and family are still gathered in your backyard enjoying the company and beautiful weather. A warm fire burns in your stone fire pit. The kids are toasting marshmallows and your best friend is sneakily stealing a little chocolate meant for the s’mores. This could soon become your reality.

Adding a fire feature to your Chicagoland patio is an excellent way to create a welcoming outdoor space that encourages your family to spend more time together outside. A glowing fire brings a gentle ambiance to your backyard, whether you’re laughing and sharing stories with a group of friends or curled up cozily with your partner.

This all sounds great, you may think, but how do you know you’re picking the right fire pit or fire feature for your yard and your lifestyle? That’s where we come in. Archadeck of Chicagoland’s experienced design consultants walk you through the design process. By keying in on important factors like placement, materials, children, and pets, they are able to offer you design options that will bring your fire pit design ideas to life while ensuring the design is sturdy and safe. As you begin looking at the design process, here are a few important factors to consider as you determine which fire pit is best for your lifestyle.

Wood Burning Fire Pits

Wood burning fire pits create an authentic campfire atmosphere. The smoky aroma and the crackling wood leaves you feeling as though you’ve left the city behind.

Wood Burning Pros

  • Larger fires
  • Wood is inexpensive
  • Affordable to install
  • Enhanced ambiance

Wood Burning Cons

  • Starting a fire takes effort and can be time-consuming
  • Cleaning up ashes after fire can also be time consuming
  • Blowing smoke or flying embers

Natural Gas Fire Pits

Natural gas fire pits give you an easily controlled fire with the ease of flipping a switch. Natural gas burns significantly cleaner than wood and creates less smoke or flying sparks. These fire pits are a great option for environments where children or pets are present or for those bothered by smoke.

Natural Gas Pros

  • Light, extinguish, and control the size of your fire with the flip of a switch
  • Minimal to no cleanup
  • Creates a relaxing atmosphere with little effort.
  • Cleaner burn, less smoke

Natural Gas Cons

  • Smaller fires
  • Gas line must be installed
  • Initial cost may be higher than a wood burning fire pit

Fire Glass

A popular fire pit trend is fire glass. These glass beads instantly transform your outdoor living space with flames dancing above the reflective glass. Easy to work with, this heat tempered glass is processed through a tumbler to prevent sharp edges. Because it doesn’t burn or break down, you can use them several years.

Fire Glass Pros

  • No toxic fumes, smoke, ash, or soot
  • Multiple sizes and colors of fire glass for you to choose from.
  • Tempered glass chips last longer, do not burn, melt, or discolor.
  • Radiate 3-4 times more heat with its reflective surface than wood or ceramic logs.

Fire Glass Cons

  • As with all glass products, there is the risk of breaking pieces if mishandled. When re-installing after moving, there may be some glass sediment or broken pieces at the bottom of your container.

If you’re considering adding a fire pit or other outdoor living space to your backyard, we’d love to hear from you. You may call us at 847.496.4333 or sign up for a Free Design Consultation We look forward to speaking with you.

See you in the backyard!

Should I Use Concrete or Pavers for My Chicagoland Patio?

Are you considering a patio for your backyard? Patios make a great outdoor living space for dining, entertaining, and relaxing in the sun. One quick Google search for patio materials shows you some very different options. Even before you create a patio design, you will first want to decide whether you will use pavers or concrete.

As your premier Chicagoland patio builder, we at Archadeck recommend pavers. In fact, at Archadeck of Chicagoland, we only use pavers for our patio designs. Why? Concrete cracks. We warranty every project and pride ourselves on our quality and craftsmanship. Archadeck wants to ensure you have a beautiful patio that will last for many years. Here are three important factors to consider as you begin researching material for your Chicagoland patio design.

Patio maintenance and repair
One of the most important factors to consider before making patio material decisions is how the ground shifts in the Chicagoland area. With the extreme hot and cold temperatures of Chicago, shifting is inevitable and will eventually affect your patio. The good news is some patio materials are easier to repair or relay than others.

Concrete patios and stamped concrete patios will crack, making pricey repairs unavoidable. Pavers will eventually begin to shift over a long period of time. Fortunately, it is easy to relay the section that is beginning to shift, saving you from costly repairs. If you’re looking for high quality and good value, Archadeck’s Belgard paver patios meet both.

The truth about pavers and weeds
One common concern we often hear as we begin looking at design ideas with our clients is that weeds will grow between the pavers, making the patio look unkempt. To prevent this, we sweep polymeric sand between the pavers of every Chicagoland patio we build. It is recommended homeowners perform this simple and inexpensive process yearly to prevent weed growth. If you do happen to find yourself with stubborn weeds, Belgard recommends mixing a pre-emergent granular weed killer into the joint sand.

Patio price points
Consider how you will make your patio material decisions. Ultimately it comes down to price, value, and quality. If cost is a determining factor, then concrete will meet that need. The lowest of these price points is concrete, though it is important to know concrete repair or replacement quickly becomes expensive. Stamped concrete price points are comparable to that of a paver patio. However, stamped concrete is still concrete and you will run into the same repair and replacement issues. A paver patio, though pricier than concrete, lasts for many years, will need fewer repairs, and repairs are relatively low cost and often something homeowners can do themselves.

We use high quality materials in order to ensure that we create an outdoor living space to be enjoyed for years. It is because we use pavers that we are able to offer a warranty to protect your investment. If you are considering a new outdoor living project, give us a call at (847) 496.4333. You may also sign up for a Free Design Consultation. We would love to hear from you!

See you in the backyard!

Understanding the Difference between Screened Porches, Sunrooms, and Additions

Do you know the difference between screened porches, sunrooms, and full additions? Many homeowners have an idea of what they are looking for but may not know whether it is considered a sunroom, screen room, or an addition. Screen porches and sunrooms allow you to enjoy the outdoors while avoiding unwanted elements of nature such as mosquitoes or rain while an addition is an expansion of your home. Knowing how you will use the room and during which seasons you would like to utilize the space will help you decide which style best suits your family’s needs.

Screened Porches
A screened porch is very similar to a sunroom but rather than using glass windows we use fiberglass screens allowing the breeze to flow freely through the room, creating a space that invites the outdoors in. Many of the screen porches designed by Archadeck.

As your local Chicagoland porch builder, we often recommend using Eze-Breeze vertical 4 track windows. These unique window designs consist of 4 panels, allowing homeowners to open the window 25%, 50%, or 75%. This lets you to choose how much fresh air you would like flowing through the room. At first glance the window panes, made of a strong, flexible vinyl, appear to be glass, giving the room a more finished look. As these windows are a lighter weight than glass windows, we are then usually able to build your porch on pier footings rather than with a full or trench foundation sunrooms require.

Design elements such as this make adding a screen porch more affordable than a sunroom while still protecting from outdoor elements, creating a wonderful space to spend time with family and friends during not only sunny weather but also during a light rain storm or December snowfall.

Sunrooms
A sunroom is built to protect homeowners from rain, wind and snow while optimizing the amount of light that enters the room, meaning lots of windows! The windows are designed to heat the room by intensifying the sun’s rays, creating a wonderful space to curl up and enjoy during a light rain or even snowfall during the cooler seasons. During warmer seasons, windows can be opened to allow a warm breeze to flow through the room, bringing the outdoors in. Archadeck’s sunroom designs are not insulated and do not included heating or cooling, although a small space heater heats the room well on a mild winter day.

Additions
An addition is simply a room or rooms being added onto the home. Additions include more wall space rather than window space, heating and cooling systems, and insulation. These spaces are fully functional year round and are quite literally an expansion of your home.

If you are looking for a protected area to enjoy the outdoors, a screen room or sunroom may be just what you need. Design options are customizable and endless! Sign up for a free design consultation or call Archadeck of Chicagoland at (847) 496.4333 to speak with a design consultant and begin creating your new dream space.

See you in the Backyard!

Pergola Shade Solutions for Your Chicagoland Backyard

Adding a pergola to your backyard is a fantastic way to create a more comfortable and attractive outdoor living space. A pergola is a shade structure that can be customized to provide the perfect amount of shade for your backyard. Pergolas consist of 4 posts with cross rafters to create shade. The further apart the rafters are placed, the more sun will shine through to your deck or patio.

Here are 4 elements to consider when adding a pergola to your outdoor living space in order to ensure that you build exactly what you are looking for.

Space
The size of your pergola depends on the area you would like to cover. Consider what furniture or items you would like to place underneath. Because pergolas are open structures, they can define a space without separating the space. For instance, you could place your outdoor furniture under the pergola and keep your dining area outside of the pergola, defining your seating and dining spaces while keeping an open floor plan. Or you could build a pergola to cover both! Also consider whether you prefer to cover an entire space or if you would like to keep a portion of the patio or deck open to the sun.

Shade
How much shade would you like? Many homeowners opt to cover only a portion of their outdoor living space rather than the whole area, that way they may choose to bask in the sun or relax in the shade. Keep in mind that the area under the pergola will not be completely covered by shade because the ceiling is not solid. This brings you to your next decision, how far apart to space the rafters. If you would like minimal amounts of sun plan to build the rafters very close together in order to maximize shade. If you prefer partial shade consider placing rafters farther apart. You can also increase the amount of shade offered by your pergola by adding a retractable canopy.

Amenities
Although the practical purpose of a pergola is to provide shade, don’t forget what a beautiful addition the pergola can be in terms of design and decor. How can you use your pergola as a part of your outdoor landscaping and decor? With flowers, plants, lighting, and curtains! Planting vines to climb and cover the pergola will create a romantic ambiance in your outdoor space while creating additional shade. Another option is to place hanging plants around the rim of the pergola. Outdoor lighting creates an intimate setting while allowing you to use the space long after the sun goes down. Mosquito curtains offer protection from pesky bugs and look gorgeous on any pergola.

Design
Our pergolas are customized to give you the optimal amount of shade as well as to decorate your outdoor living space. There are many design aspects to consider when building a pergola such as the material of the pergola, the shape of the posts, and the shape and spacing of the rafters. Would you like to create a perfect match to your house or add a unique pergola that compliments the style of your home? The options are endless.

If you are looking for a way to change or spruce up an existing pergola, hopefully some of the tips in this article have given you some ideas to consider. Painting or staining, installing outdoor lighting, adding rafters for more shade, installing a pergola canopy, or hanging plants are all viable options. If you are looking for another practical change, consider mosquito curtains! This is a wonderful way to make your outdoor living space that much more enjoyable. Not only will you be protected from the sun while you enjoy the outdoors, but you’ll be protected from pesky mosquitoes and other insects as well.

If you’re looking for a Chicagoland pergola builder to guide you through the design process and build your project, give us a call at (847) 496.4333 or sign up here for a Free Design Consultation.

See you in the backyard!

Chicagoland Outdoor Kitchens

Imagine standing at your outdoor grill on a warm summer evening. You’re preparing dinner on the grill while family members enjoy a cool beverage at the bar top overlooking the yard and the kids gather around the dining table. Welcome to your outdoor kitchen.

Didn’t think an outdoor kitchen was an option in the Midwest? Think again! Archadeck of Chicagoland has custom designed and built numerous outdoor kitchens, each crafted to meet the specific needs of the client. We may not be able to incorporate every aspect of a traditional kitchen due to the chilly Chicago winters but that doesn’t stop us from creating unique Chicagoland outdoor kitchen designs that bring cooking and dining to your backyard.

You may be familiar with the term “California Outdoor Kitchen,” which refers to an outdoor kitchen built in warmer climates and can be enjoyed all year round. These trendy outdoor spaces are quickly gaining popularity in the Midwest – with a few alterations, of course. The typical California Outdoor Kitchen may include details such as polished granite countertops or a sink. Due to the freeze/thaw cycle of Chicago these are two amenities we would not recommend including, but there are many aspects that we do include in Chicagoland outdoor kitchen designs such as a grill surround (or a built-in grill), limestone countertops, a bar, an outdoor dining table, and more. You might also consider additional details that are not categorized under the theme of “kitchen” that will certainly enhance your outdoor kitchen or living space such as a fire pit, fireplace, shade structure, or shade structure with mosquito curtains, allowing you and your family to cook or dine outdoors during blazing summer days as well and cool fall nights.

While outdoor kitchens are not the least expensive option for a new outdoor space, it’s worth noting that we at Archadeck pride ourselves on creating designs that within your budget. We will customize your Chicagoland outdoor kitchen design to fit your needs while accommodating your budget. This means we can add all of the bells and whistles or create a modest design depending on the amount you are comfortable investing. We want to build a space for you to create memories you and your wallet will both appreciate.

With ‘A’ ratings on Angie’s List and impeccable customer reviews, Archadeck is sure to build a quality Chicagoland outdoor kitchen for you and your family to enjoy for years to come. If you are considering an outdoor kitchen or other outdoor living space, we would love to hear from you! You may sign up for a Free Design Consultation. or give us a call at (847) 496.4333.

Wood or Low Maintenance Materials - What's Best for your Chicagoland Deck Design?

Do you enjoy spending time outside? Whether its cooking dinner on the grill, entertaining, or simply sitting out and enjoying the beautiful weather, adding an outdoor living space, such as a deck, is be the perfect addition to your home. One of the most important decisions you’ll make is whether to use wood or low maintenance decking material, such as TimberTech or AZEK. As your local Chicagoland deck builder, we would like to share three important factors to consider as you prepare to make your decision.

Cost
You can expect low maintenance and composite decking materials to run about 50% – 70% more than wood decking. While that initially sounds pricey, consider how cost effective low maintenance deck designs are in the long run, especially if you plan to be in your home for several more years. When you compare the cost of hiring someone to wash and stain a wood deck; you end up recouping the cost of choosing low maintenance decking in about fifteen years. While you initially invest more upfront, you will not need to be concerned with sanding and staining your deck – ever.

On the other hand, if you plan to stay in your current home for only a few more years, wood is the more cost effective option for your investment. A wood deck design will require that you pressure wash and stain the boards every 1-3 years. If you plan on moving in the near future, wood is the more cost effective and increases the value of your home.

Wear and Tear
Wood may fade, splinter, expand or shrink. Low maintenance boards will not splinter, they expand and shrink less, but they may scratch. Additionally, low maintenance and wood can both be stained by cooking oils and other chemicals. The difference is that while wood boards can be sanded in order to remove stains, low maintenance boards cannot. That said there is a wide array of options for low maintenance decking, including stain and scratch resistant materials. For these reasons it is important to consider how you plan to use the outdoor space when deciding between materials.

Maintenance
Wood decking must be cleaned and stained and the frequency will depend on what type of wood you choose. Cedar requires cleaning and staining every year while pressure treated pine must be cleaned and stained every 1-3 years.

The beauty of low maintenance and composite decking is that is does not need to be stained or painted. You might consider cleaning your boards in which case you can purchase a special low maintenance decking soap that is made by your product’s company.

If you are considering adding an outdoor living space such as a deck or patio, we would love to hear from you! You can sign up for a free Archadeck Design Consultation or give us a call at (847) 496.4333. Our experienced Design Consultants are happy to help you determine the best materials for your project.

See you in the backyard!

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