Category Archives: Composite woods

What’s new with AZEK synthetic decking in 2016?

As we’ve written before, synthetic outdoor building materials continue to improve over time. While composite decking brands have come and gone over the years, here in the Kansas City market, we have historically and continue to enjoy success with AZEK. AZEK composite decking not only performs well but it carries a 25-year warranty providing protection from splitting, cupping, splintering, blistering, peeling, flaking, cracking, rotting or structural damage from termites or fungal decay.

AZEK Alloy Armour Kansas City ArchadeckIn 2016, AZEK is rolling out a new technology called Alloy Armour technology. AZEK’s  proprietary alloy blend provides increased performance including better weathering protection, better UV protection and more fade & stain resistance. With the proprietary Alloy Armour technology, AZEK is now adding an additional 30-year warranty which specifically covers fade and stain protection. When evaluating contractors to build your new project, it’s important to look at all the warranties available. With Archadeck, we offer our own additional warranties. We have a guarantee of project completion even if any unfortunate situations should arise with your local crew, a 12-month workmanship warranty and a 60-month structural warranty.

In addition to AZEK’s new technology and warranty, there are introducing some color changes in 2016. Here are the color changes:

  • Sandridge will now be Brownstone
  • River Rock will now be changed to Slate Gray
  • Tahoe will now be changed to Island Oak
  • Sedona will now be changed to Autumn Chestnut
  • Walnut Grove will be changed to Brazilian Walnut
  • Redland Rose will be changed to Mountain Redwood
  • Rustic Bark will be changed to Mahogany
  • Harvest Bronze will be changed to Cypress
Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you are considering adding a new deck, porch or other outdoor living space to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation. We look forward to your call at 913-851-3325. Please also visit our Archadeck of Kansas City website.

Take a look at this large AZEK deck in Shawnee KS

large AZEK deck Shawnee KS by Archadeck lrWhen these Shawnee homeowners called us over a year ago, they had an old 2-level wood deck. They wanted a new space and asked us to consult. We suggested they consider an upper level deck and a lower level patio. They liked that idea and had some landscaping things they wanted to change. When we got started, we had to demolish the old 2-level deck. In its place we built a large deck using AZEK Morado PVC decking. The deck has white TimberTech Radiance railing with lights on the upper level railing.

Shawnee KS Belgard paver patio under deck

Below the deck, we built a paver patio using Belgard paving stone. This outdoor living space is completely re-done in terms of ambiance, increased longevity and durability. In addition, all of the materials are low-maintenance. The deck and railing will not need to be stained or sealed. – ever. AZEK decking comes with a lifetime limited warranty.

Shawnee KS AZEK Morado deck lr

The Morado color is a warm chestnut brown giving the space a welcoming and inviting feel. The white railing provides stark contrast for visual appeal.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you’re considering add a deck, porch, patio or other outdoor living structure to your Kansas City area home, give us a call at (913) 851 – 3325 for a free consultation or drop us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net. We look forward to your call.

Composite wood and synthetic wood has come a long way baby – Top 5 key steps in their evolution

If you’re thinking about adding a new deck, porch other other outdoor structure to your yard, any early research may be a dizzying experience. There are so many brands with so many choices. We’d like to share some of the steps we’ve seen in the evolution of these products.

  1. Rot proof and Termite Proof
  2. Synthetics evolve: low-maintenance please!
  3. Design improvement
  4. Synthetics perform
  5. Synthetics perform even better

Rot proof and Termite Proof

Believe it or not, composite woods were developed over 20 years ago. The formula was rather simple back then. Recycled sawdust was blended with recycled plastic. This “composite” was rot proof, termite proof and environmentally friendly. But, there was no choice of color, no fancy pattern, and the product suffered with mold problems because water seeped into the wood portion of the composite, was held there, and molded.

Synthetics evolve: low-maintenance please!

As time went on and the products became more widely known. Consumers were looking for other features that could be added besides being rot proof and termite proof. New composite woods came to market as low-maintenance products. They still needed to be gently cleaned but did not require annual maintenance. The same is still true today with both composites and synthetics. They neither need to be stained nor sealed and can be easily washed by spraying a hose or with some gentle washing.

Design improvement

New things became important to consumers such as look, texture, scratch resistance, colors, and patterns. Synthetics began to come in a variety of colors and include a variety of patterns such as a wood grain pattern. In trying to incorporate these, manufacturers wanted to change the way boards were made. Many went away from recycled plastic to boards they could specify the quality of. For example, some composite manufacturers began using virgin plastic.

Synthetics perform

With continuous improvements composite boards could now tout better performance. This performance included protection against blistering, peeling, flaking, cracking, splitting, cupping, rotting, and other performance characteristics.

Synthetics perform even better

While the performance had grown in leaps and bounds, there were still 2 performance characteristics that the products did not provide – stain resistance and fade resistance. It’s important to note that we use the word resistance here and when talking about maintenance, we always state low maintenance instead of no maintenance. Anything can be damaged by neglect such as leaving spilled wine on the surface. These products can still be damaged with very sharp objects.

Then a new material entered the market – PVC. PVC boards such as AZEK don’t have any wood fibers in them at all. They are 100% synthetic. These synthetics provided a host of additional performance characteristics including superior stain and fade resistance. They do perform better. The raw material is more expensive and therefore you will pay more for PVC.

Best of both worlds?

More recently, a new type of product is available that has a composite core and is wrapped or capped with PVC. The consumer can benefit from the lower cost that the composite core provides but can enjoy the superior performance that PVC provides.

By now you may have a sense of what type of material may be right for your new deck or porch. The next question relates to which brand to use. To a great extent, this will simply depend on your preference. We can show you samples that show the grains, patterns, and colors to help you make your decision.

Steve FolsomIf you are considering adding a new deck, porch, or other structure to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851 – 3325. You can reach us via email at kansascity@archadeck.net.

A new porch and AZEK deck were just what these Lenexa KS homeowners wanted

When we first met these Lenexa KS homeowners at a home show, they had an older existing deck and were looking to replace it with both a covered and uncovered outdoor living space.

Lenexa before after new porch and deck

As you can see in the photo above, the home improvement made a dramatic change both aesthetically and also functionally for the home.

The old deck spanned most of the back of the home. The homeowners wanted to split that space to include both a porch and a deck. One of the challenges we often have in designing a screen porch to attach to a home is deciding where to attach the porch to the home. Often, second story windows obstruct the area where we hope to attach the roof of the new porch. There are usually a few ways an experienced contractor can work with the configuration of your home. At this home, the owners agreed to replace the second story window with a smaller window to allow room for the gable roof over the screened porch. If you look at the top right of both the before and after pictures, you will see how the shorter window allows space for the screened porch roof.

AZEK Sedona low maintenance deck with black Fortress steel railings

The homeowners knew they wanted low-maintenance flooring materials and after consideration they selected AZEK Sedona for the flooring and black Fortress steel railings to enhance view. Slim black railings are a popular choice. Both because of the color black and also because of the slender width, the eye tends to travel beyond the railing to focus on the yard instead of the eye focusing on the railing itself. The owners continued the AZEK decking and the same Fortress railing throughout the screened porch as well.

Lenexa KS screened porch AZEK floor

Many owners select a gable roof design as you see above. With a gable roof, both sides of the roof meet in the middle crating that triangular end shape. Many of our customers screen the gable area to allow more light and more air into the porch. You’ll notice in this picture that the beautiful black furniture compliments the brown flooring and especially the black iron railings. These homeowners’ furniture was between 30-80 yrs old and was willed to them. They sent the furniture off to be refurbished and repainted and it finishes this picture perfect porch.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you are considering adding a porch, deck, or other outdoor living area to your home, give us a call at (913) 851 – 3325 or send us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net. We look forward to hearing from you.

Your new outdoor living space should be all about putting the pieces together to fit your family

Lenexa KS Porch deck pergola by Archadeck

Looking at the picture above, you’ll notice quite a transformation. What you might not notice at first glance is the large custom garden shed built to fit perfectly under the deck. This was one of the goals of the homeowners and this is one of the benefits of working with a custom design and build contractor.

When we first met with these Lenexa KS homeowners, they had an old deck with a garden storage shed off to side. They wanted a screened porch, a larger deck, a pergola over the deck, and a new garden shed designed to fit under the deck. We completely redesigned in size and footprint to include all these elements.

In addition to knowing which structures they were looking for, these homeowners also knew they wanted low maintenance materials including composite flooring for and metal railings for strength, durability, and low-maintenance. After considerable looking, they selected Fiberon Ipe color as the deck and porch flooring. They selected low-maintenance Fortress iron railings in black for both the deck and porch.

Archadeck porch Lenexa KS Fiberon floor

We built a gable roof screened porch for a light and airy feel. The wall posts are cedar and the T-111 ceiling is stained to match the ceiling. They wanted ceiling fans, outlets, etc. which we built into the porch. We used our standard heavy-duty screen. You’ll notice how nicely the black railings allow for visibility. Not only are they slender, but the dark color also moves your eye past the railing. The outside porch is trimmed with low-maintenance smart trim.

Cedar pergola Fiberon deck Lenexa KS by Archadeck

The deck on the adjacent porch has a cedar pergola over it for shade. Both the deck and stairs are in Fiberon’s Ipe color which has beautiful markings to look like real exotic hardwood.

Garden shed integrated into deck Lenexa KS ArchadeckThe garden shed is fully waterproof. We custom designed the shed out of Hardie siding and trimmed it with low maintenance Smart Trim.

If you are considering adding an outdoor living space, give us a call at (913) 851 – 3325 or send us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net. Our consultation is free. We look forward to your call.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

The benefits and drawbacks of using dark rich colors for your new deck

Kansas City AZEK deck in Acacia color with Deckorator balusters and cedar railing

Kansas City AZEK deck in Acacia color with Deckorator balusters and cedar railing

Dark rich colors for flooring are very popular right now both indoors and out. Many people are choosing darker colors for new hardwood flooring on the interior of their home. Similarly, many of our customers are choosing dark composite and PVC boards for their decking. There are a couple of factors that might help with your decision whether to use dark colors for your new deck. There is the aesthetic side as well as the practicality side. Aesthetically, the dark colors such as AZEK’s popular Acacia color are stunning. They make a dramatic impact and have strong visual appeal as you see in the photo above to the right.

AZEK acacia Archadeck of Kansas City

AZEK's dark Acacia board is a dark rich color

Here is a close-up of AZEK’s new Acacia color. This solid PVC decking board mimics the look of real wood.

From a practicality side, the drawback to dark wood for your deck is it shows dirt more easily. It’s like your black car. It looks beautiful especially when washed but soon after, it quickly and apparently gathers dust. Luckily, composite and PVC decking is low maintenance which makes cleaning very easy. Often the surface dirt can be removed with the spray of a hose.

AZEK Kona Terra collection Archadeck Kansas City

AZEK Kona is a warm dark hue

Another consideration is darker colors will be warmer to walk on in the hot sun especially if you walk barefoot a lot or don’t have much shade.

But, despite these challenges, AZEK’s new Acacia and AZEK Kona are two very popular dark colors from the AZEK line. From the TimberTech Earthwood line, Pacific Teak, Pacific Rosewood and Pacific Walnut are very popular. Below are color swatches for those colors.

TimberTech Pacific Rosewood Archadeck of Kansas City

TimberTech Pacific Rosewood from their Earthwood line

TimberTech Pacific Walnut Archadeck Kansas City

TimberTech Pacific Walnut from the Earthwood line

Steve Folsom - owner of Archadeck of Kansas City

Give us a call for a free consultation (913) 851 – 3325 or send us an email kansascity@archadeck.net. We look forward to discussing your next outdoor project.

Wood or composite? Top five questions that will help you decide…

Kansas City composite deck builder Archadeck of Kansas CityOnce you decide on what you want to build for your outdoor living enjoyment, the next round of decisions you need to make are material selection decisions. Choosing whether to use wood or composite for your decking boards is not a simple decision. Both wood and composite have pro’s and con’s. Simply stated, composite will perform better and cost more. Wood still performs well but certainly not as well as composite. Wood costs significantly less. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself to aid you in your decision.

1) How long are you going to be in your home?

If you are planning on being in your home for another 10 or 20 years, then a composite wood warranty will still be in effect. Composites cost more but most carry a 20 or 25 year warranty that protects against things like blistering, peeling, flaking, cracking, splitting, cupping, rotting, and decay from bugs or fungus. Each warranty is different but these are the sorts of protections that will be covered in composite warranties. Natural wood may have no warranty or a limited lifetime warranty. But, this does not mean that a wood deck will suffer from all the maladies covered by a composite warranty. Wood decks can still last 15 or 20 years and still look good if properly maintained. Because composites are low maintenance, carry such a long warranty, and will look the same in 10 years as it does today, composite is a good investment if it makes sense for your budget.

2) How do you feel about painting, staining and sealing?

Do you get crabby just thinking about staining, painting and sealing? Or, does the annual deck maintenance fall into the category of just another outdoor task for each summer? I’ve found that people generally either don’t mind this at all or or simply won’t invest in materials that require annual maintenance. In order for wood to look good from year to year, it will require annual maintenance. In addition, this annual maintenance will have a cost that includes material and possibly labor if you choose to have someone do this for you.

3) How authentic do you want your decking to look?

Nothing looks more like wood than wood itself. Composites have come a long way and they’re looking better all the time. They are adding more streaking and ridges but this is one category where they will be forever be chasing the real thing – natural wood.

4) What sort of wear and tear do you expect your deck to have?

Some wear and tear will come directly from the environment with the sun being the biggest offender in this category. Other wear and tear issues are general use and  moving objects around on the deck such as chairs and tables. A composite deck will resist wear, tear and environmental degrade better than wood.

5) Do you prefer to pay more now and less over time or less now and more over time?

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Regardless of all of the features and benefits of composite, it has to make sense for your budget. A well-maintained wood deck can last a good 15-20 years or longer however wood will wear and tear over time. Wood will having some cracking and splintering and other wear and tear issues as time goes on.

The bottom line is the only right decision is the one that’s right for you. Based on your answers to the above questions, you should have a good sense whether wood or composite are the best material selection for your new deck.