Category Archives: Deck builder Kansas City

What you really need to know about man-made decking

large AZEK deck Shawnee KS by Archadeck lrA new deck will utilize a multitude of outdoor building materials including everything from pressure-treated wood for framing to a number of material options for railings and a dizzying array of other choices. One of the more important considerations for your new deck is the flooring boards. Choosing the correct flooring board for your new deck will affect how much maintenance you do, how your deck will look and also your price. While pressure-treated pine decking is a tried and true decking material, almost all of our clients now choose a low maintenance option. You owe it to yourself to learn a little about the alternatives to pressure-treated wood when choosing your decking material. Not only are there a dizzying array of products and companies in the marketplace but the technology is always evolving and improving.

The first thing you really need to know is that the man-made decking products available today are several generations advanced from the offerings of 15-20 years ago. The original composites were a blend of plastic and wood fiber designed to have improved resistance to rot and decay. They were very successful in those two areas, but they fell short in how they held up against staining, scratching, and spotting. The industry listened and manufacturers continued to improve and upgrade their offerings. Blended wood/plastic composite are still the least expensive way to manufacture man-made boards and they are still available today.

Man-made decking is also a great option for your porch

Man-made decking is also a great option for your porch

Today’s manufactured decking is leaps and bounds ahead of those first products. Companies like AZEK and TimberTech have made significant investments in research and technology to create multiple product lines that address all of the key concerns expressed by homeowners and builders. PVC decking boards have been consistently surpassing consumer’s expectations. PVC decking has been improved to maintain color and resist scratches and scrapes. PVC decking may have stain and fade guarantees.

The other major man-made decking product that you will see is called capped or wrapped composite. The inside of each board is a pulp/plastic blend and the outside is PVC. Capstock is less expensive to produce than 100% PVC. As with 100% PVC products, the color, texture, and looks of wrapped boards will vary from company to company, but they have improved dramatically over the past 10 years. From a few yards away, it may be challenging to tell the difference between capped and natural wood.

What does all this mean to you? Look beyond the color choices of the deck product lines you are considering. Do a little homework on the companies that manufacture them. How long have they been in the business? Are their consumer reviews good from customers who have lived with the product for several years? Take advice from an experienced builder. Ask for a few referrals so you can take a field trip to see the different types of products in the field.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you’re considering adding a new deck or porch to your Kansas City area home, give us a ring. Our consultation is free. We can discuss options, provide design ideas and of course give you a price quote to consider. Give us a call or send us an email. (913) 851 – 3325 or

How much should a new Kansas City area deck cost?

large AZEK deck Shawnee KS by Archadeck lrThis is an all-too-common question. It would be great to new that a new wood deck should cost within a particular range. The problem is the range of possibilities and options. Gone are the days of yesteryear when a deck was often a relatively small rectangular shape made of pressure-treated wood with a couple of stairs. Just look at any magazine or at the homes of your neighbors and friends. Today’s decks are anything but straight and narrow.

Here are some of the factors that help determine how much a new deck should cost:

There are 3 big variables to consider

  1. Size/shape/footprint
  2. Materials
  3. Amenities (lighting, features, associated structures, skirting/lattice, custom steps – most decks have steps – size, shape, design of steps


Metal railings w/ cedar deck

Metal railings w/ cedar deck


The first variable is the size and shape of your new deck. Will it be a fairly standard shape or will it have a variety of different angles? Will your new deck be low to the ground or will it be quite elevated. A significant factor is the height up in the air. It’s an important consideration because the higher in the air; the more expensive it is to build. It takes more work and also more materials. There are other factors as it relates to size and shape. If the deck is an unusual shape, has a variety of angles, or includes special areas such as a grill bump out, this will affect the price. These special features not only require more construction time but require more material. Further, depending on the standard shapes and sizes that the various materials come in, special design features may require additional material. Unusual artistic shapes create more labor, more time, higher costs.

It’s also important to note that different sizes require different degrees of structural support. It’s a component of longevity and price.  The key to good design is creative attractive shapes with getting too much more expensive.

Lenexa AZEK deck screen porch with TVMaterials:

It’s easy to underestimate the cost of materials. not only are many more materials needed than deck boards, bolts, and nails; each of these has a variety of options. There are many man-made products at many different prices. That range is quite wide. Even in woods, there are quite a few different price levels. As a general rule, the man-made materials are higher. How much higher? It depends on these common factors we’ve noted.

In addition to decking materials is the railing cost. There are are so many different types of railings now. These include wood railings, blended (post and rail made of different material), vinyl, composite and more. Therefore, railing prices vary widely. Believe it or not, different railings can vary the price by thousands of dollars.

cedar deck metal rail 2

This deck by Archadeck of Kansas City takes advantage of multiple leveling to allocate function and usable space


Deck amenities can include lighting, custom flooring and even electrical options. Deck lighting can be typical or more custom. In addition to the lighting choices, there are different quality levels within each of those choices. A custom flooring pattern is an amenity that adds to labor and could add to materials cost because there could be more waste. Some custom flooring options even require underneath to be redesigned.

Another key amenity are steps. There are many options besides the standard set of stairs and these can achieve different objectives. For example, wider stairs can also be used for some overflow seating or even for placing some potted plants to the edges. You may want a larger landing or to add a landing to a long stair set so the stairs take up a smaller footprint in your yard.

Overland Park screen porch AZEK deck Fortress Rail

The deck to the left of this screened porch is small but just the right size for a grill and some space to enjoy grilling.

In summary:

The range of options is really, really wide – so much wider than it was 10-20 yrs. ago. Not only is there a range within a category, there is a range from product to product and manufacturer to manufacturer. The exact same size deck made with the least expensive wood and railing could be more than doubled or tripled with all the fancy materials, amenities and features such as high end railings, or lighting.

If that isn’t enough, there’s yet another factor to consider which is building permits. Each city determines the price for their permit. In this area, a deck permit can be up to $500 which is a significant part of the overall price.

The bottom line is that as designers, we’re trying to blend the deck design with all the different features into the overall budget goals.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you’re considering the addition of an outdoor fireplace – or a deck, porch, patio or other outdoor living structure – give us a call at (913) 851-3325 for a free consultation or email us at We look forward to your call.