Tag Archives: Kansas City deck builder

The price to build next summer could be significantly higher than building now

Leawood KS screen porch builder designed for maximum air flow

Leawood KS screen porch builder designed for maximum air flow

Unlike things that you purchase at retail, building material and lumber prices are extremely subject to supply & demand. If demand increases and supply remains unchanged, a shortage occurs and this leads to higher prices. Supply and demand vary throughout the year and from year to year. If nothing else changes, we have reason to expect building materials prices may increase this Spring.

Here are some reasons why we believe the demand for building materials will increase in 2013.

Seasonality

Certain Materials prices tend to be higher in spring and summer. This often includes the price of lumber and building materials.

State of the economy – It’s improving!

The overall level of economy and the growth or decline of new home building has an effect on demand. As new home building grows, the demand changes. Now it has turned the corner and more and more new home construction is underway than last year or year before. Growth is happening here at home in the Kansas City market and nationwide.

Weather

Natural disasters or weather disasters that cause destruction of homes and businesses will increase demand and put pressure on the supply.  In particular, recent hurricane Sandy is going to generate a tremendous amount of rebuilding/reconstruction over next couple of years. As more and more building materials are ordered on East Coast, the demand is sharply higher and therefore prices will increase. The price of raw materials is affected by changes nationwide. Even though we are far from the East Coast, the nation will be affected by this increase in demand.

Cedar deck w/ meatl rails

Cedar deck w/ metal rails

Industry conditions

Conditions in the industry can have a couple effects. If a large producer shuts down or goes bankrupt, it affects the supply and frequently causes other producers’ prices to go up.

Based on the above, we anticipate the building materials costs will increase throughout 2013 if not longer. It’s not unusual to see those double or triple for a period of many months until the demand changes back. In the past, we have seen a sheet of plywood that normally costs $10 go up in cost to as much as $30.

On Dec. 7th, 2012 Bloomberg reports “Lumber futures rose to a six-year high, extending a 2012 rally that is one of the biggest among commodities, on mounting signs of tighter supplies as U.S. home construction rebounds.”

We frequently hear questions from customers asking when is the best time to build to get the best price. The answer is to build now. Any time you postpone, you are taking the risk of higher material prices.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

The sooner you get started with your outdoor project, the better. Now is the best time to give us a call for a free consultation. We look forward to your call. (913) 851 – 3325.

Visit our Archadeck of Kansas City website to see more pictures of our work.

Switching out a Lenexa KS cedar deck for Ipe

This Lenexa family had an old cedar deck that was rotted and had problems. It was time for a new deck. They liked having a natural wood deck but they wanted something that was exceptionally durable. They were also looking for a larger deck for entertainment and to fit more people.

ipe deck Lenexa KS with sealer lr

This large Ipe deck is sealed to maintain the beautiful color

Ipe is one of the most durable woods available. It’s durability and strength come from it density and hardness. Various woods’ hardness is measured on a scale called the Janka hardness scale. Western Red Cedar has a hardness rating of just under 600 – 800 whereas Ipe has a rating of about 3700 on the same scale making Ipe the perfect choice for these homeowners looking for a durable natural wood.

Lenexa KS ipe deck by Archadeck

This close-up of the Lenexa KS Ipe deck shows the beautiful dark color and the color variety in the different boards.

As you can see in the picture above, Ipe has a strikingly dark and rich color. This family really liked the dark color. One consideration to make when selecting a decking material or other materials for your outdoor living space is maintenance. Natural wood is beautiful and as I always say nothing looks as much like real wood as wood itself. But unlike composites or other synthetic outdoor building materials, natural wood requires sealing and may require staining based on personal taste preferences. The maintenance frequency will depend highly on weather, the amount of direct sunlight affecting the space, and use or traffic on the space. Wood decks whether cedar, pressure-treated pine, or Ipe may require maintenance every 1-2 years. Treating and maintaining Ipe is a little different than other natural woods. Ipe is treated with an oil that seals the wood and helps it to maintain its rich dark color.

Archadeck Ipe deck Lenexa KS

This Ipe deck has black composite TimberTech Radiance rail

For low-maintenance railing, the family selected black composite TimberTech radiance rail. This railing has a beautiful narrow profile which along with the dark color directs the eye easily to the area beyond the deck. TimberTech Radiance rail comes in several different colors. This family really liked the high-end look of this railing.

Lenexa KS black TimberTech radiance rail Archadeck Ipe deck

Notice the way your eye passes through the railing to enjoy the view on the other side. Dark railing with a slender profile aids in accomplishing this objective.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you are considering adding a deck, porch or other outdoor structure to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation. We can be reached at (913) 851 – 3325 or kansascity@archadeck.net. We look forward to your call.

The hazards of fine print in your porch or deck contract – top 3 things to watch for

You might not think this is the case but sometimes the longer the fine print, the less you’re getting. There can often be hidden costs to look out for in the specifications list, warranty, or other details found within your proposal or contract. Here are a couple of things to watch for. You want to be careful if the list of specifications or details about a component are too confusing/not written in a clear and straightforward manner, too vague, or stated verbally.

1) Confusing and/or not written in clear and straightforward manner

Beware if you receive contracts, estimates, addendums, specifications sheets or other documentation that is confusing or is not written in a way that is easily understandable and digestible. For example, if there are multiple options with associated prices within your contract, it may be difficult for you to designate what your selections are and which selections you are not choosing. In contrast to the next point, be wary if there is too much fine print or the documentation is confusing. This may be done intentionally to slip in hidden costs or specifications that are not in agreement with your expectations.

2) Too vague or purposefully vague

Think about all of the construction materials that it will require to build your new porch or deck or outdoor structure. Imagine those materials being delivered and sitting out in your back yard. Now imagine the options available with each of those materials. There are a number of different types of wood that can be used. There are a number of different screws that can be used. There are hundreds of options in construction materials that differ greatly. Has your contractor discussed these options with you? Now imagine that same set of building materials and imagine the number of different ways those can be assembled. In addition to materials, there are construction details that need to be specified.

Look for items in the specifications that are purposefully vague such as “48 feet of standard railing”. Even a railing has lots of facets including pickets, posts, and even screws. Insufficient explanations of choices and options may indicate the contractor is going to use the cheapest options to get the price down but this reflects on durability, upkeep, maintenance.

3) Stated verbally
Watch out for verbal promises that your new porch or deck will be “the same” as someone else’s, or the same as another picture. Beware if they continually lead you to focus on the size of the structure and not the hundreds of variables that are included.

You may feel that you are not qualified to read and understand all of the details or fine print in your construction contract and at first, the details may seem foreign to you. But, it’s your job to ask lots of detailed questions. Sit down with your contractor and the contract. Go through the contract and other details line-by-line. A reputable contractor with nothing to hide will gladly discuss each detail as well as other options that are available. This also creates an excellent opportunity to make any critical changes before the project begins.

In addition, do your due diligence. Research how these different methods and products perform and why they perform this way. If the contractor tries to pressure you to sign the contract before you’ve had time to do your due diligence, beware that there is likely a reason.

Steve Folsom - owner of Archadeck of Kansas City

Give us a call to discuss your next backyard project whether it be a porch, sunroom, deck, pergola, or other outdoor living area. Call (913) 851 – 3325 or send us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net

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.

Plain and simple, the only thing that looks like wood — is wood.

Screened porch with stained ACQ pressure-treated wood in Overland Park, KS

Screened porch with stained ACQ pressure-treated wood in Overland Park, KS

When we think deck, we think wood. With all of the talk about composite decks, one may be led to believe that’s the only good option. Wood is still a REALLY good option for a deck. Plain and simple, wood is still a great option. The only thing that looks like wood — is wood.

Last week, we posted a story called “Do you REALLY want a composite deck?” At Archadeck, our job is to counsel you about the options, help you decide what is best for you, and build the absolute best product for you.

Regarding composites, many of our customers hear all of the benefits of composite decking and PVC decking and assume that’s the only thing that will suit their needs. It seems funny to me but many people think Archadeck is a composite decking product. In fact, we are a custom builder and we use every sort of decking material imaginable depending on what our customers want and what makes the most sense for them. We build decks with pressure-treated wood, natural wood such as cedar, composite wood such as TimberTech and Evergrain, PVC and PVC capped boards which TimberTech also has as well as AZEK and Trex, and last but not least – hardwood. Naturally composite woods are gaining in popularity because of the benefits I mentioned in the last post.

There are many pre-conceived notions and misconceptions about woods as well as many familiar memories. When we think of wood decks, inevitably we remember a couple splinters we received from a wooden dock or deck as a child. Or, we may also think of our own current deck or a deck from a past home that was made of natural wood and suffered from splitting or cracking or molding. These are all true. All wood will suffer from various wear, use and aging depending on the type of wood, how the wood is treated, and the amount of direct sun the wood receives. In fact, composites and PVC decking also suffer from various issues but mostly to a lower degree. It’s a tradeoff. With more expense comes more benefits.

Cedar deck

Cedar deck

There are several reasons to build a wood deck

A wooden deck is A LOT LESS EXPENSIVE.

A wooden deck still lasts a long time. Depending on the type of wood you plan to use, your wood deck may last 15 years or even longer if well cared for and maintained. A composite deck or hardwood deck may last 30-50 years although many of us will have moved to a different house in that span of time.

A wooden deck is familiar and comfortable. It’s reminiscent of the deck you had as a kid. That “gray” color that wood naturally fades to is very appealing if you like the natural effect of aging and weathering. The docks we walked on as children and the decks we played on as children were made of natural wood.

With the various pressure treatments of wood, pressure-treated wood suffers from fewer issues than it did in the past.

Kansas City cedar covered deck

Kansas City cedar covered deck

Let me tell you first what hasn’t changed. A natural wood or pressure-treated wood deck will gray out if not stained and sealed on a regular schedule – every 2-3 years or so. Natural wood such as cedar or redwood will still crack, split and splinter but they do have some rot resistance. Pressure-treated wood will also do this but has the added benefit that the treatment prevents rot and termites.

One of the big things to ask yourself if considering a wood deck is how much maintenance do you want to do on your deck. The next question is how long do you want your deck to last. This depends greatly on the amount of sun your deck or structure will receive. Nothing speeds up the process of aging faster than direct sunlight. The more direct sunlight and the hotter the sunlight that hits your deck, the faster the wood will age.

As you can imagine the question of whether to build with wood, composite or PVC is not an easy question. With more expense comes some different features and benefits. Composite boards are more consistent. They don’t have imperfections. Wood has imperfections such as knots but this is also what endears us to wood.

Don’t forget that a wood deck will still last a long time and although far from the only option, is still a really good option.

To discuss your new project and what material might be best for you, give us a call at (913) 851 – 3325 or email kansascity@archadeck.net.