The 5 Best Materials for Outdoor Furniture

Archadeck 2012

Have you built the perfect outdoor living space and are now wondering what are the best materials for outdoor furniture, that will insure not just aesthetic and function, but durability? Here at Archadeck of Central Maryland, for over a decade we have designed and installed sunrooms, screen porches, hardscapes, patios, decks, gazebos and more. Once our clients have their new outdoor living space, they often ask us what the best types of outdoor furniture would be as they decorate their space. So consider this post a round-up of the 5 best types of materials for your outdoor furniture!

Cedar and Teak make our list as the top two. They are both types of hard wood that can withstand the harsh elements of the outdoors. They don’t hold as much heat as metal furniture, and see little effect from rain due to their natural enzymes which prevent decay. Wood furniture is a classic choice for decorating your porch, patio or deck, but can be considerably more expensive than furniture constructed from other materials. It’s important to note that other woods that are softer, can absorb moisture and rot over time, so other types of wood would require paint or sealant.

Wicker is another popular material for outdoor furniture. It comes in woven wood or synthetic form. The synthetic wicker stands up well against nature and the elements, while the woven wood type is best with a coat of sealant for protection. The benefits of wicker is that it is lightweight, durable, and easy to clean. Some considerations and perhaps drawbacks of wicker furniture, are that the furniture sets tend to have high price points and can appear massive for smaller and more intimate outdoor settings.

Steel is a durable material found in many outdoor furniture applications. Furniture constructed from steel won’t move around in strong winds. Steel is sturdy and hefty, but can be pricey in outdoor furniture form, plus difficult to easily move or reposition. Steel furniture also necessitates a protective coating to safeguard against rust.

Aluminum is our fifth and final top outdoor furniture material. It is a malleable, lightweight material that works great in a variety of environments, including coastal settings which experience harsh salty/wet and extremely sunny conditions. Aluminum furniture with a powder-coat finish is particularly durable and resistant to both rust and fade. Another benefit of this type of material, is it is simple to clean. Outdoor furniture constructed from aluminum tends to come in a wide variety of styles due to the malleability of the metal.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandArchadeck of Central Maryland is a leader in outdoor design & construction for Baltimore, Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County and Prince Georges County MD. Our team has been designing & constructing outdoor living spaces for over 11 years and has been the recipient of CotY (Contractor of the Year) awards and other distinctions, plus featured in the Washington Post. We’d love to help create the perfect green, outdoor living space for you, whether you’re thinking of building a new eco-friendly deck, 3- or 4-season room, sun room, screened porch, patio, trellis, pergola, arbor, fire pit or other project. We offer a free, no obligation design consultation. Give us a call at 301-926-3001 or email us to schedule yours today.


Front porch or portico, what is the difference and which one is best for you?


This front porch addition in Rockville, MD is a great example of the charismatic charm of a front porch

The front of your  house is such an important feature of your home. It’s an invitation. It’s a welcome. It’s a place to greet your guests and a dry to place to hug and say goodbye. But protection from elements is but a small piece of what a portico and porch can do. We explore the importance of choosing the right feature for your home’s front door. Home is where the heart is and it begins at your home’s entrance.

An open front porch that uses hardscapes and beautiful columns

This stylish open front porch uses hardscapes and beautiful columns

Not so very long ago the front porch served as a refuge and a prime location for social interaction. I can remember hearing my grandparents talk about “courting” their suitors while sipping iced tea on the front porch swing. Porches over the years have taken on their own persona as not only serving as an outdoor room but there was a nice social aspect to front porches. Front porches used to be very popular, the southern Georgian home of yesteryear as seen in story books always had porches, as did the ranchers in the endearing stories of the era of the cowboy. Since the onset of air conditioning the front porch is now looked at in a different manner because people have  moved inside and left behind the lazy Sunday afternoons taking in the cool breeze on the porch. Front porches along with porticos aim to bring back that first impression charm. Deciding which structure is best for you depends on personal preference and simply what would harmonize structurally with your existing home. We are hear to give you the FYI on both structures, to make your selection effortless with no lingering regret.

Portico with decorative columns

Portico with decorative columns

A portico serves a functional purpose and is also aesthetically pleasing much like the front porch. It makes a dramatic difference to the look of your house and how it welcomes you and your guests. A porch serves a social purpose and provides your family with an outdoor living area, whereas a portico adds more formality to your home’s entrance. Porticos can have  decorative seating but are not intended to be used as living space. A portico is there to protect the front of the house and guests from weather and rain when entering your home. A portico can be built over an existing stoup. A Portico has a depth minimum is 5 ft  and if your existing stoup cannot facilitate a portico addition then the  stoup can be removed and expanded.

Maryland front porch addtion

This Maryland front porch addition welcomes guest with open arms

In terms of which design would work best for you and your home, you have to first take your homes architecture into consideration. For example, square colonials can better benefit aesthetically from adding a portico to your home. Many colonial homes benefit from the addition of a colonial house arched portico addition.  Gabled porticos can also harmonize beautifully with your gabled roof ranch style home. We have a huge portfolio of portico designs to serve as inspiration when considering the addition of a portico to the front of your residence.


This front porch in Rockville, MD makes afternoons linger a bit longer, and living a little easier

A porch can do all of what a portico can plus give you valuable outdoor living space. Porches serve a social purpose and provides your family with an outdoor living area. They can also provides a covered pathway from your driveway to the front door by adding stairs to the side of the porch. Whether or not a front porch is the best choice for your individual needs depends on your homes architecture and if you are looking for function as well as form. There are certain structural criteria that need to be met in order for a front porch to work for you. On a full front porch, the roof style is a little more restrictive than with a portico. You need to use a shed or very wide hip roof to soften the design you can add an accent gable to bring the focal point to your front door. When considering using your front porch addition to accommodate seating, it must be at least 8 feet deep, any less would make the area to tight for outdoor seating or proper traffic flow.


This design and architecture of this Rockville, MD home lends itself perfectly to a front porch

When you explore the ways in which front porches and porticos can be finished, there is a wide variety of styles and materials to choose from. On front porch flooring we often use  PVC tongue and groove.  Many times running standard decking parallel to house looks less formal and it is usually better to use composite or PVC. Even though with both porches and porticos we can paint any material, often people want more of a painted look and PVC already looks that way. Front porch ceilings are most often flat and not cathedral, whereas a portico many times can facilitate a cathedral ceiling. Since front porches are often used for outdoor living space you want to make sure to have proper outdoor lighting and ceiling fans so you can enjoy the area in comfort. With both front porches and porticos it is important to select columns to match the period, style and architecture of the house in most cases the columns can have capital and base trim.

Interior view of the new Rockville, MD portico by Archadeck of Maryland

Interior view of this new Rockville, MD portico by Archadeck of Maryland

Homeowners also opt to put railings on their front porch even though many times it is not required by code. Railings give the area more of a room feel when used. Last but not least, on front porches we generally use lattice skirting to finish out the area if it is a few steps above the ground. If the elevation is only one step we will use solid board skirting. Both lattice skirting and solid board skirting gives the porch a finished look  and makes the design cohesive. Our most popular color for skirting is white because it looks more formal which fits the goal of adding curb appeal.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandNo matter which style of entrance you choose to welcome friends and family into your home, Archadeck of Central Maryland  and Archadeck of Montgomery County can plan, design and build a portico or front porch that will make you the envy of the neighborhood. Contact Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County today to learn more. (301) 926 – 3001 or

To see more stylish front porch additions and portico designs, visit our front porches and portico gallery located on our website.

Fill ‘er up with a new deck this year. What does the price of gas have to do with your new deck?

Archadeck of Central Maryland AZEK deck

This deck by Archadeck of Central Maryland is constructed from AZEK, a composite decking material that looks lovely against the backdrop of autumn leaves.

You can probably feel the sting in your wallet every time you visit the pump to fill up. With the ever-increasing price of gas, many aspects within our economy can be affected. Gasoline is derived from crude oil, which is a commodity, and like many other commodities when demand is on the rise, the price goes up. Everything from hand lotion, to dish washing detergents and even frozen foods are made using derivatives of crude oil in one form or another, and when the demand from crude oil rises, so do the prices we pay for these everyday items.


This composite deck with pergola by Archadeck of Maryland, is just one example of the many outdoor structures we can have ready for you by spring.

One aspect that is affected by the rising price of crude oil, is composite decking materials. One major component that goes into creating composite decking is plastic and plastic is a bi-product of refining crude oil . The plastic is costing the composite manufacturers more so the composite prices will increase. Throughout the year the trend in rising crude oil prices fluctuates and intermittent pricing of materials that are derived from crude oil will be affected, however through past price hikes we have seen a trend in crude oil prices experiencing a brisk rise during the month of December in recent years. There is always an increase in composite deck materials which occurs twice a year. The increases are generally seen in December and during the mid-summer months.  This means that deciding to go ahead and build that deck or outdoor structure you have had on hold now may save you quite a bit of green in the long run. Aside from the avoidance of rising composite prices, there are many other reasons why building your outdoor structure now, rather than later can benefit you greatly.

An outdoor oasis by Archadeck of Maryland

An outdoor oasis by Archadeck of Maryland

Not only will you avoid the long lines and waiting periods that usually accompany Spring construction, your structure will actually be ready for you and your family to use and enjoy in the Spring. You can enjoy the first blooms of spring from your deck or outdoor structure instead of saying, ” I wish we already had our outdoor structure up and running”. There are also  fewer winter weather delays now than in the months of January and February. The cooler weather conditions also means the crews can work longer hours because of the absence of the summer heat which can sometimes create a longer than expected building deadline to occur if weather conditions are too hot and require more hydration breaks for the workers.

GuardDeck Guardian Elite decking Maryland

GuardDeck Guardian Elite composite decking by Archadeck of Maryland

Another key aspect of choosing to build now is there is less damage caused to your turf and landscaping when materials and construction crews are upon it. Most plants and turf are dormant during the late fall and winter months which helps protect them from damage that may occur from construction, as well as cooler temperatures creating a firmer ground to work on with less risk of turf damage.  Archadeck of Montgomery County  also encourages homeowners to consider building now because of the savings that can be accrued by just the concrete aspect of your outdoor structure.  During the cooler months concrete is being poured below the frost line which means you can use cold water concrete and this can be poured down into the lower single digit temperatures, and financially this comes out to a great deal for the homeowner.

Composite deck by Archadeck

This deck by Archadeck shows the beauty that can be yours with a composite deck.

If you are yearning and dreaming of a new deck, patio or other outdoor structure choosing to build now can mean a big difference in the savings, and in having your structure sooner than you could’ve imagined by avoiding the spring backlogs. Even choosing to wait until April or May to begin construction could put you into mid-summer having your structure completed. Right now Archadeck of Montgomery County is offering up to $2,500 off your project if you sign up before the end of 2011. Our offer gives you 10% off with a cap of $2,500, contact us for details.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandDon’t wait any longer, wouldn’t the perfect outdoor structure be the perfect holiday gift for yourself and your family? Contact us today to get in on the savings, from the gas pump to your backyard. (301) 926 – 3001 or

For more beautiful composite and PVC deck designs, visit our composite and PVC deck photo gallery on our website.

This Rockville, MD portico by Archadeck of Maryland takes this home from nice to stunning

The addition of this portico by Archadeck of Maryland gives this Rockville, MD home a new outlook.

The addition of this portico by Archadeck of Maryland gives this Rockville, MD home a new look.

In a world where first impressions mean everything, making the decision to upgrade your front entry or front porch can add tremendous curb appeal to your entire home. A front porch or portico addition can make your home appear larger and more inviting. When you look at the dynamics of design and construction, many times little things can mean a lot. Changing a small area of a home can make a tremendous impact on how the home feels, and especially in the way the home is perceived. Making changes to areas such as entrances, porches or even a upgrading your front door can improve upon your homes aesthetic  appeal and play a role in how visitors and guests feel as they enter your home.

This photo shows the new and improved front porch area perfect for these Rockville, MD homeowners to enjoy their beautifully landscaped front yard.

This photo shows the new and improved front porch area perfect for these Rockville, MD homeowners to enjoy their beautifully landscaped front yard.

These Rockville, MD homeowners recently contacted us to transform their home’s front entrance to not only beautify the front entrance but to also provide them with the ability to enjoy their beautiful front yard within a “rocking chair” front porch environment. By adding the front portico to this already nice looking home, we were able to provide all this and a great deal more for these Rockville homeowners and turn the residence into a stunning structure which is alive with timeless elegance.

This is the "before" photo of this Rockville, MD home before Archadeck of Maryland added the front portico to the structure.

This is the "before" photo of this Rockville, MD home before Archadeck of Maryland added the front portico to the structure.

Their home is a circa. 1960’s traditional two-story colonial with an attached 2-car garage constructed in brick and clap siding. The front door to the home was a standard door with federal style trim. This home although classic in its design, was built during a period in architecture when entrances to homes were not considered to be a prominent feature in the home’s design. We set our sights on changing this to a front entrance that would become a focal point for the home and also encompass everything that the homeowners desired to achieve by transforming this area of their home.

Interior view of the new Rockville, MD portico by Archadeck of Maryland

Interior view of the new Rockville, MD portico by Archadeck of Maryland

Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County built a front porch over half of the front between the family room kick out with low maintenance tongue and groove AZEK  porch flooring which allowed for continuity of the home’s traditional style. We then add footed columns on either side of the porch which give the portico a regal and stately feel as you enter. We even added ceiling fans to make the portico easy to love even when the weather is warm. The end result is a stunning transformation that looks original to the home and gives the entire house a new look.

The homeowners couldn’t be more pleased with their new portico that looks original to this classic structure. They can now enjoy their front yard season upon season, and receive guests in style with this gracious portico.

The new portico changes the whole dynamic of this Rockville, MD homes design.

The new portico changes the whole dynamic of this Rockville, MD homes design.

If you are looking for a way to add style and curb appeal to your home, consider updating your homes front porch or adding a portico to your existing home. Making the decision to transform this area can give your home a more updated look, and in many cases can add tremendous value to your home as well. Contact Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County to discuss design options for the front entrance to your home. We can give your residence the face-lift you and your beloved home deserves. (301) 926 – 3001 and

John Barrett Archadeck of Maryland

See more stunning transformations featuring our custom front porch and portico designs by visiting our photo galleries at and