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.

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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.

composite_deck_with_Pergola_in_Maryland

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
centralmaryland@archadeck.net or montgomeryco@archadeck.net

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

Columbia MD deck gets transformed into a screen porch. Can your deck be transformed into a screen porch?

Screen porch builder Columbia MD deck builder

This design rendering shows what the anticipated completed Columbia, MD structure will look like.

Who doesn’t love spending time on their deck? Decks are great for entertaining, grilling out and soaking in the sun. However decks are “time sensitive”, meaning when the winds grow colder, or the autumn showers come to call you are deprived of many hours of enjoyment if a deck is your sole outdoor structure. One Columbia, MD porch builder is changing the way we look at decks by taking a portion of your deck, and in some cases the whole area, and turning it into an enclosed, insect free, rain-friendly haven screened porch or 3-season porch where you can welcome the beauty of the changing seasons without the harshness of the elements.

Columbia, MD deck before the transformation began.

This image shows the Columbia, MD deck before Archadeck of Maryland began the transformation.

That’s right. If your deck’s foundation is built to support a roof, you can covert all or a portion of your deck into a screen porch, open porch or enclosed room with a minimal amount of fuss. In this story Archadeck of Montgomery County and Archadeck of Central Maryland is converting a section of this Columbia, MD homeowners deck into a screen porch. We also go a step beyond a screened porch by using a convertible enclosure system that will extend this Columbia, MD homeowners enjoyment and use time well into the colder months.

This "before" photo shows the area where Archadeck of Maryland will be extending the overhang to accomadate the screen porch.

This "before" photo shows the area where Archadeck of Maryland will be extending the overhang to accommodate the screen porch.

This “in progress” transformation in Columbia, MD is proof positive that a screen porch doesn’t just need to be a screen porch.  This particular deck is located under the 2nd story overhang. We are expanding the overhang to accommodate the new living space and we will also be installing an accordion style folding screen door that will completely open up the area. In another portion we are going to be using an Artistic Enclosures system with sliding windows that also open completely. The homeowner wanted the enclosure to have the capability of being removable and also sliding. This is accomplished using the ScreenPlus contemporary system we are using to define the new space.

This area will encompass the  new Columbia, MD screened / enclosed porch.

This area will encompass the new Columbia, MD screened / enclosed porch.

Once completed this Columbia, MD home will have the capability for enjoyment for 3 if not 4 seasons. The combination of outdoor structures will also be conducive to entertaining on a grander scale with areas for conversation, dining or whatever these homeowners  have in mind.

This "before" photo shows the side of the  Columbia, MD home prior to  Archadeck of Maryland starting construction.

This "before" photo shows the side of the Columbia, MD home prior to Archadeck of Maryland starting construction.

You may ask ” is my deck able to be transformed in the same manner”? And, the answer lies within your deck’s structure itself. Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County discusses the idea of converting your deck into a screen porch, or enclosed porch and gives valuable insight and technical  advice on doing this at your home.

Columbia_MD_screen_porch_builder_deck_builder

Design rendering showing view from the side upon completion of Columbia, MD structure.

Can I Convert?

You may be able to convert with minimal effort, but in many cases the foundation will have to reinforced. In a screen porch scenario for example, you must have the capability to support the perimeter because that is where all the snow loading and roof load areas come into play. In this situation we will need to add footings at the perimeters where the walls attach. If your original deck was a permitted project to begin with, then there is a  possibility that you won’t need additional foundation reinforcement. A licensed, custom builder will be able to address any foundation concerns before you begin your conversion.  If you are building onto a deck that has decking boards that have gaps, then we install screen under the structure to keep insects out and may install skirting around it as well. When building a porch from the ground up and making it convertible, you will probably want to choose a flooring which contains no gaps. You also want to choose a material that ensures your boards won’t succumb to cupping, this is important when considering a lower grade material. Ventilation is also important when choosing your flooring material.

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This alternate view shows the completed structure in all its glory.

As you can tell, many consideration go into turning your deck, or a portion thereof, into a screen porch, covered porch or enclosed porch. A strong firm foundation is the important factor when deciding to transform your deck. Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County  can make sure your structure is strong from the ground up and can turn your deck into an all season place of refuge and enjoyment. Contact us today to learn more about deck to porch conversions and deck and porch combination outdoor structures. You can call us at (301) 926 – 3001 or send us an email at montgomeryco@archadeck.net or centralmaryland@archadeck.net

John Barrett Archadeck of Maryland

Silver Spring MD Cabana-style Gazebo, patio, deck and hot tub deck

View from inside the detached cabana style gazebo by Archadeck of Maryland

View from inside the detached cabana style gazebo by Archadeck of Maryland, truly the heart of this versatile outdoor space.

We recently completed a project in Silver Spring which encompasses everything you could ever ask for in an outdoor oasis. The homeowner works for a company that takes care of high-end hotel renovations, so he already had an eye for design. Archadeck of Maryland was able to create the outdoor oasis within this Maryland homeowners imagination into a reality, and now these homeowners have a place to relax and soak in the feeling of “no place like home” upon return of a long business trip.

Archadeck of Maryland outdoor space with gazebo, firepit, grill area, privacy fence and much more

This outdoor space has it all, these homeowners don't have far to go for relaxation and entertaining.

These homeowners really wanted a space the whole family could enjoy but also, with two teenage boys, they also wanted the capability to have privacy and separation within the design. The homeowners said the main uses they wanted to utilize were socializing, grilling, eating and reading. We were able to create a place for each activity and also create a space that could please a crowd or serve as a place of solitude and quiet built for two. This space is versatile in its layout and design. This outdoor space brings new meaning to the phrase ” a place for everything and everything in its place”.

Another view of this stunning outdoor space by Archadeck of Maryland

Another view of this stunning outdoor space by Archadeck of Maryland.

The space has a detached cabana style gazebo, a gorgeous paver patio, a grilling area, a deck that is large enough to accommodate two separate areas for dining as well as seating, a fire pit, a hot tub with deck surround and a privacy fence with a pergola-style decorative feature which adds character and uniqueness.

The detached cabana style gazebo is truly the heart of this versatile outdoor living space. The gazebo boasts a spacious 12×12 area that can be used for seating, reading and also has protection from bothersome insects and the harsh rays of the sun with the addition of having the area screened in. The detached gazebo is perfectly placed within the space for a bird’s eye view of everything going on around the outdoor space as well.

The privacy fence serves as much for visual appeal as it does for safety and seclusion.

The privacy fence serves as much for visual appeal as it does for safety and seclusion.

The hot tub’s deck surround creates a safe haven to enter and exit the hot tub, and the privacy fence with pergola style decorative features will add style and pizazz to an area that serves as a necessity to keep prying eyes away, and gives these homeowners peace of mind.

The Deck is 20″ above grade and is large enough to serve as two living areas, there is ample room for seating as well as dining. The deck steps down to a beautiful curved paver patio. The curvilinear shape is really popular for patios right now, and the homeowners wanted an overall shape to the structure that offered more visual interest and aesthetic appeal than a rectilinear shaped structure. The addition of the custom fire pit within the patio creates perfect design harmony within a space that creates a perfect spot to gather to take the chill off and maybe enjoy some roasted marshmallows or s’mores  by the glow of the fire.

An outdoor oasis by Archadeck of Maryland

Notice how beautifully each area and structure flows into one another.

These homeowners are excited to make use of their new “outdoor oasis” with the cold evenings of September right around the corner. This outdoor space in its entirety is everything they could have hoped for and much more.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandArchadeck of Maryland can create an unforgettable space for you right in your own backyard, we can customize your outdoor oasis to suit your individual style and purpose. Contact Archadeck of Maryland to learn more (301) 926 – 3001
centralmaryland@archadeck.net