Deck Builder Halifax

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Gas or Wood Fired, What’s Best for Your Outdoor Fireplace or Fire Pit

One of the growing trends in outdoor living is fire features. More homeowners in Halifax are including either an outdoor fireplace or firepit to their decks, porches and patios to allow them to use the space more often. At Archadeck of Nova Scotia, we design both fireplaces and fire pits that work seamlessly with your outdoor structure.




When considering an outdoor fireplace or fire pit, one of the questions that commonly comes up is: should it be gas or wood fired? While some people have strong feelings for or against an option (I can’t blame someone who loves the smell of a wood fire), here are some questions to consider as you make your decision:
Where do you live? Wood burning fireplaces or fire pits aren't made for all parts of the country. If you live in a dry area of the country, you may not have easy access to firewood, making gas a better option. Conversely, gas is usually a better choice for heavily wooded properties as well. If there isn't a clear opening above the fire, you’d want the control of a gas fire feature as opposed to wood. Wood fires give off more smoke and embers that shouldn't go up into branches from trees.
What will be the cost of running it? Wood fire pits and outdoor fireplaces are more cost-effective to have if you have easy access to firewood. If your property abuts a wooded area for instance, you could probably grab wood for the fire for free. Conversely, with gas fires you do have to pay for fuel costs.




Do you need easy control and convenience? This question is especially important if you have any small children that may be around the fire. Gas flames are much easier to control and use. They are easy to turn on, off, up or down. So, if you need to turn it off in a hurry, you can. Additionally, there is no smoke and you don’t have to clean up any ashes. Wood burning fires cannot be easily turned on or off and there is always smoke. You have to watch it more carefully to make sure it isn't getting too big or hot and from time to time, you will want to clean out any built up ashes.
Are you adding it on to an existing space? At Archadeck, we try to plan for all parts of your outdoor living space (even future additions) when we design a deck, porch, patio, etc. When you plan ahead, the choice of gas or wood can be easier due to gas lines. If you know you want a gas fire pit on your patio in the future, for example, you should have the line put in as you build the patio. If you are adding a fire feature to an existing space and hadn't planned for it, it may cost more if anything needs to be torn up for a gas line. In that case, a wood burning fire feature may be your best option.

Is the flame important for you? Personally, I love the sound of a crackling fire and I love the smell of wood burning. A gas fireplace can’t give me that. If having the characteristics of a real fire isn't important to you, however, you’ll be happy with what a gas fire pit or fireplace can provide you.

If you are looking to enhance your outdoor living space with a fire feature, please reach out to our Halifax office. With our knowledge and expertise, we can help you to create a space that you can’t help but love. (902) 444-DECK (3325)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winter: the Perfect Time to Plan your New Backyard

At Archadeck, we often tell people to plan their new outdoor space in the winter, not only to have something to look forward to, but also something you know you can enjoy in the spring.

Not surprisingly, the spring and summer months make up our busy season in the porch, patio and deck building  industry. As the weather warms up and people move outside they often realize that they need to improve their outdoor living space. Unfortunately, it make take weeks or months to get a new outdoor living structure built, cutting down on the time you can actually use it. At Archadeck we design and build custom outdoor living spaces. It takes time. First thing that has to be done is the design. In the design phase, we work with our clients to learn their expectations, likes and dislikes. Depending on the homeowner, we may do two or three designs to make sure it is exactly what they want.



After the design is finalized, building plans are drawn and submitted to the city for permitting. No building can be done during that part of the process. Some permitting takes a few weeks to get the go-ahead for.  After all of that, building can begin and, depending on the scale of the project, you can begin enjoying your new space in a few weeks.  So why am I telling you all this? We want you to enjoy your outdoor living spaces as much as possible and the earlier it can be done, the better. Planning is a big part of that. If you know that next year you want to build a new outdoor structure, call your deck builder now. While the ground may be frozen and building can’t begin yet, designing and planning can.  The purpose of planning and designing your projects in the winter is so you can be on the top of the building list when ground can be broken. And, the earlier the building can begin, the earlier you can start enjoying your new deck, porch, patio, sunroom or other outdoor living structure come the warmer weather.




If you are interested in starting to design your new outdoor living space, please reach out to your local Archadeck of Nova Scotia office. (902) 444-DECK(3325).  Our trained and experienced designers will work with you to create a space that fits your needs, tastes and budget.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

DECK SAFETY IS NO ACCIDENT

ARCHADECK OF NOVA SCOTIA URGES HOMEOWNERS TO “CHECK THE DECK” THIS FALL TO PREVENT ACCIDENTS

Halifax Deck Builder Provides 7 Easy Tips to Tell If Your Deck Needs Help Now

Halifax, NS
Nov. 6, 2013

Aging deck structures, harsh storms and a lack of routine maintenance due to limited financial resources in a difficult economy are all factors that can put Halifax homeowners with decks at serious risk of injury for themselves, their families and guests.

There are more than 40 million decks in Canada that are more than 20 years or older, according to the Canadian Deck & Railing Association and hundreds of reported deck accidents occur annually. 

The experts at Archadeck of Nova Scotia www.novascotia.archadeck.com part of the largest outdoor living company, recommend checking the structural integrity of decks each spring and fall to ensure safety, especially for decks that are more than 10 years old. 

To help homeowners determine if their deck is safe, Archadeck of Nova Scotia is sharing seven deck safety inspection guidelines with the acronym of “BE SAFER”: 

  • Boards:  Check deck boards for rot, softness or major cracking.
  • Every Connection:  Inspect every hardware connection on the deck.  Look for screws and/or nails backing out, red rust and other signs of corrosion on metal connectors that can weaken the integrity of the deck.
  • Structure:  Look at the posts, beams and joists that provide the structural framework of the deck. Is there any noticeable sagging between supports?
  • Attachments:  Most deck failures occur at the attachment site to the home. Ensure that the deck is attached to the house with bolts and proper flashing for water protection. NEVER use nails!
  • Foundation/Footings:  The foundation and footings support the weight, or load, on a deck and the columns that bear on them. Look for sinking or noticeable sag.
  • Exits:  Check deck’s exit areas, usually stairs.  Are the stair stringers, treads and risers ok?  Do the stairs require a handrail?  Is there adequate lighting to safely use the exits at night?
  • Rails:  Look at rail posts and railing sections to make sure that they aren’t loose or wobbly.   All pickets/balusters should be fastened securely and spaced no more than four inches apart.

DECK SAFETY IS NO ACCIDENT

For a professional deck consultation, contact Archadeck at (902) 444- DECK (3325) or visit www.novascotia.archadeck.com

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Archadeck’s Design Guide puts you in the drivers seat


This beautiful tri-level pergola is an example of what your outdoor space could be


Archadeck is helping to make backyards in North America more beautiful and functional one home at a time. Archadeck Outdoor Living is inspiring homeowners with some great ideas thanks to our new Outdoor Living Design Guide. This design guide shares our expertise and knowledge and puts it right at your fingertips. It is now available as a free download online at http://www.archadeck.com/guide/index.html


cover of our new online design guide

This full-color design guide features outdoor living space photos, ideas, tips and hints to give you a starting point in planning your new outdoor space and to make your backyard the best it can be. It takes you on a guided tour of where to begin when planning the backyard you have always dreamed of.

The first step begins with functionality and helps you determine exactly what you want to do in your outdoor space. For example, within the patio and hardscape portion you will be asked to answer questions including whether you want to dine, entertain, garden or just relax in your outdoor space. As you answer the questions it will lead you through ways to incorporate nature into your outdoor space because after all that is what makes these spaces so special. Do you want sunshine streaming in? Or maybe an outdoor space free of insects? Perhaps you have one of the incredible ocean views Nova Scotia is famous for that you’d like to enjoy.


Enjoy the beauty nature offers.

The view from within your outdoor space is of utmost importance and Archadeck has made this a point of focus in our design guide. This guide also aids in deciding where to place your outdoor space by taking into consideration issues like the direction your backyard faces and your lot and soil conditions.

A well planned outdoor space can complement not only your home’s exterior but the interior as well. With this in mind we show you how to plan a structure that allows for easy transition from interior spaces into your outdoor space.

This wonderful tool puts you in the driver’s seat; putting you in a better position to meet with your Archadeck Design consultant by having a better idea of the outdoor space that suits your wants and needs. For a sneak peek on how the design guide works visit http://bit.ly/dreamyards today. You can also call us at 902-444-3325, email us at http://novascotia.archadeck.com/local/ContactUs.html or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/archadeckofnovascotia

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Plan Your Outdoor Living Space Now and Enjoy it More this Year

Plan your outdoor living updates so you enjoy them all season long


The weather has been unpredictable this spring in many parts of the country. If you’re like me and enjoy your outdoor living spaces but are thinking of making some changes or may need to address certain aspects of the space, start now. Depending on the types of updates you would like to make to your outdoor living space, it may take some time.


Do you want new outdoor furniture? Look to see how long it will take to get it ordered and shipped so you have it at the beginning of the season. Some companies may have a quick turnaround while custom orders may take up to 12 weeks.


A custom outdoor living space can take up to three months from the first contact with a contractor through design and permits to the completion of the build. The longer you wait to start the project, the less time you get to enjoy it on the sunny and warm days of Spring and Summer.


Even if you aren’t in the market for a new deck, porch, pergola or gazebo, you may want to have your existing structure inspected for safety. Winter conditions will wear on an outdoor living structure, so it is important to have it inspected by a professional if it is older than 5 years. You may not need a full replacement, but you may need some extra screws or a few new boards. A quick inspection now will ensure you can safely use your structure the rest of the year.

Outdoor Living is important to all of us here at Archadeck and we want to make sure you get the most out of your outdoor spaces. If you have any questions, please call Archadeck of Nova Scotia at 902-444-3325 or visit us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ArchadeckofNovaScotia.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Plan Your Dream Backyard Now – Build It In Phases

We’ve said it before and we will say it again, but at Archadeck Outdoor Living, we want to help you make your backyard dreams come true. You want a new deck? Great! A patio off that deck? No problem. How about an outdoor kitchen for the chef in your family? Sounds wonderful. We can design a custom outdoor living space that encompasses all of that, but that doesn’t mean you have to build it all at one time.



Outdoor living spaces that include multiple pieces, like the above, can be built in phases.


Building new structure or updating old structures in your outdoor spaces can be expensive and something that many people save for years to build. Spreading the build across a few years may make more sense for you and your family. This is called staged building, and it’s something that we think is an important part of the design process.

When you are looking to change your outdoor living space, designing the dream backyard from the start will save you time, money and frustration later. Although you may not add the second piece to the space until a year or two after the first, you don’t want it to look like an afterthought. Instead, you want every aspect of your backyard to work seamlessly with each other. In the initial design phase, it’s important to see how the pieces work together to make sure everything “fits.”

Depending on what you may be building, developing your backyard design in advance may also save you money in the long run. For example, if your end goal includes a fire pit, fireplace or outdoor kitchen, you will want to run your gas lines early if they run under your other projects. Small things like this will save you from having to tear up parts of your existing structures to include others.



Running the gas line at the beginning of this project allows the outdoor kitchen to be added later.


When talking to your outdoor living contractor, it’s important to mention everything that you eventually want to include in your yard. Ask for “staged” plans showing you how your space will look after each part of the project is built. If you aren’t exactly sure what you need or want, ask yourself questions like “how do I envision myself using the space?” Our design guide will give you further direction on what may fit your needs and lifestyle, giving you the best backyard you can imagine.


For more information on staged planning and building, contact Archadeck of Nova Scotia at 902-444-3325 or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArchadeckOfNovaScotia


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Proper Deck Maintenance Is Essential to Long-Term Enjoyment

Would you go five years without washing your car? If you want it looking good and staying in tip-top shape, probably not. How about your deck? Just like that car, your deck requires periodic TLC to keep it looking good and to increase its life expectancy. Fortunately, maintaining your deck can be as easy as that car wash.

With spring just around the corner for Halifax, Nova Scotia, now is the time to start thinking about getting your outdoor space in shape for the coming season.

Annual maintenance of any deck should begin with an overall inspection of fasteners. Over time, the expansion and contraction of exterior wood due to moisture can cause hardware to loosen or pull away. This process causes “nail pops” in the floor. You can simply pound most nails back in. You may also want to consider replacing them with screws. And don’t forget to check under the deck for any loose nuts or corroded hangers.


Pressure-Treated – Pressure-treated lumber is designed to last for a very long time. In fact, most manufactures of treated wood give a lifetime warranty against rot and insect infestation. However, long-term exposure to the elements can have a detrimental effect on the look of your pressure treated deck. Begin by sweeping the deck to eliminate the big debris. Next use a cleaning solution and stiff-bristle brush to work out the ground-in dirt. (A simple solution of water and dishwashing detergent works well.) If the deck has “grayed out” substantially, you may want to consider a specialized deck cleaner, which you will find at most home improvement stores. For really extreme cases, you can even rent a power washer – but be careful because these machines can damage the wood fibers. Finally, apply a penetrating sealant with UV stabilizers to help preserve all that hard work.


Cedar & Redwood – Unlike pressure-treated wood, cedar and redwood have naturally occurring chemicals that make them resistant to rot and insect decay. Still, lack of added protection and maintenance will greatly reduce the life expectancy of these materials. Follow the same guidelines for cleaning and sealing as you would for treated material, but expect to seal it on a yearly basis instead of every other year.


Tropical Hardwoods – Tropical hardwoods such as IPE, also have naturally occurring chemicals that make them resistant to rot and insect infestation. The density, or hardness, of these materials also increases their longevity. For most people, the decision with tropical hardwood is whether to let it “gray-out” over time. If you choose to “go gray”, a simple cleaning once a year is fine. If you wish to maintain the dark color, you will have to apply special hardwood sealers.


Composites – Most composites are manufactured with some type of plastics, reducing or even eliminating any risk of rot and or insect infestation. Many also have UV stabilizers to help lessen any color changes. This material is still sitting outside however, so dirt and mildew will find its way onto the deck. A simple yearly cleaning with soap and water will keep your deck looking its best.

If you prefer to keep your hands clean, you can hire professional companies to perform these maintenance tasks for you.