Jim's Blog


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I like Pinterest Users

I am humbled and grateful that we are well over 1000 when repins and likes are added together. We are also flattered that our followers are edging close to 100.  I know that in the grand scheme of the Pinterest world these are very modest numbers, but it’s a real milestone for us. 

Our most popular boards have been Decks with Pergolas Trellis, Screened Rooms, Wood Decks, Composite Decks, Patio Rooms Sunrooms, Windows and Doors, and Awnings.  In addition to those boards we have Deck Blogs, Patio Rooms Sunrooms Blogs, Awning Blogs, and Window Blogs.

We would like to give a sincere “thank you” to those of you who have deemed our projects and photos worthy of liking, repining and following. 

To any future visitors, we hope you will find our photos and blogs worthy of your time.

 

 

Keywords: awnings  patio rooms  decks  windows  deck 
Posted by Jim Brown on February 28th, 2014    0 comments
The Boring Stuff About Decks You Need to Know

 

A small trellis on a composite deck

The fun stuff about decks is how it’s going to look, the amenities and choosing the right decking materials.

The boring stuff is how the deck is constructed. It’s what holds up the fun stuff.  It’s true that this boring stuff is critical.  If it doesn’t hold up the fun stuff, you will have no deck or worse, you could be injured. 

There are some horrible deck builders out there.  But the horrible deck builders don’t usually make the fun stuff look good either.  In my experience, decks that look great are usually built great.  It is important that you know how your deck is being built.  However, if your deck builder has been at it for a while, and they can provide you with beautiful photos, your deck is very likely to be well built.

 

Keywords: decks  composite  rails  deck 
Posted by Jim Brown on February 27th, 2014    0 comments
How much does a deck cost?

 

The only answer to this question that makes any sense is, “It depends”.   

Obviously size is a key. A recent survey on decks showed that they ranged from $891 on the lower end to $54,444 for the top 5%.  Why such a huge difference?  There are a ton of options available.  A good deck builder will discuss all this with you and come up with the perfect deck for you. 

If you choose composite decking, the investment skyrockets.  In some cases the price can be as much as three times the cost of wood. or more.  Of course all composites are not created equal.  In the past composites have failed and the company has gone out of business.  So, selecting a composite that will look good for years to come, and choosing a company with a proven track record can be a challenge.

A wise man once said, “It is better to pay too much than too little”.  What did he mean by that?  By paying too little you can lose everything, as in the case of bad decking with the manufacturer going out of business.  If you paid too much you lose the small difference between what you paid and what you could have gotten another competent builder to put up your project.

A well built deck designed for your lifestyle will be an enjoyment for many years.  Get the advice you need to make a wise selection.

Related:

Should I Chose Composite or Wood Decking?

What is the best time of year to install my project?

Avoid Being Stuck with a Bad Looking Deck

Composite Decks

Should I Add a Patio Room or a Deck?

How we create the perfect deck for you

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS DECK?

Free Deck Inspection

TEN CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK A REMODELER BEFORE HE TOUCHES YOUR HOME

Keywords: decks  deck 
Posted by Jim Brown on March 1st, 2013    0 comments
Should I Chose Composite or Wood Decking?

You may remember the old commercial for oil filters, “Pay me now or pay me later.”

That’s part of the reason some folks decide to go with composite decking.  The downside of composite is the very significant initial cost. 

The upside is that it never needs sealing.    Sealing or staining needs to be done frequently on wooden decks.  The cost of hiring a professional to clean and seal a deck is substantial.  If you opt to do it yourself you will lose one or more precious summer weekends and you are still investing significantly to obtain a good product to put on your deck.  

Having said all that, a wooden deck is still a very popular and a very good option.  Properly maintained, wooden decks last 20 or more years.  The company that does the pressure treating usually provides a 20 year, or longer warranty against the wood rotting or becoming insect infested.  When maintained properly, wooden decks will look beautiful for years. 

Should you choose a composite deck or wooden deck?  You make the call.

Related:

What is the best time of year to install my project?

Avoid Being Stuck with a Bad Looking Deck

Composite Decks

Should I Add a Patio Room or a Deck?

How we create the perfect deck for you

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS DECK?

Free Deck Inspection

TEN CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK A REMODELER BEFORE HE TOUCHES YOUR HOME

Keywords: decks 
Posted by Jim Brown on February 21st, 2013    0 comments
What is the best time of year to install my project?

 

Do you wish you would have installed it last spring? The home improvement industry has done a horrible job of letting people know when projects can be installed. Many of our customers have enjoyed having their projects installed in the winter.

Some projects, such as a wooden deck, actually benefit from winter installation. How? In the winter the wood will dry out more slowly. The experts tell us this will result in less splitting and cracking of the wood. When you have your deck built in the winter you have the added benefit of enjoying it on that first warm spring day.

Most home improvement companies work 'year round. It's true there are days in the winter that we can't work outside, but there are more days that we can.

The answer to our question is "When would you like it installed?" We can install it anytime you're ready!

 

Related:

Should I Chose Composite or Wood Decking?

What is the best time of year to install my project?

Avoid Being Stuck with a Bad Looking Deck

Composite Decks

Should I Add a Patio Room or a Deck?

How we create the perfect deck for you

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS DECK?

Free Deck Inspection

TEN CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK A REMODELER BEFORE HE TOUCHES YOUR HOME

Keywords: patio rooms  decks 
Posted by Jim Brown on February 14th, 2013    0 comments
What Can You Expect When an Arch Home Improvements Representative Visits Your Home?

When we visit your home our goal is to determine if we can do what you want done. 

 

In order to do that, we will ask you a number of questions to analyze your needs. We are there to answer any questions you have. 

 

When we started our business back in 1991 we decided to specialize in a few things.  We don’t do everything. If we can do what you need done, you will have the option of moving forward.  If it’s something we don’t do, we will let you know.  Sometimes we are able to refer you to someone who can do the job.

 

If you decide to move ahead, we will give you an exact no hassle price.


 

Here’s what we leave out.

 

  • Long drawn out sales meetings
  • High Pressure
  • Crazy buy it now discounts
  • Foreign technical talk
  • Confusing Pricing Games

If you would benefit from a visit, please let us know.


Related:

TEN CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK A REMODELER BEFORE HE TOUCHES YOUR HOME

How to Choose a Home Improvement Company

 

Posted by Jim Brown on November 28th, 2012    0 comments
How to Choose a Home Improvement Company

I know this sounds like the stupidest statement ever, “Choose one that will improve your home.”  Why do I say that?  It is because home improvement companies are notorious for having bad reputations according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Start your search by checking out their rating on the BBB.  The BBB rates companies from A+ to F.  Companies that are proud of their rating often display it on their home page. 

Next, check to see if there are any customer reviews.   Read these over carefully to gain insights on how things worked out for others.  Companies should have several reviews for you to consider.  Some companies are beginning to put video reviews on their website.  You may find them helpful.

Depending on the project you are considering, photos of past projects may be helpful.  This shows you that the company has done other projects.  One caution, be sure that the photos you are looking at are actually pictures of that company’s work.  I was shocked to find a photo that another company was using to promote their work, was actually our project.  Not only was it our project, but it was our photo!

Another consideration is the showroom.  Do they even have one?  The fact that a company has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a showroom testifies to the fact that the company is stable.  That means that if you need a service call, you won’t get the dreaded, “the number you have dialed is no longer in service.”

A good showroom would include some displays that you may find helpful in making your selection.

Not to be overlooked is the way you feel about the person that is representing the company.  All of us have been fooled from time to time, but in general, our “gut instinct” is usually accurate.

Has this person carefully explained what your completed project will look like?  Do you have a clear vision in your mind of what your completed project will look like?  If you feel uncomfortable don’t proceed.

When you invest thousands of dollars in a project, take the time to consider these points. Your experience should be an enjoyable one.  The results of the project should meet your expectations.  Your home should actually be improved!

Related:

TEN CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK A REMODELER BEFORE HE TOUCHES YOUR HOME

What Can You Expect When an Arch Home Improvements Representative Visits Your Home?


Keywords: product  patio rooms  decks 
Posted by Jim Brown on September 4th, 2012    0 comments
When Do You Most Enjoy Your Deck?

Many people enjoy having their first morning cup of coffee on their deck.  Some relish sitting or lying in the sun.  Others love relaxing after a hard days’ work on their deck. 

 

I enjoy meditating on the deck late at night.  After the cares of the day are done and the phone has stopped ringing, this time is incredibly peaceful.  As one observes the star filled sky, a certain feeling of calmness sets in.  Even the sound of an occasional jet streaking across the night sky enhances the serenity of evening.  Folks on the plane are hurrying to some important commitment while you are enjoying your deck.  And now the crickets chime in to serenade you.

 

The peacefulness of sitting on the deck melts away the last traces of insomnia.  It’s off to dreamland.

 

When do you enjoy your deck the most?  I’d love to hear from you!

Related:

Avoid Being Stuck with a Bad Looking Deck

Composite Decks

Should I Add a Patio Room or a Deck?

How we create the perfect deck for you

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS DECK?

Free Deck Inspection

TEN CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK A REMODELER BEFORE HE TOUCHES YOUR HOME


 

 

 

 

Keywords: decks  deck 
Posted by Jim Brown on August 16th, 2012
Avoid Being Stuck with a Bad Looking Deck

 

I’ve seen some very bad looking new decks recently.  It got me to thinking, “Why would someone want a deck like that on their beautiful home?”

 

One answer might be that the homeowner just didn’t know any better.  I don’t know any other reason for going with a “cheaper” contractor on a nice home.

 

One example of a bad looking deck was on a home that we may have looked at.  This makes me especially sad.  We obviously didn’t do a good enough job of explaining the differences.

 

Perhaps another reason is more people have jumped into the deck building business with a slower economy.  One homeowner told me that this was the guys first deck job.  It sure looked like it.

 

What is the solution? 

 

You deserve to know what you’re getting.  How can this be accomplished?  Here are three ways.  (1) Homeowners can visit a showroom with a display deck built in it.  (2) A 3-D rendering of their deck has helped many folks visualize their deck ahead of time. (3) Looking at many deck photos of other projects can be of great help.

 

We hope your deck project turns out perfect!

 

If we can help, let us know.

 

 

 Related:

Composite Decks

Should I Add a Patio Room or a Deck?

How we create the perfect deck for you

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS DECK?

Free Deck Inspection

TEN CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK A REMODELER BEFORE HE TOUCHES YOUR HOME

Keywords: decks  deck 
Posted by Jim Brown on April 5th, 2012    0 comments
WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS DECK?

Deck Building Mistakes Could Cost Lives  

 

 THIS DECK COULD COLLASPSE AND CAUSE
SERIOUS OR FATAL INJURY.    HOW?
 

1.  Improper Support

All that’s holding this deck to the posts are three nails.  If they give way due to rust or stress, injury could occur.

2.  Faulty Attachment

This deck does not have any joist hangers.  If the joist is only attached with nails, the connection could fail, resulting in deck collapse.

3.  Incorrect Post Spacing

These posts are spaced much too far apart to safely support this structure.

Why do projects like this get built?

In most cases it’s not because the builder tried to do a bad job. Normally it’s simply because they don’t have the knowledge or skill to do a good job.  We’ve recently heard of builders that have been using the wrong fasteners with the new type of pressure treated wood.  They simply didn’t know any better. 

Arch Home Improvements specializes in building custom quality decks.

Our installers are knowledgeable professionals with years of experience. Our consultants will show you many photos of our past projects. This will ensure that you make the perfect choice, uniquely designed for your home. We will explain how your deck is built and why we build it the way we do.  See "How We Create the Perfect Deck for You".   We think you’ll be impressed!

 Ask for your FREE guide, “Seven Little Known Secrets for Successfully Remodeling Your Home".

 Related:

Free Deck Inspection

How we create the perfect deck for you

Composite Decks

Should I Add a Patio Room or a Deck?

TEN CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK A REMODELER BEFORE HE TOUCHES YOUR HOME

Avoid Being Stuck with a Bad Looking Deck

 

 

 

Posted by Jim Brown on January 28th, 2011    0 comments
Deck Safety

Free Deck Inspection

 

Don’t be caught dead on an unsafe deck!  We don’t want to be alarmists but deck failures have been on the increase according to the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA).  The NADRA states “between 2000 and 2008 there were at least 30 deaths reported as a direct result of deck collapse…”.

 

It is important to take a good look at your deck to make sure it is safe.  If maintenance, repair or replacement is needed it canbe addressed, and you can enjoy the great outdoors safely.

 

If you are concerned about your deck, and live in our area, we will inspect your deck free of charge.  If anything needs to be done to ensure your safety we will make the necessary recommendations.  You can then decide what, if anything, you would like to do.

 

Just click http://www.archhomeimprovements.com/surveys/contact or call 800-800-9343.

 

Related:

How we create the perfect deck for you

Composite Decks

Should I Add a Patio Room or a Deck?

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS DECK?

TEN CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK A REMODELER BEFORE HE TOUCHES YOUR HOME

Avoid Being Stuck with a Bad Looking Deck

 

Posted by Jim Brown on May 19th, 2010    0 comments
How we create the perfect deck for you

Your deck is your outdoor room.  You can use it to barbeque, dine, lounge, soak up some sun, entertain or all of these.  You decide!

There are many decking options.  We’ll walk you through the process of choosing the perfect decking for your needs and enjoyment.  Railing options also abound.  Some customers are enjoying the unique rail systems we have put together for them.  It’s your choice!

What about amenities?  You choose which ones, if any, you want.  We’ll help you fully explore amenities such as benches, planter boxes, pergolas (trellis), privacy screens, outdoor lighting, skirting choices, or any other unique feature that will enhance your deck project.  The goal is to make you long to get away to your own backyard.

 

We begin by exploring how you intend to use your deck.  Then, depending on your personal taste, needs, and style, we design the perfect deck for you.  Your deck will be comfortable, beautiful and functional.

With our 3-D computer design, you get an excellent idea of what your deck will look like.

See an example below.

Please allow us to suggest some ideas we have gleaned from years of experience.  Working together we can design your perfect deck!

Get started by clicking http://www.archhomeimprovements.com/surveys/request-a-free-consultation or call us at 800-800-9343

 Related:

Composite Decks

Should I Add a Patio Room or a Deck?

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS DECK?

Free Deck Inspection

TEN CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK A REMODELER BEFORE HE TOUCHES YOUR HOME

Avoid Being Stuck with a Bad Looking Deck

 

 

Posted by Jim Brown on May 18th, 2010    0 comments
TEN CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK A REMODELER BEFORE HE TOUCHES YOUR HOME

“Ten Crucial Questions to Ask a Remodeler Before He Touches Your Home” is for general informational purposes only.  All rights are reserved by Arch Home Improvements.  Any duplicating is strictly prohibited without the written consent of  Arch Home Improvements.  


1. DO THEY HAVE A SHOWROOM?

Even though you may never even visit their showroom, the fact that a company has invested tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in a showroom shows stability.

http://www.archhomeimprovements.com/photos/welcome-to-the-largest-showroom-in-the-area/page-1

2. DO THEY HAVE UNSOLICITED TESTEMONIALS FROM REAL CUSTOMERS that describe their results with words such as great, beautiful, excellent, wonderful experience, conscientious, special interest, fantastic, fulfilled my dream, very happy and superb. Legitimate companies create happy customers.

http://www.archhomeimprovements.com/testimonials

 3. HOW LONG HAVE THEY BEEN IN BUSINESS?

80% of home improvements companies are out of business in five years.

4. ARE THEY A MEMBER OF THE BBB?

http://www.archhomeimprovements.com/pages/affliations-and-certificates

The BBB has a listing of most companies. Check to see if they are a member and how many complaints they've had.

 5. ARE THEY A MEMBER OF THE LOCAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE?

In general, members of Chambers of Commerce are trustworthy.

http://www.archhomeimprovements.com/pages/affliations-and-certificates

 6. HOW EXPERIENCED ARE THE INSTALLERS?

No matter how great a product is, if it is not installed properly it can't perform properly.

 7. DO THEY INSTALL EVERYTHING?

A specialist that does a few things well will be more of an expert than someone who tries to be all things to all people.

 8. WILL THEY GIVE YOU AN EXACT PRICE OR ONLY AN ESTIMATE?

In almost every case a competent contractor can give you an exact price.

 9. WILL YOU GET A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OUTLINING WHAT WORK WILL BE DONE?

If it's not in writing you have no protection.

10. WILL THEY CAREFULLY EXPLAIN THE QUALITY OF MATERIAL TO BE USED AND WHY ONE PRODUCT IS RECOMMENDED OVER ANOTHER?

Depending on the type of job being done, the quality of the material could make a huge difference in performance, longevity, maintenance, and ascetics.

To contact us for more information CLICK HERE or call 800-800-9343

 

Related:

What Can You Expect When an Arch Home Improvements Representative Visits Your Home?


How to Choose a Home Improvement Company


Keywords: product  awnings  patio rooms  decks  windows 
Posted by Jim Brown on March 4th, 2010    0 comments
What About Price?

Get the Best Price

David Weiss, president of the Cleveland Better Business Bureau, tells us “For the uninitiated, choosing a remodeler can be a daunting task.”  We agree. One reason the choice is so daunting is the different prices you may receive on the “same” project.  We all want to get the best deal, so how can we justify paying the right price?

We’ve heard it all our lives, “You get what you pay for.”  As much as we might wish it otherwise, this statement is generally true.  More than 100 years ago English writer John Ruskin stated, “It’s unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little.  When you pay too much, you lose a little-that is all.  When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.  The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot-it can’t be done!

If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run.  And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.”

Weiss, mentioned at the beginning of this blog, further indicates that a remarkably lower price means that the company’s performance will likely be lower as well.

Why is this the case? 

The two main factors in determining the price of home improvements are material and labor.

A low price could be an indication that the materials are cheap or the labor is cheap or both.  Cheap materials are an indicator of inferior quality.  Cheap labor probably means that the person is not a skilled professional.  The results of this can range from unsatisfactory to disastrous. 

Another reason for a low price is that a contractor may never have done a job like yours   and doesn’t fully understand what the job entails.

A low price could also mean that the contractor does not have appropriate insurance or worker compensation.  This omission can expose an unwary homeowner to significant legal risk.  Further, a low price can mean that the contractor has not built service requirements into his pricing.   We get calls from homeowners that can’t get their remodeler to come out to look at their problem.  Sadly, this shows the wisdom of John Ruskin’s advice.

Even worse, there are unscrupulous contractors that intentionally underestimate a price and draft a contract that is “fuzzy”, then up charge at every opportunity.  Weiss said these situations often end up on the desks at the Better Business Bureau.

A good remodeling job is one that can be enjoyed for decades.

So, how can you protect yourself?

Please take advantage of “Seven Little Known Secrets for Successfully and Beautifully Remodeling Your Home!”  Get your FREE download on this website.

To contact us for more information CLICK HERE or call 800-800-9343

Related:

How Much Should Windows Cost?

What to Expect From the Under $200 Per Window Guys

TEN CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK A REMODELER BEFORE HE TOUCHES YOUR HOME

8 Reasons Why We Don't Sell Windows For Under $200

Posted by Anonymous on September 1st, 2009    0 comments
Should I Add a Patio Room or a Deck?

For more and more people the simple answer to that question is both.  In our climate you can enjoy a patio room for many more days a year than a deck.  However for grilling, sunning, or just enjoying the fresh air nothing can beat a deck.

We recently completed a patio room project that included a small deck.

The patio room above will add many hours of "outdoor living" when the elements are harsh.  Even in relatively mild weather many folks enjoy being "bug-free" in their "outdoor living room."

What would you enjoy doing in your patio room?  Some people like it for watching T.V., enjoying their morning coffee, or just relaxing.  A patio room is also a great place for young ones.  As you can see from the picture gallery, patio rooms can range from basic to stunning.

I have been asked, "What is the difference between a patio room, a sun room and a Florida room?"   There is none.  You can call your room whatever you want.

 

This maintaince free composite deck will be enjoyed for years to come.

The above deck blends in with the new patio room.  The bench not only adds seating area, but it also creates a great perimeter border.  This composite deck comes with a twenty-five year warranty on the material.  It will be enjoyed for many years.

For some folks the answer to the question in our title is both.  We are always delighted to visit your home and discuss the solutions that best fit your situation.

Posted by Jim Brown on August 25th, 2008    0 comments
Composite Decks

As composite decks have increased in popularity the number of manufacturers has skyrocketed.  I recently received a trade publication listing names of manufacturers.  The list was 85 names long.   That list just included the companies that paid to have their names included.

How then can one decide which company to use?  We are familiar with most of the more common ones and will help you make an informed choice.  Just give us a call.

Questions you may have about composite decking could include:

1.  What is the fade ratio?Promo Slide

2.  What colors are available?

3.  Can I use hidden fasteners?

4.  Does the railing color match the deck color?

5.  What is the guarantee?

6.  How long has the company been making composites?

7.  Where is the company located?  Is it a domestic or foreign company?

8.  Is the material recycled plastic or virgin material?  Does that matter?

Composite decks are a great investment but choosing the right one is key.

To contact us, or for more information CLICK HERE or call 800-800-9343

Related:

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS DECK?

TEN CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK A REMODELER BEFORE HE TOUCHES YOUR HOME

Avoid Being Stuck with a Bad Looking Deck

How we create the perfect deck for you

 

 

Keywords: decks  railings  composite decks 
Posted by Jim Brown on August 22nd, 2008    0 comments
Arch Home Improvements: Because Quality Still Matters
Arch Home Improvements: Because Quality Still Matters
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