A builder can only provide an accurate quote on an outdoor living project after gathering a lot more information from you. Without knowing the size and location of your project, and what materials and amenities you want, a builder’s estimate is purely that, an estimate. And estimates are subject to change—even after your project is underway. Some contractors may lowball your estimate to get the job and then come back with additional costs as they proceed with the work. That’s not how Archadeck of Nashville does business.
Archadeck won’t give you an estimate, we will give you a firm quote in writing. If you sign a contract for Archadeck to build your outdoor living space based on that quote, that quote is your cost. The cost will not change unless you request a change in materials or in the scope of your project.
Let’s examine five factors that determine how much your outdoor living project will cost: size, location, materials, amenities, and builder.
Size. Homeowners assume bigger projects will cost more, and that’s usually true. However, a smaller project may cost more per square foot because of the inefficiencies inherent in small projects. As your custom deck builder, Archadeck of Nashville doesn’t recommend reducing the size of your deck to save money. The most important consideration is how you plan to use your deck, your porch, or your patio. If a smaller outdoor living space won’t meet your needs, then building the smaller project is not going to be cost-effective for you. Ultimately you won’t be satisfied with the smaller deck or porch and won’t get the use out of it that you’d hoped to. Let’s address that issue before you invest in the project.
Location. Don’t let a contractor give you an estimate—or a quote—without coming to your home to see where you want your project built. Your builder will need to identify location-related cost factors. For a patio, that includes soil composition. For a porch, that includes your home’s existing rooflines. For any project, that includes the location of underground services as well as property setbacks. Archadeck of Nashville has the expertise to recognize location-related cost factors that a homeowner may not see.
Materials. We don’t need to explain that some materials cost more than others. What we can do is guide you to materials that will work best with your budget. If your budget is open-ended, you can select materials based entirely on the way they look and feel. If your budget is limited, we’ll help you explore materials that will meet your needs. When you know you won’t perform the annual wood deck maintenance chores of sanding and sealing, a wood deck isn’t going to meet your needs. You may start out assuming that all composite and synthetic decking is beyond the reach of your budget, but that’s not necessarily true. Your Archadeck design consultant can show you which wood alternatives are the most cost-effective.
Amenities. While amenities also fall into the materials category, we’re looking at them separately because they can range from necessities to luxuries. If your deck or porch is above a certain height, building code requires you to have a guard rail. Railing prices vary wildly based on style and materials. From railings, lighting, and electrical connections to planters, built-in benches and shade structures, the amenities you choose will impact your project’s bottom line.
Builder. Why should your selection of builder affect the cost of your Nashville-area outdoor living project? Your builder’s experience, expertise, and reliability make a difference in the overall quality of your project. Is the builder thorough? Do they pay close attention to details? Do they use checklists to make sure nothing is overlooked? Do they carry insurance? Archadeck of Nashville is known for our meticulous process and for the outstanding quality of our work. This relationship of process to quality is why you need to choose your builder carefully.
If a contractor gives you an estimate without going over the factors described above, how can that estimate possibly be accurate?
Decks. While wood decks are less expensive than composite/synthetic decking, don’t assume your contractor will use the cheapest pressure-treated pine available. At Archadeck of Nashville, we use premium decking boards with fewer knots and defects. We cannot build a deck that meets our quality standards with low-grade lumber.
If you’re exploring composite decking vs. wood, you will have to consider the trade-offs. With the higher cost for wood alternatives, your deck will last longer, look great longer, and require much less maintenance.
When you’re considering a composite deck, you must be sure your builder has a good bit of experience working with these materials. Building with composites requires specialized knowledge and training. If your builder doesn’t follow the manufacturer’s specifications, they may void the manufacturer’s warranty on materials.
Porches. The cost of a porch, screened porch, or EZE-Breeze porch is higher when your builder starts from scratch. If you have an existing patio or deck that you want converted into a porch, the cost will probably be lower. That depends on whether the existing structure can support the added weight of a roof. Another cost factor is the complexity of the roof tie-in. Finally, as with decks, the materials you choose for your porch will determine much of the cost.
Sunrooms. A sunroom’s cost is affected by whether or not it can be tied into your home’s heating and cooling system. If a tie-in isn’t feasible, you’ll need a separate system like a ductless mini-split system. Either way, converting a porch into a sunroom is less expensive than building a sunroom from the ground up. Finally, you’ll have several options when choosing the material for a sunroom floor, and your flooring selection will also impact the cost.
Patios and Hardscapes. Paver patios, so popular right now, fall somewhere in the middle between poured concrete/stain-and-stamp concrete and natural stone. If you want an outdoor kitchen incorporated into your patio, you can control the costs by the number of kitchen appliances you include. We’ve designed outdoor kitchens with a simple gas grill and work surface, and we’ve designed them with grill, smoker, fridge, ice maker, pizza oven, etc.
If you want an outdoor fire feature, a fire pit will be less expensive than a custom outdoor fireplace.
By now you understand why Nashville-area homeowners choose to pay more for an outdoor living project designed and built by Archadeck. We could say, “it’s the little things,” but truthfully, it’s the big things, too. We carry liability insurance and workers comp insurance. If your contractor doesn’t, then you are not protected. Because we’re part of a larger franchise system, we have access to technical expertise that includes engineering and architectural drafting. A small, independent contractor doesn’t have those critical resources. Finally, no other builder in the area offers the warranties we do. We stand behind our work, and if you have a problem with something we build, you know where to find us.