There’s no such thing as NO-maintenance outdoor structures or materials. Be very leery if promised no maintenance.

Sadly, just as there is “no free lunch,” you’ll have better luck finding a unicorn than you will adding an outdoor structure to your Piedmont Triad home that is truly maintenance free. How did the myth of no-maintenance porches, decks, patios, and gazebos emerge? We believe that it was part improvements in technology and part wishful thinking on the part of homeowners and salesmanship on the part of some builders.

In years gone by, most outdoor living spaces were built with treated lumber and their lifespan depended on three things: environment, type of wood, and upkeep. It was never a matter of if a structure would start to warp, rot, crack or splinter, it was just a question of when.  If Mother Nature can carve the Grand Canyon using little more than the Colorado River, your Piedmont Screened porch is small potatoes.

Today’s outdoor structures are still often built using treated lumber because, if it is well constructed and well cared for, they will have a long life. When it comes to low-maintenance outdoor materials, there are multiple options in several different categories of products. Composite woods are more difficult to scar, stain, and damage. They will hold up really well to the tender mercies of pets and young children. But if your teenage sons bring their best rugby moves onto your porch, you are still going to have reason to get upset.

In addition to using synthetics like AZEK and metals like aluminum for the main part of your Piedmont Triad outdoor structure, you can upgrade options for your detail and trim work to extend the life of your project and keep it easier to maintain. By wrapping columns with PVC instead of painting, you will eliminate the need to paint and repaint. Dirt and spills can most often be cleaned up with some water, soap, and a sponge. It’s super easy, but it isn’t magic.

John Mallard, owner of Archadeck of the Piedmont Triad

John Mallard, owner of Archadeck of the Piedmont Triad

In our universe, entropy is a fact of life. New construction will inevitably become old construction with its attendant scratches, dents, and wear. The good news is that new low-maintenance materials can usually be cleaned with the spray of the hose or the rub of a sponge, not down on your hands and knees with a scrub brush. Please call us if you have questions about building materials. We’ll give you the facts about industry warranties and realistic performance expectations (336) 664 – 1332,


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