Thursday, March 29, 2012

Custom Sunroom and Patio in Potomac, MD

This sun room and patio design for a Potomac, MD homeowner features a round sun room with double casement windows.  The conical roof extends above the gable 'walk through' and provides a wonderful space for our clients to enjoy meals and entertain friends.  A flagstone patio complete with sitting wall and a fire pit provide our door living space.  After some landscaping this back yard will be complete.


Sun Room Potomac, Maryland

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sunroom, Deck, and Patio in Great Falls, VA

Sunroom, Deck, and Patio Design Great Falls, VA


This design features a Sunroom, Patio, and multiple decks.  A flagstone dry laid patio connects the driveway to the sun deck.  Round stairs on the sun deck emulate the arch windows of the sun room.  Mahogany flooring will be installed in the sunroom that also features cedar tongue and groove ceiling, crown molding, recessed lights, and over sized skylights.  This space can double as a screen room when all the windows are opened, but can also be used throughout the window months.  A Mitsubishi mini split HVAC system will heat and cool the sunroom.  Sun decks are located on both sides of the sunroom for overflow seating.  This project has it all with patio space, 500+ square feet of deck space, and a four season sun room.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Build a Waterproof Deck

Nearly every part of Maryland receives approximately four inches of rain per month, while the annual rainfall in our state ranges from 35 to 45 inches. The average winter snowfall for our area exceeds 20 inches. If you’re a Maryland resident, this isn’t news to you – our state is one of the wettest.

All of this precipitation can lead to calamities of nature that damage your home. Not to mention it can be downright depressing to be cooped up in your house day after day while rain and snow take their toll and hamper your ability to breathe in some fresh air.

There are two additions to your outdoor living space that bring with them multiple solutions to weather problems: a covered deck and ascreened-in porch. Both of these options allow you to utilize your exterior space during rainy days and, if you’re happy to bundle up in the bitter cold, enjoy being out on snowy days as well.

The advantage of being kept dry by your deck roof prevents you from being a slave to the Maryland weather – you won’t have to cancel a gathering or move it indoors because of rain. You can read, relax, work, or play with your kids on your screened-in porch, rain or no rain. A deck roof also protects you from the sun, which many of our customers want so they can still appreciate being outside without worrying about harmful rays.

As for wintertime, you know those snow piles that look so soft and fluffy white at first can turn into a slushy, melting mess. A deck roof keeps snow that could have built up on your deck away from doors, minimizing any chances of interior water damage.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Great Falls, VA Sunroom and Deck Design

Sun Room Design Great Falls, VA


This Great Falls, VA home owner required a large four season space for entertaining and enjoying meals.  This deck and sun room addition combination provides over 1000sqft of living space.  The sun room features Mahogany tongue and groove flooring, vinyl sliding windows, low maintenance vinyl trim on the exterior, and custom trim details on the interior.  Faux columns and scalloped arches make this room different from others in the neighborhood.  Azek low maintenance decking is installed on all exterior sun decks.  Azek designer handrail system keeps family and friends safe.  A separate grilling area and stairs access the rest of the backyard.  

Sunroom & Deck Design Great Falls, VA

Sun Room Design Great Falls, VA


These Great Falls, VA home owners required a large four season space for entertaining and enjoying meals with friends and family.  This deck and sun room addition combination provides over 1000sqft of four season and outdoor living space.  The sun room features Mahogany tongue and groove flooring, vinyl sliding windows, low maintenance vinyl trim on the exterior, and custom trim details on the interior.  Faux columns and scalloped arches make this room different from others in the neighborhood.  Azek low maintenance decking is installed on all exterior sun decks.  Azek designer handrail system keeps family and friends safe.  A separate grilling area and stairs access the rest of the backyard.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Build an Environmentally Friendly Deck

Recommendations for Building a Green Deck

If your goal is to minimize your carbon footprint but maximize your outdoor living space, there are environmentally friendly decking materials that will allow you to enjoy your deck while also protecting the earth.

For clients who want a true green construction, we recommend Trex Transcend, a high-performance decking made with a unique combination of materials that are 95 percent recycled or reclaimed from wood and plastic and contain no toxic chemicals or preservatives. In fact, Trex Company created the composite decking category, revolutionizing the decking industry.

As for Transcend, it could be said that this composite blends with nature because it isn’t negatively affected by sunlight, harsh weather, or insect damage – some of a deck-owner’s biggest concerns. The two components of the composite itself – plastic and wood – work in conjunction to shield each other from the elements, UV rays, and pests, therefore preventing rotting, warping, cracking, fading, staining, and scratching.

If your outdoor space includes a pool, spa, or hot tub, Trex decking resists moisture and mold, making it an ideal counterpart to your H2O pursuits. And you can feel safe relaxing in your bare feet as the smooth, slip-resistant composition of this decking eliminates worries about splinters or falls.

Often, using green products limits your ability to be creative with your design. But Trex offers natural-looking, rich earth tones in a wide range of colors and finishes – from tan to dark brown, you can create a realistic hardwood appearance or go for subtle elegance with shades of gray. The distinctive wood grain patterns can be mixed and matched to create a truly unique design and matching rail and trim options are available. Another advantage: The decking, though very strong, can be bent to create patterns and curves that are not possible with wood.

Ultimately, everyone wants a quality deck that is going to have longevity – though wood products have a lower upfront cost, Trex wood-alternative products pay for themselves in less than six years because there is minimal maintenance required. Using this weather-resistant decking, you will be free from having to sand, stain, or paint your deck. Only periodic cleanings are recommended to keep this material looking fresh.

So your biggest job? Get outside, soak up the sun, and enjoy your beautiful, environmentally responsible deck.

Design Builders, Inc.

8315 North Brook Ln. #205Bethesda, MD 20814

(301)875-2781 Decks in Maryland by Design Builders Inc.

Custom Round Decks in Northern Virginia

Deck Design Fairfax, Virginia

Round Deck Design Fairfax, VA

This deck design for a Fairfax, VA home owner features Shoreline white vinyl handrails, Deckorators black powder coated aluminum balusters, Azek Vinyl decking, and PVC trim to hide all framing.  The curved front creates an added appeal while maintaining functionality and plenty of space for outdoor entertaining.  This 24x16' deck has plenty of space for a BBQ, large table, and multiple chairs.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Front Porch Design Rockville, Maryland

Front Porch Design Rockville, Maryland

Curb appeal is very important to any home.  You want to feel good when you come home ever day after a hard day's work.  When selling your home, curb appeal makes your house stand out.  Adding a covered front porch to a home without a portico or covered from step can make a huge impact.  This 32' wide by 6' deep front porch extends the length of the house and has access points at the driveway and in the center of porch.  An 8' wide gable feature in the center adds architectural interest.  Recessed lights, a swinging char, and ceiling fans help make this area  wonderful place to enjoy evenings with family and friends.

Creative Deck Design Columbia, Maryland


Our Columbia, Marland client need a large deck and patio for their son's college graduation party.  Design Builders, Inc. was up to the task.  DB created a deck that features smooth lines instead of the hard lines of their existing deck.  This deck is 22' wide and extends 12' from the house with a slight curve on the left side.  Azek low maintenance decking is the material for the floor surface.  The handrail system is comprised of pressure treated posts, deckorators black classic balusters, and an Azek deck board top cap.  The landing and stairs fall on the Belgard paver patio beneath.  A retaining wall on the left side holds dirt back and provides a sitting wall for under deck entertaining.  The patio extends beneath the landing to access the basement door on the right.

Check our our Video on How to build a Curved Deck:


Monday, February 6, 2012

Railing Options for Maryland Decks

Beyond Basic Deck Railing

Deck railings come in many shapes, sizes, and styles. Trex Artisan Rails, Azek Railing, Deckorators Railing, RDI Endurance railing, Shoreline Railing, and Fairway Vinyl are all popular brands. From inexpensive to extremely customized and high end, a railing is necessary for decks that are above 30’’ above grade.

Deck railings are still a necessary safety measure, but they can also add curb appeal to your home. Solid wood, straight lines – you are no longer limited to just one or two options.

Screen Porch and Deck Columbia, Maryland
We often use railing made by Deckorators, a company that began simply producing balusters but is now creating their own custom railing system, similar to their competitors Azek Railing, Fiberon Missions Railing, and Trex Artisan Railing.

The railing and balusters from Deckorators come in a variety of shapes, colors, and materials, including glass, composite, and powder coated aluminum. These components also feature add-ons and upgrades – install a decorative Tiffany-style post cap or traditional stepped post skirt. A popular top cap option features solar lighting or low voltage lighting, which adds a soft glow and subtle illumination to your outdoor living space and activities.

Whether your style is classic, contemporary, modern, or all of the above, you can create a railing and baluster combination to reflect your aesthetic and make your deck memorable, comfortable, and stunning.

Design Builders, Inc.

8315 North Brook Ln. #205Bethesda, MD 20814

(301)875-2781 Decks in Maryland by Design Builders Inc.

Screen Porch and Patio Design Potomac, Maryland

This design was a challenge because the patio and walkway were existing from a previous construction.  The idea for this project was to add a low maintenance screen room to the back yard to protect these Potomac, MD homeowners away from the bugs.  The previous owners were big into hardscaping and had created a large patio, stairs, sitting walls, outdoor fireplace, and walkway, so integrating the new screen room had its difficulties.  We decided a door location tight to the house would be best to maximize furniture space on the interior of the screen porch.  A patio walkway was added to connect the screen porch to the existing patio.  The existing plant bed was changed and manipulated to fit around the new screen enclosure.  Decorative local shrubs are installed around the porch to hide the area under the deck.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

Half Synthetic and Half Wood Screen Porch Bethesda

[[posterous-content:pid___0]]Not all projects have to be either 100% synthetic or 100% natural wood.  A good way to save cost as well as blend material is to install low maintenance vinyl decking and build a typical wooden screen porch structure on the deck.  Your deck gets the brunt of the wear and tear.  Water can pool and the UV rays hit the horizontal surface directly.  Low maintenance decking is advised for longetivy of your deck boards.  However, an area that doesn't face as much damage are the posts, railings, and beams of the screen porch.  Becasue they are installed vertically, water cannot pool.  The posts and rails aren't as effected by the UV rays as well.  So, installing wooden posts and rails on a low maintnenace deck is a wonderful way to save cost on a project and also get the 'woodsy' feel you are going for.  This project features Azek Decking Morado Color and have pine posts and rails installed and stained to match.  Sometimes synthetic material isn't the best choice, especially on an older bricke home.  To see more examples of our projects visit our webiste and flickr portfolio.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Patio Construction in Rockville, Maryland

DB_patio_testimonial-DB_patio_testimonial-H.264_for_Apple_TV.m4v Watch on Posterous
In depth look at a design build patio project located in Rockville, Maryland.

Custom Addition in Bethesda


I like to call this design the 'Screen Porch Sandwich'.  This Bethesda Maryland home owner contacted Design Builders to create a design that featured a garage on the lower level, a deck/screen porch combination on the second level, and a master bathroom addition on the third level.  Parking in downtown Bethesda is hard to come by and having a garage space is a luxury as well as a wonderful way to add value to your home.  This 800 sqft deck will provide ample space to entertain friends and family for numerous occasions.  The screen porch area connects to their kitchen and will provide a bug free zone to enjoy meals and morning coffee.  The master bathroom additional allows the client to make a larger bedroom, add a larger walk-in closet, and add a much larger updated bathroom.  No matter what the challenge, Design Builders can help you build a project that adds value to your home and helps you get more enjoyment our of your home.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Custom Screen Porch Potomac Maryland

Screen Porch construction is a great way to avoid insections in the area.  Screen rooms can be built on both decks and patios.  Add a fireplace and you've got yourself a luxurious outdoor living space!


Custom Screen Room Potomac, MD by Design Builders, Inc.

Deck and Screen Porch Design Process

Understanding the Design Process

You want a new deck, screened-in porch, upgraded outdoor space, or interior renovation. You can visualize your final project. Wanting and envisioning – they’re the easy part. But now you need to determine the reality of your daydreams. That’s where Design Builders come in.

Once you’ve contacted us to get an estimate for your project, how do you convey your wishes? And how long does it take to receive a visual representation of your proposed project?

Our initial meeting with you to discuss your project hopes and needs can be done in one of two ways: in your home, or online via the web conferencing software GoToMeeting. During this meeting, we can actually work on-the-spot to design your proposed project, getting your direct and immediate feedback. If time doesn’t allow us to develop the design in the initial meeting, we will have it to you within 48 hours.

Screen Porch, Patio, and Deck Design

That’s when the magic really happens – through our 3D color renderings, our clients get the first true look at what their project will become and how it will enhance their home. All of our customers have the option to purchase a set of permit-ready building plans for 5 percent of the final project estimate. If you choose to build with Design Builders, that 5 percent is credited to your deposit.

Now… are you fantasizing about soaking up the summer sun on a new deck, or relaxing away from the evening pests in your new screened-in porch? All you have to do is get your meeting scheduled and we can take it from there.

Patio Rockville, Maryland

Design Builders, Inc.

8315 North Brook Ln. #205Bethesda, MD 20814

(301)875-2781 Decks in Maryland by Design Builders Inc.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Screen Porches Don't Need To Have Railings

This screened enclosure located in Chevy Chase, MD features 6'' vinyl columns, Azek porch board, and a bronze standing seam metal roof.  One thing it does not feature are handrails.  Like anything in life there are pros and cons to excluding handrails on your screen porch project.  The pros being that the lack of rails makes the room look more spacious, allows for better views, and make the space feel less like a 'deck' and more like a patio.  The cons are that you need to keep an eye on your rowdy friends during wild parties.  

Screen Porch Chevy Chase, MD

Deck and Screen Porch Construction Adds Value To Your Home

Building a Deck Can Be Your Best Home Investment

Reluctant to make any exterior home improvements in this less-than-stable housing market? Don’t be. Even a poor economy can’t disprove the fact that adding a wood deck to your home offers over a 70 percent return on your investment, according to Remodeling Magazine's Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report for 2011-2012. Building a deck is still one of the most worthwhile home improvement projects.

Round Fiberon Deck
Why is building a deck better than upgrading your master bath or remodeling your basement? Adding a deck to your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase your living area. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the national average for new construction costs of a two-story, 2,000-square-foot home is about $85 per square foot. The construction costs for a wood deck are less than $35 per square foot.

Thrift-conscious consumers should find a deck appealing, as they are the demographic looking to save money by spending more time at home, according to Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman, deputy home editor at Consumer Reports. These cost-conscious folks want a new way to enjoy the outdoors while adding value to their property.

Other outlets rank deck building positively as well. U.S. News and World Report claims building a wood deck is among the five best home improvement projects for your money. And Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, says, “These days the latest trend is all about outdoor living. Decks are a great investment if you’re looking to add some exterior space to your living area.”

Hicks goes on to say that investing in quality is one of the most important elements of opting for this exterior home improvement. “When it comes to building a deck it all comes down to how well it’s installed. We all too often hear stories of a deck being improperly installed and potentially collapsing. You want to have someone who knows what they are doing.” Plus, a good, reliable, knowledgeable contractor will work with you to keep costs under control, making your new deck a completely worthwhile investment on all fronts.

Design Builders, Inc.

8315 North Brook Ln. #205Bethesda, MD 20814

(301)875-2781 Decks in Maryland by Design Builders Inc.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Understanding the Deck Building Process

Understanding the Deck Building Process

There are several steps in the Design Builder’s building process – we pride ourselves on being thorough and carefully monitor each of our projects to ensure top-quality work and craftsmanship. Here’s a breakdown of how you can expect your renovation to go from start to finish:

It’s in the details – You already have the 3D color renderings of the proposed design per the Design Builders Deck design process, but now we take two to three weeks to create a detailed plan of the project.
Getting the green light – After the detailed plans have been completed, we have a review meeting with our client and receive your sign-off to move forward with building.
Abiding by the law – We take care of all necessary building permits for your project according to your county’s regulations – this can take one to two weeks.
Logistics – We hold a pre-construction meeting to discuss the logistics of the project such as where to park on your property, where to store materials and equipment, and so on.
Getting the goods – We aim to prevent delays at all costs. All of the building materials arrive and are inventoried on Day 1 of your building project.
Breaking ground – As your project commences, we conduct excavation for footings and foundation.
Staying on top of things – If you wish, a weekly meeting can be arranged with your project manager so you can be informed about every detail of your building project.
Taking a closer look – Inspections are crucial. We conduct them for everything including footing, framing, roof close-in, rough-in electrical, and final building and final electrical inspections.
Wrapping up – Once building has been completed, we conduct a project walk-through and compile a punch list. Once this to-do list has been checked off, there is project clean-up and your project warranty officially begins.
Enjoy! – Now it’s time for you to sit back and relax in your beautiful new living space.
Checking in – Once a client, always a client – the final component of our building process includes a one-year check-up to make sure you’re satisfied.

At Design Builders, we’re meticulous, but we’re also efficient. It is our goal to provide you with the building project that you envision for your home in a timely manner. Read and watch what some of our clients have had to say about their experience with our firm.

Design Builders, Inc.

8315 North Brook Ln. #205Bethesda, MD 20814

(301)875-2781 Decks in Maryland by Design Builders Inc.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Deck Railing Options

Deck handrails come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Designer rails made from composite material, vinyl,aluminum, and wrought iron are all possibilities. Deckorators balusters, made of powder coated aluminum, are a great option and provide a lot of design options and flexibility. The deckorators balusters come in a variety of colors and shapes. There are also customizable add on options such as the Fleur de Lis and Basket weave. Not only do these balusters look great, but they make your deck space more spacious by blending in with the environment and not blocking sight lines. Best of all deckorators balusters are very affordable. For a minimal upgrade you can enhance and customize your door living space.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Custom Screen Porch and Patio


This large screen porch and patio are designed for an Annapolis Maryland home owner looking to add a large exterior living space to their home.  The plan is to entertain their large family and hold social business gatherings.  Being close to the water, mosquitoes and other bugs are an issue with this property.  The home owner is a fan of large open spaces and doesn't like being confined by a three sided screen room at all times.  To accommodate their needs we designed this project that has two levels of mosquito protection.  1. The screened in porch allows the client to use the deck area without being bother by pesky insects.  2. An insect misting system allows the home owners to entertain in the open air without being bitten by mosquitoes.


 The screened in porch area has fixed screens on both the left and right sides.  Both sides feature a storm door, landing and stairs for access to the two sides of the yard.  The front wall features a custom retractable screen system.  Two retractable screens are installed in the left and right bays on the front of the screen porch.  Stairs that extend the length of the screen porch allow for open access to the patio.  When entertaining the home owners can open the entire front wall of the porch creating a massive open air entertaining area.  If they prefer a smaller more intimate gathering, they can keep the screens closed and enjoy the comfort of a their screened enclosure.


The mosquito repelent sytem MistAway is a great way to create a bug free environment in the open air without any screens.  MistAway mosquito control system automatically sprays a very fine mist of botanical insecticide through a series of mosquito misting nozzles installed on the property. Once installed, the system virtually disappears into the landscape. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Deck Styles in Maryland and Virginia

Outside-of-the-Box Building

Too hip to be square? Good news – you don’t have to go traditionally square with your deck or screened room. In fact, you can get downright musical with your outdoor living space if that’s your taste. Just take a look at this piano deck we created:

Azek Deck Maryland

Smooth, curved decking can make you feel like you and your outdoor living space are even more in line (no pun intended) with nature. We use a variety of deck materials that feature curves, which means you can have the style and color of decking that you want without being forced into a straight-line deck shape. The only limit is your (and our) imagination.

Creativity comes from above as well, in the form of screen porch roofs. The shapes and sizes of the roof on your outdoor living space can vary considerably. Your roof choice can be influenced by the design of your house roof, whether or not you want skylights or fans, and, simply enough, your personal taste. Choose from an A-frame gable roof, a lean-to shed roof, a hip roof (with or without gable build-up), or a hexagon or octagon roof, illustrated in the photos below:

Hip Roof Potomac Maryland by Design Builders, Inc.

Finally, special trim and railing details truly put a lid on your outside-of-the-box thinking, making your one-of-a-kind deck that much more unique and true to your character and style of living. We welcome your creative ideas!

ScreenRoom-Potomac Maryland

Design Builders, Inc.

8315 North Brook Ln. #205Bethesda, MD 20814

(301)875-2781 Decks in Maryland by Design Builders Inc.