How to create the ideal outdoor living space for your Weddington area home

The definition of the term ideal is “satisfying one’s conception of what is perfect or most suitable.” This can mean different things to different people and is judged by one’s own personal taste. Being in our 29th year of building outdoor living structures for homeowners within the Queen City and surrounding areas gives us knowledge of which type of designs best fit certain regions. For example; the same design that works on a property in South End may not work on a property in Rock Hill.

Case in point; Weddington, NC

The Weddington area, which extends from Matthews in Mecklenburg County well into Union County, is revered for it’s spacious, wooded properties. Most of the homes sit on an acre or more of property which greatly extends the options for choosing an outdoor living space design. Most of the requests we hear from Weddington homeowners are for structures that extend the versatility of their existing home or designs that complement their naturally scenic properties. One of our most recent Weddington area projects delivers both…

This project consists of an elevated covered porch with a stacked stone outdoor fireplace. As you can see from the images, this project is loaded with details. From the intricate “coffered” beam ceiling on the interior, to the curved posts and custom colored guttering, this project elaborates in every detail.

This project would fit the ideal outdoor living space for many Weddington homeowners. Not only does the project fit the originality of the existing home, it also enhances it, adding value to the home. Adding a covered space to extend the time spent outdoors with versatile options to carry out many functions. All the while taking into consideration the surrounding landscape in order to capture those views we referred to earlier.

If you are ready to plan the ideal outdoor living space for your Weddington area home, Archadeck of Charlotte can help. From taking your image of the perfect ideal space from planning, to paper, to perfection! Contact us today at (704) 944-1350 to get started!

No problems with Trex now, Transcends is an amazing product!

Researching Trex decking on the internet is a real mixed bag of results. Trex invented the category of composite decking some 20 years ago and the original product had its share of issues. There were complaints from fading, discoloration, staining, scratching, and so forth. This continued with the next generation but to a much lesser extent.

Fast forward to 9 years ago when Trex introduced a cap stock product they branded, Trex Tanscends. This product was engineered to eliminate the challenges with previous generations of composite decking. They were so confident in their product, they backed it with a 25-year no fade and no stain warranty!

Archadeck of Charlotte began promoting and installing this product right away and amazingly, the product has given us no challenges! We are one of the country’s largest deck builders and have next to NO call backs or warranties in the 9 years we have installed the product. Without hesitation, we promote and install Trex Transcends and the beautiful colors and grain make it much more aesthetically pleasing as well.

As a Trex Platinum Pro, we are featured on their web site in North Carolina/ South Carolina and you can go to Trex.com or archadeckofcharlotte.com to see great photo galleries!

How much are EZE Breeze windows priced and can I install them myself?

PGT industries manufactures the leading screen porch window called EZE Breeze. They are powder-coated aluminum framed and the panes are actually a “memory-vinyl” that is clear and appears to be glass.

These windows convert your screen porch into a sunroom and right back by retracting up and down or side to side depending on the model you purchase. They are ideal to keep the pollen, dirt, and moisture off of your porch while opening easily to allow free air flow when desired.

EZE Breeze windows can retail from $350 – $450 per unit plus labor depending on size. There are additional considerations that can add to the cost. You will need to factor any additional framing needed, alteration of existing structure, paint or stain, adding a door, and so forth.

These windows can be done yourself but there are some tricks to the trade to insure you measure the opening properly to insure you don’t buy these custom products and they fit properly! Archadeck of Charlotte is a distributor and installer of this product and introduced it to Charlotte years ago. For more information, go to https://archadeckofcharlotte.com

Should I paint or stain my deck?

Is it better to paint or stain your deck?

This question is answered with “it depends”. Here is what it depends on:

1. If it’s a brand new wood deck and the lumber was dried before treatment or has sat and dried over a few months, a semi-transparent stain is a wonderful choice for a couple of reasons. Number one, it allows the natural wood grain to show through and is pretty. Number two, the semi-transparent stains (like the ones supplied by Renew Crew of Charlotte) are great at sinking into the board and protecting it longer.

2. If the wood deck has already been stained and you want to change color, you would need to go to a solid stain or paint to get the pure look of the intended color. If you tried a semi-transparent or even a semi-solid, the previous color is likely to alter the appearance of the new color.

To see some great deck stain projects, you can go to archadeckofcharlotte.com or charlotte.renewcrewclean.com

Best way to hide my garbage cans? Privacy fence

In Charlotte, North Carolina, if you want to know the best way to hide the ugly garbage cans and store them efficiently, a simple privacy fence is the answer.

We design and build them to a custom size to fit as few or as many receptacles as you need. We also design easy to open doors to hide all angles when desired. The keys are to make sure you have a level surface for the garbage cans to rest on which can be done on an existing surface or simple poured surface.

The exterior of the privacy fence can be done in a matching cladding to the house like Hardy Plank or simply done with a good grade of pressure-treated pine.

If you want some good ideas on how to hide your garbage cans, go to https://archadeckofcharlotte.com

Great stone masonry work in Charlotte

If you want to see some of the best stone masonry work in Charlotte, NC, you need to visit our web site at archedeckof charlotte.com . We started in the outdoor living business 28 years ago in Charlotte and our stone and brick business has exploded over the years. While we have always been known for screen porches and custom decks, its our masonry that really wows people these days.

We are blessed with several quality masonry crews we have assembled and retained over the years. We commonly build stone patio’s, sitting walls, fireplaces and and fire pits, and outdoor kitchens. The masonry work can be real or synthetic stone, brick, or simple stamped concrete.

Patio’s have been a large growth area for us as builders are constructing more and more homes on slab rather than with crawl spaces to save money. We are able to provide patios as cost effectively as most decks which surprises our customers. More often than not, we are seeing a demand for a combination project of a deck leading down to a patio with a fire feature. We also have a great YouTube channel with dozens of videos of great hardscape projects!

How to best furnish my screen porch to maximize space?

What is the best way to furnish your screen porch to maximize your space? I believe it begins with the design of the screen porch.

The more doorways you add to the porch the less functional it becomes. If you think about it, everywhere there is an entry/ exit from the screen porch, there needs to be space for people to walk (at least 2’ in front of each exit). This begins to diminish where you can place your furnishings. Prior to designing the actual porch, think about how many people will use the porch on a normalized basis? Don’t design for the once a year Thanksgiving party but rather for the people that will use it most weekends.

How about furniture? Do you intend to eat your meals inside the porch? We find it makes the most sense for the dining table to be inside the porch (no insects), rather than placed outside on a patio or deck. To get the most out of your space, I recommend thinking about a round or octagonal table. This design allows for seating the most people in the least space!

Having a sectional is wonderful as your porch will quickly become your favorite place to relax and entertain in the house. Please the sectional right up against one of the screen walls to maximize space. If you buy a decent quality outdoor furniture, the weather will not be a factor. We have had ours for 14 years and it still looks great and is comfortable.

We have added two rocking chairs (I always reserve one for me and my glass of wine). These are very welcoming and our guest always gravitate to the rockers. We have a beautiful center table between the sofa and the rockers that is wicker with a glass top. This serves for serving drinks and appetizers. We have a large flat screen TV that we installed on the back wall so we can watch our NetFlix and other favorite stations. Finally, we added a large area rug that really adds warmth and beauty to the entire space. If you want to see more examples of furnished screen porches, go to
archadeckofcharlotte.com

Is it smart to cover a Trex Transcends deck with a roof?

Trex has done a fantastic job building their brand over the years. Like any other brand, their needs to be a well defined brand promise and then it needs to be kept. As a long time design/ build company that specializes in outdoor living spaces, we have used Trex since the category started.

Trex is simply the leader in the category of low-maintenance outdoor living products that continues to innovate and expand the category while backing up their products. A common questions we get is if it is a smart investment to cover or put a roof over the deck?

Putting Trex on the deck surface is never a bad idea. It fulfills the promise of low-maintenance, it is comfortable to walk on without being slippery, and now the look is more like natural hardwood flooring and quite pleasing.

The question is really one of cost. It is not critical to use a composite when you put a roof over a deck because it is largely protected from the sun which causes the most damage to the wood. If the porch is going to be open (not screen or glass), there is a better arguement for Trex but not as neccessary as it would be if there were no roof. To see a wide variety of covered decks and patios, go to our photo gallery at
archadeckofcharlotte.com

How much would it cost to integrate an outdoor fireplace into my screen porch or covered patio?

How much should it cost to integrate an outdoor fireplace into a screen porch or covered patio?

That depends on several factors but we will attempt to provide a detailed answer. If the outdoor fireplace is going to be wood burning, stone, have a hearth and a mantle and be designed into a roof cover, you can plan on average of adding $10,000 – $15,000 depending on the height necessary to meet building code. We have to build fireplace chimneys 2’ higher that the closest peak of your home within 10’ from the chimney. The price variance is due to the height of the overall fireplace especially if your porch is built up on a deck.

If the fireplace in going be gas powered with gas logs, there is no need for a chimney but it does require a special stainless steel framing and firebox that meets the new building codes. On average, you will spend around $12,000 for this type of fireplace.

The overall analysis is that these are not inexpensive but DO provide a wonderful outdoor space that you can enjoy year around. They become quite a valuable resale item should you have to sell your home. They are a true differentiator and are as popular as ever in the Carolinas.

We are happy to provide a detailed estimate once we have a look at your project but this blog is an attempt to educate you as to how much you should be prepared to invest. Please visit our website at https://archadeckofcharlotte.com

What is that tile that looks like wood?

What is that tile that looks like wood? It is all the craze right now in outdoor living!

The manufacturers have done an amazing job with the aesthetics of the product. You would swear you were looking at a washed out hardwood floor that looks amazingly expensive. They somehow took the wood grain of a true hardwood and impregnated it into a tile.

It is typically a ceramic tile and seems to be of decent quality. We are seeing an increase in demand for this type of product for both screen porches and sunrooms alike.

We build on average about 300 porches/ rooms annually at Archadeck of Charlotte that are all custom built to replicate the look of the architecture of the particular home we are adding on to. The tile that looks like wood only enriches the look and feel of the room. To see a photo gallery of these type of outdoor living spaces, go to archadeckofcharlotte.com

How to build a raised stone patio?

A common call we get is that a homeowner had a raised stone patio built by someone and they are having a leak below, cracking tile, rotting wood, etc……..

Sound familiar? The reason for this are skipped steps in the design/ construction of this type of project.

It is important to start with a structural load calculation to determine the weight and the appropriate footings. Then there needs to be a determination of floor joist size and spacing. Finally, determine other load factors that may impact the structure. Once this is done, you can proceed with the build.

A common misconception is that once you put down plywood, a mortar bed, and your stone, that this will keep the space below the raised stone deck dry? This is a where we find the problem. A key step is left out of the process here. In this construction, a rubber membrane needs to be installed directly over the plywood by a trained professional and make sure the edges are turned up. The floor joists need to be designed at an angle so the water drains towards the edge and does not sit and stay on the membrane. Finallly, a gutter should be installed on the band of the deck to insure the water is routed appropriately away!

For a complete design and video gallery, go to www.archadekcofcharlotte.com

Why not build a wood deck?

With all of the alternative decking products on the market today, good old fashioned pressure-treated wood decking still has the majority of the market share nationwide.

Why not build a wood deck? If you want an authentic beautiful deck that is quite affordable, pressure-treated wood is a good answer. The key is how it is built and maintained. There are some quality differences in the wood that can affect the performance of the deck. Look for a #1 grade dried after treatment deck board if you want the best! There are different treatments on the market since arsenic was outlawed over 10 years ago. Today, ECOLIFE is a good alternative and is treated by Tucker Lumber here in North Carolina. We have been using it along with COX Lumber over the many years with good success.

If you are not going to maintain your deck regularly, perhaps you should consider a composite decking material, like Trex or Timber Tech. While these products are more expensive on the front end, the maintenance cost is no more than cleaning them off. There are several other advantages that composite deck boards have but this blog is about wood decking.

Pressure-treated wood often gets a bad rap. It warps, splits, curls, checks, splits, etc… All of that is true! If you start with a quality board and it is installed properly and maintained regularly, a wood deck can still be the best value! To see some wood deck design ideas, go to www.archadeckofcharlotte.com

What are my options for a pool deck?

What are the options for a pool deck?

Traditionally, the original pools were surrounded by concrete and these were referred to as “pool decks”. As technology and imagination evolved, many other options have come to be. If you have an above ground pool, there are traditional wood decks that are built with stairways to access them and often large enough to house lounge chairs and tables. Today, composite decks such as Trex, are used to avoid maintenance and also from a safety staindpoint as composite decks cannot splinter. They are also more slip resistant.

If the pool is built into the ground, their are products such as “Cool Deck”, this is a hardscape product that will not get hot to the foot. There can be problems with cracking, similar to concrete and it a very expensive proposition.

Other hardscape products that are being used around pools include pavers (like the one featured above) and Travertine pavers. Travertine provides a rich look similar to tile while not being a slippery. We have done many pool decks throughout our 28 year history in Charlotte and you can find pool deck ideas at www.porchlifestyle.com

Lake Norman decks and patios

As a 28-year professional design/ build firm that specializes in outdoor living in the Charlotte area, some of the most beautiful and unique designs we get to do are in the Lake Norman area. We have a wonderful photo gallery of projects at www.porchlifestyle.com and they are separated by project type.

If you are looking for design ideas and want to see what other have done around the lake, our web site is full of designs and materials that work architecturally as well as functionally.

The projects range from decks and porches to outdoor fireplaces and patios. There are even large scale covered patios on Lake Norman that have fireplaces integrated into them!

How much should a Trex deck cost?

How much should a Trex deck cost? This blog is going to give you great insight into how to determine this answer accurately.

First, it is not as simple as a “square foot” cost as you would think. Here are the questions that need to be answered to give you a true estimate:

1. Size of the deck
2. Height of the ground
3. Rail system wanted
4. Any pattern or border?
5. Which of the Trex products are you wanting as there are various product choices

Depending on your answer, the price can vary greatly. When people call our office at Archadeck of Charlotte and ask what we charge per square foot for Trex, we simply cannot give an accurate answer without determining this additional information. An example as to why? If you want for example to have your deck boards layed on a diagonal, it will be necessary to install floor joists 12" on center as opposed to 16" on center which will drive the cost up. Once this information is determined, it is easy to provide an accurate price! For more information, go to www.porchlifestyle.com

Porch Floor tile that look likes woood?

What is this porch floor tile that looks like wood. It is truly innovative and beautiful! We find the best application is on a screen porch where you love the look of wood but want the durability of tile!

The pricing is in line with other tiles and makes for a truly unique look. It also comes in a variety of colors. We have done thousands of screen porches in the Charlotte, NC area for our customers and feature an extensive photo gallery with a variety of design ideas that are unrivaled on any other site!

Visit our gallery at www.porchlifestyle.com or come to our show room at 2311 Village Lake Drive in Charlotte, NC 28212!

What makes a patio beautiful?

Is a patio really just a patio? I say no! To really make a patio beautiful it begins with understanding your home’s exterior.
Is it sided? Is it brick? Do you already have stone accents? What about the grade of the land? Is there going to need to be a large retaining wall due to the slope?

These are all considerations prior to choosing a substrate for your patio. Speaking of substrates, what are the options? The most popular in the Charlotte, NC market are paver patios. There are produced from companies like Pavestone, Belgard, and others. They can be laid on top of a base of crushed stone and screening and be tamped down hard with polymeric sand in between to harden form like a grout.

Other options include Travertine stone pavers, flagstone, concrete, stamped concrete, and brick. Depending on your budget, flagstone makes for a beautiful patio like the photo above. You will also notice landscaping can make a large difference in the overall beauty of the patio project.

For expert patio and overall hardscape design, go to www.porchlifestyle.com or call 704-944-1350!

How much use can you get out of an outdoor fireplace in Charlotte?

How much use can you really get out of an outdoor fireplace in Charlotte? We have designed and built hundreds outdoor fireplaces here in the greater Charlotte market over the past 28 years and have a good handle on customer feedback.

While fall, winter, and spring certainly are prime seasons for using the outdoor fireplace, our customers are known to fire them up even on an occasional summer night for simply roasting marshmallows or ambiance.

In addition, the nights can be cool through April and into early May and start getting cooler again in September. So…if you do the math, the outdoor fireplace can be used 9 months of the year with other opportunities during the other months!

If you want to see the most complete photo gallery and get design ideas for outdoor fireplaces, go to www.porchlifestyle.com

Incredible covered patio with beautiful travertine steps

Archadeck of Charlotte designed this amazing covered patio in the Piper Glen neighborhood in south Charlotte.

It features a large Travertine patio with cascading wrap around steps down to a pool. The patio cover also has a large outdoor fireplace integrated into it to make an ideal outdoor family room.

The patio cover has a beadboard ceiling with multiple ceiling fans and outdoor lighting. All of the painting and staining on this job were done by Renew Crew of Charlotte, an Archadeck company! To get great desing ideas and see photo and video galleries, go to www.porchlifestyle.com

What are my best patio options and why?

What are all my options for my backyard patio? There are several good choices and this blog will explain the advantages of each substrate.

Let’s start with your basic concrete patio. Even though the cost of concrete has escalated greatly the past couple of years, it still remains the most cost effective choice in patios. The advantages are the cost and relative durability. The disadvantages are the fact that concrete will most likely crack regardless of installation over time and the lack of warmth in terms of aesthetics.

You can add stain to concrete and warm up the aesthetics for a relatively low cost. Once you add stamping the concrete to the equation, the cost jumps up to just below a paver patio.

Paver patio’s have the largest market share when it comes to people remodeling their patio. Leading manufactures such as Belgard and Pavestone have a variety of patterns and colors that are both durable and beautiful. The advantages of pavers is they are very low-maintenance, mid-range priced, and will not crack unless a blunt object strikes them. The disadvantage is the have seams in between where weeds can grow either from below or above in the sand. Installation is a very important part of the performance of pavers.

Travertine tile pavers have come on strong in recent years. They look like tile but thicker and installed like pavers. The advantges are again low-maintenance, very high aesthetic appeal, and much smaller seams as compared to pavers. The disadvantage is they are bit high cost than average pavers.

Finally, flagstone is a growing choice amongst people in the Charlotte, NC area. It is generally laid in concrete and has some great advantages. It is perhaps the highest aesthetic appeal, no weeds can grow through it, it is low-maintenance, and has great utility. The disadvantages are high price and the concrete is likely to crack over time.

To find a complete design gallery on patio and entire outdoor living spaces, go to www. porchlifestyle.com

What are my best patio options and why?

What are all my options for my backyard patio? There are several good choices and this blog will explain the advantages of each substrate.

Let’s start with your basic concrete patio. Even though the cost of concrete has escalated greatly the past couple of years, it still remains the most cost effective choice in patios. The advantages are the cost and relative durability. The disadvantages are the fact that concrete will most likely crack regardless of installation over time and the lack of warmth in terms of aesthetics.

You can add stain to concrete and warm up the aesthetics for a relatively low cost. Once you add stamping the concrete to the equation, the cost jumps up to just below a paver patio.

Paver patio’s have the largest market share when it comes to people remodeling their patio. Leading manufactures such as Belgard and Pavestone have a variety of patterns and colors that are both durable and beautiful. The advantages of pavers is they are very low-maintenance, mid-range priced, and will not crack unless a blunt object strikes them. The disadvantage is the have seams in between where weeds can grow either from below or above in the sand. Installation is a very important part of the performance of pavers.

Travertine tile pavers have come on strong in recent years. They look like tile but thicker and installed like pavers. The advantges are again low-maintenance, very high aesthetic appeal, and much smaller seams as compared to pavers. The disadvantage is they are bit high cost than average pavers.

Finally, flagstone is a growing choice amongst people in the Charlotte, NC area. It is generally laid in concrete and has some great advantages. It is perhaps the highest aesthetic appeal, no weeds can grow through it, it is low-maintenance, and has great utility. The disadvantages are high price and the concrete is likely to crack over time.

To find a complete design gallery on patio and entire outdoor living spaces, go to www. porchlifestyle.com

EZE Breeze screen porches vs. Sun Rooms?

So, what are the advantages of an EZE Breeze screen porch vs. a sunroom? There are several!

As a distributor and installer of the EZE Breeze windows for the past 17 years, we are well positioned and experienced to comment on this from our customers point of view at Archadeck of Charlotte.

1. Flexibility – EZE Breeze give you the ability to have a screen porch or a sunroom by simply stacking the windows at the bottom or the top of the porch or simply removing them altogether. A sunroom will not provide nearly as much ventilation and free air flow.

2. Amount of viewing area – EZE Breeze will allow for you to have minimal framing and you can view the outdoors much better unless you go with all picture windows which would mean you have no free airflow

3. Saftey – EZE Breeze windows are made of a tough vinyl, not glass and will not shatter or crack

4. Function – EZE Breeze windows will go up or down and stop at any point to give you as much or little open window space as you desire

5. Cost – The county building codes do not require a permit when you use the EZE Breeze windows and you do not need to insulate, termite treatment, vapor barrier, hear or air condition so the overall cost is less

To view a wide variety and price range of homes with EZE Breeze, go to www.porchlifestyle.com

Integrating an outdoor fireplace into a screen porch? 4-season screen porch!

How would you like to create a 4-season room out of your screen porch? Integrating an outdoor fireplace into your screen porch is a potential solution. We have been designing and build outdoor fireplaces for the past 10 years and integrating them into covered patios and screen porches are the most popular choices these days.

The desire to extend your outdoor living simply increases each year. Psychologists say that is due to increased stress levels at work and the desire to escape without ever having to leave your home. The fresh air while being protected from the sun and insects make screen porches the most preferred room that you’ll want to spend time in.

From an aesthetic standpoint, stone is the most popular veneer while some choose to match the brick that is already on the back of their home. Contrary to popular belief, you can have a fireplace integrated into the porch even after the porch is built. Make sure you hire a professional with the knowledge and experience to do this. You can also have an outdoor fireplace even if your screen porch is on the second story!

There are new building codes now governing the design of outdoor fireplaces for obvious safety reasons. These cover height of the chimney, material for framing, distance from the house, and other areas. While having an outdoor fireplace is expensive up front, the amount of time and enjoyment you will receive appears to be well worth the investment and our demand has increased for 10 consecutive years here in the Charlotte area.

To see the most extensive photo gallery of outdoor fireplaces, go to www.porchlifestyle.com

The elegance of a covered patio and design ideas

Designing a covered patio is truly an art from. There are roofs and then there are simply elegant covered patio’s. The function of shade and protection from rain is obvious, the rest of the benefits are the real story.

You have to consider the flooring options, from a paver patio, to stamped concrete, to flagstone as pictured above. The columns can have a dramatic effect on the visual appeal and maintenance.

Traditionally you can match the shingles from you home or accent them with a standing seam metal roof as pictured above.

Adding a fire feature such as an outdoor fireplace creates ambiance and extends the use of the patio.

Adding a grilling station or even an outdoor kitchen can turn this into a well equipped outdoor living oasis!

For great design ideas for covered patios and other outdoor living spaces, go to www.porchlifestyle.com

What are my porch flooring options?

What are my options for my screen porch floor? There are several and this blog will detail the pros and cons of the different material choices you can select from.

Pressure -treated wood decking is a cost effective and by far the most common choice for screen porches when your porch is elevated off grade. The product holds up better under a roof that it does when exposed to the elements. By putting a roof over a deck, it keeps the suns harmful rays away and there is very little maintenance required. Because the boards have small spaces between them it gives a release for water when you clean the porch. The negative to the product is some chose a solid floor, while others worry about splinters if they have little ones.

Composite deck boards are certainly more expensive(roughly double when comparing just the cost of the deck boards installed). The positives are they are incredibly durable, they will NEVER need staining or painting, and due to the composition, they will NEVER splinter. The manufactures such as Trex, have done a great job in the aesthetics as well as they know appear to look much more like real wood.

Adding tile to your screen porch is probably going to be the most expensive option. Why? It’s not the price of the tile. It’s the fact that the porch will need be structured with floor joists closer together requiring more to support the weight of the tile. In addition, it requires adding pressure-treated plywood, a mortar bed, the tile itself, and grout. The positive side of adding tile or stone flooring is that it is a very upgraded appearance. In addition, it is easy to clean with a sponge mop and it totally encloses the floor.

For a wonderful photo gallery on screen porches and the complete outdoor living space, go to porchlifestyle.com

What does a pergola really do for my home?

What is the true function or purpose of a pergola? Wow is this a common question! Pergola’s or arbors are so popular in Charlotte and people aren’t quite sure what the use is.

The facts are that pergola’s can provide quite a bit of shade if you add more timbers on top or even go as far as an all weather fabric over the timbers. The obvious attraction to pergola’s is the aesthetic value.

Finally, the price point of pergolas is quite attractive when compared to roof structures or even some awnings!! For a complete photo gallery of outdoor living spaces, go to porchlifestyle.com

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