Heat options to extend the months you can use your screened-in porch

A porch outdoor fireplace adds warmth and ambiance

Many people ask us how many months throughout the year they’ll be able to use their Kansas-City area screened-in porch. It would be difficult to provide precise information since every winter is different. We want to share some porch heating options along to provide more insight in answering this question.

There are multiple options for controlling temperature in your screened porch and they each have different costs and levels of effectiveness

Are windows a good option for the colder months?

When in the planning stages, the first thing our clients often ask is whether they should have a room with movable or removable windows. There are different types of movable windows including glass or plastic, to name a couple.

Movable or removable windows have some substantial pros and cons. If you want to simply stop wind and that’s your only objective, windows are a possible option. But in the summer months, almost every kind of window will make the porch hotter which is generally not desirable as you likely look to your porch to enjoy a cool breeze and to escape baking in the sun. Completely removable windows sound attractive on the surface but have their own set of peculiar drawbacks. They are large, bulky, hard to handle, hard to store and can be quite heavy. For these reasons, and because they add heat to the porch in the warmer months, windows are not a very popular option.

How about sliding windows?

If you’re looking at sliding windows of some type, they all increase your cost and usually block 50% of the air flow even when they’re open. Just like windows in your house block airflow, so do sliding windows on your porch. Consequently, with windows of any kind, you’re sacrificing some cooling in the summer to gain more weather control in the colder months and you’re also increasing costs. While we generally don’t advocate using windows for your screened porch, there are great heating options available.

Here are some great heating options.

For heating your porch, there are multiple choices. One option is electric radiant heating using outdoor weather-resistant radiant heaters. These heaters are usually permanently mounted and wired. They work really well but they do have a drawback. Because of the amount of power they use, they generally require their own circuit wired to your main panel which can be inconvenient and costly.

A less expensive option that is quite flexible is propane or natural gas floor-mounted heaters which are portable and come in serval sizes and configurations. They are portable and are not too expensive. They have the advantage that they can be moved around to suit different furniture configurations or moved completely if desired.

The last heating option is an outdoor fireplace which goes far above and beyond because it has aesthetic benefits as well as functional benefits. A gas fireplace puts out a considerable amount of heat and adds ambiance to the porch.

There are also some portable floor-mounted electric heaters that are inexpensive but most are low power, don’t put out a lot of heat and will be less than desirable other than to heat just one small corner of the porch if that’s the goal. They will do a limited amount of heating but they won’t heat up much more than one person in a chair.

As you read above, there are some great ways to achieve a little warmth on your porch allowing you to enjoy it more months out of the year. If you are looking for a Kansas City porch builder, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325, drop us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net or visit our website to view more pictures and contact us online.

Here are some additional links you may enjoy:

Read about outdoor porch fireplaces
Read about screened in porch ideas
Enjoy our screened porch photo gallery
View our gallery of outdoor fireplaces

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

How does a screened porch change the way you entertain at the holidays and throughout the year?

How many times have you been in a situation where you’re deciding who will host an event and you have to pass to someone else because that number of guests will just make for too close of quarters at your house? Do you have a girls’ group or guys’ group that you meet with regularly but you don’t offer to host because you don’t have a private space in your home where you can either make a little noise or enjoy some privacy?

When we first begin having a discussion with homeowners who are looking for a new screened porch, we ask them how they want to live outside. Most homeowners look forward to enjoying meals while enjoying a more unobstructed view of their yard. Many homeowners are looking for a private retreat where they can get away and watch TV or enjoy the fireplace leaving the phones and computers inside the house. An often unexpected benefit is having a place to entertain. Better yet, you can close the door between the house and the porch having a totally new private area in your home.

Over the holidays, there is yet another unintended benefit of having an extra room attached to your house. With the addition of some portable heating, you can extend the use of your screened porch to include many months throughout the year increasing the number of people you can comfortably entertain.

Here are some ways having a screened porch will improve the way you entertain. Are you hoping to have the family party for next 4th of July? Don’t cram the kid’s table into a corner of the living room. Put the kids’ table out on the screened porch giving them their own private dining room. When the grandkids come to visit, do you need a special playroom to give you and them a little break time during the visit? Because a screened porch is completely enclosed, you can feel safe allowing them to enjoy the porch playroom while you cook, clean or have a little break. When the college kids come home for the holidays, do they sometimes ask to bring one more guests than you have room for? Depending on the size of the sofa on your screened porch, it might serve as the perfect “extra bedroom” in a pinch. Does your dog love the family but become quite raucous when a new guest comes to your home? The comfortable and spacious porch may be a good place for your pets to hang out ensuring they don’t scare off your guests.

One thing we would all love is some overflow room. Perhaps you have a fabulous kitchen where guests and family members congregate. Likely quarters become just a little too tight depending on how many guests you’re entertaining. Since a porch is nearly always connected to the kitchen or eating area, open the door(s) to allow overflow traffic onto your porch. Even in the colder months, a space heater and/or the heat from the porch fireplace will make the room comfortable enough for your overflow traffic to spread out or find another couple seats for enjoying the food you prepared.

If you are considering adding a screened porch to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325 or email us at kansascity@archadeck.net. Want to see some photo galleries of different porches? Take a look at our screened porch photo gallery for ideas and inspiration.

How is your screened porch going to look in 10 years, 20 years or 30 years?

When we begin planning to build a home addition such as a screened porch, we read magazines, visit websites and work hard to envision what the new porch will look like the day it’s finished. We envision which rug we will purchase and the number of people the seating will accommodate. Do you ever envision what the porch will look like in 10 years, 20 years or more? Do you suppose that a decade old porch would look worn and beaten by the sun, rain, and wear of a full decade? Would it look that much more bedraggled after another decade?

This porch by Archadeck of Kansas City was built 6 years ago and still looks new.

Depending on how you have your porch built, with very little care and cleaning, your porch can look nearly as good in 10 years, 20 years or more. Let’s look at how this is possible. There are many ways to build a screened porch and many materials that can be used both inside and outside your porch. There are different choices in weather resistance and in materials. This is not only for flooring materials but also for your railing, trim work, exterior siding, soffits and other materials that will be needed to build your porch. All your porch building materials will differ in durability and maintenance as well as weather resistance. Today, the choices of these materials and quality levels is much greater than in the past.

While porch consumers have many material choices available to them, often builders will have set ways they build and other builders don’t expose homeowners to an important variety of material choices that are available. Many builders don’t let homeowners know there are options and don’t explain to homeowners how those options influence the long-term durability, longevity, and maintenance of their porch.

Traditional all-wood screened porches with wood columns, wood trim, wood flooring, wood railing, and wood steps will always have maintenance, durability and upkeep issues. These are the same maintenance, durability and upkeep issues as an all wood deck. Even though screened porches have a roof, the surfaces are still exposed to weather and this outdoor environment will affect the durability, longevity, and maintenance of the porch.

By careful selection of materials in all these different areas, it’s possible and likely desirable to build a much lower maintenance screened porch that will look every bit as good 5 – 10 years out and more. But all the different areas need to be addressed to achieve this goal. This doesn’t apply just to flooring or one element but to all the materials selected for your new porch.

If you look around at some older or existing porches that were built 5 – 10 yrs. ago, you’ll see cracks, splits, fading, staining issues, broken trim, broken screens, loose screens, railing damage and more because the attention to product selection was not given when the porch was built. It’s all about material quality, craftsmanship and using the right products in the right places to achieve the right balance of looks, durability, upkeep, and longevity. Just like in most product decisions, there’s always a choice of a cheaper product that is not going to hold up.

This beautiful porch uses all low-maintenance materials including low-maintenance flooring.

If you’re reading this blog, you’re likely considering adding a screened porch to your home. Here is some good information to know about material selections to build a porch that will still look fantastic even one or two decades later. Using composite low-maintenance flooring is an option many homeowners are often familiar with but there are quite a few other low-maintenance materials that will keep your porch looking great for years to come.

All roofed porches have exterior trim boards that are exposed to weather. Thirty years ago there were just a couple options for, exterior trim including pine, cedar, and other natural woods. Today there are man-made, weather-resistant materials that will never crack, split, rot, fade, splinter or warp. These are designed to be custom painted to match your home ensuring your new porch doesn’t look added on but looks like it was built with your home. These choices didn’t exist 30 years ago but today they make a significant impact.

It’s important to be aware that there are many critical material decisions to make that have long-lasting implications. Choose a contractor that has expertise using low-maintenance products and one that is willing to invest time on the front end helping you select the materials to ensure you have many years of return on your outdoor living investment.

Our design consultation is free. Give us a ring at (913) 851-3325 to discuss ideas and options for your new outdoor living space. To see many great pictures of porches we’ve built throughout the Kansas City metro, visit our screened porch photo gallery or our covered porch photo gallery.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

These Creekmoor homeowners in Raymore MO just turned in their old deck for an amazing new porch

When these Creekmoor homeowners first contacted us, they had an old deck that was built at the time the house was built. It was tired and they wanted a space that was a little larger. Instead of a deck, they wanted a new screened porch complete with an outdoor fireplace.

The new porch looks amazing. Integrated into the screened-in porch is a gas ventless outdoor fireplace with TV mounted atop. If you look closely, you’ll see an inset above the fireplace made to accommodate a TV. You can most often use an indoor TV on your outdoor porch if you’re careful to shield it from the elements. This can be done a number of ways. The TV can be mounted on one of the house walls or an enclosed sidewall of the porch. The area above this fireplace was where these homeowners wanted their TV to reside permanently.

The interior of this porch utilizes a beautiful color pallet. The interior house wall is a warm tone which is complemented with the AZEK low-maintenance PVC floor in Hazelwood color. The stone facade on the outdoor fireplace also utilizes a muted array of beige and gray tones. In contrast, the ceiling is finished with cedar in warm tones. Closer to the house wall is a king truss wrapped in cedar to match the ceiling.

Looking at the outside of this Creekmoor porch with outdoor fireplace, you’ll notice that the porch looks like it was built with the home even though it was just added to the home. Careful time and attention goes into matching not only the home’s exterior color but also matching soffits and gutters. Homeowners don’t want their home improvement to look added on. They want it to look like it was always there.

This screened porch has an exterior exit. The homeowners wanted easy access to the patio below the elevated porch. For this reason, we added a landing to the stairs ensuring that the stairs descend back toward the house. Just outside the porch exterior door is a small grill deck. While you can’t have a grill inside a screened porch, it’s important to make sure to accommodate the grill in the area where it will most often be used. If you have a multi-level space but plan on doing your grilling on one particular level, let your builder know so space can be integrated into your design.

If you live in Creekmoor, Raymore or anywhere throughout the Kansas City metro, give us a call for a free design consultation at (913) 851-3325 or drop us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net. We would love to work with you to design and build the perfect outdoor living space for your home.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder


Can you add a screened porch addition to a townhome?

For those with homeowners associations, it can be difficult to get home improvements approved. With a townhome association, it can be even more difficult to get a home addition approved. We just completed a screened porch working with townhome owners in Leawood KS. It’s important to select a builder that not only takes care of all the necessary permitting, but to select a builder that will work with your HOA to gain approval for the home addition. Often times this will require multiple visits and some revisions. When you select a contractor, make sure you work with a contractor that is experienced with handling all the drawings, permitting and inspections.

These homeowners were particularly discerning as they both are in the home improvement industry. You’ll appreciate their attention to detail in the design and material selections they made for their new screened porch and outdoor fireplace.

The homeowners carefully selected a number of beautiful materials for use on their new screened porch. Selecting materials for your new outdoor project is fun yet challenging as there are many different options for each component of your new space. The material options range in quality, price and maintenance levels.

These homeowners chose a couple low-maintenance materials for their porch. The low-maintenance flooring is AZEK in dark hickory. The contrasting railing is iron railing from Fortress. Natural materials beautifully contrast the low-maintenance materials. Cedar is used for the posts, for the headers and also for the tongue-and-groove ceiling.

The final key material selection is the stone used for the fireplace facade. The hearth is capped with concrete slabs. The mantle and corbels are also concrete.

You may notice that the porch is long and narrow. There width of the addition was restricted so this porch has a generous 20′ length.

If you’re considering adding a porch, outdoor fireplace, deck or other outdoor living space to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation. We want to help as you make your choices and explore any restrictions such as HOA’s, building codes, setbacks or other restrictions. Call us at (913) 851-3325 or email us at kansascity@archadeck.net.

Take a look at some more images on our website:

Screened porch photo gallery

Outdoor fireplace photo gallery

Covered porch photo gallery

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Owner Archadeck of KC deck and porch builder


When is the cheapest time to build my new Kansas City area porch or deck?

You’re probably not going to like the answer, but the cheapest time to build your new Kansas City porch or deck was 5 years ago. That’s not because our prices have gone up. It’s because material costs have gone up and will continue to go up since the economy is strong nationwide. When times are good and the market will bear price increases, manufacturers and material suppliers take that opportunity to increase prices. We didn’t see these price increases back in 2008 and 2009 after the economy crashed but now we see them regularly and without any notice whatsoever.

We realize that the nature of planning and obtaining qualified, skilled firms to build outdoor projects and home improvements can be a long-term process. We know that a tremendous amount of thought and planning, as well as saving and budgeting, have gone on behind the scenes before homeowners contact us. We also know that when homeowners are ready to move forward with their project, they are anxious to start enjoying their new space as soon as possible. The challenge is that all the qualified and skilled firms are likely to be working months out into the future.

Here are some important timing factors to consider regarding when your new outdoor project will be completed and ready to enjoy

  • The design process takes time
  • The process of narrowing choices and selecting materials takes time
  • The process of permitting takes time
  • The shortage of skilled labor extends these timelines further
  • All reputable builders have a wait before starting projects – probably in direct correlation to how strong they are as a builder

Since there are a number of time-consuming factors involved and since materials price increases could always be looming, what’s the best thing to do?

Lenexa AZEK deck screen porch with TVThe best thing to do when you make your decision is to recognize the process and make the right choices for you since you will enjoy this space for many years in the future. Further, it’s important to understand that it’s worth the wait to ensure that you have numerous years of optimal enjoyment in your new space. It’s likely that most reputable builders have had calls from homeowners who went with the quickest option only to be disappointed and were then forced to look for another builder to fix that project that didn’t meet expectations.

Choose well, move forward instead of waiting and be patient enough to have the right project built by the right builder having made the best design and material decisions for how you want to live outside.

If you’re thinking about waiting…

A project that is tabled one year because it couldn’t be done on time may not be picked back up until the same time the following year causing the same issues as before. These homeowners always tell us they wish they would have completed the project the previous year so it would be ready at the very beginning of spring the next year.

It’s important to begin the conversation with a reputable builder and balance any wait time against your lifetime enjoyment of your new porch, deck or outdoor living space. Many memories will be made and shared in your new space over the many years you own your home.

Give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325 or drop us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net. Take a look at some of our top website photo galleries: outdoor fireplace photo gallery, screened porch photo gallery, deck photo gallery.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – owner Archadeck of Kansas City


Design ideas for your Kansas City area covered porch or open porch

Have you considered adding a roof over your deck or patio but don’t want to obstruct access to your yard? A great solution may be an open porch. Other common names for this type of space are covered porch, covered deck or covered patio.

In this blog post we’ll share a number of photos from throughout the Kansas City metro along with descriptions of the numerous design features and design ideas and options.

Below is a covered porch in Lee’s Summit MO. These homeowners wanted some sun protection but otherwise wanted unobstructed access to all the fresh air they could get. They also wanted a bright and airy space so they chose a gable roof. This porch includes a number of low-maintenance materials to ensure they can spend their porch time enjoying their porch instead of performing maintenance on it. The porch flooring is AZEK decking and the railings are low-maintenance aluminum.

Below is a picture of the 3-D design drawing of the deck shown above. Your Archadeck designer works closely with you to ensure your new space fits all of your outdoor living needs and also will look original to your home. Everything from the roof style to the roofing tiles and even gutters is designed to match or complement your home to ensure your new porch does not look added on.

If you’re considering adding a new space, there are many covered porch ideas for your Kansas City area home. The open porch below is in Olathe, KS. You may have wondered if you can include an outdoor fireplace in an open porch. Looking at the picture below, you can see that’s absolutely possible and it looks stunning. This covered patio has a low pitch gable roof with an open gable end. The fireplace comes complete with a TV mounted over the fireplace. Take a look at some of the nice design details these homeowners chose. The wide columns are partially finished with the same stone as the fireplace facade for aesthetic appeal and to pull the whole space together.

Below is another view of this Olathe open porch with outdoor fireplace. Take a look at how beautifully the design elements complement the home. The paint and stain colors each match and complement the home ensuring the new porch looks like it was always there.

Below is a covered deck in Overland Park KS. Notice the stately wide columns and how they contrast beautifully with the dark stained railing and the slender-profile black pickets. The ceiling of this porch is painted beadboard. You are not limited to natural wood or natural-toned shades. It’s a great design idea to have some elements of your space painted to match your home. Your Archadeck design consultant will work with you to look at numerous design, finish and material options. We’ve built just about every size and used many different materials from many different manufacturers. We care share all of that experience with you to help you in your design decisions.

In the image below, take a look at the wide spacing between the columns on this covered porch. The flexibility for widely spaced posts is available on open porches whereas this is much more restricted with a screened porch, 3-season room or 4-season room when window sizes restrict the column spacing opportunities. The elevated porch below has a flat ceiling. Flat ceilings can be selected for a number of reasons including preference or even roof height limitations. The commonly stated concern about a flat roof is the amount of light that will enter the space. You can see that even with this heavily wooded back yard, this porch is flooded with natural light.

There are so many design options for your open porch. As you can see in the image below, beautiful finishing touches such as a beadboard ceiling or recessed lighting do not need to be spared because the environment is open. Below you’ll also note the exceptionally wide opening from the porch to the adjoining uncovered deck area. Notice the beautiful inset gable in this shed roof covered porch. This combination shed/gable roof has tremendous custom design flair with the added bonus of inviting in even more natural light.

Below you can see the exterior view of the porch pictured above. You’d be hard pressed to guess this porch was added on if you didn’t know it was newly added to the home. Roof tiles, roof pitches, paint colors, soffits, gutters and other details are carefully matched to the original home.

If you’re considering adding a porch or other outdoor living space to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325 or drop us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net. We would love to discuss ideas to add a phenomenal new outdoor living space to your home to help you enjoy outdoor living exactly the way you want to live outside.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – owner Archadeck of Kansas City