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?
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.
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.