Author Archives: archadeckkansascity

About archadeckkansascity

I have owned Archadeck in Kansas City for 10 years. We specialize in designing and building decks, screen porches, sunrooms, and room additions.

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 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

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

 

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

 

An Overland Park cedar deck was transformed into a large screened porch and low maintenance deck

overland-park-azek-deck-and-porch-750When these Overland Park homeowners called us, they had an aging small cedar deck. They wanted a screened porch with an attached low maintenance deck. The new porch was designed to fit where they old deck was – connecting to the house at the logical connection. We mention logical connection for a reason. A porch is an extension to your home. It’s a great place for overflow and a great place to extend the living your do in a high use room in your house. Often the best place to connect to your home is from the kitchen or common living room such as the den. This porch is attached outside the family’s breakfast area.

There are many other factors to consider when it comes to designing how a new roofed structure is attached to your home. For example, roof connection is another factor. There may be a limited number of places a roof connection can be made with your existing home. There may also be constraints further dictating the roof shape and how/where it is attached. This particular home had a very steep sloped gable roof. The family was concerned about the amount of runoff from the steep slope. We designed a roof that would ensure smooth continuous water flow from the house roof in order to achieve the best drainage

screened-porch-overland-park-painted-ceiling-750To add visual appeal to this porch, we added an inset gable. Take a look at how beautiful and visually appealing the inset gable is. The ceiling was finished with beadboard that the homeowners painted off white. The homeowners wanted an extra large fan that required special wiring which we designed and installed the circuitry for. The flooring for the porch is AZEK low-maintenance decking. The attached deck and stairs also use this AZEK decking.

The attached deck has attractive black aluminum railing. This color is a nice contrast to the lighter decking color. It also provides nice visibility from the deck out to the backyard. In addition, the deck has lighting for evening enjoyment.

double-stairs-on-overland-park-screened-porch-750Paying continued attention to traffic flow, the deck has two sets of stairs. One descends toward of the front of the home and a steeper stair set descends to the backyard. There is yet another steep stair set descending from the far end of the screened porch out to another area of the yard. You can see how the yard’s asymmetrical elevation is managed with the elevated porch and stair sets with appropriate grades out to the yard.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you are considering adding a porch or deck to your Overland Park or Kansas City area home,  drop us an email or give us a ring at (913) 851 – 3325. We look forward to working with you to design your new outdoor addition.

When you can’t decide whether to make improvements to an existing room or add a new one…

When these Prarie Village homeowners initially called us, they were unhappy with an interior room and wishing that room was larger and had more light. They were looking for a screened porch to have a bright and airy living space – the sort of open and cheery feeling that their current living room did not have. Together with the homeowners, we put together a design that would open up their living room as well as give them the sunroom they wanted.

Porch builder Prarie Village KSThe exterior wall of their living room had a fireplace flanked with custom built-in bookcases. Although attractive, it made the room dark and gloomy. By removing the built-in bookshelves and replacing them with doors, we could extend the size of the room to include an entire screened porch. The doors would also allow light to enter into the once darker living room.

The new doors we installed are full-glass inserts allowing the maximum amount of light to dance between the two rooms. From the porch side, the brick chimney is visible. The family was able to use the chimney as a design feature by mounting a TV on the fireplace exterior.

gable roof porch Prarie Village KSAlthough extending the living space was a challenge, it was relatively easy compared to the complicated roof connection the new space required. We had to extend and match an existing hip roof, change it to a gable roof, wrap it around a chimney and custom flash it to the chimney. In the picture, you can see where the chimney protrudes from the roof. The exterior house wall previously ended there. That small protruding section of the home had a hip roof. The new screened porch would have a gable roof to add as much light as possible to the porch and the adjoining living room. We also had to ensure that the space works in conjunction with the existing house rooflines to make it look as if the space was original to the home.

Prarie Village KS screened porchLooking at the room from the inside, you’ll see a generous cathedral ceiling. The gable roof had to be high in order to match and complement their existing hip roof. To reduce height inside, we installed a drop down collar tie ceiling. This provides feeling that it’s not excessively high.

The ceiling is finished with recessed lighting and a ceiling fan built in. The decking is AZEK for low maintenance.

At Archadeck of Kansas City, our goal is to build spaces that are solutions to how you want to live outside. Because the family wanted a brighter space than their living room, we were able to make their living room brighter and create a walkout to a large new porch for the ultimate double living room.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

Give Archadeck of Kansas City a ring for a free consultation or drop us an email or give us a ring at (913) 851 – 3325. We look forward to working with you to design your new outdoor addition.

Take a look at dozens of screened porch photos in the Prairie Village and Kansas City area market on our Archadeck of Kansas City website.

Should you give your outdoor contractor your “real” budget?

We all know that contractors don’t have a standard price list. We know there is a degree, if not a lot, of wiggle room in the pricing. We know that everything is negotiable when working with contractors. What we don’t know is the degree that contractor’s use this to their advantage to inflate profits and line their own pockets. And we don’t know the degree to which this has changed over the years. What is the “real” price? Are you paying too much?

Here are 3 things you need to know.

  1. There are trustworthy contractors and not-so-trustworthy contractors
  2. You must work with a contractor you can trust
  3. You will get more for your money if you’re honest with your contractor about your budget

There are trustworthy contractors and not-so-trustworthy contractors. You have a lot more to worry about if you don’t trust your contractor.

We don’t want to say there are less-than-honest contractors. Even more, though, we don’t want good contractors to have to take the rap. Most importantly, it’s important you have confidence in the trustworthiness of your contractor. As it relates to your budget, here’s why.

Kansas City porch with outdoor fireplaceImagine preparing a budget for a wedding dress. Imagine you have $1,000 to spend. You know there are dresses for $100 that will accomplish the same task. You know there are $200 that may look nearly as nice. But you have saved $1,000 and you want the best dress for that amount of money. What could possibly make two dresses that look similar have one that’s 5 times more expensive? Often we pay more for a good brand name because we are confident that the quality is built in. Perhaps we want a particular lace or silk that is only available in the higher price grouping. But perhaps what we really want is the dress that meets all of our objectives within our budget. Are we going to find that? If we’re being honest, we know the dress that meets all of our objectives will most likely not have every last detail we want. We trust that the sales person has the knowledge to get the absolute most out of our budget utilizing tools in their time-tested arsenal of getting the best product to the buyer.

This is exactly the same with your outdoor porch or deck contractor. There are a number of different elements involved in your custom space. Take a deck for example. Decking options range from standard pressure-treated pine all the way up to Ipe Brazilian hardwood and its similar price rival – PVC decking. Choosing the higher end decking alone could easily exceed your budget. Then there is railing. Again, there are less expensive wood options and a multitude of low-maintenance options ranging from aluminum to iron or PVC. Again, going with the high-end railing option could quickly exceed your initial budget. There are a number of additional options including custom shapes, upgraded stair designs, lighting and many more.

What if you are honest with your contractor about what you are looking for and what your budget is? What if you share all of the options you would like? Is it possible that your contractor has intimate knowledge of whether that particular upgrade is worth the additional investment? Is it possible that your contractor can recommend a number of alternatives that meet the same objective but leave you more flexibility with upgrades in other areas? Is it possible that your builder can suggest a construction design alternative to a material upgrade based on their experience and expertise? The answer is a resounding yes. The answer is yes if you work with a contractor you trust.

You will get more for your money if you’re honest with your contractor about your budget

large AZEK deck Shawnee KS by Archadeck lrContractors who have been in the business for many years are successful because they help people design and build the best project that balances their wants and what their budget allows. Your trusted contractor is in the building business because they love building great home additions for people based on their wants and needs. Your trusted contractor has years of experience and expertise in selecting and working with any number of material and design options. Further, that trusted contractor has strong established relationships with subcontractors they can trust. This includes plumbers, electricians, painters, etc.

Should you give your outdoor contractor your “real” budget?

If you want the best project for your budget, you absolutely should.

How do you know that contractor is reputable, trustworthy, talented, experienced and successful? One of the best ways is to learn from what their past customers have to say. Make sure the contractor is willing to provide references. Check their online reviews. Scour the online reviews. They either tell a story or they don’t. Low ratings at online review sites should give you pause. Few or no online ratings should give you pause.

At Archadeck of Kansas City, we are proud of our:

Angie’s list Super Service Award for 9 years, our A+ rating at the Kansas City Better Business Bureau and our 5-star rating on Houzz.

What’s your best option in considering contractors for your next Kansas City porch, deck or other outdoor project? Do your research. If you talk to more than one contractor, give them each the same information about your budget and your list of wants and needs. Carefully evaluate the proposed project and materials. Then do some more online research to confirm your contractor selection.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

Give Archadeck of Kansas City a ring for a free consultation or drop us an email. (913) 851 – 3325 or kansascity@archadeck.net. We look forward to working with you to design your new outdoor addition.

 

Designing your new Kansas City area screened porch

Last week we published a blog about the technical aspects of designing your new porch. At first, it may not be intuitive that technical and practical considerations are also design considerations. But, you must determine particular functional characteristics of your new space before you can jump into the design of your space.

We promised that this post would cover all the fun considerations involved in designing your new porch. First, it’s important to note that design is a collaborative process. We could not design a great new porch without working very closely with you on what you are looking for. We hope that our experience and expertise with building porches allows us to translate your needs and wants into a great design. So here goes the fun part of the porch design process.

Leawood KS screened porch

Creating kitchen access to this Leawood KS porch required removing a wall and installing a large custom sliding door.

Have you picked out furniture for your new porch? You don’t have to purchase it yet. But, it’s important to have the dimensions if possible. That way we can design the correct size to accommodate both the furniture and the traffic flow around it. For example, if your porch space will be utilized for eating, we must also take into account how the chairs will be placed. While eating, they will be pushed out a little from the table but after eating they may be pushed way out as people sit back and relax or move their chair back to give their fuller belly some breathing room. It’s important to know that you still need room to walk around the eating area even when the chairs are pushed out.

Composite floor Kansas City screened porch lrBelieve it or not, the flooring boards themselves are not the only aspect of floor design. The direction of the floorboards allows you to add even more of a custom look and to add visual appeal to your floor. The boards can be run parallel, perpendicular, or at an angle. A parting board can be utilized between where boards would otherwise abut. A picture framing technique can be created using an alternate color board for terrific aesthetic appeal.

Think about the porch posts and the width of the screened areas within the posts. Do you want very wide screened sections for particular visibility? Or perhaps there is something outside of a particular area that you don’t care to see. Let your porch designer know and they will likely have great suggestions to help you accomplish that goal.

Lenexa KS screened porch AZEK floorIt’s even important to think about color at the design stage. If you have a finished, or enclosed, ceiling, you have the flexibility to paint the ceiling. The color of the ceiling will have an affect on the overall design. There is a reason that most interior ceilings are painted white. It makes the room look larger. If you are considering an open rafter porch, you will most likely leave the wood its natural color which will be darker but will also be higher from the ground achieving that more open and spacious feel.

Getting back to the less glamorous decisions, it is important to consider your budget first. As you will see from reading all of the choices above, budget will be an element of your design. It’s extremely helpful to identify an overall budget range with the designer so that you can have a realistic discussion about which choices may fit within that budget.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

Looking at lots of pictures will help you identify some design features you like and dislike. Take a look at our website and our Houzz site for many great pictures to help you identify some design aspects you like. Then give us a ring for a free consultation or drop us an email. (913) 851 – 3325 or kansascity@archadeck.net. We look forward to working with you to design your new porch.