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.

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 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 We look forward to working with you to design your new porch.

Designing your Kansas City outdoor living space: Where in the world do you start?

The boring but practical side of designing your new outdoor space…

There is always a starting and a finishing point to design. Where do you start with design? At what point do you consider your design choices finalized? We will help walk you through the thought process we use when designing outdoor living spaces here in the Kansas City area.

Leawood KS composite deck with lightingThe first step is determining any of the physical limitations of the space. Are there trees that limit the space? How big is the yard? Is there a swimming pool or other large elements that constrain where a space could be built in the yard? Are there retaining walls or any other features that would limit the space when drawing the footprint? The practicality of identifying any space limitations needs to be the very first thing you consider. Other limitations may include any restrictions set by the city or county. It is important to know any setbacks before beginning the design process.

The second thing to do is look at how the space will be used. This may be something you haven’t thought much about… you’ll know the opportunities once it’s built and you start spending time in the space. The problem is that starting this way is upside down. If you are going to eat many meals outside and your space isn’t large enough to accommodate a table to fit your family and guests, you will wish you had thought those logistics before building. If you are adding a porch to enjoy outdoor living many more months of the year but have not considered the angle of your backyard or the degree of shade your trees create, it is quite possible you will not be able to spend the amount of time you hope. There may be too much shade cover and a northern facing backyard that limits the sun coming in to your room to such a degree that you cannot spend many more months in your new room.

Lenexa screened porch and AZEK deckIn addition to how you will live in your new space, you need to think about traffic flow. Boring! True. Where are the exterior doors of your home? What is their proximity to where you want to build your space? Will a new roofed structure need to have 2 doors to ensure traffic spills out into 2 different areas? If so, that limits the useful space within the enclosed room. You will even need to think about any aging family members, frequent guests or dogs will get in to and out of the space. This might require wider stairs or a lower lying space.

After you’ve taken into account all of the practical considerations, you can move on to the elements that are most often thought of as the true “design” components including shapes, colors, aesthetic features, materials and more. Check back for an upcoming blog about the “fun” part of design.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you’re considering adding a screened porch or other roofed structure to your home, give us a ring. During our free consultation, we can discuss options and provide design ideas for your new space. Give us a call or send us an email. (913) 851 – 3325 or


If I add a porch to my Kansas City area home, am I robbing the sunlight from Peter to pay Paul?

Homeowners seeking to add a new porch to their home almost unanimously want that bright, airy and sunny room to enjoy a great view of the yard while still within the comfort of an enclosed room. One very important consideration is whether creating a sunny space will rob the sunny adjoining room in your home.

There is no need to worry. Here’s why.

Quite often, I visit a home and notice that the blinds across the back of the home are drawn. The back of that home is likely facing south or west directing a good bit of sun toward the back of the home making it too bright or too warm to keep the blinds open in the heat of the day. In this case, having a porch to diffuse some light from that rear facing room may be the perfect solution.

Leawood KS porch with outdoor fireplaceThe natural question that follows is whether the porch would then have the same problem in receiving too much light at different times of the day. The answer is, it could. But with proper design it will not. When designing your new porch, we have flexibility in the placement of columns, height of the roof and angle of the roof as well as flexibility in the addition or subtraction of screens. Further, there are available screens that provide more sun protection than others.

When loss of light is a true consideration

If the back of your home faces north or east, maintaining sun that enters the back of the home will indeed be an important consideration. If this is the case, there are a number of techniques we can employ to preserve sunlight. These include adjusting the pitch of the roof, adding skylights and even ensuring a brightly colored ceiling. White ceilings preserve sunlight whereas dark ceilings make a room feel gloomier and smaller.

Composite floor Kansas City screened porch lrIn the many years we have been building roofed structures throughout the Kansas City metro, we have encountered many scenarios and we have experience employing a number of techniques to achieve the degree of sun you’d like in both your new room and as this affects the adjoining room of your home.

It is important to note that while these techniques are helpful, there most certainly will be some compromise. Regardless of the design, having a new room added to your home will have an affect on how sun enters the existing room. More often, there is a degree of compromise that must be reached. Rest assured, we have the experience and expertise to recommend and build the best solution to achieve your needs and wants for your new space.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you’re considering adding a screened porch or other roofed structure to your home, give us a ring. During our free consultation, we can discuss options and provide design ideas for your new space. Give us a call or send us an email. (913) 851 – 3325 or

Visit our screened porch page on our website or peruse some of our photo galleries including our screened porches photo gallery or our covered/open porch photo gallery.

Is the cold weather keeping you inside your Olathe home? It doesn’t have to!

When we designed this versatile family space, we kept two things top of mind: what factors were keeping the family inside and what amenities could draw everyone outside. This customer already had an old deck, but it was surrounded by quite a few trees that shadowed the deck and drew insects to the area. The family also found that during the spring and fall they found themselves keeping to the house because of the chill..

KC screened porch fireplace AZEK floorThe first step in creating this showcase Olathe Cedar Creek porch with outdoor fireplace was to demolish the old deck. That gave us the flexibility to enlarge the project footprint and the opportunity to switch from pressure treated pine to low maintenance AZEK in silver oak. By upgrading from a deck to a covered screened porch we captured a number of benefits. Cleaning yard debris and battling bugs are non-issues now. Instead of spending valuable time caring for a deck, they are enjoying relaxing on the porch.

The new gable roof porch creates a vaulted ceiling that lets lots of light into both the porch and the rear of the home. A centerpiece of this porch is a built in outdoor fireplace. This Olathe KS porch fireplace is as beautiful as it is functional. Because it is powered by gas, it ignites with the the flick of a switch and you never have to haul or stack wood. It features a cultured stone facia. Both the mantle and hearth are solid stone and add tremendous warmth and style to the room. We designed and installed a custom lighting combination of track lighting and recessed downspots to highlight the fireplace.

KC screened porch with outdoor fireplaceThe client wanted to use this project as an opportunity to make some other upgrades to their home and we were happy to oblige. We designed a roof that worked well with their existing rooflines and then arranged for the whole home to be shingled at once. The result looks terrific, was less trouble for the homeowner, and was certainly cheaper than breaking the project into two phases. We also replaced a sliding door with a better looking, better insulating set of French doors. We finished off the porch with painted 4×6 posts that match the house trim and 100% aluminum railings by Westbury. They are durable, easy to care for, and blend in with the screening.

What will it take to get you outside? Is it a toasty Olathe KS porch fireplace? The promise of a spacious dining area that you don’t have to sweep before each use? The opportunity to throw open your French doors and let the fresh air in without welcoming the bugs? Whatever you want, we can create the custom solution that will meet your outdoor living needs and exceed your expectations.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you’re considering adding a sunroom, or screened porch or other roofed structure to your home, give us a ring. Our consultation is free. We can discuss options, provide design ideas and of course give you some price ranges to consider. Give us a call or send us an email. (913) 851 – 3325 or


What does the Angie’s List Super Service Award really mean? How much weight should you give it when looking for a Kansas City contractor?


Archadeck of Kansas City has won the Super Service Award every year since 2009

There are a number of different review sites that consumers can take advantage of in researching contractor’s reputation and history. One of the most well-known and successful ones is Angie’s List. Angie’s List is known to be a good source to vet possible contractors. The reason Angie’s List reviews are highly regarded is for some of the following items you can count on with Angie’s List reviews.

The Angie’s List difference:

  • No anonymous reviews
  • Certified data collection process prevents companies and providers from reporting on themselves or their competitors.
  • Complaint Resolution Team intercedes when necessary
  • Both companies and providers respond to reports
  • Time and trouble taken to verify the accuracy of the reports that people post
  • Background checks and license checks performed of the contractors on Angie’s List
  • Standards exist for the number of reviews you should have and the time period of those reviews

There certainly are other sites available both paid and free but some are known to have suspect reviews that can be gamed. With many other sites, there is no process to monitor or validate the reviews.

Archadeck of Kansas City is proud to be the Angie’s List Super Service award winner every year since 2009. Angie’s List yearly measures the quality of all the reports turned in that year. They are then ranked to identify the best of the best. Less than 5% of all companies reviewed qualify for the award.

bbb logo template 300At Archadeck of Kansas City, we always urge all homeowners to do their due diligence. Even though you can feel fairly confident with the reviews on certain sites, it’s always a good idea to check other sites looking for confirmation. A couple more good places to check are The Better Business Bureau website, and which also provides a place for consumer reviews.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you are considering adding a new deck, porch or other outdoor living space to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation. We look forward to your call at 913-851-3325. Please also visit our Archadeck of Kansas City website.


What’s new with AZEK synthetic decking in 2016?

As we’ve written before, synthetic outdoor building materials continue to improve over time. While composite decking brands have come and gone over the years, here in the Kansas City market, we have historically and continue to enjoy success with AZEK. AZEK composite decking not only performs well but it carries a 25-year warranty providing protection from splitting, cupping, splintering, blistering, peeling, flaking, cracking, rotting or structural damage from termites or fungal decay.

AZEK Alloy Armour Kansas City ArchadeckIn 2016, AZEK is rolling out a new technology called Alloy Armour technology. AZEK’s  proprietary alloy blend provides increased performance including better weathering protection, better UV protection and more fade & stain resistance. With the proprietary Alloy Armour technology, AZEK is now adding an additional 30-year warranty which specifically covers fade and stain protection. When evaluating contractors to build your new project, it’s important to look at all the warranties available. With Archadeck, we offer our own additional warranties. We have a guarantee of project completion even if any unfortunate situations should arise with your local crew, a 12-month workmanship warranty and a 60-month structural warranty.

In addition to AZEK’s new technology and warranty, there are introducing some color changes in 2016. Here are the color changes:

  • Sandridge will now be Brownstone
  • River Rock will now be changed to Slate Gray
  • Tahoe will now be changed to Island Oak
  • Sedona will now be changed to Autumn Chestnut
  • Walnut Grove will be changed to Brazilian Walnut
  • Redland Rose will be changed to Mountain Redwood
  • Rustic Bark will be changed to Mahogany
  • Harvest Bronze will be changed to Cypress
Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you are considering adding a new deck, porch or other outdoor living space to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation. We look forward to your call at 913-851-3325. Please also visit our Archadeck of Kansas City website.