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.

Must a contractor be a great communicator?

As strange as it sounds, a majority of the complaints about general contractors aren’t really about the quality of the end product. They are the byproduct of poor communications. When the customer and the builder aren’t on the same page, it can lead to all kinds of problems, both big and small. Here are six ways that Archadeck takes care to keep our customers happy from start to finish ensuring our customers get the right communication at the right time.

  1. Most contractors didn’t get into the business they are in because they have fabulous communication skills, so they might not realize how important those skills are. We prioritize talking to all our customers regularly and making sure that they have ample opportunities to ask questions. We make a point to be consistent over time with information that we have provided to our clients to avoid any potential confusion. We pride ourselves on being easy to find and easy to talk to.
  2. Beyond speaking frequently with the homeowner, we stay in regular contact with our crews and our subcontractors. That helps to minimize surprises between all parties involved. It also means that if you have a question for someone working on your job site, they should have the same answer as someone from our office.
  3. We take the time to discuss topics others might overlook, such as conditions on the job site. We want to hear about the oak tree that is special to you or that you have a cat and two dogs who might be visiting our work area (on purpose or not). We also want to keep you up to date on potential areas of danger that could change from day to day. You should know when we are going to dig post holes so that you can be extra aware to watch your step.
  4. Keeping costs in line with customer expectations is an important part of our communications plan. We work diligently to talk about choices up front during the design process so that there is clarity about the final price you will pay. You’ll have plenty of time in advance to select the features, choices, and options that are right for you. You will also know the payment schedule up front so that you can make the necessary financial arrangements from your end.
  5. Honesty has to play a central role in communications between contractor and customer. When you ask for help in making a choice between one feature or another on your Kansas City deck project, we’ll help you decipher the true value of various features so you can prioritize where you want to invest in different amenities or upgrades. Take a look at online reviews from our other Kansas City customers to see our superior record in educating our customers to help them get an end result that exceeded expectations.
  6. Communications don’t have to just take place by conversation. An experienced, reputable contractor will make sure that you receive a detailed price for all work in advance. This may even include a list of potential unexpected contingencies that may affect the final price. The presence of termite damage is an excellent example. We’ll do as complete and thorough a site survey as possible, but also do our best to warn you of any potential problems we anticipate may crop up.
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 a price quote to consider. Give us a call or send us an email. (913) 851 – 3325 or kansascity@archadeck.net. For loads of great pictures, please visit our website at kansas-city.archadeck.com

Pick a roof– but not just any roof for your Kansas City area home

Regardless of whether you’re thinking of adding a porch or a sunroom, it’s going to need a roof. The choice of roof is incredibly important, not just because it will have a big impact on the overall appearance of your space both inside and out, but because it also has an impact on the cost of your project.

The big five considerations are: cost, room size, placement of existing windows, existing roof(s), and light.

kansas-city-porch-builder

This screened porch has an open gable roof with a screened in gable.

The most commonly chosen type of roof for a screened or open porch is the gable roof. Gable roofs can be constructed with an open, closed, glassed or screened gable at the end. This gives you maximum flexibility in terms of how much light and ventilation you can enjoy inside the space. The most frequent reason for not using a gable roof is that the window layout of the existing home won’t allow it.

A hip roof that is attached to the house has a closed gable end. It is typically 3-sided but can have varying configurations. Hip roofs are very aesthetically appealing and they integrate beautifully into a home that already has a hip roof on another portion of the home. The downside? Hip roofs tend to require the most custom carpentry and are therefore the most expensive to build.

This fireplace surround is made of Ipe exotic Brazilian hardwood

This screened porch has a shed roof with a built in gable.

shed roof slopes in one direction away from the house. Shed roofs work especially well in situations where the porch is either very wide or very narrow because you don’t have to worry about the slope of the roof being too flat or peaked. They are also less expensive to construct. A shed roof also works well when there are many architectural elements on the second story that would be obstructed by a different roof style.

We would be happy to discuss various roof design options in order to achieve your optimal balance of aesthetics, light, and cost. Perhaps you’d like to explore more unique options like a custom blended roof design that marries two different roof types.

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 a price quote to consider. Give us a call or send us an email. Call (913) 851 – 3325, drop us an email at  kansascity@archadeck.net or visit our website at kansas-city.archadeck.com.

An elegant solution to a longstanding problem

gable roof screened porch Lenexa KS lrWhen it comes to water, we all need it, but we only want it in very specific places. One place where no one wants water is leaking into their home and causing expensive damage. This was the persistent and intractable problem that we were asked to assist with in one Lenexa KS stucco porch. The family’s existing porch had a leak that resisted effective repair for more than 10 years.

As with all of our renovation jobs, we assessed the old porch to see if there was anything that could be salvaged. In this case, there wasn’t much. We completely gutted the old stucco porch and built a new gable ceiling porch with low maintenance AZEK flooring and Westbury aluminum railing. The new porch is larger which gives the family more Lenexa KS gable roof porch lrspace for entertaining friends. The gable roof lets in lots of light and expands the scenic view of the golf course and lake.

We also created a new lower patio which is enclosed by a stone knee wall and landscaping. The Lenexa paver patio backs up to the newly repaired stucco wall. We collaborated with a professional stucco company on this job to ensure that all the structural and cosmetic damage was repaired. Step out from the French doors on the ground level and you have easy access to the sloping green lawn and patio.

elevated screened porch Lenexa KS lrBack on the upper level, we redesigned the deck that pairs well with the screened porch. It has new joists, new columns, and new railings all designed for easy upkeep and minimal maintenance. There is plenty of room for seating and for a grill. The stately lower columns are wrapped, trimmed, and painted. The cedar roof wall posts could be painted or stained, but currently everything coordinates to the existing home exterior and trim colors.

It’s easy to see from the photos that our clients now have three distinct, well-designed and executed spaces for outdoor living and entertaining. On the upper level they can enjoy their screened porch with attached raised deck. The lower level features the covered patio. But the most important result: there have been no leaks. Even through multiple torrential downpours this spring, the new porch, roof, and drainage system did their jobs flawlessly.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you’re considering the addition of an outdoor fireplace – or a deck, porch, patio or other outdoor living structure – to your Kansas City area home, don’t wait. Give us a call at (913) 851-3325 for a free consultation or email us at kansascity@archadeck.net. We look forward to your call.

Classic porch-deck combo changes everything for this Leawood KS home

Leawood KS porch and AZEK deck lrWe recently completed a project for a family in Leawood KS. These homeowners had an old cedar deck and wanted to redesign the space to include a new deck and also a new screened porch. The old deck did not have the strength to support a new porch or roof so we had to tear down the old deck completely.

These homeowners wanted to have as many low maintenance materials as possible. One of the key low-maintenance components we used was AZEK synthetic decking in Sedona for the flooring of both the porch and the deck. We also used black aluminum low maintenance aluminum railing for both the porch and deck.

The new porch has an open gable roof that compliments the gable roof of the existing home. The connecting deck provides ample room for grilling or sitting outside. The flooring and step color nicely complement the color of the bricks on the exposed fireplace and chimney on the back of the home. Lattice skirting extends from the deck area all the way across to underneath the porch. It provides similar visual continuity across the back of the property. We painted the outside to match the rest of the exterior of the home. This home looks as if it was designed with this deck and porch from the start.

screened porch builder Leawood KS lrThe porch interior has a white, bright and airy look which was another of the homeowners’ key objectives. The posts are white and the ceiling is finished in white beadboard. The finished ceiling also includes can lights and a ceiling fan. Notice how well you can see the backyard through the screening, through the open screened gable and also through the railing area. Slender black railing pickets are becoming more and more popular as they really draw your eye past the pickets and out into the yard beyond.

Take a look at some of our other Kansas City decks and screened porches we’ve designed and built. You will see that there is never just one way to build a project. That is the main reason why it’s key to choose a builder who will listen to your design preferences, consider your lifestyle, and factor in how the living space will be used on a daily basis. It will make all the difference in the look and feel of your new home addition.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you’re considering the addition of an outdoor fireplace – or a deck, porch, patio or other outdoor living structure – to your Kansas City area home, don’t wait. Give us a call at (913) 851-3325 for a free consultation or email us at kansascity@archadeck.net. We look forward to your call.

Composites getting closer to hardwood. Can you tell the difference?

Leawod KS deck TimberTechTwo industry leaders in composite decking, AZEK and TimberTech, have updated their offerings with new product lines. What can we learn about current trends in decking styles and color trends based on what they have brought to market over the last few years? First, and most importantly, both companies are making terrific progress towards creating products that do a very impressive job of emulating the look of natural hardwood, especially from afar.

Also, dark colors continue to be a large part of each company’s color palette. We saw an increase in the number selections modeled after dark woods in 2014 and the number of dark colors available is even larger this year. Rich color with dramatic streaks is often associated with exotic hardwoods like mahogany, cypress, tigerwood, pecan, and dark hickory, so they often look higher end. They rarely hide dirt and dust as well as a lighter colors, but that can vary a bit from place-to-place depending on the color of your particular dirt.

Another trend in PVC deck boards is hand-scraped finishes. This finish has been very popular for years for interior floors. It mimics the look of antique or reclaimed wood. Customers also love it because they don’t have to fret over every gouge made by the kids or every scratch from the dog’s nails.  Your flooring is already distressed, so you don’t have to be.  Having said that, these floors have superior durability and stand up impressively to scratches, stains and splits with very little maintenance from you.

When most people think about synthetic products, they often envision a cookie-cutter kind of product. One of the notable features of this new generation of PVC products is that their texture lines and color variations make each board unique. In the same way that no two natural wood boards are exactly alike, this flooring has variation that makes it look “real.” This really increases the difficulty in differentiating real from synthetic at a distance.

Both AZEK’s Vintage Collection and TimberTech’s Earthwood Evolutions Legacy will coordinate with dark, slender profile metal railings. Homeowners that want to match their flooring and their railings can coordinate, but contrasting aluminum railings are still a neutral, easy-to-see-through option.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you’re considering the addition of an outdoor fireplace – or a deck, porch, patio or other outdoor living structure – to your Kansas City area home, don’t wait. Give us a call at (913) 851-3325 for a free consultation or email us at kansascity@archadeck.net. We look forward to your call.

 

Fall can sometimes trump summer when it comes to outdoor living

AZEK Sedona low maintenance deck with black Fortress steel railingsDuring the short, cold, dreary days of winter, we often think longingly of summer days when we can spend time outside in the sun without a heavy coat. But when it comes right down to it, our winter memories of summer don’t usually live up to the reality of summer. Depending on the temperature, it isn’t the best time to be outside. It’s usually really hot, it’s often humid, and then there are the bugs. We tend to forget these discomforts when we are shivering in February.

Our falls, however, can be amazing. We have long, beautiful autumns here in Kansas City. From September, through October, and into November, we have moderate temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s with low humidity and very little rain. Many of the bugs and allergens that bother us in the backyard are gone and we don’t have to be as conscientious about using sunscreen. Sounds like the perfect time to enjoy a new Kansas City porch or deck.

Here in the Kansas City area, most of our trees change color and drop their leaves in the fall, making it a wonderful Kansas City porch with outdoor fireplacespectacle to enjoy daily over the course of several weeks during the autumn. A screened porch is an ideal place to watch the seasons change in your yard. Leave the door open between the house and the porch and enjoy letting the fresh air in and the pets out.

Luckily, there is still plenty of time to create a new outdoor living space in your yard before the start of foliage season in Kansas City. We provide a free consultation where we will thoughtfully and completely answer your questions and help you with the design of a great porch for how you want to live outside. There is a longer lead time for construction during the summer, but if you call soon, we can have your space ready to enjoy with family and friends in time for the first football tailgate of the season.

If you’d like to lengthen your outdoor living season even further, ask us about how you can integrate an outdoor fireplace into your porch. In addition to adding extra nights to your outdoor living season and value to your home, fire features are a unique gathering space for creating memories with friends and family.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you’re considering the addition of an outdoor fireplace – or a deck, porch, patio or other outdoor living structure – to your Kansas City area home, don’t wait. Give us a call at (913) 851-3325 for a free consultation or email us at kansascity@archadeck.net. We look forward to your call.

 

Solving our love/hate relationship with the sun

Screened porch with composite flooring Kansas City

Screened porch with composite flooring

It’s a real challenge to get just the right amount of natural light inside your home. If you live in one of the many houses that has a south or southwest facing yard, the sun can really beat down on the back windows during the summer, forcing you to use the blinds all day and into the early evening. It’s a peculiar problem: having so much sun that you need to keep things dark. One solution is to build a porch or pergola in the yard. You then get the dual benefit of having a fabulous new outdoor living space and being able to welcome a moderate and more comfortable amount of sun into the rear of your home.

When you add a Kansas City covered or screened porch to your house, you are creating a hybrid space that is neither indoors nor truly outdoors. You benefit from sun and rain protection and open up a world of possibilities in terms of adding outdoor amenities like ceiling fans and entertainment systems. You may also realize a benefit from reduced cooling costs in the summertime thanks to the newly created shade.

If you want to protect the rear of your home from the sun’s harshest rays, but are concerned that there might be too much shade, let us know during the design process and we will design to accommodate that desire. We can easily use a gable or skylights to alter the amount of light in the porch area and, ultimately, the usable interior light in your home. Homes that hardscape patio retaining wall pergola Shawnee KSface the east or northeast rarely have the harsh lighting environments I’ve described. Don’t worry if you don’t know your home’s orientation. Making recommendations based on your home’s layout is a key part of our design consultation.

Pergolas are a smaller scale project and investment. They will be less expensive to build and often don’t need building permits. Pergolas can be freestanding or attached to your home and can be oriented in any direction. They are extremely flexible in terms of size, shape, style, and the building material used.

If you want a Kansas City pergola built specifically for its shady qualities, the orientation of the pergola and the kind of rafters it has will be critically important. For more shade, you will want to increase the number or size of the slats. You will need to tweak the spacing between the slats and pick an ideal angle. As the sun moves across the sky each day, the amount of light filtering through will change. We are happy to design a pergola to account for all of these variables and achieve the desired effect for you home and yard.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you’re considering the addition of an outdoor fireplace – or a deck, porch, patio or other outdoor living structure – to your Kansas City area home, don’t wait. Give us a call at (913) 851-3325 for a free consultation or email us at kansascity@archadeck.net. We look forward to your call.