Category Archives: low maintenance decks

With decking materials, they don’t make ’em like they used to…

You know the old saying “they don’t make ’em like they used to”? It’s safe to say there’s a lot of truth to that. But, believe it or not, some products are actually better than they used to be.

Screened porch with stained ACQ pressure-treated wood in Overland Park, KS

This screened porch in Overland Park KS has a pressure-treated wood floor.

Twenty or so years ago, there were 2 or 3 good materials for a new deck. These included pressure-treated pine, cedar, and redwood. It was a simple decision. They were not vastly different and the prices & performance were quite similar.

Over the last 20 years, a whole host of new products have emerged. In addition to different types of wood, there are different types of man-made decking products. There are multiple kinds of composites, made with multiple ingredients, by multiple manufacturers, with multiple different types of warranties.

Twenty years ago, if you didn’t want to do regular maintenance on your deck, you were basically stuck. Wood requires maintenance. The degree of maintenance it needs depends on a number of factors including the direction of the deck, the amount of sun the deck receives, and other factors. Today, if you don’t want to perform annual maintenance on your deck, you don’t have to. But, this comes at a price. Synthetic decking options are now available. The cost of the materials can be 2, 3, or 4 times more. But, you get a product that lasts longer and doesn’t degrade like natural wood.

Kansas City AZEK deck in Acacia color with Deckorator balusters and cedar railing

Kansas City AZEK deck in Acacia color with Deckorator balusters and cedar railing

In addition, whereas a wood deck may need to be replaced in 10 or 15 years depending on how well it’s treated and maintained, new synthetic decks may last 30 years or more without needing any annual maintenance.

You can still get a wood deck and that can be a really good option. But you can now also get a synthetic deck that has superior performance characteristics and ultra low maintenance. How do you sort through all of the choices? The best way is to talk to a professional experienced contractor. The contractor will explain all the choices and help you evaluate what options are best for how you want to live in your new space and for your budget.

Steve FolsomIf you are considering adding a new deck, porch, or other structure to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851 – 3325. You can reach us via email at kansascity@archadeck.net.

Your new outdoor living space should be all about putting the pieces together to fit your family

Lenexa KS Porch deck pergola by Archadeck

Looking at the picture above, you’ll notice quite a transformation. What you might not notice at first glance is the large custom garden shed built to fit perfectly under the deck. This was one of the goals of the homeowners and this is one of the benefits of working with a custom design and build contractor.

When we first met with these Lenexa KS homeowners, they had an old deck with a garden storage shed off to side. They wanted a screened porch, a larger deck, a pergola over the deck, and a new garden shed designed to fit under the deck. We completely redesigned in size and footprint to include all these elements.

In addition to knowing which structures they were looking for, these homeowners also knew they wanted low maintenance materials including composite flooring for and metal railings for strength, durability, and low-maintenance. After considerable looking, they selected Fiberon Ipe color as the deck and porch flooring. They selected low-maintenance Fortress iron railings in black for both the deck and porch.

Archadeck porch Lenexa KS Fiberon floor

We built a gable roof screened porch for a light and airy feel. The wall posts are cedar and the T-111 ceiling is stained to match the ceiling. They wanted ceiling fans, outlets, etc. which we built into the porch. We used our standard heavy-duty screen. You’ll notice how nicely the black railings allow for visibility. Not only are they slender, but the dark color also moves your eye past the railing. The outside porch is trimmed with low-maintenance smart trim.

Cedar pergola Fiberon deck Lenexa KS by Archadeck

The deck on the adjacent porch has a cedar pergola over it for shade. Both the deck and stairs are in Fiberon’s Ipe color which has beautiful markings to look like real exotic hardwood.

Garden shed integrated into deck Lenexa KS ArchadeckThe garden shed is fully waterproof. We custom designed the shed out of Hardie siding and trimmed it with low maintenance Smart Trim.

If you are considering adding an outdoor living space, give us a call at (913) 851 – 3325 or send us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net. Our consultation is free. We look forward to your call.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

We’ve all heard of low-maintenance decks. Are there low-maintenance porches?

There is no equation for what makes something low maintenance. Instead, there are many pieces and parts to any outdoor living area and any number of those can be built using low maintenance materials. Does that mean that by not using low maintenance materials that by default you have high maintenance? That’s not the case at all. We can advise you about which areas of your deck, porch or sunroom make most sense to use low maintenance materials. For example, while it is often a smart move to use low maintenance trim on the exterior of your porch or sunroom, you may not need low maintenance interior trim. There are a number of factors that influence that decision which we discuss at our consultation. Low maintenance materials are more impervious to weather and sun so any materials with direct contact with sun and other elements are often good candidates for construction using low-maintenance materials.

Design and installation affect maintenance levels

There are other factors that influence the maintenance requirements for decks, porches or any other outdoor structure. Design and installation also have a big influence on the maintenance requirement. Screening falls into this category. Since screening can be subject to damage by things like wind, hail, falling tree limbs, golf balls, kids or pets; it’s very important to carefully select the screen to use. With screening, you get low maintenance by having the right quality screen installed the right way. There are a variety of screens on the market. Some are more sensitive to damage than others. Through testing and experience we will recommend to you the best screen for your situation.

There are other design elements that determine the maintenance level such as roof overhang and proper roof drainage for weather protection. Proper design and installation of these elements provide more or less protection to walls, soffits, screens or windows.

For screen porches, low maintenance railing is a good choice because of its proximity to the screens. In railing, there’s a very wide selection of low maintenance materials including, composite, vinyl, aluminum, steel and combination railings. Metal railings are very popular. The combine looks and durability with maximum view and they have the slenderest profile. The higher end composites are the most expensive but also provide additional protections. For example, AZEK and TimberTech produce low maintenance railings with extensive warranties.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

In addition to decks, porches can certainly benefit from the use of low maintenance materials and we will walk you through which materials make sense for your new screen porch. Give us a call for a free consultation (913) 851 – 3325 or send us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net. Visit our screen porch photo gallery for ideas and inspiration.

An AZEK deck and open porch in Overland Park KS

Before picture

When these Overland Park homeowners called us, they had a nice outdoor area in their back yard but it wasn’t doing what they wanted it to. They had a nice pool they used extensively for grandchildren and family. They had small patio with no shade adjacent to the pool which was next to a gravel landscaping area that wasn’t very attractive.

The outdoor living area had no sun protection so they wanted to have a partially shaded structure for those not swimming to enjoy the pool without as much sun. They didn’t want any screens on the porch, just an open view to enhance the ambiance of their outdoor living. They wanted the porch to match their house and look like an extension of their home.

AZEK pool deck with open porch and bench Overland Park KS

Thinking about the flow from the house to the covered porch, there are a couple of things that are important. One is to have the walk-out from the house at the level of the house. Someone carrying food could easily trip if there’s a big step up or down. Another consideration is whether you want continuous shade or protection from the elements in that transition. To this end, we connected the open porch roof to the house so they can walk directly under the porch from the house.

The patio is well finished. It has ceiling fans, lights, and even heaters attached to the painted beadboard ceiling.

The owners wanted to add an extended outdoor living area with a view of the pool that did not include sun protection. So, continuing from the floor of the open porch is a low elevation deck. The deck and the attached bench are made of AZEK in the brownstone color. This light color also has a cooler surface. The deck is raised slightly so there is air flow under the deck to make the deck even cooler and easier on the feet on hot days.

AZEK brownstone color deck and porch in Overland Park KS

In the design process, our goal is to translate the goals of how you want to live into an area that meets each of those needs whether this includes a light decking color with ventilation for a cool surface temperature or a more elevated roof to a covered porch for a more open an airy feel. Share your outdoor living goals and desires with your contractor so they can truly come up with a custom solution that meets your needs and how you want to live. For a free consultation about creating an outdoor living area or area to compliment your home and outdoor living goals, give us a call (913) 851 – 3325, email us http://kansas-city.archadeck.com/ or visit our website to view more pictures and submit a request for a free consultation.

Leawood KS Screen Porch with Custom Pella Doors, AZEK Deck and Pergola

Screen porch and AZEK deck Leawood KS

Screen porch with AZEK double deck and pergola in Leawood KS

Just like in our homes, it’s important to have individual spaces for different uses. There are different and distinct rooms for eating, cooking, sleeping, and relaxing. The same can be done with your outdoor living area as well. At this Leawood KS home, we worked together with the homeowners to build a screen porch flanked by two AZEK decks and a pergola. Each of these spaces fulfilled the need for different types of outdoor living. Equally as important, family members and friends could enjoy time simultaneously in the different areas doing different things. For example, someone could be inside the screen porch reading while another person or small group are gathering on one deck area and another person is separately grilling on the other deck area.

Leawood KS screen porch with custom Pella french door entrance

Leawood KS screen porch with custom Pella door entrance

The screen porch

Because this was a one-story home, the porch had a roof connection to the home. Based on the placement of the porch, a new connection was made from the home to the porch. We carved out a large entrance area and installed custom-made doors by Pella. The screen porch adjoins the great room in the home so it’s a nice extension of the great room. This allows the owners to keep the doors open depending on the temperature and allow air flow through the porch into their home.

Leawood KS screen porch builder designed for maximum air flow

Leawood KS screen porch builder designed for maximum air flow

The 18′ x 14′ porch’s interior has a custom tongue-and-groove cedar ceiling. The screen porch is designed to allow for a good air flow. Instead of a kneewall, divider walls were used to allow air flow under the divider rail. The gable is open to allow screens for air flow. And finally there is a large ceiling fan to increase the air flow.

Another thing that’s very important to consider is entrances and exits from your outdoor room. This screen porch has three. There is an exit to the decks on both sides and the entrance to the home as well.

Screen porch and AZEK deck Leawood KS

The AZEK deck on this side of the porch includes built-in benches and lattice skirting.

The large double decks

Both of the decks are built with AZEK acacia low maintenance PVC decking. The Acacia colors compliments the home’s subtle hues and is also quite popular right now. The seating deck not only has room for a large seating area but also has built-in benches for more seating. The deck is low to grade so no railing is needed but the benches add a nice natural rail area where the landscape would prohibit a walk down to the back yard. This deck also is nicely finished with a lattice skirting.

screen porch AZEK deck cedar pergola and patio Leawood KS

AZEK deck with pergola and eating area

The deck on the other side of the home can be used for seating and eating and also has the cooking area. In the corner, a pergola surrounds the grilling area. Along with the patio, the family essentially now has 4 outdoor rooms in which to live, dine, relax and enjoy.

As you can see, every design is as different as every home. But the design considerations for youroutdoor structurewill take a good bit more into account than the aesthetics. We will spend time with you identifying how you want to live outside. How many people do you expect will be spending time in each space? How often? How are you going to live in those spaces? Is it going to be an eating area and how large is your furniture? These are just a few of the questions we will ask you when we meet for a free consultation.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Give us a call to schedule a free consultation. We would love to work with you to discuss adding an outdoor living space or spaces to your home. Call us at (913) 851 – 3325 or email us at kansascity@archadeck.net.

To see more photos on our website, please visit a couple of our photo galleries

Kansas City screen porch photo gallery

Kansas City decks photo gallery

Or, visit our website to submit a consultation request.

Curves are in. High maintenance decks and porches are out in Kansas City

Kansas City AZEK deck in Acacia color with Deckorator balusters and cedar railing

Kansas City AZEK deck in Acacia color with Deckorator balusters and cedar railing

Curved landscape beds have long been popular. Now we are seeing more and more curved lines built into the hardscapes and structures of our customers’ backyards. These include but are not limited to curved retaining walls, stairs, pool shapes, hardscapes and more. In this situation, these Kansas City homeowners had curved stone walls and retaining walls and wanted to continue this design theme into their new deck as well.

The deck

The owners inherited a deck that was rotting and had not been maintained by the previous owner. The old deck was rectangular and was not aesthetically pleasing and the homeowners wanted to improve the view from the deck to the pool.

The deck design and materials

In addition to adding a curved design component to the deck, we improved the view from the deck to the pool by bumping the deck out between 3-8 feet closer to the pool thus increasing the size of the deck.

AZEK Acacia deck Kansas City by Archadeck

AZEK Acacia deck by Archadeck of Kansas City

For materials, the owners knew they wanted to use low-maintenance materials to make upkeep easier. We went with PVC decking made by AZEK in the Acacia color. The Acacia color is a darker brown similar to a dark walnut color. We mentioned in a previous post that darker decking colors are quite popular right now. For the railing, we used reduced maintenance railing, Deckorator balusters and cedar railing.

Large curved Kansas City AZEK deck with small BBQ deck near 2nd story kitchen

Large curved Kansas City AZEK deck with small BBQ deck near 2nd story kitchen

The special use barbeque deck

In addition to the main deck, we also built a small deck off the kitchen door for grilling.  You can see the elevated deck as it adjoins to the 2nd story in the left side of this picture. What chef wouldn’t love an outdoor grill a couple steps outside the kitchen door? It’s like having an additional stove in your kitchen.

Kansas City elevated second story screen porch with heavy-duty screen and low-maintenance trim and we wrapped the columns with Smart Trim

Kansas City elevated second story screen porch with heavy-duty screen and low-maintenance trim and we wrapped the columns with Smart Trim

The screen porch

The owners also inherited an existing cedar screen porch that was in disrepair. It had some broken screens and trim, some cracked cedar, and a variety of upkeep issues. We stripped off all the screens, railing, and trim replacing them with heavy-duty screening, new railing to match the deck, and low maintenance rot-proof painted trim to match the house which restored this screen porch back to better than new condition.

If you’re considering enhancing, building, or giving a face lift to your back yard; consider calling a qualified licensed contractor to discuss design ideas. Whether you’re thinking about building now or in the new few months, give us a ring to discuss design ideas.

Give us a call (913) 851 – 3325, email us: kansascity@archadeck.net, visit our website: http://kansas-city.archadeck.com/. Also feel free to enjoy many more pictures in some of our finished project photo galleries on our web site.

Kansas City deck pictures photo gallery

Kansas City screen porches pictures photo gallery

A Parkville MO Composite Deck with TimberTech Earthwoods

TimberTech earthwoods deck by archadeck of Kansas City,

This TimberTech Earthwoods deck in Parkville, MO by Archadeck of Kansas City has form,function and style

I often get asked about a deck we built a few years ago. It is the one featured in the blog header. We constructed this deck in Parkville, MO for homeowners that were looking to expand their livable space. When considering any type of outdoor structure it is important to look at the use of the structure from a practicality standpoint. For example, what will the structure be used for? Do you want to eat or entertain outside? Once you decided what function the structure will serve , we can then design and build a structure that best suits your needs.

Kansas City large composite multi-level deck

Kansas City large composite multi-level deck

One of the interesting things you will note is the way this deck works around the existing tree. It was important to the homeowners to either work around the tree or integrate the tree into the design.

We expanded the size and changed the shape of the deck area. This redesigned area gave the homeowners more space and accommodated the tree into the new deck design. We used TimberTech Earthwoods composite flooring in Pacific Teak. Along with the TimberTech flooring we used a TimberTech radiance rail posts and added lights onto the rail post themselves. On the railing we used Fortress steel railing.

Composite deck in Kansas City using TimberTech Earthwoods

Composite deck in Kansas City using TimberTech Earthwoods

Composites such as TimberTech are not only aesthetically appealing they are durable and require little maintenance. TimberTech Earthwoods has the natural look and feel of real wood. It never requires any staining or sealing.  This decking composite is virtually impervious to weather and any everyday accidents that can occur with most decks. Hidden fasteners accentuate the clean  lines and appearance of this composite as well.

The finished area holds approximately 400-500 square feet of usable space within this deck. Since the elevation of the yard slopes from about 3 feet to 8 feet Archadeck of Kansas City added a step down to gain entry and to exit the new deck.

The homeowners came away from the project feeling very fulfilled with the beauty and addition of space the new deck provided. They even purchased a new suite of outdoor furniture for the new deck, which only accentuated its beauty.

If you are ready to add function and versatility to your old deck or if you are ready to add a new deck or other outdoor structure to your home and landscape contact Archadeck of Kansas City to get a free estimate today. (913) 851 – 3325
kansascity@archadeck.net