Category Archives: porches

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

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.

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 kansascity@archadeck.net.

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.

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.