Category Archives: Low maintenance porches

Design alternatives in low maintenance porches

AZEK deck covered porch Overland Park KS

This open porch in Overland Park is built over an AZEK low-maintenance deck.

Historically, screened porches used mostly wood in the form of painted or stained pine or cedar. The porch areas made of wood included columns, railing, screen trim, roof trim, and fascia all involved some maintenance and upkeep. The amount and frequency of upkeep depended on the materials used for each of those areas. Five to ten years out, the look and condition of the porch was variable and frequently deteriorated based on the upkeep and condition of the wood originally used. It was not unusual to see cracking, splitting, wood rot, and splintering in this type of construction.

Front porch, Azek trimmed columns, Evergrain flooring Overland Park Ks

This front porch has AZEK trimmed columns and Evergrain composite flooring

Today we have many more material choices available in every area of porch construction that’s exposed to the weather which are the most maintenance intensive areas. So, the selection of these materials impacts the frequency and cost of maintenance. For these exposed areas, there are low-maintenance alternative for railings, trimwork columns, roof trim, screen trim and the screens themselves. These low maintenance materials are crack and rot resistant and can often be cleaned simply with a moist sponge or soap and water. There is no such thing as zero maintenance. Spills and soils still need to be cleaned.

trimmed screened porch with smart trim Kansas City MO

This screened porch is trimmed with Smart Trim low maintenance trim

As you expect, low maintenance and more durable materials generally vary the cost of building the project. But these materials also last longer, require less maintenance, and look better for longer. The question is which elements of your screen porch should you consider using low maintenance materials for? The recommendation we make is dependent on your priorities in durability and upkeep in future years.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you are thinking about adding a porch or deck to your Kansas City area home, give us a call at (913) 851 – 3325 or send us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net.

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.