Category Archives: Open porch

How do you know which contractor should build your home addition?

Screen room with tile floor in Leawood KS

Screen room with tile floor in Leawood KS

If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about adding on to your home. This might be a new room, a sunroom, a covered porch or a screen porch. When we say home addition, we’re referring to adding a room with a roof. Roof structures require cutting in to your house to attach the room. The thought of having a contractor cut into your home to attach a room or porch is very scary. A scary vision of water leakage and durability probably come to mind. You are right to consider not only the positive possibilities of enjoying more space but also to consider the possible problems.

Are general contractors better or worse than specialized contractors? Are all contractors the same? What should I base my decision on?

When considering whether general contractors or specialized contractors are better, it’s best to compare it to a general practitioner vs. a specialized doctor. Would you want the emergency room doctor to operate on your spine or would you prefer they bring in the doctor who operates on spines all of the time? This brings us to an important point. Have you ever gone in for a medical procedure and asked how many of those procedures the doctor has done? You know the doctor that answers this question with “hundreds” or “thousands” has more to offer than just repetition of experience. That doctor has also seen many different scenarios, done a lot more research, and likely tried different and improved methods.

Kansas City Screen Porch well trimmed

Screen porch with kneewall and gable matching home

This is similar to choosing a specialized outdoor contractor to build your outdoor room, sunroom, screen porch or the like. We’ve done over 600 projects in the 11 years we’ve been building in the Kansas City market. We’ve build with so many different trim designs, floor designs, trims, materials, etc.

In addition to specialized experience, here are some things to consider and research when selecting a contractor for your attached outdoor room.

Cold, hard credentials:

Make sure the contractor is licensed and insured. Ask for references and don’t assume because they were readily provided that they’re good. Make the calls. You’ll be glad you did. Check their BBB report. Do they hold an A+ rating? This rating level is only available to contractors that have been in business for a period of time. In addition, you have to have no complaints to get the A+ rating. If you are a member of Angie’s List, check the contractor’s references on Angie’s List.

Specific experience building roof additions to homes:

As I mentioned before, adding a roof to an existing home requires very specialized experience. It is even very different than building an initial roof on a home. But, in addition to knowing how to tie a new roof into an existing home, the contractor needs to have specialized experience in determining the structural details of the foundation. This depends upon a variety of factors – size, shape, elevation, and roof type. Different roof types require different support structures.

One size roof doesn’t fit all

Screened porch and deck in Overland Park KS

Screened porch and deck in Overland Park KS

Many less experienced contractor will only build one style of roof. Often this is a gable roof which is the roof that makes the shape of a triangle. This is a very popular roof style and it may be the perfect style to fit your home’s architecture and other factors. But, an experienced specialized builder will take other factors into consideration. These include the window placement on the back of the house and how a roof might interfere with that placement, the style of roof on your home and even factors such as drainage. We want to make your room look like it was build with your original home. Another factor is how the roof will affect the light inside your house. Less light will enter the adjoining room(s) because of the addition. We will walk you through what’s best for you.

Design capabilities and length of experience

There may be anywhere from dozens to hundreds of choices for each element of your room. These include indoor trim, outdoor trim, gutters, siding, screens or windows, flooring, doors and so much more. Here is where experience really counts. If one contractor has been in business for ten years, there’s a reason they’ve been in business so long. If a contractor has done hundreds of jobs, you can take comfort in the fact that hundreds of other homeowners chose that contractor.

Finally, as I’ve said in previous posts, make sure you like the contractor. Do you feel comfortable when they come to your home for the consultation? Are they courteous and respectful? Opening up your home and yard to people who will be doing a project can be uncomfortable. Go with your gut on the trust and likability factor.

Our consultation is free. Give us a call if you’re considering adding on to your home. (913) 851 – 3325 or send us an email kansascity@archadeck.net

Click here to visit our Kansas City sunroom photo gallery

Click here to visit our Kansas City porches photo gallery

Top 5 reasons to build your new porch or sunroom in the fall

Screened porch and deck in Overland Park KS

Screened porch and deck in Overland Park KS

Many customers ask me if the fall is a good time to build their new porch or sunroom and here’s what I tell them. The fall is actually a really good time to build for these reasons.

  1. Less Competition – You’ve planned and saved. You’ve looked at pictures and have a list or ideas of the specific features you want. It’s mid Spring and you’re looking forward to enjoying your new room all summer long. Here’s the problem. Everyone else wants the same thing. Although we work really hard to build all of our projects in the timeliest manner humanly possible, there is simply more on our to-build list in the Spring and Summer than there is in the fall. Good reputable builders get swamped in the springtime so builders that are doing top quality work are going to have a waiting list in the springtime. In fact, if you have selected a builder in mid Spring to build your new sunroom and he says he can start tomorrow, be very wary.
  2. Months of missing out – Here in Kansas City, we traditionally have very nice weather throughout the fall and even early spring. If you are having a sunroom built, you can enjoy that throughout the entire summer. You can be putting off enjoying your new outdoor room for more than a half year by waiting until Spring.
  3. Permits take longer – All additions require permits. This is something that any reputable builder will do for you. But, just like builders are swamped in the Spring and Summer, the folks in the permitting offices are swamped also. This adds even more time that you have to wait for your new room to be built.
  4. You may pay more next Spring – Just as all prices go up at different times throughout the year, prices for materials go up as well. Often times, building supply companies will announce their new price list at the first of the year. So, you could be paying a couple to a few more percentage points for waiting until after the first of the year.
  5. You won’t ruin your landscaping – spring is the wettest season of the year and it’s the hardest to work around for yard and landscaping damage so it’s easiest to avoid some of the grass damage when it’s soggy. When you have it dry, it doesn’t pose as many problems. The wetter it is, the harder it is to keep your grass in good shape.
Screen room with tile floor in Leawood KS

Screen room with tile floor in Leawood KS

If you know you’re going to build a new room on your house but building in the Fall just won’t work with your schedule or budget, still go ahead and call in the fall or winter. When we get ready to build in the Spring, our booked projects get built first. It’s on a first-come, first serve basis. One of the best things to do is plan, design, and contract your new room in the fall or winter. It will allow you to split up your budget and make sure you are first on the books to be built after the new year.

Don’t wait. Give us a call now to discuss building your room addition whether it be a porch or sunroom. (913) 851 – 3325 or email us at kansascity@archadeck.net.

Are open porches making a comeback in Kansas City?

Overland Park Kansas Open Porch

This Overland Park Kansas Open Porch has a warm and inviting feel

Technically, open porches never went away.

But, we do typically build quite a few more screened porches in a given year. I will talk about how practicality is a substantial determining factor in this decision but I also sense that the changing times have had an effect on our sense of having a more open environment at our homes. I personally have a large open front porch reminiscent of the open porches of yesteryear. It used to be that families would stroll down the street at night and stop to talk to neighbors hanging out on their open porches. Or, the neighbors would be having a cookout and invite you and your family over for dinner because they saw you outside. Many would say we’ve gotten away from that. With our busy lives, we have become accustomed to living very much in the privacy of our own homes. But perhaps because of the political environment or just a migration back to good old fashioned values, many of us are spending time outside and enjoying opportunities to see our neighbors or invite them to talk or spend time together.

There are really 5 considerations to make when considering what you want for your porch and whether you wanted a screened porch or an open porch.

  1. Design
  2. Practicality
  3. Aesthetics and Ambiance
  4. Structure and Style
  5. Cost
Lenexa KS open porch TimberTech

This TimberTech open porch in Lenexa KS has a very stately open feel and the design integrates into the style of the existing home.

Design –

You have likely seen many screened porches that have a very plain cookie cutter design. Perhaps the physical shape of these is a perfect square. Perhaps the roof of the screened porch is a gable roof but it does not match the roof style of the home. Perhaps the porch even looks like it came out of a kit. You have probably also seen custom screened porches that look like they are original to the home because the materials and architectural details down to the roofline fit the home. Custom designs often fit nicely on the back of the home vs. looking awkwardly placed or looking “added on”. One of the first things you will need to consider is whether you want a custom design or more of a “stock” design.

Practicality –

Shelter. Shelter from the storms. Shelter from the neighbors. Shelter from bugs. It’s also important to be very practical in this decision by considering your preferences and sensitivities to these issues.

EverGrain Deck and Porch Combo in Overland Park, KS

EverGrain Deck and Porch Combo in Overland Park, KS

Shelter from the storms. Do you want to spend a tremendous amount of time outdoors and not want your outdoor enjoyment time to be thwarted by rain storms or even strong wind? Screens reflect a certain amount of the rain because the rain will bounce off. Roof design, overhang and soffits, along with amount of wind, will influence the rain.

Visual shelter from the neighbors. As nice as it may be to open ourselves up to neighbors when we’re spending time out on our screened porch, for some of us, we want this room to be our oasis. Screens introduce a measure of privacy. Many of us don’t immediately think privacy when they think of screens. The screens we use quite commonly make it difficult for the neighbors to see in from a couple hundred feet away. Today there are also screens that have additional benefits such as UV protection

Bugs. How much do the bugs bother you and your family. Do bugs often keep you or your family members from spending time outdoors? If so, screens might be a good option for you.

Aesthetics and Ambiance –

Screens tend to make it feel more like an enclosed room. A screened room is still outdoors and has a tremendous amount of light and air but screens feel a little more like a wall and therefore more like an enclosed room.

An open porch, on the other hand, still has an enclosed feeling but by subtracting the screen, there’s much more of a connection to the outside. The view is opened up even more so. The feel is really slightly more connected to the outdoors. It’s going to be brighter because the screens block 10-20% of the light.

Evergrain open porch and deck in Olathe Kansas

Evergrain open porch and deck in Olathe Kansas

Structure and Style

You can generally put columns further apart if you don’t have screens. You can do different types of columns because there are no screens interfering. There are also some design details that are open to you when you have open columns with no screens interfering.

Budget –

Ah, this guy always rears his head in any decision – especially in building an important addition to your home. Budget is really one of the first considerations you need to make. Without understanding your budget, your builder really can’t help you explore the options that are right for you.

Lenexa open porch – communication and high quality design and implementation

We received such a nice testimonial from one of our recent clients and have some great pictures of the job also so wanted to share it here.

Lenexa Open porch with trimmed columns, lighting and Timbertech floor, Westbury Aluminum rail

Lenexa Open porch with trimmed columns, lighting and TimberTech floor, Westbury Aluminum rail

We chose Archadeck, Kansas City to remove a dilapidated deck, provide design ideas for replacement and perform all associated work.

Steve has proved to be exceptionally knowledgeable and worked with us through several design meetings to determine the best design – incorporating the aesthetics we were looking for along with utility and functional layout.   We didn’t want just another deck.  Our desire was for an outdoor living space that was incorporated with the overall structure and roofline of the house.  Basically, we wanted this addition to look like part of the original house design.

Lenexa KS TimberTech Open porch Westbury Aluminum rail

Lenexa KS TimberTech Open porch Westbury Aluminum rail

Archadeck provided the design – which is a knockout! 

Steve is very proactive in communication and a strong project manager in terms of keeping to schedule; insuring that we were informed at all stages and satisfied with progress.  The site manager and build team exceeded our expectations.  All were conscientious, hard working, diligent and quality minded.  On a daily basis the site was thoroughly cleaned.  At the end of each workday the site team literally got on their hands and knees to insure that there were no stray screws or pieces of scrap left in the yard!!

From the initial discovery conversation with Steve to the conclusion of the project, every step was documented and there were no surprises.  Initial draft designs, estimates of cost and time, site drawings, blueprints, contract contents were all up-front, well detailed and in concert with expectations.

Lenexa Open porch trimmed columns Timbertech floor Westbury Aluminum rail

Lenexa Open porch trimmed columns TimberTech floor Westbury Aluminum rail

Frankly, this is an exceptionally well run organization that provides superior quality and follow-up. 

This is not your basic “deck” building.  What you get for your money….  High quality design and implementation.   Finest quality of materials.  Long-term employees dedicated to customer satisfaction based on workmanship and high standards.  Superior project management.

As an aside, my architectural engineer brother reviewed the build after completion.  He stated that the quality of construction and finish were the best he had seen and that this addition would outlast the house!!

I recommend this firm without hesitation and will readily use them again if the opportunity arises.

Mike R., Lenexa KS

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

For more Kansas City porch photos, visit the photo gallery on our web site. Give us a call to discuss your next deck project. (913) 851 – 3325 or send us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net.