Category Archives: porches

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.

Planning, strategy and consideration are often the most important parts of designing a new Kansas City porch

Lenexa screened porch with TVIf you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably considering adding a porch to your home. You probably have lots of ideas about what you want your new porch to include. You may envision a mounted flat screen TV, a railing that’s easy to see through and perhaps large screened areas with minimal posts for the best view of the yard. Those are all good and important considerations. Before those considerations, we need to look at how you plan to use your porch. If you plan on using your porch mostly for eating, we may suggest mounting the TV in a different area. If you want to add an outdoor fireplace to your porch, do you want that to be the focal element of the seating area or do you want to be able to enjoy the fireplace from either of two living areas such as a seating area and an eating area?

In addition to considering how you want to live in your new space, we will need to look at any architectural challenges the back of your home presents. Things like roof lines, number of stories, elevation, second story windows, and other architectural features have bearing on where and how your porch attaches to your home.

Overland Park porch looks original to home lrTake the porch featured to the left. Archadeck of Kansas City’s biggest challenge on this job was integrating the new deck and porch beautifully and seamlessly into a house that had three different roof lines and a second-story window that needed accommodation. The easiest path would have been to use a simple shed roof, but we wanted a design that would be harmonious with the existing gable roofs. We built a shed roof with a featured gable that increases the feeling of openness on the porch, provides good drainage, and is a great stylistic fit with the rest of the rear facade.

Another very important consideration is maintenance. Remember the days of old when annual painting just went with the territory for deck owners? Now, low-maintenance materials abound. You can have a deck that you never need to paint or stain. You can have columns or siding of high tech manufactured materials that will reduce the need for painting, repair or replacement.

AZEK deck and flooring on Overland Park open porch lrOur clients at this particular home wanted to make sure that their new Kansas City open porch would be a haven of relaxation, not an source of extra household chores. We made that desire part of the design by working almost exclusively with low-maintenance building materials. The AZEK flooring requires almost no upkeep and has an industry-leading warranty. The AFCO aluminum railing is similarly easy to care for and provides little visual distraction from the yard and garden.

Day, night or in between?

Today’s porches are anything but “sun porches”. They’re great in the day but they are also wired for enjoyment in the evening and for longer months throughout the year. We build in electrical outlets, wire ceiling fans, mount TV’s, install gas fireplaces, and add all the amenities might hope for in your new space.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you’re considering the addition of an open porch – or a deck, patio, outdoor fireplace or other outdoor living structure – to your Kansas City area home, 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.

 

 

What makes a “Goldilocks” porch? How to design a Kansas City screened porch that’s “just right” for your home and family.

Overland Park screen porch AZEK deck Fortress Rail

The deck to the left of this screened porch is small but just the right size for a grill and some space to enjoy grilling.

When you are making plans for your new porch, in your mind, it is always “just right.” This porch has plenty of room for lots of people, all your furniture fits perfectly and the porch is not so large that it looks disproportionate to the rest of your home.  There are several factors that go into making the porch that’s “just right” for your family, your home, and how you want to live on your porch. We put together a list of a few things you’ll want to consider to determine the porch that’s just right for you.

What size Kansas City porch do you want? First, think about how you are planning to use the porch. Do you plan to eat out on your new porch? If so, will this just be for casual impromptu meals such as deciding to take your sandwiches outside and enjoy the fresh air while you eat? Or, do you plan on entertaining and regularly having over screen porch and patio Overland Park KSyour 2-3 favorite couples for dinner parties on the porch? What about relaxing on your porch? Do you plan on sneaking out with your favorite book every now and then or do you plan on having the family cozy up with blankets to watch a good movie on fall evenings in front of the outdoor fireplace with outdoor TV mounted atop?

Archadeck takes great pride in creating outdoor living spaces that, when we’re done, look as original to your home as possible. Considerations include the size, shape and proportions of your yard and your house. Once you’ve decided how you want to live in your new space, share that with your builder. During the consultation, you and the builder can walk outside and “eyeball” any opportunities or challenges based on the porch addition and the size of your home, yard, etc. We will look at what size porch will “fit” on your home?

Kansas City screen porchRoof style is an important consideration. We will consider different roof options. Certain roof sizes, styles, and angles may work better than others. There are several factors to take into account as it relates to the roof style you select. Your new roof should complement your current one for the best overall exterior appeal. If you have a second story, the roof will need to work with and not block anything on the second story including the windows and any other architectural elements.

Traffic flow is another design consideration some people miss but is critical to a successful porch addition. Where will people enter and leave your porch? Consider entrances and exits from the house and the yard. If you plan to include a fireplace or even a wall mount TV, those should be part of your traffic plan too. Doors, walls and fireplaces can be expensive to move so they may impact your decision about porch size.

If you are interested in having more than one living area on your porch and you own a multi-story home, you might take a look at expanding your project to a second story. Take a look at this two-story porch and deck in Leawood Kansas. Another option for multiple outdoor living spaces would include a porch and deck combination or a porch and patio combination.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you’re considering the addition of a porch – or a deck, patio, fireplace or other outdoor living structure – to your Kansas City area home, 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.

What’s on your wish list for your Overland Park porch?

Overland Park open porch builder lrI don’t think of myself as a deck or porch builder per se. I create personal outdoor spaces where people can connect with friends and family in a way that is meaningful for them. This distinction is very important. Any builder can take a set of mass-produced plans and recreate them in your backyard. I listen to how my clients talk about how they want to live outside. No two customers are the same– every Overland Park porch should not be either.

This Overland Park porch project that is a testament to the clients’ love of the outdoors. They wanted to replace an older existing area with a light, airy porch that let them be in the yard while offering protection from sun and rain. We didn’t screen it because bugs are not an issue for them; they value openness. They also envisioned this Open porch with deck Overland Park KS lrspace as being a “second dining room.” The porch is just a few steps from the main eating area inside and has a small adjoining deck for grilling. It couldn’t be more convenient.

They wanted a very compact stair configuration so as to not eat up yard space so we used the smallest footprint by aligning the staircase with the deck. Next to the stairs, we left some beloved trees untouched. A few years from now those trees will provide additional shade and privacy.

Combination shed and gable roof Overland Park porch lrThe home’s existing lines and window configuration suggested a combination shed and gable roof. The gables give the space additional light and airiness. The ceiling fan can create a breeze if there is none that day. We also painted the posts and columns to match the home and the Afco powder coated aluminum rail blends beautifully with the furniture the customers selected. The slender profile, dark color railings, draw your eyes up and into the yard.

The finished beadboard ceiling makes the porch feel like an interior space even while it is completely open. The canister lights add to that impression. The tongue-and-groove look of the beadboard has a clean, classic look that doesn’t distract from the yard view. The AZEK Silver Oak flooring fits in easily with the lines and colors of the rest of the porch and is a snap to maintain.

As outdoors-focused as this project is, our clients still want to be able to watch the occasional game or show from their porch, so we mounted a TV out there as well. For this family, that was it.  We hit all of the items on the wish list. The porch matches the style of their home and their lives. They have a wonderful new space that enriches their lives everyday.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you’re considering building an open porch, screened porch or outdoor room on your house, give us a call for a free consultation at 913-851-3325. We look forward to your call.

 

 

This new porch and deck combination in Leawood KS make sense on so many levels

Kansas City screen porch attached Evergrain deck lrThe best outdoor living area projects reflect the values and lifestyles of the homeowners. This was the case with a recent project. Our clients decided to tackle a huge project: building a dual-level screened in porch and patio.  These owners love the fresh air, enjoy being outside and want to bring that feeling into their own living space.  This is an addition that has completely changed the character of the property and how they spend their leisure time.

This two-story porch in Leawood KS replaced an old two-level cedar deck and bedroom space that had seen better days.  The owners wanted to keep the same footprint, but change how the space is used.  The new construction is all screened porch on the first floor and a combination of screened porch and deck on the second level.  The upper level porch is accessible directly from the second story of the home.  We refer to the connected open area as a balcony deck because it has no other access point than Kansas City 2-level porch lrfrom the screened porch.  The lower level porch adjoins the kitchen and has access to the first floor of the house along with the exterior doors and stairs to the yard.

Two obvious advantages of having such an extensive screened in living area are the ability to avoid mosquitoes and protection from the elements.  We designed a special roof connection and drainage system on the top that not only keep the upper porch dry, but funnel water away from the lower level porch and the balcony deck.  This allows the family to use “any porch in a storm.”  In addition to the those benefits, the screening adds a great deal of visual privacy from the street.  When you look out from the inside, you have a great view of your surroundings.  Looking toward the house, you see the screen and some shadows.  The porch railings add a level of visual obscurity from the outside, as well as safety.

Composite floor Kansas City screened porch lrAs with all our projects, we gave close consideration to what the best materials would be for this job and for these clients.  We used a ceiling called DrySnap which is a vinyl/nylon/stainless steel drainage system.  The screening is our ultra heavy duty vinyl screening which is known for wind resistance, long-term durability and for its privacy.  We used composite flooring for its strength, low level of maintenance and for the ability to match the color to the existing home–both levels are Evergrain flooring.  The railing was created from composite and metal tubes with composite cross connections.

Our clients are delighted with their new living space.  She calls her upper porch “Southern style” and enjoys the access she has from the master suite.  The lower porch is decorated with darker, traditional furniture and it’s just a few steps from kitchen to table.  We are so pleased that when they went looking for a Leawood KS porch builder, they chose Archadeck.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you’re considering adding a new deck, porch, or other outdoor living space to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851 – 3325 or drop us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net.

Top 5 porch trends we saw in 2013

Over the last year, we continued to see trends in outdoor living spaces. Below we note the top 5 porch trends we’ve seen in 2013.

  1. Outdoor fireplaces
  2. Low maintenance
  3. Accessories
  4. Outdoor TV
  5. Separate outdoor cooking or grilling area

Outdoor fireplaces (gas or wood)

Kansas City porch with outdoor fireplaceThis has been the year of the outdoor fireplace. We’ve built several outdoor fireplaces for our clients here in the Kansas City market.  Homeowners now view their porch as an outdoor living room. They want the whole experience where they can enjoy the ambiance of indoors in an outdoor living space such as a screened porch or open porch. In addition to elevating the ambiance of a porch, the outdoor fireplace serves an additional benefit of moderating the temperature allowing homeowners to spend more months during the year on their porch.

Low maintenance

Many of our clients want to use some low maintenance materials on their new outdoor structures. What does this mean? It generally means that those components are easier to clean and last longer than other materials. As it relates to porches, our customers are looking for low maintenance, permanent flooring. They want low upkeep in all kinds of weather.

Accessories

As noted above, homeowners are not only moving outside by building outdoor living spaces but they also want to do more living in those spaces and want some of the creature comforts they have indoors. On their porches, homeowners are asking for things like custom lighting and wiring for various amenities such as outdoor sound systems. They are also looking for more outlets in different Lenexa KS TV mounted in porchplaces to plug in the types of amenities that are often used inside such as lamps, laptops, deck lamps, etc.

Outdoor TV

Homeowners want outdoor televisions. They want to watch the game, pop in a good movie, or turn on educational shows for the kids. And, homeowners are mounting their TV’s on the wall to get the most out of the living space.

Separate outdoor cooking or grilling area

Overland Park screen porch AZEK deck Fortress Rail

The deck to the left of this screened porch is small but just the right size for a grill and some space to enjoy grilling.

Homeowners are now looking to have their outdoor cooking area off their porch. They want it close but not in the porch where it would interfere with other things going on. Grill decks have become popular. These are small decks attached to an exterior porch door designed to hold the grill and grilling apparatus.

Reading the above, you can tell that today’s porches are a good bit different than they were even a few years ago. Today’s outdoor rooms area designed to enjoy the outdoors while not giving up on the great creature comforts of indoors.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you are considering adding a low-maintenance roof structure to your backyard, give us a call for a free consultation. We will walk you through all the various materials and considerations to help craft the best custom porch for how you want to live outdoors.

Give us a call: (913) 851 – 3325
Drop us an email: kansascity@archadeck.net
Visit our website at kansas-city.archadeck.com