Category Archives: Room additions

Do you want a screened porch, 3-season room or a sunroom for your Kansas City area home?

The most important question I always ask my clients is how are you going to use the room? What is the purpose of this room? Does it need to be accessible in all months of the year. It’s about what works for you and your situation.

You want to make sure you get the space that provides all the elements or practicality for how you will use the space. In this stage of the planning, you need to be asking the right questions. We can help you by asking the right questions which will then lead to key decisions. Because we’re custom designing every space we build, we’re able to tailor it to your exact usage.

Here are some good starter questions. Do you plan on spending time in the room primarily in the warmer months or do your plans include spending time in the room year round? Do you envision having your morning coffee there year round? Do you envision closing it off in the colder months? The answers to these questions will help you determine whether a porch, 3-season room or sunroom is right for you.

Screened porch (usable @ 7 months/year)

Overland park screened porch ipe floor

Overland Park KS screened porch addition

A screened porch does not have any solid windows (such as glass) and there is no insulation. In the Midwest a screened room is typically usable 7 months of the year or maybe longer. Because of the screened windows, rain or moisture might come in. With a screened room, you need to make provision for moisture and rain blowing in. The screen room may have the same size, same shape, and same roof as an enclosed room, but a lot of other things are different. For example, you will not want to use hardwood or wall-to-wall carpet in a screened room.

3-season room (usable @ 9-10 months/year)

A 3-season room has glass which separates it from a screened porch which has no glass. The type of glass is important. If you’re going to try to use it 8-12 months of the year, you probably want double-paned windows to keep the cold out even if you’re going to get a space heater. The cold will go right through single-pane windows. With a space heater, you can extend the usage but you’re not going to make a 10-12 month room out of it. That full year room requires a full insulation package.

Sunroom (usable all year round)

Leawood Kansas Sunroom

Leawood KS Sunroom with attractive wood flooring

A fully functional 12-month room is fully insulated and has double pane glass, probably with low-E glass. With a sunroom or room that’s going to be used all year, the room probably also has some type of heat or cooling. With sunrooms, you also need to consider solar gain. The room can get way too hot. It depends on the direction of the room, the size of the windows, solar rating of windows, roof overhang, tree shade, etc. The temperature could make you feel like the inside of your car on a hot summer day.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

We can help make these key decisions easier. With our experience in working with homeowners on deciding what room is right for you, we can help ask the right questions to help you determine what works best for you. Give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851 – 3325 or send us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net. See more pictures by visiting our our screened porch photo gallery, 3 & 4 season room photo gallery, and our sunroom photo gallery at http://kansas-city.archadeck.com.

Multiple outdoor living spaces add the most to your Kansas City area home

There are two things our customers tell us when we speak with them after they’ve had time to live in and enjoy their new outdoor room. First they tell us they wish they had done it sooner. Secondly, they tell us it’s their favorite room in the house. This has been true throughout the time we’ve been designing and building outdoor living spaces here in the Kansas City market.

Archadeck Kansas City 2 story sunroom screen porch

This design rendering shows what the space will look like after completion

Now there is a new trend we’re seeing. Homeowners are now considering adding multi-function outdoor living spaces. Multi-function spaces include those that are either large enough to include separate living spaces or spaces that actually include multiple outdoor structures. For example, a large deck or screened porch may accommodate both an eating area and enough room for a seating area. A space including multiple outdoor living structures may add multiple living spaces to your home as is the case with a project we are just beginning in Shawnee, KS.

These homeowners wanted a sunroom, a screened porch and a deck. Their yard has a drop-off so they are able to add outdoor living spaces at both levels. On the lower level walkout, we are building a screened porch. The basement door leads to the screened porch.

Kansas City Shawnee 4 season porch sunroom Archadeck

Design drawing of new 2-story 4-season porch over screened porch with adjoining deck

Atop the screen porch will be a new sunroom. There is a walkout from the kitchen and dining area to the new sunroom. Then, one of the side walls of the sun room will lead to a new second-story deck. The deck has stairs leading down to the ground.

For the decks, steps and screened porch floor, the owners chose to use Ipe which is a strong Brazilian hardwood. They wanted a natural product that was extremely durable and long lasting. The sunroom will have hardwood floors.

Shawness KS sunroom over screened porch Archadeck

Our design drawings help our customers envision what their project will look like

The upper level sunroom is actually called a 12-month sunroom. It will have insulation and energy efficient windows so it can be used 12 months of the year. It will also have heat and A/C. The room does have a separate unit because the sun in the sunroom might be dramatically different than in the rest of the house. With separate thermostatic control and a separate unit, they can turn it off when they go out of town.

Here’s a design rendering of the project to give you a glimpse of what the finished project will look like. When complete in November, we will follow up with pictures showing all the details and finish choices.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you are considering adding an outdoor living area to your home, give us a call for a free consultation. Call (913) 851 – 3325 or email kansascity@archadeck.net

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 10 things you would not be able to do if you didn’t have a sunroom

Too all linguists, I apologize in advance for the double negative in the title. But, when thinking about things you would miss out on, it’s easier to talk about them this way. Many people might think of a sunroom as a room you enjoy in the milder months of the year. We think about enjoying the sunrise and sunsets of longer days at winter travels into spring. We think about looking out the windows and watching the green trees change their color during fall. But how often do we imagine spending wonderful winter moments in our sunroom?

Four-Season Insulated Room in Shawnee KS

Four-season insulated sunroom

Perhaps it’s because the name of the room that we imagine using the room to enjoy the sun. But, sunrooms are also popularly called 3-season rooms and 4-season rooms. A 4-season room will have insulation and heating so that it can be used throughout the year. A 4-season room is essentially a room addition to your home. Everything from the roof style to gutter style as well as interior details ranging from color to materials will be matched to fit your home. We always build to make the rooms look original to the home.

So here we go.

Winter moments in your sunroom.

  1. At the crack of midnight, toasting your beloved while watching glistening snowflakes fall from the sky
  2. After the kids are asleep, noticing the moon keeping an eye out for you as you play Santa and wrap the children’s gifts at Christmas
  3. Sitting in your sunroom in early evening on Thanksgiving day with a turkey sandwich and a plate on your lap since the food coma from the Thanksgiving meal finally wore off and turned to the grumblings of hunger again
  4. Sitting in your robe and slippers with your feet on the ottoman watching the sun begin to rise through the steam from your very hot morning coffee
  5. That second cup of coffee that your spouse notices you need and delivers to you with a breakfast treat before the sun has completely risen into the sky
  6. Watching your teenaged daughter talking to a young suitor near your pool at the back to make sure all “intentions” are good
  7. Sitting on your sofa loveseat with your laptop playing on the computer while you listen to the rain outside the windows
  8. Setting up the family puzzle on the table in the sunroom and greeting family members as they drop by, put in a piece or two, and tell you a little bit about their day
  9. Enjoying a cup of afternoon tea with a beloved grandparent and lingering as you listen to stories of old
  10. Having a room with windows on 3 sides to watch the birds, the snow, the moon and watch grass grow
Large Gable Roof Sunroom with Attached Deck in Lees Summit MO

Large Gable Roof Sunroom with Attached Deck in Lee's Summit MO

With a limited view of the outside from many of the rooms in our homes, we often don’t think of all of the things we could do if we could enjoy a full view of the yard whether day, night, hot or cold. Many romantic and timeless memories could be made and shared if you had a sunroom/4-season room to enjoy throughout the colder months.

Consider adding a new sunroom to your home to enjoy the winter moments as well as those in the fall, winter, and early spring.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Give us a call to discuss for a free consultation. We welcome and look forward to the opportunity to speak with you about adding a 4-season room to your home. (913) 851 – 3325 or send us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net.

Take a look at some of our photo galleries at our website:

Kansas City sunroom pictures and photo gallery

Kansas City area 3-seasona and 4-season pictures and photo gallery

Is the inside of every screened porch the same?

Overland Park KS Screened Porch with Treated Wood Floor and Knee Wall

Overland Park KS Screened Porch with Treated Wood Floor and Knee Wall

Last week we wrote a post about whether all screened porches are the same and the degree to which they can differ. In that post we focused primarily on the outside of the screened porch. This week’s I’d like to focus on options and considerations for the interior of your screened porch. The primary components of the interior are the floor, the railing, the ceiling,and the electrical package.

Screened porch flooring options

Let’s look at flooring first. There are so many more flooring options today than you may think. These primarily include woods, composites, tile, and concrete.

To tailor to a more traditional look, you can use the wood floor. Natural wood floors are less expensive than composite floors but do require substantially more maintenance. Where a composite floor is close to maintenance free, a wood floor will need attention every couple of years depending on the wear and traffic. There are some things you can do to keep your natural wood floor looking fresher for longer. One option is to paint your floor. This will provide some level of protection from wear. Another really simple option is a nice large floor rug. Outdoor rugs have also come a long way in recent years. Remember the green outdoor rugs that looked like astro turf? Today a number of companies make rugs designed to withstand some rain and other elements. You’ll want to read the labels to see the degree to which these rugs withstand the elements. Your screened porch will get a minimal amount of water inside as compared to an open porch but water will be a factor.

Leawood KS Screened Porch with Cedar Trimmed Roof and Slate Tile Floor

Leawood KS Screened Porch with Cedar Trimmed Roof and Slate Tile Floor

There are some tropical hardwoods that are traditionally used for outdoor. One particular tropical hardwood we used is Ipe. Ipe has a a great number of advantages over pine and pine and still looks very, very rich. It will need to be maintained, either stained or sealed to maintain its rich color.

People are also using tile for the floor of their screened porches. There are colors or textures available that you can’t get with wood or composite and tile can have quite a finished look.

Kansas City Screened Porch with Screened Gable Roof and Sky Light

Kansas City Screened Porch with Screened Gable Roof and Sky Light

Railing and knee-wall options

For your interior porch railing, material options primarily include wood, metal, composite, fiberglass, and vinyl. Like the other components, the differences include the cost and the amount of maintenance. Wood is going to cost less but is going to require more maintenance. Man-made materials such as composite, fiberglass and vinyl will cost more at the onset but very little maintenance is required. Many people don’t want any aspect of their screened porch to require work. They want to rest, relax and minimize any necessity for cleaning and maintenance.

Knee wall is also an option. Knee wall introduces a measure of wind and rain protection. Knee wall also serves another couple of benefits. The knee wall can be painted to match other aspects of the house and pull the structure into the overall aesthetic of the house. Knee wall also adds a moderate degree of additional privacy based on the position of your screened porch and the proximity to the areas you would like some privacy from.

Ceiling and electrical packages for your screened porch

Screened porch with beadboard ceiling and exposted rafters

Screened porch with bead board ceiling and exposed truss design

For the ceiling, we can design open or covered rafters and have a variety of great choices for the ceiling including cedar, pine, bead board, plywood, tongue and groove, and vinyl/PVC. As you’ve begun to plan your screened porch and selected various design elements you like, you may not have thought of the aesthetic differences the different ceiling options can make. A vaulted roof creates a grand, open and airy feel. Traditional screened porches had flat ceilings but today the popular option is the opposite.

In my experience, one of the most common upgrades, if you will, is how you configure your electrical. Most screened porches will have a ceiling fan. In addition, you can add built-in ceiling lights, we can wire in and install mounted ceiling speakers, and you may want a number of additional outlets for plugging in things like table lamps, floor lamps, laptop computers and televisions.

When you begin to dialogue with a builder, you will quickly know based on your rapport, how they listen and how you feel about their trustworthiness whether that builder will be a good match for you. Before you have a contractor come out, check their BBB rating. Check their reviews on Angie’s List, and review their website to see pictures of their work.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Give us a call for a free consultation. We would love to discuss your ideas and propose the best solution for what you’re looking for. (913) 851 – 3325.

What roof is best for you? Gable? Shed? Hip?

Four season sunroom with gable roof

Four season sunroom with gable roof

There are so many considerations to be made when you decide to make an addition to your home – whether that’s a screened porch or a sunroom or even an open porch. After getting some idea about the size you want the room to be, one of the next most important considerations is the roof. What sort of roof is best for your new room or structure or addition?

Here are the top 5 things you need to think of when selecting a roof style

  1. House tie-in
  2. Aesthetic appeal
  3. Span
  4. Light
  5. Cost

House tie-in

The thing you really need to think about first is how the room will tie into your house. If your house is one-story, will you be tying into the house or into the existing roof? If the house is two story, what is the window configuration on the back of the house above the first story. You can either put a roof above a window line or below a window line but the roof can’t traverse a window. So, if you have a row of windows across the first and second level, the roof will either need to tie into the house in between those windows or above the set of second story windows. If you have a very large window in the back of your house, that will likely be an area where your screened porch or sunroom cannot cross.

Roof styles

Roof styles

Aesthetic appeal

Do you remember playing with Lincoln Logs when you were young? How many roof choices were there for your Lincoln Logs house? One. Unless you had a really fancy set of Lincoln Logs, the only choice available was a standard triangular roof. This roof line is called a gable roof. When you look at children’s drawings of houses, they always have the standard triangular roof. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, a proportionate triangle is really pleasing to the eye. Secondly, most houses have a traditional gable roof and when we build a roofed structure, we try to match the existing style of the house as closely as possible. In addition, the gable roof does offer a bit more flexibility with tying into the house. The pitched slope allows us to work around some windows more easily.

Span

The size of the room might help to determine what roof style is best. A very narrow or a very wide room will cause a gable roof style to have a pitch that’s either too low and flat or too high, looking like a steeple. In that case, an alternate roof style such as a shed roof might make more sense. A shed roof slopes only in one angle which is down and away from the house. You can see a shed roof on the left of the gable picture above. That home has two different style roofs.

Screened porch with screened gable Kansas City

Screened porch with screened gable Kansas City

Light

Light is always a huge consideration. Light is often one of the reasons you want to build a screened porch or sunroom. You likely want an indoor/outdoor room. You want the sights and likely sounds of your back yard while still having protection from rain and bugs and depending on the structure protection from wind and other elements. As you see in the picture above, those homeowners wanted a tremendous amount of light which is why their design nearly wall-to-wall windows. Roof style is also a significant factor as it relates to light. Some roof styles provide more light than others. For example, a gable roof can be open at one end with either screen or glass depending on the structure. This option really lets the light pour into the room.

Cost

We would be remiss if we didn’t include cost as a consideration. As you can imagine, not only was it less expensive for Lincoln Logs to only have one roof option, a standard gable roof and shed roof are less expensive than other options. There are a couple more somewhat standard options for roof styles. The first one is called a hip roof. You can see a picture of a hip roof in the diagram seen above. A hip roof is a gable roof with a third slope across the front. A hip roof has a tremendous amount of aesthetic appeal and can be seen on many upper-end houses. But, a hip roof is the most expensive to build. It has more complicated rafters, more cuts, and requires more skilled carpentry, etc.

Combination roof style by Archadeck of Kansas City

Combination roof style by Archadeck of Kansas City

There are also combination roofs. One that we offer that’s very popular is a flat roof with a small gable. This is a popular style of ours. Probably one of the biggest reasons this is popular is because it has a custom look and has a custom feel. If you are having a contractor come and build an addition to your home, you want more than a cookie cutter room. You want something beautiful and functional and you want a place where you want to spend lots of time.

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. (913) 851 – 3325 or kansascity@archadeck.net

Steve

Screened porch or sunroom? Here are some things to consider.

A large screened porch with open gable roof

A large screened porch with open gable roof

Last week, we talked about deciding between a deck or a screened porch. Deciding whether you want a covered structure is one of the first decision. You may already know you want a covered structure or that you want an enclosed room but you may not be sure what’s right for you.

The answer can often be found by thinking of all the ways and the most common way you will use the room. Here are some questions for you to consider.

  • Are you focused on being outside in the summer or do you want to be inside but enjoy the brightness of the summer sun?
  • How many months of the year do you plan on using your room?
  • Do you need more room in your house?
  • Are you seeking just the outdoor ambiance in the summer months or more of a full year sort of ambiance?
  • What other activities do you want to do on the porch? Specific activities dictate how the porch is going to be used.
  • Are you going to use the room for parties?
  • Will you put a TV out there?
  • Will the whole family be using the room?
  • Will the kids be using the room?
  • Will you be using the room for adult activities like card parties or book club?
Leawood Kansas Sunroom

Leawood Kansas Sunroom

3-season vs. 4 season

You may have heard the terms 3-season and 4 season rooms and you may be wondering about the difference. A 3-season room does not have glass to block wind, nor insulation or heat.

Conversely, a 4-season room can also be called a 12-month room. It is really a room addition to your home. If your desire is to have a really bright room with lots of windows, then a 4-season room is probably the best for you.

Kansas City Sunroom

Kansas City Sunroom

Other considerations

What about privacy? Will you be using the room in early morning for your morning coffee? Will you be using the room in the evening when you may have already changed into your night clothes? In this case, just as in your house, you may want an enclosed room where you can have shades or blinds or another window covering for privacy.

Another consideration certainly is price. Screens are cheaper than windows. Insulation and heat make the price substantially higher. There are no exact guideline because there are so many other variables. There will be more of an investment for a 12-month room over a 6-month room. A lot of the finishes and trim items also make the price higher. For example, you can put a hardwood floor in a glassed in enclosure but not in a screened enclosure.

Give me a call if you’re considering a new screened porch, sunroom, deck or other back yard extension. (913) 851 – 3325. kansascity@archadeck.net.