Category Archives: Room additions

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.

When is the best time to build a Sunroom?

Four season sunroom in Lee's Summit

We field a lot of questions about building throughout the year.   One of the more common is when is the best time to build my sunroom?   People are juggling all kinds of plans and home maintenance issues these days that may conflict with a major building project if not planned correctly.  Frequently we hear about people who plan to rework landscaping, repaint their house, or install a new roof  at about the same time they plan to build a sunroom or screen porch.    All of these projects can cause issues with construction of an outdoor room or porch addition and need care in planning.  Proper planning can save both money and time in the building process, depending upon the other projects to be  done.  It is very important to consider how each type of project may interact with the room or porch project, no matter if it is a screened porch, sunroom, ro0m addition, or three season room.

In general with some exceptions, all of the above project types should be scheduled after the outdoor room is completed.  In the case of re-roofing,  it may very well save  money  if the roofing job is coordinated with the roofing on the new addition.   Landscaping improvements should always be planned after the addition is completed, to fully allow for design of the new room and to minimize damage to any landscaping while building.

Additionally here in Kansas City we frequently answer questions about the  best time of the year to build.  Many consumers are under the impression that outdoor building can only be done in the summer.  We usually build 11 months out of the year, and there are some advantages to planning your project in the early spring or late fall.   Since the planning and building permit process can take up to 30 days, depending upon the city,  it is always wise to allow 30-60 days prior to the actual desired building time when making decisions.  In addition heavy rains in the warmer months can actually slow down the building process more than cooler weather does.     If you have multiple projects in mind, always consult with your builder about the best sequence for the projects to save time and money.