Category Archives: Screen Porches

How is your screened porch going to look in 10 years, 20 years or 30 years?

When we begin planning to build a home addition such as a screened porch, we read magazines, visit websites and work hard to envision what the new porch will look like the day it’s finished. We envision which rug we will purchase and the number of people the seating will accommodate. Do you ever envision what the porch will look like in 10 years, 20 years or more? Do you suppose that a decade old porch would look worn and beaten by the sun, rain, and wear of a full decade? Would it look that much more bedraggled after another decade?

This porch by Archadeck of Kansas City was built 6 years ago and still looks new.

Depending on how you have your porch built, with very little care and cleaning, your porch can look nearly as good in 10 years, 20 years or more. Let’s look at how this is possible. There are many ways to build a screened porch and many materials that can be used both inside and outside your porch. There are different choices in weather resistance and in materials. This is not only for flooring materials but also for your railing, trim work, exterior siding, soffits and other materials that will be needed to build your porch. All your porch building materials will differ in durability and maintenance as well as weather resistance. Today, the choices of these materials and quality levels is much greater than in the past.

While porch consumers have many material choices available to them, often builders will have set ways they build and other builders don’t expose homeowners to an important variety of material choices that are available. Many builders don’t let homeowners know there are options and don’t explain to homeowners how those options influence the long-term durability, longevity, and maintenance of their porch.

Traditional all-wood screened porches with wood columns, wood trim, wood flooring, wood railing, and wood steps will always have maintenance, durability and upkeep issues. These are the same maintenance, durability and upkeep issues as an all wood deck. Even though screened porches have a roof, the surfaces are still exposed to weather and this outdoor environment will affect the durability, longevity, and maintenance of the porch.

By careful selection of materials in all these different areas, it’s possible and likely desirable to build a much lower maintenance screened porch that will look every bit as good 5 – 10 years out and more. But all the different areas need to be addressed to achieve this goal. This doesn’t apply just to flooring or one element but to all the materials selected for your new porch.

If you look around at some older or existing porches that were built 5 – 10 yrs. ago, you’ll see cracks, splits, fading, staining issues, broken trim, broken screens, loose screens, railing damage and more because the attention to product selection was not given when the porch was built. It’s all about material quality, craftsmanship and using the right products in the right places to achieve the right balance of looks, durability, upkeep, and longevity. Just like in most product decisions, there’s always a choice of a cheaper product that is not going to hold up.

This beautiful porch uses all low-maintenance materials including low-maintenance flooring.

If you’re reading this blog, you’re likely considering adding a screened porch to your home. Here is some good information to know about material selections to build a porch that will still look fantastic even one or two decades later. Using composite low-maintenance flooring is an option many homeowners are often familiar with but there are quite a few other low-maintenance materials that will keep your porch looking great for years to come.

All roofed porches have exterior trim boards that are exposed to weather. Thirty years ago there were just a couple options for, exterior trim including pine, cedar, and other natural woods. Today there are man-made, weather-resistant materials that will never crack, split, rot, fade, splinter or warp. These are designed to be custom painted to match your home ensuring your new porch doesn’t look added on but looks like it was built with your home. These choices didn’t exist 30 years ago but today they make a significant impact.

It’s important to be aware that there are many critical material decisions to make that have long-lasting implications. Choose a contractor that has expertise using low-maintenance products and one that is willing to invest time on the front end helping you select the materials to ensure you have many years of return on your outdoor living investment.

Our design consultation is free. Give us a ring at (913) 851-3325 to discuss ideas and options for your new outdoor living space. To see many great pictures of porches we’ve built throughout the Kansas City metro, visit our screened porch photo gallery or our covered porch photo gallery.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

These Creekmoor homeowners in Raymore MO just turned in their old deck for an amazing new porch

When these Creekmoor homeowners first contacted us, they had an old deck that was built at the time the house was built. It was tired and they wanted a space that was a little larger. Instead of a deck, they wanted a new screened porch complete with an outdoor fireplace.

The new porch looks amazing. Integrated into the screened-in porch is a gas ventless outdoor fireplace with TV mounted atop. If you look closely, you’ll see an inset above the fireplace made to accommodate a TV. You can most often use an indoor TV on your outdoor porch if you’re careful to shield it from the elements. This can be done a number of ways. The TV can be mounted on one of the house walls or an enclosed sidewall of the porch. The area above this fireplace was where these homeowners wanted their TV to reside permanently.

The interior of this porch utilizes a beautiful color pallet. The interior house wall is a warm tone which is complemented with the AZEK low-maintenance PVC floor in Hazelwood color. The stone facade on the outdoor fireplace also utilizes a muted array of beige and gray tones. In contrast, the ceiling is finished with cedar in warm tones. Closer to the house wall is a king truss wrapped in cedar to match the ceiling.

Looking at the outside of this Creekmoor porch with outdoor fireplace, you’ll notice that the porch looks like it was built with the home even though it was just added to the home. Careful time and attention goes into matching not only the home’s exterior color but also matching soffits and gutters. Homeowners don’t want their home improvement to look added on. They want it to look like it was always there.

This screened porch has an exterior exit. The homeowners wanted easy access to the patio below the elevated porch. For this reason, we added a landing to the stairs ensuring that the stairs descend back toward the house. Just outside the porch exterior door is a small grill deck. While you can’t have a grill inside a screened porch, it’s important to make sure to accommodate the grill in the area where it will most often be used. If you have a multi-level space but plan on doing your grilling on one particular level, let your builder know so space can be integrated into your design.

If you live in Creekmoor, Raymore or anywhere throughout the Kansas City metro, give us a call for a free design consultation at (913) 851-3325 or drop us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net. We would love to work with you to design and build the perfect outdoor living space for your home.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

 

When you can’t decide whether to make improvements to an existing room or add a new one…

When these Prarie Village homeowners initially called us, they were unhappy with an interior room and wishing that room was larger and had more light. They were looking for a screened porch to have a bright and airy living space – the sort of open and cheery feeling that their current living room did not have. Together with the homeowners, we put together a design that would open up their living room as well as give them the sunroom they wanted.

Porch builder Prarie Village KSThe exterior wall of their living room had a fireplace flanked with custom built-in bookcases. Although attractive, it made the room dark and gloomy. By removing the built-in bookshelves and replacing them with doors, we could extend the size of the room to include an entire screened porch. The doors would also allow light to enter into the once darker living room.

The new doors we installed are full-glass inserts allowing the maximum amount of light to dance between the two rooms. From the porch side, the brick chimney is visible. The family was able to use the chimney as a design feature by mounting a TV on the fireplace exterior.

gable roof porch Prarie Village KSAlthough extending the living space was a challenge, it was relatively easy compared to the complicated roof connection the new space required. We had to extend and match an existing hip roof, change it to a gable roof, wrap it around a chimney and custom flash it to the chimney. In the picture, you can see where the chimney protrudes from the roof. The exterior house wall previously ended there. That small protruding section of the home had a hip roof. The new screened porch would have a gable roof to add as much light as possible to the porch and the adjoining living room. We also had to ensure that the space works in conjunction with the existing house rooflines to make it look as if the space was original to the home.

Prarie Village KS screened porchLooking at the room from the inside, you’ll see a generous cathedral ceiling. The gable roof had to be high in order to match and complement their existing hip roof. To reduce height inside, we installed a drop down collar tie ceiling. This provides feeling that it’s not excessively high.

The ceiling is finished with recessed lighting and a ceiling fan built in. The decking is AZEK for low maintenance.

At Archadeck of Kansas City, our goal is to build spaces that are solutions to how you want to live outside. Because the family wanted a brighter space than their living room, we were able to make their living room brighter and create a walkout to a large new porch for the ultimate double living room.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

Give Archadeck of Kansas City a ring for a free consultation or drop us an email or give us a ring at (913) 851 – 3325. We look forward to working with you to design your new outdoor addition.

Take a look at dozens of screened porch photos in the Prairie Village and Kansas City area market on our Archadeck of Kansas City website.

If I add a porch to my Kansas City area home, am I robbing the sunlight from Peter to pay Paul?

Homeowners seeking to add a new porch to their home almost unanimously want that bright, airy and sunny room to enjoy a great view of the yard while still within the comfort of an enclosed room. One very important consideration is whether creating a sunny space will rob the sunny adjoining room in your home.

There is no need to worry. Here’s why.

Quite often, I visit a home and notice that the blinds across the back of the home are drawn. The back of that home is likely facing south or west directing a good bit of sun toward the back of the home making it too bright or too warm to keep the blinds open in the heat of the day. In this case, having a porch to diffuse some light from that rear facing room may be the perfect solution.

Leawood KS porch with outdoor fireplaceThe natural question that follows is whether the porch would then have the same problem in receiving too much light at different times of the day. The answer is, it could. But with proper design it will not. When designing your new porch, we have flexibility in the placement of columns, height of the roof and angle of the roof as well as flexibility in the addition or subtraction of screens. Further, there are available screens that provide more sun protection than others.

When loss of light is a true consideration

If the back of your home faces north or east, maintaining sun that enters the back of the home will indeed be an important consideration. If this is the case, there are a number of techniques we can employ to preserve sunlight. These include adjusting the pitch of the roof, adding skylights and even ensuring a brightly colored ceiling. White ceilings preserve sunlight whereas dark ceilings make a room feel gloomier and smaller.

Composite floor Kansas City screened porch lrIn the many years we have been building roofed structures throughout the Kansas City metro, we have encountered many scenarios and we have experience employing a number of techniques to achieve the degree of sun you’d like in both your new room and as this affects the adjoining room of your home.

It is important to note that while these techniques are helpful, there most certainly will be some compromise. Regardless of the design, having a new room added to your home will have an affect on how sun enters the existing room. More often, there is a degree of compromise that must be reached. Rest assured, we have the experience and expertise to recommend and build the best solution to achieve your needs and wants for your new space.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you’re considering adding a screened porch or other roofed structure to your home, give us a ring. During our free consultation, we can discuss options and provide design ideas for your new space. Give us a call or send us an email. (913) 851 – 3325 or kansascity@archadeck.net.

Visit our screened porch page on our website or peruse some of our photo galleries including our screened porches photo gallery or our covered/open porch photo gallery.

Hitting the sweet spot for Kansas City porch size

If you play golf or tennis, you’ve probably found yourself hoping that your next club or racket will be “the one”. Hopefully it will be that magic tool that solves all the little problems that have been keeping your game from reaching the next level. Kansas City deck and porch sizing is a little like that. Many homeowners think that there is a “perfect size” that, once found, will allow all the other design details to fall into place.

Kansas City screen porch attached Evergrain deck lrSadly, there is no perfect size. Just as there is no ideal size for a home, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for determining the best deck, porch or patio size for everyone. There are, however, some guidelines that we use to make the best recommendation for our clients. Not surprisingly, the first thing we do is take measurements of the home and yard. If your yard is only 20 feet across, you can’t have a 25’ deck. Existing landscaping, roof, wall, and window considerations will be key factors too.

You’ve probably heard the maxim “form follows function.” Size is a primary component of form and we always ask our customers detailed questions about how they plan to use their new outdoor space. It’s not because we are nosy. We want to understand the job that your new addition will perform. If you and your beloved pet will use the screened porch for relaxing in the evenings after work, that’s one thing. Tailgate parties for 45 people throughout football system are entirely different.

Kansas City porch with outdoor fireplaceThe topic of function dovetails into the furniture you plan to use. Roughly 80 percent of our customers put a dining table on their porch. With a dining area, you have to include space around the table for chairs and movement around the table. Some people like to push back from the table after dinner and stretch out a bit– this may take up another 2 feet or so. Two feet doesn’t sound like much, on paper, but in reality, it can make a tremendous difference in comfort and traffic flow.

If this sounds like a lot to wrap your head around, fear not. As Kansas City’s premier custom porch and deck designers, it’s our job to take into consideration everything from code-related issues like property setbacks to how much space to allow between door openings and walls. We will help guide you to making the right choices for your project. One blanket piece of advice I do have is that it’s better to go a little bigger than too small. No one ever comes back after an installation and reports that they have too much space. But in fact I was recently stopped by a past customer who noted he wished he had agreed to the recommendation for an extra 2 feet on his porch.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

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.

 

An elegant solution to a longstanding problem

gable roof screened porch Lenexa KS lrWhen it comes to water, we all need it, but we only want it in very specific places. One place where no one wants water is leaking into their home and causing expensive damage. This was the persistent and intractable problem that we were asked to assist with in one Lenexa KS stucco porch. The family’s existing porch had a leak that resisted effective repair for more than 10 years.

As with all of our renovation jobs, we assessed the old porch to see if there was anything that could be salvaged. In this case, there wasn’t much. We completely gutted the old stucco porch and built a new gable ceiling porch with low maintenance AZEK flooring and Westbury aluminum railing. The new porch is larger which gives the family more Lenexa KS gable roof porch lrspace for entertaining friends. The gable roof lets in lots of light and expands the scenic view of the golf course and lake.

We also created a new lower patio which is enclosed by a stone knee wall and landscaping. The Lenexa paver patio backs up to the newly repaired stucco wall. We collaborated with a professional stucco company on this job to ensure that all the structural and cosmetic damage was repaired. Step out from the French doors on the ground level and you have easy access to the sloping green lawn and patio.

elevated screened porch Lenexa KS lrBack on the upper level, we redesigned the deck that pairs well with the screened porch. It has new joists, new columns, and new railings all designed for easy upkeep and minimal maintenance. There is plenty of room for seating and for a grill. The stately lower columns are wrapped, trimmed, and painted. The cedar roof wall posts could be painted or stained, but currently everything coordinates to the existing home exterior and trim colors.

It’s easy to see from the photos that our clients now have three distinct, well-designed and executed spaces for outdoor living and entertaining. On the upper level they can enjoy their screened porch with attached raised deck. The lower level features the covered patio. But the most important result: there have been no leaks. Even through multiple torrential downpours this spring, the new porch, roof, and drainage system did their jobs flawlessly.

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.

Making your screened porch “just right”

Leawood KS porch with outdoor fireplaceIf you are going to go to the time, effort, and expense of adding a Kansas City screened porch to your home, you want to make sure you get the details just right. Often, the key component of achieving the right design, and therefore, the right cedar porch for you and your home, is to go over all of the small details with your contractor before you break ground.

The cedar screened porch Archadeck designed for a customer in Leawood reflects how the customer’s satisfaction with the product reflects the time and care we put into thinking about the project up front. They were replacing an old cedar deck. It wasn’t large enough, it wasn’t the right shape for how the family used it, and it was past its prime. Tearing down and starting from scratch solves the age issue and it was easy to rethink size and shape. The couple likes the traditional and natural look, smell, and feel of cedar, so we kept that as our primary building material.

The client wanted to add a fireplace on the porch. The chief questions that we ask when building a fireplace are: what will it burn, where will it sit, and what kind of façade do you prefer. Some people have a side of the room or a view that they would like to block or don’t mind blocking. In this case, the couple enjoys the look of their whole yard. That led us to suggest a corner-mounted, gas-burning fireplace. Corners have obstructed views anyway and gas fireplaces generally have smaller footprints, so that option made the best sense for them.

elevated screened porch Leawood KSNote one more detail about this fireplace. Since it sits in the corner along the slope of the roofline, we built the stone façade so that it angles up with the ceiling. Most people who walk onto the porch won’t notice that, but it is a custom feature that adds to the fit and finish of the job. You may also notice that we used Deckorator black aluminum balusters. They offer minimal obstruction of the view and they coordinate well with the style of furniture selected by the family. The porch also boasts skylights in the roof to compensate for some of the sunlight blocked by the yard’s mature trees.

The original deck had a very long, steep staircase which we didn’t want to replicate for multiple reasons. First, a standard, straight-line staircase would demand that you walk from the porch all the way to the ground in order to grill. By adding a landing with grill space at porch level, we made the configuration much more cook-friendly. Second, the L-configuration we used has a smaller footprint and minimizes the disruption to the yard space and landscaping. In addition, L-shaped stairs make people feel safer. Just in case there is a loss in footing, the landing ensures fewer stairs to fall. The new stair design is the ideal solution to the design challenges posed by this specific raised screened porch on this property.

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.