Category Archives: Screened porch

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.

A screened porch is not a screened porch is not a screened porch

Screened porch and deck in Overland Park KS

Screened porch and deck in Overland Park KS

You’ve heard the old adage. If all screened porches were the same, it would go something like this. A screened porch is a screened porch is a screened porch. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not only do screened porches vary based on the size, shape, and roof style, they vary by all the components within. Imagine putting together a car. Imagine if all LX or EX models were exactly the same. Sure, those packages indicate a number of upgrades but that package only specifies a small number of options that are standard with that model. These could include power windows or doors or leather seats. But what about paint color and 2-door vs. 4-door. What about automatic transmission vs. manual transmission? What about carpet colors and dashboard packages? Radios, navigation systems, power seats… I could go on and on.

Unlike a car, a screened porch is truly custom through and through. Here are some of the things that differ. I’ll discuss both exterior and interior.

On the exterior, here are some of the styles, shapes and sizes to consider. The first one is the roof shape and style along with the roof overhang and soffit overhang. I wrote a blog post earlier about roof styles. Fortunately a good custom builder can help make that decision a lot easier. You don’t want your screened porch or any other outdoor room addition to look like an appendage. As much as possible, you want to make it look original to the home. So, by emulating your home’s roof style, that often creates the best aesthetic look for your new outdoor room.

Screened Porch with Lattice Skirting and Pergola in Overland Park, KS

Screened Porch with Lattice Skirting and Pergola in Overland Park, KS

One of the next considerations is what the support columns will look like. Again, your home may have columns either in the front or the back but we can help you make the best selection to fit your home, your tastes and your preferences. Attached to the supports will be the type of screen. There are a few choices here including metal, vinyl/woven or fiberglass/mesh.

A good custom builder will also walk you through one of the biggest exterior options which is the type of trim. These include the screen trim, post trim, and roof trim. Options include cedar, pine, man-made trims, vinyl, and more. They all have different characteristics and prices.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

The best thing to do when you start considering building a screened porch for your home is talk to a good experienced builder that is willing to guide you through the choices that best suit your style, personal preferences, uses of the room, and budget. To discuss adding a screened porch to your home, give us a call or send us an email. (913) 851 – 3325 or kansascity@archadeck.net

Are open porches making a comeback in Kansas City?

Overland Park Kansas Open Porch

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

Technically, open porches never went away.

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

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

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

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

Design –

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

Practicality –

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

EverGrain Deck and Porch Combo in Overland Park, KS

EverGrain Deck and Porch Combo in Overland Park, KS

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

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

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

Aesthetics and Ambiance –

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

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

Evergrain open porch and deck in Olathe Kansas

Evergrain open porch and deck in Olathe Kansas

Structure and Style

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

Budget –

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

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.

Do you love the sound of the summer rain?

Most people love the sound of the summer rain. It’s probably because of the amazing smells that comes with it. There is nothing like the smell of summer and the smell in summer just after the rain. The other great thing that goes with summer rain is usually a nice cool breeze. Are you one of those people that goes to a favorite spot in your home when the rain begins because you know you can best hear and smell and feel everything that goes with the rain?

My customers tell me the same thing — my customers that I have built a sunroom for. Now imagine that the special place you go in your house when it rains is actually outside your house. A screened porch fits the bill for this just perfectly. With a screened porch…

You can eat outdoors without the bugs

You can be outdoors and control privacy and sun

You can be outdoors in the rain – it’s great to sit out there in summer rain

You can be out there with laptop or radio or TV because you have shelter from the elements

Before picture

When these Leawood KS homeowners called us, they had a number of problems with their old deck. The deck had issues and the awning which had served as sun and rain protection was ripped and leaked.

We decided to build a new deck and an adjoining screened porch. The style of this home is unique and has a lot of character so we came up with a couple of creative design ideas and presented the ideas to the homeowners. One of the roof designs that we presented for the sunroom was very unique and fitting of the charming look of this tudor-style home. It has a gable on a shed roof.

Another design detail was the redesign of the stairs. They wanted to design stairs to work with landscaping so we designed steps to be completely different than before and to work with their landscaping plans.

Kansas City Screen Porch by Archadeck

Kansas City Screen Porch by Archadeck

Here are some more details about the project and materials. We used Fiberon composite decking in Ipe color. This color imitates look of a tropical hardwood such as Ipe. We used Smart trim is designed to be painted to match the color of the house. We used Fortress railing which is galvanized steel rail that’s powder coated. This rail is very popular nationwide.

Kansas City Screened Porch inside tongue and groove ceiling

Kansas City Screened Porch inside tongue and groove ceiling

Here is a picture of the inside of the sunroom. You can see how the detail on the roof design really adds to the aesthetic appeal inside the screened porch as well. You’ll also note from the picture how much sun comes into the screened porch while still providing some sun protection.

Our consultation is free. Give us a call to discuss some ideas for your next outdoor project. (913) 851 – 3325 or email kansascity@archadeck.net