Category Archives: Sunrooms

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

The top 5 ways to make your new porch look original to your home

One of the first questions people ask when they’re considering adding a porch to their house is to what degree we can make it look original to their home. Nobody wants a new porch that looks “added on” or an addition that looks like a sore thumb. Here are the top 5 ways to make your new porch look original to your home.

Overland park screened porch ipe floor

Overland Park KS screened porch addition with challenging roof connection

Roof style –

Using the correct roof style to match or complement your home is one of the biggest factors in determining the degree to which your porch will look like it was built with your house. If you close your eyes and envision a typical porch, a rectangular (gable) roof or perhaps a flat roof may come to mind. But, one shape certainly does not fit all. There are many factors that help determine which roof is best for your new porch. One of these factors is matching or complimenting the other roof lines of your house. Your house may have a gable roof or a hip or shed roof. Likely your house has a couple different roof lines. But other factors come into play such as the placement of second story windows where you want to build your porch.

Other roof factors we consider when designing your porch roof are the pitch, soffits and overhang. All of these factors affect the look. We work to match or complement each of these elements.

Screened porch design Overland Park KS ArchadeckSize/shape/proportions

If the new porch is too big or too small or the proportions don’t fit to back yard and to house, it is going to look odd. Other factors include the size of your house, the size of your yard, and the relative proportions of the space available to work in and how the porch will be used. All of these factors come into play when we design the size, shape, and proportions of your new porch.

Color/texture/materials –

The aesthetic choices including the color, texture and materials will be a determining factor on whether the new porch looks like it was built with your house. This is especially true on the outside but also on the inside. Some of these factors include the trim materials, the types of paint/stain, and the look of trim compared to type of trim used on house.

Flow from the porch to the back yard

In certain yards, there is a distinct reason to put steps in one area vs. another. These reasons may include the proportion, size, or shape of steps. Other factors to how the porch steps transition to the yard include the angle of the steps and the connection to any primary destination in yard if there is one.

Landscape design –

Landscaping has a big impact on how things look when they’re finished. Adding landscaping around the porch that is complimentary to the existing landscape design will help in making the new porch look like part of the existing house.

As you can see, there really is no way for one solution to fit all situations. Every home is different and every homeowners has different wants and needs for their new porch. That’s why it’s important to work with a design and build company that listens to what you are looking for and designs a room to fit all of your needs including aesthetic, lifestyle, and more.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom – Kansas City deck and porch builder

If you are considering adding a porch to your home, give us a call at (913) 851 – 3325 or send us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net. We look forward to hearing from you.

This Olathe KS Sunroom was the perfect replacement for an old tired deck

Olathe KS sunroom with double set of Pella French doors

Olathe KS sunroom with double set of Pella French doors

We have seen a trend in the past few years for the consumer to convert their previous deck space to a roofed room of some type. This may be a screen porch, a sunroom, a 3-season room or a 4-season room.  There are so many choices and so many different names to these structures but generally this is how we look at the various structures. A deck has no roof or walls and thus has exposure to bugs, sun, and rain among other elements. A screen porch includes a roof and screened walls and affords protection from bugs and some limited protection from other elements. A 3-season room generally has insulation and single pane windows but does not have heating, cooling and ventilation. A 4-season room has temperature protection since it includes not only insulation and double-pane windows but it also includes heating, cooling and ventilation. Every design is custom so there can easily be variations on these configurations.

Olathe KS sunroom with white painted walls

Olathe KS sunroom

These homeowners in Olathe KS wanted to convert their old and tired deck into a room but they weren’t sure exactly what that room would look like. We enjoy the design and specification process where we combine our experience and the customer’s desires to come up with a structure that’s tailored just for them.

In this case, these homeowners knew they wanted to use the room as much as possible in both winter, summer and in all weathers.  We suggested a fully insulated room with auxiliary heat and cooling and with low-e double pane energy efficient windows to maximize comfort and year round occupancy. The owners wanted new French doors from the living room and from the kitchen and they wanted to keep them open a large part of the time. We installed both sets of French doors that you see in the photo to replace older doors. In order to give a unique architectural look to the room, tongue and groove cedar ceiling trim was selected with painted beadboard wall trim. Outside, there is an upper deck for cooking, and a larger lower deck under the room.

Olathe KS sunroom design details

Olathe KS sunroom design details

In addition to designing the room, it’s important to use materials that will stand up to both the elements and the test of time. The products we used Were Pella windows and doors, AZEK decking, Fortress railing, TimberTech Radiance rail posts.

To see more photos to get ideas for adding more living space to your home, please take a look at the photo galleries on our web site:

Steve Folsom - owner of Archadeck of Kansas City

Kansas City sunroom photo gallery

Kansas City 3- and 4-season room photo gallery

Kansas City screened porch photo gallery

Please give us a call for a free consultation. Whether you’re thinking about building now or in the Spring, good planning is important and the best time to start planning is now. Call (913) 851 – 3325.

Why the rebuilding in Japan means you should build your new porch or sunroom right now!

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

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

The devastating Tsunami in Japan seems so fresh in our minds but also so long ago. When we are hit with a major devastation, the feelings and emotions seem so fresh in our minds yet we know intellectually that these events happened much longer ago. I watched an episode of 60 Minutes a week ago that surprised me. Japan is not in the rebuilding stage but yet rather still in the cleanup stage. What this means is that soon raw building materials are going to be in tremendously high demand on the International market. What this means for us domestically is prices are getting ready to increase.

Thirty years ago, prices on raw materials such as wood were influenced by domestic demand. Now, the prices of raw materials in the States are widely determined by world demand. Many of us are staying in our homes because of the challenge in selling our homes right now at any sort of attractive price. We’re also vacationing less because we want our dollars to last longer than the span of a vacation. We want to invest those dollars into creating a relaxing or seemingly luxurious space at our own homes. What better way to do this than to build a porch or sunroom to both expand our home and enjoy a greater view of our yards and a better connection with the outdoors. Visibility to our yards and to more sun has a relaxing effect and our porches or sunrooms can give us the feeling of vacationing at home.

Kansas City Screened Porch with Screened Gable Roof and Sky Light

Kansas City Screened Porch with Screened Gable Roof and Sky Light

Prices of raw materials are getting ready to go up. I always tell my prospective customers who are thinking about building in the Fall or Winter that it might be one of the best times to build because of impending first-of-the-year price increases. The material manufacturers not only commonly increase prices at the first of a new year but some get a jump on the annual price increase by raising prices at the end of the year. Where do the rebuilding efforts in Japan come into this equation? Many of us suspect that the effects of the increased demand on raw materials from Japan’s rebuilding have already been felt. Instead, Japan is nearing the end of their cleanup and is forecasted to have a surge in demand at the beginning of 2012 at which time raw material prices may likely increase.

Now is the best time to build your new porch, sunroom or room addition.

In addition to material prices, there are a few other reasons why now is the best time to build your new porch or sunroom.

Least amount of landscape damage

When you are building a backyard structure, there can be literally hundreds of trips from your backyard to front yard. If we are demolishing your old deck or structure or replacing parts of it, the materials need to be carried out of your yard by a person. In addition, the material is carried through your yard with many trips from front to back. The best time for lots of traffic across your yard is when the grass and plants are dormant and the ground is harder. It’s easier for the lawn to recover.

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

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

Easier for the carpenters

We all have this scene in our minds. Carpenters sitting on a hot roof or in a chair drinking a Gatorade and wiping sweat of their face This is not for being lazy. The heat of summer not only necessitates more hydration breaks but it also slows the carpenters down.

Much shorter waiting list

We all know the best people are busy. When we’ve heard about a great new doctor or landscaper, we expect to be put on a waiting list and we’re ok with that. We expect a waiting list from the best. In the Spring, any reputable contractor is going to have a substantial waiting list. If you call in April, it may be highly likely that your project cannot be started until early summer. As a matter of fact, if you call a contractor in the Spring and they can start right away – buyer beware. In the Fall and Winter, reputable contractors will still likely have a waiting list but it will be substantially shorter.

Ability to control your schedule

Now comes the frustrating part of building in the Spring. You’ve signed up to have your project built and you anxiously wait to hear when the contractor can start only to find that’s the week you will be on vacation or the couple of weeks when you are going to have loads of people in your back yard and cannot have builders around during that time. Similarly to the point above, shorter waiting lists mean a better ability to control having the building done at a time makes the most sense for you.

Steve Folsom - owner of Archadeck of Kansas City

When you call for a free consultation, we can help you determine what makes the best sense for you. The disruption on your lives and back yard will be much less. And, you’re likely to pay significantly less.

Call us now for your free consultation at (913) 851 – 3325 or email us at kansascity@archadeck.net.

To see more examples of our work, check out or photo galleries.

Kansas City sunrooms photo gallery

Kansas City 3-season and 4-season image gallery

Kansas City screen porch picture gallery

Top 5 reasons you don’t want all glass sunroom

Leawood Kansas Sunroom

Leawood KS Sunroom

When I first sit down with my customers who are looking for a new sunroom, one of the things most people say they want is an all-glass sunroom. There are many reasons why an all-glass sunroom is not a good idea but I will share the top 5 of them here.

1. You will bake

Remember that experiment we all did as kids where we put a leaf under a magnifying glass in the hot sun and if we did it just right the leaf started to shrivel or even get a burn hole in it? Now imagine you with an all-glass roof in a room in the heat of summer. A sunroom should be designed so you can enjoy the view of your yard and a certain amount of sun. But you want to enjoy the warmth and not the baking effect that the sun can have. You want to enjoy light but also want to have a place to hang shades or window cover for when you’re looking for a little more privacy in your sunroom.

2. Your furniture will not age gracefully

Are you considering putting indoor furniture or wooden furniture in your new sunroom? Are you considering having fabric covered chairs, sofas or table covers? Nothing will fade furniture and fabric faster than prolonged exposure to hot sun. Even when the sun doesn’t feel very hot outside, the elevated heat as a result of the glass windows will put your furniture and upholstery aging on overdrive.

Large Gable Roof Sunroom with Attached Deck in Lees Summit MO

Large Gable Roof Sunroom with Attached Deck in Lees Summit MO

3. Working the heater overtime in the winter will work over your budget as well

On the flip side, as much as glass holds heat in the summer, so does it fail to hold out cold in the winter. There is a direct correlation between the number of windows, the low temperatures, and the cold that comes into your sunroom. This does not by any means indicate that you shouldn’t use much glass. There are many things that can be done to still use plenty of glass but to use it in better sizes and in better places.

4. You will have far fewer months of the year that you can use your room

Following points #1 and #3, having an all-glass sunroom may keep you out of your room for a good part of the summer and a good part of the winter. Most of my customers hope to spend 80+ percent of the year in the sunroom. By having a more moderate amount of glass, you will extend the winter and summer hours that you can enjoy your room.

Olathe Kansas sunroom by Archadeck of Kansas City

Olathe Kansas sunroom by Archadeck of Kansas City

5. Golf balls, hail balls, falling limbs and other objects will not be your friends

Our hail out here in Kansas City can be very strong. None of us want to think about how a glass ceiling would hold up to hail balls, golf balls or any other falling objects. Limbs and other objects can easily fall on the roof of your sunroom just as they do on the roof of your house.

Here are some things you should consider to afford you the most enjoyment in your room for as much time as possible without suffering the effects of above.

The best “top” for your sunroom is a roof. We will design your roof to match your existing roof style and materials. There are many different roof styles that can be used. To maximize sunlight and give an airier feel, a gable roof is often a nice option.

Consider a knee wall. The knee wall is the solid wall below the window line. This knee wall provides a lot of protection from the cold and gives us a great place to wire your electrical outlets.

Take your contractor’s advice on windows and doors. He can recommend the right glass to control temperature and control price.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Read our blog for more articles and how-to’s. Please send us questions. We’d love to answer them and will get back in a very timely manner.

Contact us for a free consultation (913) 851 – 3325 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