Tag Archives: Archadeck KC

Wood or composite? Top five questions that will help you decide…

Kansas City composite deck builder Archadeck of Kansas CityOnce you decide on what you want to build for your outdoor living enjoyment, the next round of decisions you need to make are material selection decisions. Choosing whether to use wood or composite for your decking boards is not a simple decision. Both wood and composite have pro’s and con’s. Simply stated, composite will perform better and cost more. Wood still performs well but certainly not as well as composite. Wood costs significantly less. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself to aid you in your decision.

1) How long are you going to be in your home?

If you are planning on being in your home for another 10 or 20 years, then a composite wood warranty will still be in effect. Composites cost more but most carry a 20 or 25 year warranty that protects against things like blistering, peeling, flaking, cracking, splitting, cupping, rotting, and decay from bugs or fungus. Each warranty is different but these are the sorts of protections that will be covered in composite warranties. Natural wood may have no warranty or a limited lifetime warranty. But, this does not mean that a wood deck will suffer from all the maladies covered by a composite warranty. Wood decks can still last 15 or 20 years and still look good if properly maintained. Because composites are low maintenance, carry such a long warranty, and will look the same in 10 years as it does today, composite is a good investment if it makes sense for your budget.

2) How do you feel about painting, staining and sealing?

Do you get crabby just thinking about staining, painting and sealing? Or, does the annual deck maintenance fall into the category of just another outdoor task for each summer? I’ve found that people generally either don’t mind this at all or or simply won’t invest in materials that require annual maintenance. In order for wood to look good from year to year, it will require annual maintenance. In addition, this annual maintenance will have a cost that includes material and possibly labor if you choose to have someone do this for you.

3) How authentic do you want your decking to look?

Nothing looks more like wood than wood itself. Composites have come a long way and they’re looking better all the time. They are adding more streaking and ridges but this is one category where they will be forever be chasing the real thing – natural wood.

4) What sort of wear and tear do you expect your deck to have?

Some wear and tear will come directly from the environment with the sun being the biggest offender in this category. Other wear and tear issues are general use and  moving objects around on the deck such as chairs and tables. A composite deck will resist wear, tear and environmental degrade better than wood.

5) Do you prefer to pay more now and less over time or less now and more over time?

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Regardless of all of the features and benefits of composite, it has to make sense for your budget. A well-maintained wood deck can last a good 15-20 years or longer however wood will wear and tear over time. Wood will having some cracking and splintering and other wear and tear issues as time goes on.

The bottom line is the only right decision is the one that’s right for you. Based on your answers to the above questions, you should have a good sense whether wood or composite are the best material selection for your new deck.

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 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

A Parkville MO Composite Deck with TimberTech Earthwoods

TimberTech earthwoods deck by archadeck of Kansas City,

This TimberTech Earthwoods deck in Parkville, MO by Archadeck of Kansas City has form,function and style

I often get asked about a deck we built a few years ago. It is the one featured in the blog header. We constructed this deck in Parkville, MO for homeowners that were looking to expand their livable space. When considering any type of outdoor structure it is important to look at the use of the structure from a practicality standpoint. For example, what will the structure be used for? Do you want to eat or entertain outside? Once you decided what function the structure will serve , we can then design and build a structure that best suits your needs.

Kansas City large composite multi-level deck

Kansas City large composite multi-level deck

One of the interesting things you will note is the way this deck works around the existing tree. It was important to the homeowners to either work around the tree or integrate the tree into the design.

We expanded the size and changed the shape of the deck area. This redesigned area gave the homeowners more space and accommodated the tree into the new deck design. We used TimberTech Earthwoods composite flooring in Pacific Teak. Along with the TimberTech flooring we used a TimberTech radiance rail posts and added lights onto the rail post themselves. On the railing we used Fortress steel railing.

Composite deck in Kansas City using TimberTech Earthwoods

Composite deck in Kansas City using TimberTech Earthwoods

Composites such as TimberTech are not only aesthetically appealing they are durable and require little maintenance. TimberTech Earthwoods has the natural look and feel of real wood. It never requires any staining or sealing.  This decking composite is virtually impervious to weather and any everyday accidents that can occur with most decks. Hidden fasteners accentuate the clean  lines and appearance of this composite as well.

The finished area holds approximately 400-500 square feet of usable space within this deck. Since the elevation of the yard slopes from about 3 feet to 8 feet Archadeck of Kansas City added a step down to gain entry and to exit the new deck.

The homeowners came away from the project feeling very fulfilled with the beauty and addition of space the new deck provided. They even purchased a new suite of outdoor furniture for the new deck, which only accentuated its beauty.

If you are ready to add function and versatility to your old deck or if you are ready to add a new deck or other outdoor structure to your home and landscape contact Archadeck of Kansas City to get a free estimate today. (913) 851 – 3325
kansascity@archadeck.net

Should you believe everything you hear?

Steve Folsom of Archadeck of Kansas City

Steve Folsom of Archadeck of Kansas City

You’ve probably heard the old saying ” believe half of what you see and none of what you hear”. These words may ring true today more than ever. With the internet, smart phones and all the advanced technology of today we are all receiving information on the “best this” and “worst that”. In this world of information overload, how do you know what information you find online is trustworthy and what information is not?

Whether you’re looking for a contractor or a consumer product, one rule of thumb is a company whose brand name means something in the offline world will most certainly have the same standards in their online world or their online presence. Two referral sources do stand out a little when looking for integrity and reliability when choosing a contractor or even a maid to clean your home. These two forces are the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and Angie’s List.

kansascity_ceilings-071

Beautiful quality and craftsmanship in every inch of this porch ceiling by Archadeck of Kansas City

Both the BBB and Angie’s list strive to provide reliable information from a recognized brand that represents integrity. Both sites give us the ability to research in earnest and unbiased terms the quality of work and service of a prospective company. These two companies work in much the same manner by using information provided by the consumer to allow prospective clients to make informed decisions through the feedback and grading systems of each to find the best company or business to suit their needs.

Deck builder kansas city

Ipe deck in Lenexa, KS

Let’s say for example you are looking for a painter to paint your home. Angie’s list is set up to be consumer friendly. For a nominal yearly fee, you as a consumer would have access to all the painters in your area that are on Angie’s list. A business cannot pay to be on Angie’s list. Businesses register on the list for free and consumer’s submit reports and reviews of their experiences with each business. This method gives the consumer a “hands-on”  experience summary of  other consumers which have dealt with that  business. This information can help you decide based on what you learn about the business you are considering on Angie’s list. The  list reports the honest truth based on what consumers have to say.

Unique Fan-Shaped Pergola

Unique Fan-Shaped Pergola by Archadeck of Kansas City

The BBB also uses positive and negative feedback from consumers to grade each company. Currently businesses are graded using an A+ through an F letter grade, which replaces their previous satisfactory or unsatisfactory ratings system. BBB accreditation is an honor earned by businesses and charities. They use a formula of 8 principles that summarize elements to create and maintain trust in business. They are build trust, advertise honestly, tell the truth, be transparent, honor promises, be responsive, safeguard privacy and embody integrity. If a business or charity has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau then it has met their strict accreditation standards.

Both entities are a helpful and trustworthy resource when consumers are looking for help in choosing a company to do business with. These two resources have a wide following and a wonderful reputation in upholding good business practices and helping consumers. The BBB was established in 1912. Angie’s list was founded in 1995, and yes their is a real Angie, she founded the list in 95′ with 1,000 members in Columbus, OH and the list has grown from there.

Archadeck of Kansas City is a proud member of both the Better Business Bureau and are on  Angie’s list. With the Better Business Bureau, we enjoy an A+ rating. With Angie’s List, we have been awarded the recognition of being in the top 5% of their contractors for the last 3 years.

as a superior service award company. Our experience with both companies has been wonderful. We highly recommend our prospective clients to use these sites as useful tools to help make an informed decision. Contact us today to learn more about us and how we may build an outdoor structure to transform your backyard. Kansas – (913) 851-3325 (DECK)
Missouri – (816) 228-3325 (DECK)
kansascity@archadeck.net

With composite woods, if you’ve seen one, you haven’t seen them all

Kansas City TimberTech Deck with White Low-Maintenance Composite Railing

Kansas City TimberTech Deck with White Low-Maintenance Composite Railing

Are you considering building a new deck, patio or other outdoor living area in your back yard? If you’ve talked to friends or done some research, you’re likely very familiar with composite woods or you’ve heard a good deal about them. Likely you’ve formed some sort of opinion and likely feel that composite would be ideal for your new project. Like  everything that lasts longer, composite is more expensive. And, for the most part, you get what you pay for.

The composite wood industry is almost 20 years old. Some of the composite companies are actually on their 4th or 5th generation of product cycle. They’ve added new colors, new materials, new styles and new features.

Kansas City Evergrain Composite Spa Deck with Storage Bench

Kansas City Evergrain Composite Spa Deck with Storage Bench

Here are the the primary benefits of using composite woods:

  • Termite warranty
  • Rot warranty
  • Boards will not split
  • Lower maintenance

Previously, the composites were not warrantied against stain and fade. Composites are now just coming on to the market with stain and fade warranties – and long ones too. TimberTech is coming out with a new product called TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions which has a 25-year fade and stain warranty. AZEK and Fiberon are also addressing the fade and stain problems with composites.

Warranty is one big difference you will find among composites. But, the other big differences are price and the composite characteristics. Price will vary for market to market based on a variety of factors. But even composites that look somewhat similar can have very different characteristics. One company’s cedar shade may be very different from another. Another company’s grain pattern or texture may be different than another company’s product.

Kansas City WeatherBest Composite Deck with Painted Treated Wood Pergola with Custom Gate and Lattice

Kansas City WeatherBest Composite Deck with Painted Treated Wood Pergola with Custom Gate and Lattice

So, how do you decide? Everything is a balance. Weight what is important to you as it relates to warranties, required maintenance, price and the aesthetic appeal of the composites you are considering. Then, during the specification and design phase, find an experienced contractor with strong familiarity across many of the composite lines to discuss the pros and cons of the top composites you are considering. A qualified, experienced professional outdoor contractor will be glad to take the time with you to review the choices and considerations when selecting the composite that’s right for you.

I’ve been an outdoor builder in the Kansas City market for over 10 years now and used many of the top composites including EverGrain, TimberTech, AZEK, and Fiberon.