Tag Archives: Kansas City decks

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.

Building your outdoor living space in phases

Screened Porch, Pergola and Outdoor Fireplace in Overland Park, KS

Screened Porch, Pergola and Outdoor Fireplace in Overland Park, KS

These days we’re seeing more and more homeowners building multiple outdoor living spaces into one environment. This often includes some combination of deck, patio and porch as the primary structures and often other structures such as pergolas are added in to complete an outdoor environment. As nice as this would be to build all at once, taking on this expense all at one time may not make sense from a budgetary perspective.

Have you thought about building in phases or stages? If you look at the picture above, you will see an entire outdoor living environment complete with screen porch, elegant stairs, a pergola, a patio, a fire pit and a water feature. All of these elements blend seamlessly as if they were built all at once. In fact, these elements were built at different times. The back porch was the first thing we built for these homeowners. You’ll notice that the beautiful stairs with flared bottom are a perfect compliment to the patio. When we first built the screen porch years ago, the patio did not yet exist. But, it was part of the staged construction plan and thus the reason why we built the stairs as we did. The pergola was added in a second phase and the patio in yet another and yet they look like they were all built at one time.

While it’s still fine to add on to projects in future years without having an original “grand plan”, there are some key considerations we take into account when planned growth is in the picture.

Leawood KS Screen porch deck pergola and patio

Leawood KS Screen porch deck pergola and patio

Deck now, patio later

Many people will start with a deck with plans of adding a patio later. These structures compliment each other beautifully and having both creates multiple distinct living areas. Some of the considerations we take into account knowing future plans of adding a patio are things like shape, access, traffic flow, how the stairs will transition from the deck to patio,  and also the size, shape proportions of the patio.

Deck now, roof in future

If you are thinking about adding a roof to your deck in the future, we need to consider the structural support that will be required for a future roof. In addition, interesting deck shapes are not practical with roof structures so this helps determine the size and shape of the deck.

Open porch now, screened porch or sunroom in future

Screens and windows come in specific sizes that require particular column spacing and column layout. Knowing there are future plans of enclosing an open porch allow us to build the porch with room for growth.

Plans for future amenities

You may be planning to add an amenity such as a hot tub in the future. In this case, we would take spatial considerations and structural support into consideration when planning your new deck.

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

Steve Folsom - Kansas City deck and porch builder

So what happens if you decide at a later point to add on? Or, what if you planned to add on but never do? Any of these scenarios are fine but you can see from reading above that if you’re thinking about phased growth or future additions, it’s often best to take them into account while planning your initial project with us.

Our consultation is completely free so give us a ring to discuss your project ideas (913) 851 – 3325 or email us at kansascity@archadeck.net.

To see more photos of our work, please take a look at some of our photo galleries on our web site:

Decks photo gallery | pool and spa deck photo gallery | porches 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

Are you trying to decide between a screened porch or a deck? Here are some considerations.

Kansas City screened porch

Kansas City screened porch

Roofed enclosures are one of the biggest items we sell. There are advantages to both open decks and patios as well as roofed enclosures. But, often there are just simply more advantages to roofed enclosures because there are more lifestyle objectives than can be met with a roofed enclosure. For example, relaxing on a deck is a great way to enjoy your yard and the sun and watch the kids play. But, it’s only ideal in ideal weather. Once it rains, or the sun is too strong, or the bugs come out in full force, the deck won’t be your ideal living area all hours of the day. Don’t get me wrong. We sell a whole lot of decks and they are a great outdoor living space, It depends on how much outdoor living time you are looking for and what protection you desire from the elements.

Screened porch design Overland Park KS

Screened porch design Overland Park KS

We have a job we’re just finishing up now in Overland Park, KS. These homeowners had a deck exposed to lots of sun facing southwest, They wanted protection from bugs, and they wanted to be able to eat outside without the bugs. They also wanted shade for deck and for some hot windows to house. They wanted some privacy because they back up to the lake and the street and they also wanted weather protection.

Screened porch with stained ACQ treated lumber in Overland Park KS

Finished! Screened porch with stained ACQ treated lumber in Overland Park KS

We replaced their old deck with a new screened porch. We bumped out their old deck space several feet giving their new screened porch a very comfortable size – 17 x 21. The owners wanted a wood structure that they could paint. They are using lots of stains and colors. We look forward to posting the finished picture. The porch is built using ACQ treated pine. On the exterior we used a low-maintenance smart trim which is rot resistant.

ACQ porch Overland Park KS

Here's another picture of the finished screened porch in Overland Park

“Not only were we impressed by the workmanship of our new screened porch we were extra impressed by the construction crew. Thomas and Alex showed up every morning at 7:30 sharp and stayed until 5:00 until the project was complete. The worksite was cleaned and lumber restacked everyday before they went home. Steve Folsom was in constant communication during the project to made sure all details were to our satisfaction. The roofers, gutter installers and electrician were also helpful and easy to work with. We are very proud of our porch and it seems to be the point of interest in the neighborhood. Thank you Archadeck.

John and Penny”

For screened porches, we use a woven fiberglass material. We found years ago that screen porch conditions are tough because we are one of the 10 windiest cities in the country so we use one of the strongest screens available on the market. Here is a recent email we received from one of our customers which will show how strong the screens are.

Hi Steve, I just want to let you know that are porch screen made it thru the hail storm just fine. My window screens were destroyed. My roof have a lot of damaged also. I had several people out to look at the roof and they are all amazed the screen in the porch survived.

Chuck

Call or email us to talk about adding a screened porch as a room or with a deck.

(913) 851 – 3325

kansascity@archadeck.net

or visit our website to enjoy many pictures of our work from all around the Kansas City market.

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.