Tag Archives: Kansas City porch builder

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.

Key considerations when deciding about an open porch or screened porch

AZEK pool deck with open porch and bench Overland Park KS

This open porch adjoins with the pool deck allowing ease of movement between the 2 living areas.

Open porches and screened porches have many similarities in that they are both roof structures, can both be attached or detached, and both provide sun protection. Here are some key differences you may want to consider if you’re determining which you want to add to your home.

One consideration is bug protection. An open porch, sometimes called a covered patio, will not provide bug protection without the addition of a bug protection device such as mosquito curtains. Depending on your yard and the elevation of the porch, mosquitoes and other bugs may or may not be a problem. If your open porch will be at the second-story level or above, bugs may not be an issue. They tend to stay lower to the ground.

Lenexa Open porch trimmed columns Timbertech floor Westbury Aluminum rail

This open porch in Lenexa provides a great view of the back yard.

Another consideration is that an open porch feels different. Without the screens there’s slightly more visibility and less privacy. But, if the porch is adjoining to a deck or patio, you may not want a screen wall obstructing easy communication or access between both living areas. Another reason you may not want to restrict access if you are entertaining in both spaces. The ambiance is different if the 2 spaces are separated by screens.

On an open porch, you have more trim work and column options. Posts can be trimmed to have a more finished look. They can also be farther apart allowing for different spacing between the posts. Columns become an option when you do not need to attach screens.

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.

If you are considering addition a porch to your home, give us a call for a free consultation. We enjoy working with homeowners to provide information that will help in making decisions. Give us a ring at (913) 851 – 3325 or send us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net. We look forward to your call.

Take a look at more pictures in our open porch photo gallery or screened porch photo gallery on the Archadeck of Kansas City website.

Steve Folsom, owner

Archadeck of Kansas City

The hazards of fine print in your porch or deck contract – top 3 things to watch for

You might not think this is the case but sometimes the longer the fine print, the less you’re getting. There can often be hidden costs to look out for in the specifications list, warranty, or other details found within your proposal or contract. Here are a couple of things to watch for. You want to be careful if the list of specifications or details about a component are too confusing/not written in a clear and straightforward manner, too vague, or stated verbally.

1) Confusing and/or not written in clear and straightforward manner

Beware if you receive contracts, estimates, addendums, specifications sheets or other documentation that is confusing or is not written in a way that is easily understandable and digestible. For example, if there are multiple options with associated prices within your contract, it may be difficult for you to designate what your selections are and which selections you are not choosing. In contrast to the next point, be wary if there is too much fine print or the documentation is confusing. This may be done intentionally to slip in hidden costs or specifications that are not in agreement with your expectations.

2) Too vague or purposefully vague

Think about all of the construction materials that it will require to build your new porch or deck or outdoor structure. Imagine those materials being delivered and sitting out in your back yard. Now imagine the options available with each of those materials. There are a number of different types of wood that can be used. There are a number of different screws that can be used. There are hundreds of options in construction materials that differ greatly. Has your contractor discussed these options with you? Now imagine that same set of building materials and imagine the number of different ways those can be assembled. In addition to materials, there are construction details that need to be specified.

Look for items in the specifications that are purposefully vague such as “48 feet of standard railing”. Even a railing has lots of facets including pickets, posts, and even screws. Insufficient explanations of choices and options may indicate the contractor is going to use the cheapest options to get the price down but this reflects on durability, upkeep, maintenance.

3) Stated verbally
Watch out for verbal promises that your new porch or deck will be “the same” as someone else’s, or the same as another picture. Beware if they continually lead you to focus on the size of the structure and not the hundreds of variables that are included.

You may feel that you are not qualified to read and understand all of the details or fine print in your construction contract and at first, the details may seem foreign to you. But, it’s your job to ask lots of detailed questions. Sit down with your contractor and the contract. Go through the contract and other details line-by-line. A reputable contractor with nothing to hide will gladly discuss each detail as well as other options that are available. This also creates an excellent opportunity to make any critical changes before the project begins.

In addition, do your due diligence. Research how these different methods and products perform and why they perform this way. If the contractor tries to pressure you to sign the contract before you’ve had time to do your due diligence, beware that there is likely a reason.

Steve Folsom - owner of Archadeck of Kansas City

Give us a call to discuss your next backyard project whether it be a porch, sunroom, deck, pergola, or other outdoor living area. Call (913) 851 – 3325 or send us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net

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

Why is every one of our porches different?

It would seem that a builder that has been building a great product in a specified market for over a decade would have the design perfected. After all these years and hundreds of screen porches, might it be logical that there’s a great “universal” design? What is great is that we refuse the concept of universal design because not only is every home different but every family is different. The first question we ask on a consultation is how do you want to live in your screen porch? This seems like an easy question. Most people would say they look forward to having an extension of their home where they can enjoy the breeze, fresh air, closeness to sunlight, and easier access to the sights and smells of their back yard. But this doesn’t answer how you want to live on your screen porch. Here are a couple of key questions:

  1. Do you plan on dining on your screen porch?
  2. Do you plan on having a seating area on your screen porch
  3. Do you plan on having both dining and seating?
  4. What direction does the back of your home face?

The answers to these questions will help determine the size of the porch, the placement of the porch, and may even help determine the flooring material.

We could go on and on but instead, take a look at a few pictures of screen porches we’ve built in this area over the last decade:

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

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