Tag Archives: three season rooms

Top 10 keys for great screened porch design

When starting a new custom building project, it’s tough to differentiate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves. With a wedding, there is tested and true advice such as ensuring to really invest in photography because it will last forever. We’ve built hundreds of screened porches here in the Kansas City market and we want to share some details about the top must-haves to make it easier for you when you start planning a screened porch addition.

  1. Kansas City screen porchDoors: Traffic flow and patterns are affected by doors. Your exterior door from your porch to your yard will receive quite a bit of use so it’s important to invest in a high quality heavy duty door.
  2. Screening:  this is one of the most sensitive areas of the porch because it’s exposed to potential damage. Standard light-duty screening may provide you with years of headaches so it’s important to consider all available options.
  3. Electrical: Do you want to have ceiling fans, lighting, and outlets? Do you think you will use of any temporary heating, TV, stereos, speaker systems, or kitchen equipment? Make a list of your electrical needs and share them with your contractor.
  4. Composite Deck and Porch Combo in Overland Park KSMaterials:  There are a wide variety of both natural and man-made materials available. This variety applies to areas such as flooring, trim work, railing, steps, roof trim, and more. In each of these categories there are differing types of materials which might impact durability as well as looks.
  5. Maintenance and upkeep: This is directly related to quality of construction, materials, and the nature of the particular weather conditions in your part of the country. By properly selecting the materials, you not only get the lowest maintenance but also the best looking porch 5-10 years down the road.
  6. Roof style: On certain houses, certain roof styles work better than others. On some houses, there is more than one choice. Roof style and design not only has to be focused on durability but also interacts with style of your house. A properly designed roof will complement the architecture of your existing home.
  7. Screen porch Overland Park cedar floor wallpostsSize of furnishings: There is no one magical size to a porch. Many sizes work with different furniture sizes, uses, and family sizes. According to your plan for all 3, it may impact the size and shape of your porch.
  8. Zoning: There are many restrictions that cities and counties have about adding roofed structures to your home. They have specific setback requirements you have to adhere to which vary by location. A seasoned contractor will be familiar with the zoning requirements in your area.
  9. Ceilings: There are a wide variety of trims and looks that are available with varying prices and aesthetics. Vaulted ceilings are very popular on porches so the ceiling may become one of the focal points of your porch.
  10. Hire a professional: many builders advertise that they build screened porches, however the depth of experience in building porches varies a great deal. Some contractors consider themselves a porch builder if they only build one porch a year. So we recommend that clients always consider the reputation, background, experience, and depth of knowledge as it relates to porch building process.  It’s also very important to ask for references and check online review sites.

If you are considering adding a porch to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851 – 3325 or send us an email at kansascity@archadeck.net. To see some Kansas City area screened porch pictures, take a look at our screen porch photo gallery on our website.

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

Top 3 Questions about Sunrooms

We often run into clients with a great many misconceptions about sunrooms.  It seems there is  a lot of confusion  about the design and construction of a sunroom and what features result in the best performance of the room.  The following three questions illustrate some of the important topics.

1. Won’t floor to ceiling windows look the best and perform the best? Floor to ceiling windows usually create more problems than you think.  Since they are substantially larger than normal windows they cost more, and by their nature eliminate the “kneewall” underneath the window.  This wall serves multiple purposes, including as a space to run electrical wiring and insulation.  Any window that is closer than 18″ to the floor needs tempered glass to meet building codes, and this adds even more cost.    Generally furniture doesn’t fit well with floor to ceiling windows,  and pets may damage the window by scratching it.

2.  Should I insulate the ceiling to help keep the heat in? Unless insulation is installed in the full room including floor, ceiling, and walls the value of the insulation is drastically reduced.  If the room is used at all in cold weather months it needs 100% insulation, properly installed.

3.  I have seen  removable windows so I can turn the room into a screen room in the summer?  How do these work? Although removable windows  are available they have some serious disadvantages.   The first disadvantage is size and storage problems.  The windows are large and hard to store,  and usually there is no suitable place to store them in the room.   The second disadvantage is  winter air leakage, since no removable window offers the sealing ability of a double pane insulated window.  In almost every case the removable windows make the room colder in the winter, and create more problems than they solve.   Lastly the single pane removable windows usually cost as much or in many cases more than normal double pane insulated windows with screens.

Steve Folsom

Sunrooms and Room Additions

In many peoples minds the idea of a sunroom or room addition on their house meshes with how they can use the room.  Will it be used only in mild weather, or will it be most valuable to them if it will be used in all seasons and all temperatures?  At some point the idea of a sunroom may cross over into a full room addition with multiple functionality.    If  a homeowner wants all season/all-weather use of the new room addition, then energy efficiency in design and in construction come into the equation very quickly.   Wall thickness, insulation type, window type  & design, roof overhangs, floor insulation, and remote heating and cooling all interact to impact comfort levels and energy usage.  Even if the consumer is not focused on energy efficiency, wide temperature swings impact comfort levels and can make a room less comfortable.   In many cases it is difficult and expensive to extend the houses existing hvac ducts to the new room.  Even in the case where there is ready access to the existing heating system there is a potential issue if the existing system is adequate to heat and cool the new room.   In many cases a remote mounted dedicated hvac unit is the best alternative.   Fortunately great improvements have been made in the design of these units in the last decade.  Everyone is familiar with the wall mounted  air conditioner that is so loud it interrupts your sleep in a hotel or motel.  Today similar units combine heating and cooling, are very quiet, and use  digital thermostats to allow dedicated temperature control of a room addition or sunroom.   This dedicated unit can offer many advantages, not the least of which  is the ability to regulate the room temperature independent of the existing home.   In addition when the room is not in use it is possible to conserve energy by setting the thermostat to the best temperature for energy efficiency.   In many cases the installation cost of such a dedicated unit will be less than extending the existing duct work, and it will work better.  If energy efficiency is taken in to account in designing the room,  it is possible for the new room to be more energy efficient and comfortable than the rest of the house.

Sunrooms and Sun porches Kansas City

We frequently get a call from a prospective client asking us about adding windowed room for their back yard.  In many cases the client is interested in a sunroom that will expand their living space and be usable for 8-12 months out of the year.  There are, of course many ways to expand living space on a home, but a sunroom is one of the most popular.  Frequently the homeowner would like to put this on an existing deck area.  Unfortunately, this strategy can lead to all kinds of future problems.  Very few decks have been built strongly enough to support a full room and roof weight.  We have seen rooms built on existing decks that created innumerable problems with the existing house and the new room.  These problems can include sagging, settling of flooring, roof leaks,  and jammed doors and windows.   In some cases the existing deck can be braced or supported to carry the extra weight of the new room, but in other cases the cost of the bracing, and the difficulty of installing it can exceed the cost of building a new support structure from scratch, especially if the old deck has any rot or structural problems.  Since  a properly designed and built sunroom enhances a homes value and usability, as well as expanding living space, it is always a good long-term investment to get an expert involved in the structural design, even if you are building it yourself.   If you are planning on building it yourself or with a friend, you may want to enlist the help of an architect or licensed engineer to design the structural support.  Different types of structural design and support may apply based on conditions such as height, size and shape of room, roof type, and type of house.   All of these situations and more need to be taken into account in the load calculations for the room.    If you are dealing with a design professional or a licensed and accredited builder, the structural design and support are some of the things you should ask specifically about.  If your builder has the proper experience, background, and training in room design he/she should be able to assist you with a permanent,  usable solution that will enhance the value and features of your home.

 Steve Folsom