Since 2001, we’ve seen a lot
We’re in the design-build business. We’ve done many, many quotes and we’ve seen consumers make home improvement contractor decisions in many different ways. We’ve also seen the outcomes of those decisions. Whether the decision is about features, materials or contractor selection, we hope our experience helps guide you when you make a choice to select a contractor for your next home improvement project.
Top 5 mistakes
- Too many bids
- Insufficient research
- Overly Internet-dependent
- Communication issues surrounding goals
- Communication issues surrounding budget
Are you getting too MANY bids?
You’ve heard it many times. Make sure you get at least 3 bids. But have you ever asked yourself why? Why is 3 the magic number? What is the reason for looking at multiple contractors? Is it because the likelihood of finding a good one should happen if you ensure you see 3 people? Is it in order to see a couple different design options or get differing design perspectives? Is it to get the lowest price? What we’ve heard is that those same people who tell you to get 3 bids will tell you the reason is to get 3 prices and take the lowest price.
If the criteria is just price, you will eventually find the lowest price for the worst service and the worst quality work. Low price doesn’t come by accident – typically it comes because the builder cannot sell his projects on any other basis because he doesn’t have either the reputation, the positive reviews, the skill set, the knowledge, or the expertise so he is forced to sell only on price. The builders that do have skills, reputation, quality people, quality planning, organization are not going to sell on price – they are going to sell on quality. The good news is that it’s easier today than it ever was.
If you’re attributing “successful” research as securing 3 bids, you’re way off track
If you’re adding a porch or deck to your home, you want to make the right choices. As it is a significant investment, you can’t afford not to do the right research. Many builders won’t tell you which questions to ask because they don’t want to give a leg up to other contractors who have longer track records, better reviews or who otherwise fare better when being evaluated against hard criteria. We care about the homeowners we work with. We don’t expect every homeowner to choose us. We do hope that every homeowner makes the right decision and the most educated decision. We’ve put together a due-diligence list for you to follow when choosing a contractor.
- How long has the company been in business?
- How many projects have they built like the one you’re seeking?
- Have they ever built a project similar to the one you’re building? This applies to more sophisticated projects. If your project has many components, upgraded materials and design complexity, you may want to ask for pictures of projects similar to the one you’re envisioning.
- Are they licensed?
- Are they insured?
- Do they warranty that the project will be completed?
- Do they warranty their workmanship?
- Can they provide a number of references?
- Can they start tomorrow or next week? If so, run, don’t walk.
- Are they in a rush to secure a contract?
- Do you like them? You’re going to have the contractor and their team at your home throughout the building process.
After using the due diligence list above to vet possible contractors, it should be easier to select the right contractor for your project.
Are you being overly Internet dependent on your due diligence?
Believe it or not, not everything you read on the Internet is true.
Don’t be too Internet dependent. You also need to do research the old-fashioned way. Talk to homeowners who have built with that builder. Ask for and call references. Years ago, there was an old saying “you can only believe half of what you read”. Internet reviews can be manipulated. If there are hundreds of reviews, it’s tough to manipulate. If there are just a few reviews online, this can be manipulated. Also, a lot of important information about the builder is not on the Internet. Consumers don’t publish everything they experience and everything they think. In fact, it should be odd that a project worth quite a few thousand dollars is summed up in an online review of 50 – 100 words. Does the review capture everything from scheduling to the quality of work to the craftsmanship to the way they left your yard every night?
We are in a service business and sometimes it’s difficult to discriminate levels of service while just reading reviews. Homeowners often concentrate on product and not on service. How long did the project take? Was there dead time? The #1 most common complaint we hear is that it takes a long time but they were only there working for a short period of time. Was the builder true to their word? It’s important not to be too Internet dependent. Any good company should provide ways for their prospective customers to be not too Internet dependent. Use the Internet but recognize what it is and what it isn’t.
Communication issues surrounding goals
How well are you conveying your vision, wants and needs?
You can have many kinds of goals like the cheapest project, the highest quality project, the most unique design, or the fastest timeline for building your project. These are only a few goals and all homeowners will feel differently about what is most important. Outside of the timeline and price, what are your true goals for the project? You didn’t begin the process of selecting a contractor merely to see how low of a price quote you could secure. You began seeking a contractor because you wanted an outdoor living space and because you had specific activities you wanted to enjoy in your backyard.
Your goals may be as simple as a place to relax outside or a shaded area to relax. Your goals might be to have a place outside your home to steal away for romantic dinners and nestling together with throws to watch a crackling fire outside. Your goal may be to have a place to watch the family in the pool or to create the best reading spot in the house. Most homeowners are looking for an outdoor area that accommodates both eating and lounging outside. If you don’t do a good job of mapping out what is in your head, your builder will be able to build the project you have in mind.
Take some time to write a list. Here are some outdoor living objectives you may have on your list. You want to have 3 -4 neighbors or family members over on weekends so you will need space to fit a table with 6 chairs. You plan on having book club and girlfriend time on a regular basis with your 8 closest friends. Your child wants a secluded reading nook of their own on the new porch or deck. Think about how you want to live outside and how many people will be participating in the different key outdoor activities.
Communication issues surrounding budget
If you let your contractor know your budget, they’ll spend every last penny right?
Inability to set a budget range can ensure that you don’t get what you’re looking for with your project. Having accurate budget information allows the builder to recommend options that more affordably accomplish your goals. With accurate budget information, he can recommend specific designs, specific products, specific sizes, and suggest certain cost-effective measures to help make your project the best for what you want to spend. With a reputable builder, you can benefit from the builder’s knowledge and experience to point you in the best direction for each of the key decisions such as size, shape, features, materials and design. There are additional costs that you don’t see such as permits, product and labor. Your builder can better factor in options with your real budget.
It comes down to trust. If you don’t trust your builder at all, then you shouldn’t hire him. If you trust him, you should trust him to make recommendations and suggestions to help you hit your goals.
If you’re considering adding an outdoor living space to your Kansas-City area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325 or drop us an email. We look forward to discussing your project ideas, goals and budget with you to ensure you get the project you are seeking.
Archadeck of Kansas City is proud to have won the Angie’s List Super Service Award for NINE years in a row — 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017!
This award is especially important because it’s based on verified customer reviews. Angie’s List does not accept anonymous reviews, and their verification process prevents reviews provided by the business that is being reviewed. Actual customers have written or called Angie’s List to report on their excellent customer service experience with Archadeck of Kansas City. Your reviews have encouraged other homeowners to consider us when they’re looking for a contractor to build their outdoor living structures.
Due diligence is essential; no one should engage a contractor without first researching the business’s track record and reputation. Thorough due diligence includes reading as many reviews as possible on many different online review sites such as Google, Houzz and the BBB. Finding consistencies in those reviews will reinforce what kind of experience you can expect with that contractor.
Once you have obtained the name of a contractor with consistent, positive reviews, the most direct way to gather additional information is to ask the contractor for references. Any ethical contractor will be willing to provide names and contact information of past customers. By speaking with prior customers directly, you will be able to get more in-depth information about the builder’s communication style, their design process and what they are like to work with.
At Archadeck of Kansas City, we have a passion for service and building excellence. We’re proud of our online reviews and strong personal references because they reflect our hard work and commitment to providing the best service in our industry in the Kansas City area.
If you’re looking for an outdoor living contractor in the Kansas City area, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325 or email us. We’ll be happy to provide references. We look forward to discussing design options for your new outdoor living space.
Here in the Kansas City metro market, outdoor fireplaces are becoming more and more popular. Homeowners are choosing to integrate an outdoor fireplace into their screened porch or even adding an outdoor fireplace to their deck. When you decide to add an outdoor fireplace, there are many considerations and decisions to make about materials, maintenance level, facades and how your fireplace will be powered. We wanted to share 3 great reasons for why you should choose gas or wood powered and one reason you might now want that fire source for your new outdoor fireplace.
The mesmerizing flame of an authentic wood burning fire
When natural wood burns, the flames ascend from logs and embers ad different heights. Unlike the flame from a gas fireplace, flames from wood burning dance reaching different heights and different shapes constantly as your fire burns. Like watching the ocean, watching dancing flames can be mesmerizing and can easily take your mind off your cares and troubles.
The scent of logs slowly becoming beautiful red embers as you gaze
Whether you burn treated firewood that you purchase in a bundle at the store or if you burn cedar or wood cut and cured in your own backyard, a wood burning fire comes with an authentic scent that’s sure to reminisce about time spent camping as a child or memories of a wood-burning fireplace at your home.
That crackling sound the dancing flames create
Not only do your nose and eyes delight in the presence of a wood-burning fire, but so do your ears. The crackling sound of wood as it slowly burns and the sound of logs as they move is relaxing and enjoyable. Wood burning is, well, authentic.
Authenticity, traditional, different emotional feel
Here’s why you might not want to choose wood burning for your outdoor fireplace
A wood-burning fireplace is significantly more expensive than gas burning. There are codes, restrictions, material requirements and distance requirements to attend to. A chimney equipped to serve a wood-burning fireplace must meet fire codes and other inspections. It could be substantially more to support having a wood burning fireplace vs. gas-powered.
There are other drawbacks to wood burning including moving wood, storing wood, being careful of embers. Wood burning is actually prohibited or regulated in some states because of sparks, soot, and other are air pollution. But if the authenticity of wood is what your heart desires, we will ensure to build to all local building codes and will ensure your fireplace passes all inspections to ensure it’s a feature of your porch that you enjoy for many years to come.
If you choose a gas firebox for your outdoor fireplace, you won’t have any of the maladies and nuisances that come with wood. You will have no piles of wood that can be infested by snakes, cockroaches, mice, etc. You won’t have to clean up after carting wood inside and won’t have to scoop up embers after the fire. No smoke. No soot. And, it’s also clean from environmental perspective
Don’t worry about a lighter. You won’t have multiple attempts to light it. No extra kindling or paper is needed to coax a fire to life. If your toes are cold, you can start warming them in minutes with your instant-on gas-burning fireplace. No work is required and there’s no waiting. Many gas-powered fireplaces even come with a remote ensuring you don’t even need to get up to turn it on. Click on the TV, select your favorite movie and then click on the fire below the tv mounted atop your outdoor fireplace. It’s also instant off. No waiting for the fire to burn out. Just flip the switch and there isn’t another care to worry about.
Since they don’t have chimney requirement, they are usually less expensive. We are careful to say usually because there are always facade options, mantel options, built-in TV cabinets, hearth options and a number of other options that could add up. Exterior trimmings aside, gas is substantially less expensive.
Here’s why you might not want to choose a gas-powered outdoor fireplace
As we’ve said in other blog articles, nothing is more like genuine fire, than a genuine wood-burning fire.
Can you have an outdoor fireplace on your deck? We can integrate a new outdoor fireplace into your new deck. You will have to make the same key consideration about fire source as you would with a porch inside your screened porch. In addition to the factors mentioned above, If the fireplace is wood burning, you have to think about where sparks are going. Often, gas may be your best bet because of the benefits mentioned above and because there are no sparks or embers making gas burning far more practical.
If you are considering adding an outdoor fireplace to your Kansas City screened porch, read our web page to learn more. If you’re looking for outdoor fireplace ideas and inspiration, check out our outdoor fireplace photo gallery. Give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325 or email us. We look forward to discussion design options for your new outdoor living space.
Here in the Kansas City market, low maintenance materials are becoming ever more popular. Some of the low maintenance decking materials include synthetic PVC decking and a number of synthetic railing materials such as aluminum or vinyl. Natural low-maintenance deck and railing materials include aluminum railings or steel cable railings.
While homeowners who choose low-maintenance materials appreciate that they will not need to perform maintenance annually or bi-annually, they often don’t think about how their deck will look 10 years out as a result of upgrading to low-maintenance materials.
Lee’s Summit MO AZEK low-maintenance TimberTech deck with low-maintenance railing and deck lighting
If you’ve ever owned a wood deck, you know the maladies that natural wood suffers under the pressure of the sun beating down on it day after day for years. Other factors that quickly age wood are the frequent freeze and thaw cycles we experience during the winter and regularly getting wet through rain and snow. Wood deck owners expect cracking, twisting, warping, cupping and other effects of aging wood.
What if you owned a deck built with low-maintenance decking? Low-maintenance PVC decking will not be faded by sunlight, is impervious to water, and will not crack, twist, cup or warp. It is also impervious to damage that could be caused by insects. Essentially, your deck built with synthetic PVC decking can look nearly as good 10 years or even 20 years out.
It’s important to realize that there are other factors that will determine whether your new deck still looks great a decade or more out. These factors include railing selection, workmanship, structural support materials and installation techniques.
Kansas City MO AZEK composite deck with black aluminum railing
Let’s look at railing first. There can be a misconception that railing is more immune to effects of weathering and aging because it’s a vertical structure. This isn’t true. If you choose wood railing, it will still suffer under the constant pressure from sun, precipitation and freeze/thaw cycles. It will still fade, splinter, crack, cup, twist and warp the way any wood used for outdoor building will withstand the test of time outdoors. To make it worse, it can be difficult to perform railing maintenance. This may require ladders to maintain the outside edge of the railing and is often difficult to powerwash, stain and seal each of the individual spindles. When you choose low-maintenance railings such as vinyl, aluminum, iron or cable, these materials will not suffer the degrading effects of being used as outdoor building materials.
There are more materials used on your deck that should be considered for using low-maintenance materials. These include the railing posts, fascia, and stairs to name a few.
Lee’s Summit MO TimberTech low-maintenance stairs, deck posts and TimberTech stair railing
To ensure your deck looks nearly new in a decade or longer, you will also want to select a contractor with experience and expertise in workmanship and installation techniques. If you select a contractor that is inexperienced working with low-maintenance materials, that could be a very costly mistake. There are construction techniques that need to be followed in order for low-maintenance materials to function properly and in order to qualify for the manufacturer warranties. For example, synthetic decking manufacturers require a specific distance between the joists. A builder not experienced in working with these materials may not follow these necessary installation techniques.
When you are speaking with prospective contractors, ask them to share the pros and cons of a number of different building materials. You might want to be wary of any contractor that indicates that only one particular material is best. Unlike 30 years ago, there are many different deck construction materials for every part of your deck all the way down to the screws and fasteners.
If you are just beginning or in the process of selecting a contractor for your new deck, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325 or email us. Click to read more about selecting a contractor or read some of our reviews. You may also want to view our low-maintenance decks photo gallery or our ipe exotic hardwood deck photo gallery.
Ideas for your new screened in porch design
Whether you are considering adding a new porch to gain more space or to provide extra outdoor living opportunities, the process of designing that new space can be fun but also overwhelming. Often we have general ideas about certain aspects of the home improvement such as general size or a general feeling of the space. You may know you want a generously sized outdoor room that’s filled with light and has a very airy feel. We hear this from many homeowners. Below are a few design ideas and considerations to help you visualize your new porch.
Design ideas for screened porches come in 2 forms – built-in features and decorative or accessorized features
Accessories and decor
Thumb through any home decor magazine and you’ll see that outdoor furniture and decor has come a long way. The aesthetics often rival that of indoor decor although the style of outdoor furnishings and accessories use materials that are more frequently used outside. For example, rattan and teak are very popular outdoor furniture materials. Outdoor throw rugs are generally less plush and often more vibrant.
Outdoor furniture considerations
Customers often ask us if it’s a good idea to consider or even purchase furniture before their porch is completed. It is absolutely a good idea to consider your porch furniture before you decide on the design and dimensions of your new space. In furniture planning, the most important questions to ask yourself are these. First, do you want to regularly eat on the porch, relax on the porch or both? Secondly, how many people are going to regularly eat or relax on the porch? If you want to accommodate both an eating area and a seating area, we will want to consider the layout of the table with chairs and the same for the seating area. You may want enough room for 3 – 4 people to share frequent meals outdoors but may want the seating area to regularly accommodate 6 – 8 because you entertain frequently. The last thing you want to do is build a new space and then not be able to use that space with the number of people and types of activities you choose.
Porch design amenities
In addition to furniture, you’ll want to consider other items you want to use on the porch. Do you want to watch TV out on the porch regularly? Do you have a sizable outdoor heater that you’ll want to make room for? If you have pets in the home, you may want to consider where their dog or cat bed will go.
Built-in design ideas for your porch
After deciding on what will go on the porch, another thing to consider is the amenities. One very popular built-in option is an outdoor fireplace. If you add an outdoor fireplace to your porch, you’ll absolutely want to consider which wall of your porch you want to spend the most time looking toward. A porch fireplace will be the focal element of the room and you will likely orient your furniture and other accessories around the outdoor fireplace. Other built-in design ideas include lighting, ceiling fans, fanlights and electrical amenities. Lighting is a key consideration. Do you want built-in lighting that’s substantial enough to accommodate a task such as eating or reading? Or, will subtle table top lamps do the trick? How about air flow? While there may be a nice breeze outside, you’ll likely want a ceiling fan or two to ensure air moves around your porch. Don’t forget electrical amenities. A very important electrical amenity is outlets. If you want to use your electronic devices on the porch, you’ll likely want to plug into a charger. Do you want to hang whimsical string lights or seasonal lights during the year? It will be important to have outlets in strategic places.
So many decisions
From reading the blog above, you’ll see that a great deal of thought needs to go into design considerations before you start determining things like square footage and roof shape. At Archadeck of Kansas City, we work with our clients throughout the design process to explore options and considerations. We’ve built porches in many different shapes and sizes with any number of different amenities. We enjoy helping our clients explore these important decisions during the design process.
If you are considering adding a screened porch, roofed structure, outdoor fireplace or deck to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325, drop us an email or fill out the form above. We look forward to connecting with you.
Here in the Kansas City area, outdoor rooms are very popular. With an outdoor room, you have a couple choices in terms of whether you want a traditional porch, a 3-season room or a full sunroom. A sunroom is a true room addition. It has heating and air as well as insulation and full glass windows. A screened porch does not have windows, insulation or heating/air but is still a room addition to your home available for use generally for 9 or 10 months of the year.
After learning about the differences between a sunroom and screened porch, most homeowners realize they are looking for a screened porch because of the benefits of choosing a screened room compared to the costs associated with a room addition. To help you make your choice, here are some questions to consider.
Sunroom in Olathe KS
Do you want a room to use year round regardless of the weather, even when it’s 10 below zero? If you are looking for a room that you can enjoy in the very low temperatures often associated with the dead of winter, then you will need a heated room with insulation and glass windows which is a sunroom.
Are you looking to add additional interior space to your home? If so, a sunroom serves as a true room addition and can provide the additional space you are looking for throughout the entire year.
Screened porch with outdoor fireplace in Leawood KS
While the benefits of having a room that could be used 12 month/year sound nice, it’s important to note that those options really add to the cost. A screened porch doesn’t provide temperature control. While you can influence the temperature of the room with an outdoor fireplace, stationary heaters or a couple of ceiling fans, you will not have absolute temperature control. However, here in the Kansas City market, you can often comfortably use your screened porch up to 9 or 10 months out of the year.
In addition to the significant cost savings of selecting a screened porch over a sunroom, there are some additional benefits. A screened porch with no glass is cooler. Having any glass, even if it opens, still traps heat and makes the room hotter in the summer.
If you are looking for a covered room, another option is an open porch, also called a covered porch. This room has a roof and may even have railings depending on code but it does not have walls or screens. This is a great option if you don’t want any obstructions between you and the fresh air. The roof will provide sun protection and some level of rain protection but the room has no bug protection. Here in the Kansas City market, most homeowners want bug free outdoor living which requires enclosing your room with either screens or glass.
Covered/open porch in Overland Park KS
In determining which outdoor space is right for you, the best place to start is to determine how you want to live outside. Do you want to eat outside? Are you looking for a bright and airy seating area? Do you want a space where you can do both? Do you regularly want to entertain in your outdoor room or will you mostly use the space for your family?
At Archadeck of Kansas City, we are passionate about building spaces for how you want to live. During our free consultation, we work with you on these questions as well as with other design and cost considerations to recommend the best space for you with the right amenities and options for your family.
Give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325 or drop us an email.
An outdoor fireplace is the perfect focal element for your new deck
This deck has an outdoor fireplace and a television outside too!
Perhaps it’s because of the proximity of wood to outdoor fire features that elicits questions about whether these spaces can live harmoniously, and safely, next to each other. This stunning new fireplace sits atop a low-maintenance AZEK deck, has stunning cedar columns to each side and a wood pergola atop. While it is possible to have wood close to your firepit, it’s critical that it’s built safely by a qualified and licensed builder that will pull all the permits and ensure all the inspections are completed.
AZEK deck with a pergola covered outdoor fireplace in Winterset Woods
Let’s take a closer look…
As we zoom in on this outdoor fireplace, you’ll notice not just the adjoining pergola but loads of small details.
Here are just a few of the great design details. The fireplace is a gas insert firebox with a cultured stone facade. Genuine stone corbels hold up a stone mantle. Behind the built-in closet doors is an outdoor TV. Built into the face of the outdoor fireplace are a couple outlets. Once you start to really live outside, you’ll want to be able to plug in your laptop, portable speakers, a lamp, perhaps a heater and maybe even a smoothie maker. Importantly, the choices are yours and they’re endless since this space is wired to accommodate your needs and desires.
Mounted below the pergola is a large ceiling fan to circulate fresh air in the deck area. Mounted atop one upper edge of the pergola is a rolled screen which can be used for privacy or temporary sun protection. At Archadeck of Kansas City, we will work with you to understand how much sun you want in your new space and help design the space to suit those needs.
Important design considerations when adding an outdoor fireplace to your deck
How will it look from all sides?
When adding an outdoor fireplace to a structure such as a screened porch, open porch, deck or patio, you’ll want to think about how it looks from the front and from the back.
Lee’s Summit MO elevated deck with stone columns
These Winterset Woods homeowners not only took into account how the backside of the fireplace would look, but also considered how the columns that support the large and elevated deck would look. Just as the fireplace wall is faced with stone, the oversized stately columns are wrapped with the same stone.
Above is a close-up picture of the columns that support the deck. Notice how well the stone-wrapped columns complement the large stepping stones at the base of the stairs and down the path. Take a look at how these colors work together. The AZEK decking is a rich dark brown color. Both the black railings and the white stone serve in stark color contrast but work beautifully together. Notice the edge banding for the side of the deck ensuring no unsightly joists are in plain view.
Are you considering adding an outdoor fireplace to your new deck or porch?
If you’re thinking about adding a new outdoor living space to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation. We’ve built hundreds of outdoor living spaces for homeowners throughout the KS and MO areas within the Kansas City metro market. Give us a call at (913) 851-3325 or email us. Take a look at our outdoor fireplace and firepit photo gallery or read more about outdoor fireplaces on our website. We look forward to your call.
Many homeowners who are deciding about adding a new outdoor living space ask whether a roofed porch will have the feeling of an interior room. The answer is a resounding yes. There are many elements that make a roofed porch, particularly a screened porch, feel like an interior room while still keeping the benefits of the sights and sounds of living outside.
Here are some of the elements that make your covered porch feel like an interior room. Of late, one of the big factors is decorating. Just a couple years ago, you never saw people using rugs with beautiful interior aesthetic qualities. Now indoor/outdoor rugs come in just about every size, shape, color or pattern. A beautiful indoor/outdoor throw rug warms up the room and gives the room a nice interior feel. In addition to rugs, you now have access to any type of indoor/outdoor furniture which can withstand the outdoor elements. Fabric cushions and throw pillows on a beautiful dark wicker seating set beautifully transform any space. In addition, today’s porches are decorated with numerous other traditional indoor amenities including lamps, televisions and even storage furniture.
Decorating elements such as rugs and furniture do a great job of transforming any outdoor space whether it’s a patio, deck or roofed porch. What makes a screened porch different than a deck or patio? Screens. The screening in your screened porch doesn’t only serve the function of providing protection from bugs and other elements. Screening creates a layer and a feeling of privacy.
At Archadeck, we use a very high-grade screen for your screened room. This makes it harder to see into the room from the outside. While your backyard BBQ chef is able to see into the screened porch to ask for some more cooking supplies, likely most neighbors cannot see in. This creates the privacy that you experience inside your house. The view from 100 ft away is different than the view from standing in the yard. The people who are farther away have a completely different light. They are looking through at an angle and at an angle, the heavy grade high-quality screen obstructs the view to the interior.
There are some additional factors that allow your roofed porch to feel like an interior room while still being exposed to the exterior. One of these is the roof. The roof gives your room a distinct feeling of privacy that is achieved in an interior room. An open deck is not very private. It’s wide open for everyone to see what’s going on. As soon as you introduce a roof, neighbors that are at a higher elevation have their view obstructed. Unlike a deck, with a roof and screens, you have a distinct inside and outside.
Even though this Lee’s Summit porch is open, it has a luxurious interior room feel with the beautiful furniture
If you are trying to decide between adding a roofed structure or to add a deck or patio to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325 or drop us an email. You may want to take a look at some of the photo galleries on our site for ideas and inspiration. Please enjoy browsing through our porches photo gallery, covered porch photo gallery, screened porch photo gallery or our outdoor fireplace photo gallery. We look forward to providing you with a free consultation.
Stevel Folsom, owner
Archadeck of Kansas City
When these Lee’s Summit MO homeowners came to us, they had a small existing second-story deck. They wanted a larger footprint for their outdoor space and they also wanted a covered area for some sun protection. In addition, they wanted to utilize low-maintenance materials to ensure their time would be spent enjoying their new space instead of maintaining it.
Lee’s Summit MO elevated open porch with attached AZEK deck
As you can see above, this new space includes both an open deck area and a covered porch area. With the new design, the footprint for the porch area was pushed out 4 feet to the outer boundary that the setback would allow. This provides a spacious covered area that will easily accommodate generously sized outdoor furniture. The new porch has a gable roof to complement the gable on the existing house. The owners selected cedar for their post columns and for the header.
_Design rendering for new second-story covered porch and deck
In the design rendering above, you can see that the long stairs empty onto the lower level concrete patio where the family has another outdoor living area including a hot tub. You can see the AZEK Morado deck from this design rendering. The AZEK decking was used uniformly throughout the entire elevated outdoor living space.
Beautiful large cedar posts give a majestic quality to this space
Square solid-welded Fortress aluminum railing pickets are used in this porch. The pickets are dark-colored and slender drawing the eye out into the yard. Take a look at the excellent visibility into the yard that this railing syle allows. The ceiling is finished with tongue and groove pine.
If you are considering updating an existing space or adding a new outdoor living space to your Lee’s Summit area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325, email us or fill out the form above and we will contact you.
Take a look at more Lee’s Summit outdoor living spaces on our website.
When these Leawood KS, homeowners called us, they were looking for a porch off their master bedroom and also a porch off their primary living area. It’s not unusual for homeowners to request a deck or porch off their bedroom. Most often though, we advise against this.
As long-time builders of outdoor spaces, we care not only about building the best looking outdoor space but we also care about building a space that fits how the family wants to live outside. We want to make sure the room is designed to be used for the living functions the homeowners enjoy most. If the homeowners enjoy eating together frequently and want to dine outside, we make sure the porch is designed to accommodate not only room for a table but also room for the right size table depending on whether they entertain often. If the family loves watching sports or television together, we propose solutions to integrate a television in their new space. Whether they want to entertain, read outside or have small family meals outside, we help design the perfect space for them.
In addition to ensuring the design accommodates how the family wants to enjoy their outdoor living, access to and from the space is a crucial consideration. Some homeowners may ask for a porch connected to a level of their home that is not the primary living level. For example, if you have a steep grade drop in your back yard and your lower level basement feeds out into the yard, it doesn’t make sense to build the porch connection at that lower level. Imagine family and guests grabbing a few trays of freshly prepared food ready to move to the porch to enjoy together. Imagine then that they have to go down the stairs to the basement and through the basement before they get to the porch. A similar consideration must be given to having a deck or porch off a master bedroom. While it would be great to roll out of bed and open a set of French doors to take a deep breath of the morning air, you want to make sure that’s not the only way your guests and other family members can get to your porch.
In this new porch, notice that this space is large enough to accommodate both eating and seating.
This porch was customized to ensure proper mounting and placement of an outdoor television. The family knew they wanted to watch TV outside so an important consideration was to ensure the television stays as dry as possible. Often times there is a place on the house wall that works well for mounting the TV. If not, we design solutions that will keep the TV dry. On this porch, one section of the screened area is enclosed creating the perfect protected spot for the TV.
Take a look at the close-up picture above to see the porch extension which creates a walkway to the main porch area. The homeowners have their own private access while everyone else has access from the main living area. Perfect!
If you are considering adding a porch, outdoor fireplace or other outdoor space to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325. Or, drop us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.
-Steve Folsom, owner
Archadeck of Kansas City
Take a peek into the backyard of this Olathe KS home. What was existing? What was added on? Exactly!
The home pictured above had a beautiful existing patio. The patio has a unique footprint that curves and winds its way around the back of the home. The manicured landscaping follows the charge. The paver patio adds flair and pizazz to this home but there are a couple functions it does not serve. While it functionally serves some furniture for eating and seating, it doesn’t create an outdoor room. It doesn’t provide sun protection in the warmer months. It doesn’t provide any warmth as the weather cools down and it doesn’t feel like a room.
Take a look at their open patio addition. This particular roofed structure has so many different names. It can also be called a covered patio, covered porch, patio cover or open porch. This family knew what they wanted. They wanted a space that was open to the back yard. They wanted cover. They wanted the feel of an outdoor room and they wanted an integrated outdoor fireplace.
Here are a few design features. The posts have a stone covered bases. The stone matches the fireplace facade. The fireplace uses a gas insert which eliminates the need to have a flue. We mounted a TV above the fireplace. You can see that this porch fireplace is the focal feature of this new space.
Looking at the image above, you can see that the porch area extends past the patio. The undulating patio shape created a challenge for where to end the roofline. We decided to take the porch out past the patio giving the homeowners a chance to add to the patio in the future if they desire.
Take a look at some more open porches, screened porches and outdoor fireplaces on our website. If you are considering adding a porch, outdoor fireplace or other outdoor space to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325. Or, drop us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.
-Steve Folsom, owner
Archadeck of Kansas City
In an earlier post, we shared information about the top porch roof style options including gable, shed, flat and hip roof styles. We noted that the gable roof shape is one of the most often requested roof styles. A gable roof has a high point and descends down on two sides from that high point. Here are some reasons why this shape roof is so popular.
This Shawnee KS porch has a beautiful roof that is shingled with terra cotta to match the existing home
It’s important to note that a gable, by its nature, is just a very pleasing shape. It creates the shape of a triangle atop the more linear room it crowns. If you ask any young child to draw a house, they will first draw a square to represent the house and then a triangle to represent the roof. This configuration is visually pleasing.
Notice the way the screened open gable roof creates a beautifully vaulted ceiling
What are some more concrete reasons people are enamored with gable roofs? There are two important reasons and they both have to do with light. This roof style creates a vaulted ceiling inside the room. It’s important to note that the vaulted area can be closed off by a flat ceiling but many homeowners are looking for a porch room that’s filled with natural lighting and prefer the vaulted ceiling. High ceilings allow more light to concentrate within the space of the room making it feel more open and airier – both of which are pleasant sensations. Finally, with a gable roof style, you may be able to have one or two open ends depending on the orientation of your room. The open end can be enclosed with glass, screening or both.
Notice the multiple gently sloping shed rooflines on this home as well as the large second story window
As noted in the previous blog, a gable roof style will not work for every home. This is particularly the case if you have a number of second story windows in close proximity to where your new porch will be. You will not want the roof from a new room to block your view from the second story. There are additional reasons a gable roof may not work. This is the case if it presents a challenge in designing a porch addition that looks original to your home. The roofline, or multiple rooflines, of your existing home may make a porch with this roof style look out of place, like a sore thumb. You may have multiple elevations with varying grades of shed roofs. Notice the image above that illustrates that scenario.
Above is a fun creative option for integrating a gable motif into a shed roof style design
If your heart is set on this roof style for your new porch and the constraints of your existing home will not accommodate making it fit with your house, we have a creative alternative. We can create a combination roof style that integrates a shallow gable into a shed roof. In the image above, the roof design is a fabulous complement to the existing home’s roof design. Nearby the porch are two gable-topped elevations. This roof motif both complements and adds visual interest.
If you are considering adding a porch or room addition to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325, drop us an email or visit our website. To see a number of porches with different roof styles, visit the screened porch photo gallery on our website. We look forward to your call!
Can you have a TV on your porch? Does that TV have to cost a fortune?
You absolutely can have a TV on your screened porch and it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Find a wall within your porch where the TV will not be placed directly in front of a screen. This allows you to use an indoor TV which is more reasonably priced than one that is rated for outdoor use. Televisions rated for outdoor do exist but are quite cost prohibitive. For the price, you could purchase 2 or more indoor televisions. Our recommendation is to find the driest place in the porch to mount your TV. Mounting the TV on the house wall is often a great option.
In most porches, people can find a place where they can shelter the TV – sometimes a section of screen is turned into a solid wall which keeps water from blowing in on that section. Some homeowners choose to enclose the TV in a cabinet or to mount the television over the outdoor fireplace. All are great options.
Can you have a fireplace on your screened porch? Does it need to be wood-burning?
You absolutely can have a fireplace within your screened porch. There are building codes that affect the installation but we ensure your porch fireplace meets all codes. Your outdoor fireplace can compete with every aspect of your indoor fireplace. Choose the facade you prefer. Stone facades are quite popular. You can choose the hearth and mantle you prefer just like you can inside. We can build a gas-burning or wood-burning fireplace but the wood burning one can be cost prohibitive. A gas fireplace starts with an insert which is finished with a surround, chimney and running gas to the fireplace.
Can you really have fabric furniture on your porch?
You absolutely can have upgraded furniture. While outdoor furniture has come a long was in aesthetics since the days of stacking chairs, there are still some limitations with outdoor furniture that benefits being inside an enclosed roof and walls. Although you won’t want to use indoor fabric, take your pick of furnishings that utilize outdoor fabric such as Sunbrella solution-dyed acrylic fabric. Furniture used on your porch doesn’t need to be 100% waterproof and you won’t need to stand up the cushions to remove pooling water. Another benefit of fabric covered porch furniture is that it doesn’t suffer the extreme abuse of the sun’s rays the way it does when in direct sunlight.
What about lighting? What else can the porch be wired for?
There are table lamps and floor lamps that are designed to be outdoor/waterproof. They look almost identical to indoor table lamps and floor lamps. They are outdoor rated. You can use them for reading and for other uses when a ceiling fan doesn’t provide enough light. We can wire your porch for a sound system; however, today’s most advanced systems are completely wireless. These systems are not only higher quality but easier to connect in a porch.
An experienced screened porch builder will also work with to determine how many outlets you should have on your screened porch. There are quite a few electronics you will want to use on your new porch. These include everything from furnishings such as floor lamps to electronics (like charging your laptop or iPad) and also to creature comforts that can include a cup warmer to keep your coffee warm while enjoying your porch in the colder months of the year.
How about other decor items?
Indoor/outdoor rugs are a great accessory/furnishing for your new porch. They’ve changed a lot over the last few years. Outdoor rugs are refined and improved with nicer patterns and many have a more indoor rug type feel. Indoor/outdoor rugs can be water resistant, mold resistant and resist other problems that face outdoor furnishings that suffer from prolonged direct sunlight and pooling water.
If you’re considering adding an outdoor living space to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325, drop us an email or fill out the form below and we will get back to you right away.
If you’re considering adding a screened porch to your Kansas City area home, you no doubt have a visualization of where on your home you would like your new porch and the general shape and size of your porch. You may have a sense of whether you want a small or large porch, whether you want a vaulted ceiling, and what exterior finish you prefer. Almost without exception, when Kansas City area residents initially call us, they are looking for a room that provides a lot of light. Ceiling style, among other factors, plays a role in the amount of light a new room will receive. Another very common request we receive is for a vaulted ceiling which comes from a gable roof style. Because roof style is such a popular question, we’d like to share some information about each below to help you begin to envision a porch addition to your home. There may be some factors that limit your options which we will also describe below.
The starting point
What roof style or styles do you already have on your home? Do you have a gable roof, multiple gables, a shed roof or a combination of shed and gable roof lines on your existing home? When we add a porch addition to a home, our goal is to make the porch look original to your home. Your home likely has a couple roof lines. Your new porch should either match or complement those roof lines in order to look original to your home.
What is the layout of the back of your home? Is your home one story or two stories? If two stories, what is the configuration of the second story? Is the second story lined with windows? If so, this will significant limit your options as a porch generally should neither cover nor block the view of the existing second-story windows. Let’s look at each of the roof styles.
Gable roof screened porch
A gable roof is the triangular roof style. It can have different pitches and can be oriented in different directions. By far, the gable roof is the most requested. The triangular shape of the roof is very pleasing to the eye and it creates a vaulted ceiling within the room. The gable end or ends can be left open (screened) to allow even more lighting into your porch.
The porch below has an open gable allowing a great deal of visibility from the porch and creating a very light and airy space.
Depending on the orientation of the gable, some porches will have a closed gable on the house wall and an open gable on the exterior site.
Shed roof screened porch
If your home has a number of second story windows or other second story architectural elements limiting your options for a vaulted ceiling, a shed roof may be a great option. A shed roof slopes downward from the house wall. The degree of the slope depends on a few factors but is limited by any obstructions on the second story of the home. While some people fear a shed roof will not provide enough light, the exterior sides can be left open allowing more light into your space. In addition, there may be opportunities to extend the height of the roof to allow more lighting into the room.
Flat roof screened porch
There are a number of reasons why a flat roof is the best roof style. As you read above, the second story configuration may require it. But, you may want a second story structure on your porch. You may want an open porch on the first level and a screened porch on the second level. As mentioned with a shed roof, one way to bring more light into the space is elevating the roof which may be possible depending on the back-of-home layout. One common question we receive about flat roofs is whether or not they drain. Flat roofs are not completely flat. They are slightly pitched to ensure proper draining and normally require special roof material.
Hybrid porch roof style
At Archadeck of Kansas City, one roof style is fairly popular. This style includes a combination shed/gable. On the exterior side of a shed roof, an option is to add a small gable for visual interest. If you are engaging a professional contractor to build your porch, you may want the custom look presented with a unique design solution.
The gable on the roof below does a great job of complimenting the gable roof lines of this home.
A combination roof style provides a good amount of visual interest to the inside of your porch.
Hip roof screened porch
A hip roof slopes down in 4 or more directions from a high point on the roof. This may be a good option if you have hip roof lines on your home.
It’s important to work with an experienced custom builder. This builder will be able to provide the options as well as the benefits and drawbacks for each. Give us a call for a free consultation for your Kansas City area porch. Call (913) 851-3325.
At Archadeck of Kansas City, more and more clients are adding an outdoor fireplace to their new porch construction and they’re doing so for a number of reasons.
The warmth that a fire provides is a strong benefit of having an outdoor fireplace within your screened porch. Here in the Kansas City area, there are several months throughout the year that a screened porch area would be unusable due to the temperature. Your porch will undoubtedly be one of your favorite rooms in the house. Not only is a porch designed for relaxation, but the sights and sounds and smells of the outdoors lend themselves to an even more enjoyable outdoor living environment. With an outdoor fireplace on your porch, it will be usable for more months throughout the year.
Leawood KS outdoor fireplace on a screened porch
The sounds of the crackle of a fire, for most, bring back memories of childhood camp outs, many nights around a grill roasting marshmallows, and other enjoyable experiences. The sound of a crackling fireplace creates a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. In addition, there is the sight of a fire. As most of us now have gas fireplaces, the view of the dancing flames is both mesmerizing and relaxing. Your cares drift away as you watch the flames in a fireplace. If you love using your indoor fireplace, you no double can imagine the even better experience to be had with having a fireplace built in to your porch.
Olathe KS outdoor porch fireplace
If you take a look at the some of the images in our outdoor fireplace photo gallery, you will notice that the fireplace is the focal point of the room. In fact, after looking at those porch images, it may be difficult to imagine how different those rooms would look without the fireplace. A fireplace adds majesty to a room like few other architectural features can.
What is the best time of year to add an outdoor fireplace?
Back to the question at hand. What is the best time to build an outdoor fireplace? If you are considering adding a screened porch, that is a great time to consider adding an outdoor fireplace to your new porch. In terms of time of year, the spring and summer may be the best times to start thinking about it. When you work with a reputable builder, you know it will take time to get on the production schedule. Add to that the build time, you will want to allow plenty of time to have your porch fireplace ready to enjoy during the next fall season.
If you are considering adding an outdoor fireplace to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325.
Wood or composite? Composite or PVC? PVC or capstock?
If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about adding a new deck or porch to your home. You’ve probably begun your online research evaluating shapes, colors, sizes, materials and numerous other options. Once you begin that process, you’ll likely realize there are even more options than you think. For this blog, we’d like to provide information about synthetic decking to help you narrow that choice. Do not worry if you can’t make a final selection by reading multiple websites and looking at the dizzying array of colors. Any reputable builder will help you walk through some of those final decisions.
If you’re still wondering whether to build a wood or composite deck, there is one very important consideration. How much maintenance do you want to do? Do you want to strip, paint, stain, seal and otherwise maintain your deck approximately every year? Wood decks require maintenance. The frequency of that maintenance may vary slightly based primarily on how much direct sunlight your deck receives. Rest assured, to keep your wood deck looking good, it will need maintenance on close to an annual basis.
Do you want to throw away your garage powerwasher and your deck sealant brushes or at least never look at them again? Low maintenance decking doesn’t need any regular maintenance. It does not need to be stained, sealed or otherwise maintained to continue looking good. Is it no maintenance? Nothing is no maintenance. A spill will need to be cleaned up just like it needs to be cleaned up off your kitchen floor. If your dog tracks mud across your deck, you will need a garden hose to remove the mud. But that’s all.
The flipside of this decision is price. Composite and synthetic decks can be significantly more expensive than natural wood decks. Sometimes a good litmus test is to evaluate this purchase decision against how long you are going to be in your home. If you plan on being in your home for the next 20 years and never have to perform maintenance on your deck, then any upfront increase in cost pays off fairly quickly. But, if you know you will only be in your home for another 5 years, you may want to choose a wood deck with the corresponding cost of annual maintenance.
Composite, PVC or capstock?
Believe it or not, composite decking has been around 20 years or more and it sure has evolved during that time. Not only has it improved over time but the range of manufacturers, colors, and styles have grown along with it. When composite decking first came out, recycled plastic was mixed with wood fibers – hence the composite name. There were a few problems with those early iterations including some mold problems. Today’s composites have a great combination of high quality resin and wood fibers. Not only are they made in just about every imaginable color and texture, they are also made by a number of manufacturers. Although a really solid product, most customers are now opting for one of the next couple choices.
Solid PVC decking
Composite decking comes with some tremendous performance characteristics. It will not rot, splinter, chip, cup or suffer the other maladies that befall wood over time. PVC decking provides the added bonus of warrantied stain and fade protection. The manufacturer warranties all of the above for 25 years so you can be confident that it lives up to its promise. Solid PVC decking such as AZEK XLM comes at a bit higher price than composite decking.
h3. A happy medium – capstock decking
Recently a new product has come along that marries the best qualities of composite and PVC. As you can imagine, the price is more moderate than PVC but more than composite. Capstock decking is composite with a PVC cap on the boards. This way you get the strength and protection of composite with the added protection of the PVC stain and fade warranty.
Which is right for you? Let us help you decide. Our job is to walk you through the options not just for decking boards but for all the other options and considerations required in planning your new deck or porch. We have the benefit of experience and have built nearly every combination you can imagine. Give us a call for a free consultation to discuss planning and building a new outdoor space for your Kansas City home.
We’re quickly approaching the colder season. How did that happen? Not too long ago we wouldn’t think about turning off the air conditioning and now we can’t seem to get warm. There is no better way to take away the edge of physical cold and cheer your mood than a fire.
As any perusal of home improvement and real estate articles will tell you, outdoor fireplaces are growing more popular all the time. They frequently appear on “must-have” and “nice-to-have” lists as some of the most desired home additions. If you’re thinking about adding an outdoor fireplace in the coming months, here are some considerations to think about.
The first question you need to ask yourself whether you should choose a wood burning or gas fireplace? Gas is the more popular of the two because it is less expensive, less messy, and is less work overall to use and maintain. You won’t need to order and stack wood, transport it, store it, or keep it dry. Still, there are some that have a deep connection to the smells and sounds of a genuine wood fire. The three key factors to consider when making this decision are cost, preference, and space. Both types of fireplace will be a visual focal point in the room.
Who will build/install your fireplace? Make sure you select a builder with ample experience and quite a few positive reviews as a local outdoor fireplace builder. An outdoor fireplace on your porch is no small investment. And, your home is too valuable to allow just any contractor or a too generalized contractor to build your new porch fireplace.
You will also need a builder with knowledge and experience about local regulations and codes. The builder will handle arranging for the additional necessary inspections and hiring subcontractors like a plumber (to install the gas line if using gas) or a mason (if you will use brick or stone for the chimney). The builder will also ensure that the fire box you purchase is rated for the outdoors.
The cost of an outdoor fireplace is typically in the $7,000-10,000 range, but can vary depending on your choices for gas vs. wood, trim, fascia, and chimney. If your home is not already connected to the gas main, that may increase your costs as well. On the value side of the equation, a fireplace will extend the season that you can use your porch, sometimes by months each year. That may translate to more evenings at home rather than going out.
There are many options and design possibilities available and it’s important to find the one that is right for you. You can opt for custom mantel pieces as well as custom hearths. There are a variety of materials to use for these as well as for the fireplace facade..
Call Archadeck for a free consultation to design the perfect outdoor fireplace for your Kansas City area home at (913) 851-3325 or (816) 228-3325. We’re looking forward to your call.
Steve Folsom, owner
Archadeck of Kansas City
Gable? Shed? Flat roof? Hip roof?
The roof style you choose for your Kansas City area screened porch is one of the earlier decisions you will make when planning for your new space. You probably have a vision in mind of what your screened porch will look like and for many homeowners that vision includes a gable roof style.
A gable roof has a high point in the middle and slopes down to two sides from there. This is different from a hip roof that slopes down to 3 sides from the highest point. A gable roof is a popular choice because the gable allows for lots of sun to enter the porch. One of the top reasons homeowners want to add a screened porch is to have a bright and airy room to enjoy fresh air while still having some protection from the elements. A gable roof is also very pleasing to the eye and creates a vaulted ceiling from the inside.
How should you determine what roof style is best for you?
There are a number of factors and your builder will help you work through them. The most important factor is how you want to live on your screened porch. Do you want a room that invites the most sun possible? Do you want a room with a very cozy feel that invites you to cuddle up with a warm throw and a cup of hot cider? Do you want a more functional room to add more seating capacity when you have evening guests? How about regular movie night with the family? Do you envision your TV mounted over an outdoor fireplace?
The next factor to look at after determining how you want to live in your space is the layout of the back of your home. You do not want a new roof line to obstruct the view from any second story windows. And, there may be other architectural features you don’t want to or can’t cover up. This may quickly limit your options. If the second story of your home has an abundant number of windows, you may need to choose a lower roof style such as a shed roof or (almost) flat roof. Another important consideration is the orientation of your backyard. Will the space get a large amount of direct sunlight? Based on the direction of your home or the landscaping near your home, does the space need to compete for sun? This will also help to narrow down your choices.
Is a shed roof right for you?
A shed roof style angles down from the house connection.The shed (or slope) roof is a popular option. A number of techniques can be employed to ensure your room still has an open and airy feel.
How about a flat roof?
Another roof style option is a flat roof, although this label is a bit deceiving. In order to ensure proper drainage, the roof may look flat but it is appropriately sloped to ensure proper runoff. A flat roof is a more common option for open porches as you’ll see in the image below. It has a wonderful classic look. The addition of a ceiling fan or two on the roof’s ceiling keep the open air porch circulating air quite wonderfully.
Can you have a combination of different roof styles?
Here comes the fun part. You don’t need to be limited to just one roof style. One of our very popular combination shapes is a shed roof with a partial gable to one or more ends. Take a look at the picture below. What a great way to add custom flair and visual interest to both the inside and outside of your porch.
If you’re considering adding a screened porch or open porch to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation. We enjoy walking through options and considerations with you to ensure your new room fits exactly how you want to live. Give us a call at (913) 851-3325 and (816) 228-3325.