Thinking of spring? With six more weeks of winter your running out of time to enjoy your new space in time for spring!

Punxsutawney-Phil-Did you hear the official report from Punxsutawney Phil? If you want to know if spring is going to arrive early, Phil’s your “man”. Direct from his burrow on Gobbler’s Knob, in front of thousands of faithful followers from all over the world furry Phil saw his shadow and announced we can expect be six more weeks of winter. This is great news for Central Maryland homeowners, because this allows plenty of time to get your custom outdoor living space planned and on schedule for the coming spring!

Having a “go to” or reputable source for important things gives you confidence in your endeavors. Just like Punxsutawney Phil is the “go to” for seasonal predictions, Archadeck of Central Maryland is your “go to”  for the best in outdoor living space design and construction. We are the area’s premier builder for sunrooms, porches, patios, decks and outdoor living combination spaces in Howard County, Montgomery County and the surrounding area.

Custom screen porch sunroom builder Rockville

See the custom details that were added to this custom screened porch.

Our goal is to design a space for you, and your family and the way you live. We achieve this by meeting with you, the homeowner, to talk about the kinds of functions you want your outdoor structure to facilitate. With a clear understanding of your needs, wants and style choices, we then use our insight, experience and knowledge to translate this information into a custom designed outdoor living space which is an expression of you. This ideal outdoor structure is built to blend seamlessly with your home and landscape as an extension of your living area to be enjoyed every day, not just for special events.

Porch with Cedar Ceiling and Stone FireplaceNow is the time to begin planning and creating your ideal outdoor living space to ensure you are ready to enjoy your home and its surroundings to the fullest this spring. Perhaps you have an existing screened porch you would like to convert to a more versatile sunroom, or maybe you’ve decided this is the year to upgrade that plain vanilla concrete patio that came with your home to a custom designed hardscape with an integrated fire pit. How about a new outdoor living area that combines the beauty and function of both of these structures to extend your outdoor living enjoyment and give you more choices when utilizing this space? The options available in our custom combination space designs are as endless as your imagination. Every Archadeck of Central Maryland  design is one-of-a-kind and custom-made for you.

Another view of this stunning outdoor space by Archadeck of MarylandJust like all contractors are not the same, not all outdoor structures are created equal. Just because you have an outdoor structure doesn’t mean you have an outdoor living space. An outdoor living space is a custom designed multifunction place where you can be yourself when you entertain and relax outdoors or simply go to enjoy the beauty of all Mother Nature has to offer. In addition, designing these outdoor living areas to bring all the comforts of indoors outside, makes these spaces the most utilized portion of any home. For more than 13 years we have helped hundreds of homeowners in the central Maryland area enjoy the outdoors more by building versatile structures and outdoor living space combinations of the highest quality; it’s what we do best.

With 6 more weeks of winter, there’s plenty of time to transform your backyard into the custom designed outdoor living environment of your dreams. Our passion is your happiness. We can help design an outdoor structure that is the right “fit” for you and your family and make it effortless from beginning to end.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandCall us for a free design consultation today at (301) 926 – 3001 or via email at centralmaryland@archadeck.net act now, spots are filling fast!

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Not all outdoor living structures are the same, nor is the contractor hired to build them.

Three season room with cedar ceiling and slate floor

Just like not all outdoor living structures are the same, neither are the contractors hired to build them. You may wish to have a custom designed outdoor living space built to enhance and extend your family’s enjoyment of your home, … Continue reading

Baby it’s cold outside; versatile heating options to keep your Central MD outdoor room warm this winter!

Is this what your screened porch feels like during the winter

Is this what your screened porch or 3-season room feels like during the winter months?

Do you yearn to spend time with friends and family on your porch this winter? Too often it is assumed screened porches are not conducive for use in the winter months…not so! As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention and homeowner’s need to enjoy their outdoor living space year-round, the development of a convertible porch or 3 season room along with a host of options for keeping the nip of winter at bay has been serendipitous.

Extending the use of your existing 3-season room or porch with the addition of heating devices, not only increases your enjoyment of the space, but also brings more value to your investment. The winter months in Montgomery and Howard counties are full of wonderful winter and holiday activities for you and your loved ones to enjoy. What better way to carry on the fun, or unwind after, than by gathering in your favorite space to share the events of the day. Imagine coming home from an afternoon of ice skating or an evening tour of the holiday lights to share hot cocoa and muffins or a dinner and hot toddies. With your incorporation of heating, your convertible porch or 3-season room can magically morph into your own cozy lodge.  Listed below are some of the innovative warming options you might consider to keep your space warm:

  • Radiant Heat Panels – These flush or recessed mounted ceiling panels provide non-drying, non-allergenic, sun like warmth via safe, infrared radiant energy that travels through the air with the speed of light warming objects in its path, including the floor.  Heat is zone controlled so you stop paying for heat in unoccupied areas. Additional benefits of this “green” product include quiet operation, life of building longevity (meaning they never need maintenance), availability in various sizes, voltages and wattages and can be painted with latex-based paint to match any décor. They have no odor and since they do not circulate air like convective systems, there is no dust.
  • Yes, this is actually an outdoor heater that looks like an elegan upscale floor lamp! This one is made by Northgate.

    Yes, this is actually an outdoor heater that looks like an elegant upscale floor lamp! This one is made by Northgate.

    Modern Electric Tabletop and Floor “Lamps” – With the look of a lamp, these electric heaters have taken design and décor into greater consideration. A popular example is the Northgate Floor Lamp. They are designed to blend into the outdoor living space environment, yet still provide the same function of the traditional electric space heater. These are available in a wide selection of styles, varying in size and price range to make “cozy” affordable to all porch owners.

  • Wall or ceiling-mounted electric heaters – In recent years smaller versions of this typically commercial space type heater, have been designed for residential use on patios. The use of infrared elements or halogen bulbs in this heating technology produces invisible rays of light that only heat objects and people, not the air. This makes such a heater a sound, economical choice because you pay only for heating the things you want to warm, rather than heating air that is quickly blown off the porch!
Custom-Wall-Mounted-Infrared-Patio-Heaters-Ideas

Custom ceiling mounted infrared heaters keeps this outdoor space toasty warm in spite of winter’s chill!

  • Gas tabletop heaters

    Gas tabletop heaters work great in both covered and open outdoor settings.

    Gas tabletop heaters – These smaller gas patio heaters use camp stove-type fuel canisters and can prove useful for warming guests seated around a table. Safety reminder: when dealing with any type of fuel-powered heater it is vital to make sure the model you choose is approved for use in a covered area, such as a porch or screened porch, and the proper clearance is provided to ensure the unit is safely operable.

Fireplaces…not to be forgotten

While the aforementioned heating units are typically the options for existing outdoor living spaces, if you are adding or remodeling your Central Maryland outdoor living space, you have the benefit of integrating a wood burning or gas fireplace right into the design. Please do not misunderstand…adding a custom fire feature is, of course, possible for an existing porch, but it is more economical to include as part of your outdoor living design from the start due to the dynamics involved.

Montgomery County, MD, cedar ceiling porch with stunning outdoor fireplace integration.

Montgomery County, MD, cedar ceiling porch with stunning outdoor fireplace integration.

Fireplace – A fireplace provides ambiance and a focal point of rustic beauty for your outdoor room, all while keeping the space toasty warm and comfortable throughout the cold winter months. When used in conjunction with a ceiling fan(s), your porch will be warm enough to enjoy almost year-round.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandArchadeck of Central Maryland & Montgomery has designed and constructed many outdoor living spaces to the rave reviews of our clients! We can provide more ideas on utilizing your screened porch or 3-season room year-round, or if you are ready to update your current outdoor living space, contact Archadeck of Central Maryland & Montgomery today at (301) 926 – 3001 or via email at centralmaryland@archadeck.net. Our expert team has many options available to suit your needs, budget and keep you loving outdoor living season after season!

 

Archadeck of Central Maryland explores the versatility and freedom of a convertible porch

Is a convertible right for you?

Is a convertible right for you?

What is the first image that comes to mind when you hear the word convertible? For many, it may take you back to a time in your youth cruising in a drop-top under a clear blue sky when you hadn’t a care in the world, or the enchanting pitter patter of rain on the ragtop as you stole that goodnight kiss in the front seat of your 69′ Mustang.  No matter where your imagination takes you, the convertible is synonymous with versatility and freedom. Versatility is always a driving force when making selections or purchases geared toward enhancing enjoyment. Such is the case when buying a car, building or purchasing a home and even adding an outdoor living space. One of the best ways to expand your outdoor living enjoyment is with the addition of a convertible porch, sometimes referred to as a three season room or porch.

You can extend the function and versatility of your new or existing screened porch by converting it into a 3-season room through the use of a convertible panel system, such as an Eze-Breeze porch enclosure system from PGT Industries. These systems can be integrated into the initial design of a new porch addition, or as an enhancement/upgrade for an existing porch.

Eze Breeze porch enclosure in Potomac MD by Archadeck of Central Maryland and Montgomery County

Eze Breeze porch enclosure in Potomac, MD, by Archadeck of Central Maryland and Montgomery County.

Eze-Breeze porch enclosure systems are versatile, attractive, strong and easy to operate. The panels are made using 10-mil vinyl glazing. This type of construction gives the benefit and transparency of glass without the cost or the weight. The panels are also less susceptible to cracking or breaking. Unlike traditional windows, they don’t require a traditional window frame. The window panels are custom-sized to fit your existing openings without re-framing, which is a cost saving alternative to a traditional screened porch to sunroom conversion. In addition the vertical 4-track unit  gives you the capability of opening the windows up to 75% of the window area, which is well over the 50% offered by traditional glass products. This feature allows you to maintain the features and view you love about your screened porch by simply opening the windows when you like. If accidentally pushed or distorted, (like those accidental “pop flies” that may occur during a backyard baseball game), the tough 10-mil vinyl will return to its original shape within minutes — no worries.

Eze-Breeze is strong and durable

Eze-Breeze is strong and durable.

Our convertible porches are designed to make your screened porches more utilized places. We offer custom made-to-order components allow you to have fun designing an outdoor space that’s just right for you. You can use them to replace existing screen enclosures or if you’re adding a new one. These porch enclosure systems deliver the best of both worlds, screen when you want it, or a more enclosed “windowed” room when you want it too!

One of Archadeck of Central Maryland and Montgomery County’s most recent convertible porch projects took place in Potomac. In this circumstance, we added a three-season room using Eze-Breeze over an existing slate patio. The completed project exemplifies freedom and versatility, take a look…

Versatility abounds in this Eze Breeze convertible porch by Archadeck in Potomac,MD

As you can clearly see from the images showing the room’s interior, the space delivers a multi-functional outdoor room for all seasons. By simply clicking the panels in, or out, of a fixed position on their effortless four-track you can let Mother Nature in, or keep Old Man Winter out! The choice is yours!

Relaxing interior of this Potomac, MD, Eze Breeze 3-season room addition

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandThe benefits and freedom a convertible porch can bring to your outdoor living environment are endless. Contact Archadeck of Central Maryland and Montgomery County today about this wonderful product and learn more about transforming your screened porch into a room for all seasons! You may contact us by phone at (301) 926 – 3001 or via email at centralmaryland@archadeck.net

This Gaithersburg screen porch and deck combination takes memorable to a new level

Gaithersburg screen porch

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The slideshow above gives a glimpse of what our design meeting will be like. When we propose and illustrate a solution to our clients, we show them a true-to-life rendering and show it from the various important angles so the homeowners know exactly what they will be getting.

Gaithersburg screen porch builder

This Gaithersburg screen porch and deck combination lends plenty of room for rest and relaxation

These Gaithersburg  homeowners came to us with a full walkout basement on their 18-20 year old existing home and asked that we create a screened porch and deck combination that they can enjoy everyday. They wanted the type that would transport them back to a time when the days moved a little slower and the pressures of the everyday were non-existent. They wanted the design to provide functionality and style. We were able to give these homeowners both with a rustic screen porch that is reminiscent of the screened porches we enjoyed when we were all children. The kind of structure that takes you back to a time of fewer worries, more fun and a lot more time to relax.

Gaithersburg screen porch Gaithersburg deck builder

This angle of the custom design rendering shows how Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County solved the roof height concern.

When we first began construction on this Gaithersburg screened porch, we were concerned because the roof lines were a challenge with the garage roof being one story and the existing home being a two-story roof. Wherein lies the challenge that half the roof was over the garage and half was over the home.  We love the challenge in overcoming even the most difficult challenges to find a design solution. We utilize design software to help us illustrate these challenges once we create a design solution to fit the homeowners’ needs and design challenges.  We were able to present these Gaithersburg homeowners with a professional design rendering that encompassed everything they wanted and more. This is perhaps the most fun part of the job – being able to come up with creative solutions.

Gathersbur screen porch with attached deck

The new location of the stairs adds more accessibility into the backyard.

Our solution was to re-structure the homeowners’ existing deck to support the weight of the screened porch. We then enlarged the deck to provide a barbecue area adjacent to the screened porch.We usually find that when homeowners add a screened porch to their deck area they don’t need as much of an open outdoor area as they would if they did not have the advantages of a screened porch. Homeowners end up utilizing their deck space for a barbecue or grilling area and additional seating and dining. We then relocated the stairs to provide access to the backyard. The enlarged deck was then  re-decked with TimberTech composite decking in beautiful twin plank in redwood. This color choice adds to the rustic charm of the entire structure. To complement the new deck, we used black Deckorators balusters.

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This Gaithersburg screened porch is big on rustic detailing and style

The screened porch is designed with an open screened gable to provide ample light and ventilation. This open and airy design element is further carried out with the use of open, exposed rafters. The combination of the exposed rafters and the open design of this screened porch gives it a country casual, rustic feel that is really popular among screen porch owners right now. Rustic never goes out of style, they are just more detailed versions of the beloved screen porches our parents had growing up.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandIf you are ready to be transported back in time to a time period when you could breathe easier and time seemed to stand still, the addition of a magical outdoor structure may be the answer. Contact Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County to plan, design and build an unforgettable outdoor structure to make new memories within. (301) 926 – 3001
montgomeryco@archadeck.net or centralmaryland@archadeck.net

Columbia MD deck gets transformed into a screen porch. Can your deck be transformed into a screen porch?

Screen porch builder Columbia MD deck builder

This design rendering shows what the anticipated completed Columbia, MD structure will look like.

Who doesn’t love spending time on their deck? Decks are great for entertaining, grilling out and soaking in the sun. However decks are “time sensitive”, meaning when the winds grow colder, or the autumn showers come to call you are deprived of many hours of enjoyment if a deck is your sole outdoor structure. One Columbia, MD porch builder is changing the way we look at decks by taking a portion of your deck, and in some cases the whole area, and turning it into an enclosed, insect free, rain-friendly haven screened porch or 3-season porch where you can welcome the beauty of the changing seasons without the harshness of the elements.

Columbia, MD deck before the transformation began.

This image shows the Columbia, MD deck before Archadeck of Maryland began the transformation.

That’s right. If your deck’s foundation is built to support a roof, you can covert all or a portion of your deck into a screen porch, open porch or enclosed room with a minimal amount of fuss. In this story Archadeck of Montgomery County and Archadeck of Central Maryland is converting a section of this Columbia, MD homeowners deck into a screen porch. We also go a step beyond a screened porch by using a convertible enclosure system that will extend this Columbia, MD homeowners enjoyment and use time well into the colder months.

This "before" photo shows the area where Archadeck of Maryland will be extending the overhang to accomadate the screen porch.

This "before" photo shows the area where Archadeck of Maryland will be extending the overhang to accommodate the screen porch.

This “in progress” transformation in Columbia, MD is proof positive that a screen porch doesn’t just need to be a screen porch.  This particular deck is located under the 2nd story overhang. We are expanding the overhang to accommodate the new living space and we will also be installing an accordion style folding screen door that will completely open up the area. In another portion we are going to be using an Artistic Enclosures system with sliding windows that also open completely. The homeowner wanted the enclosure to have the capability of being removable and also sliding. This is accomplished using the ScreenPlus contemporary system we are using to define the new space.

This area will encompass the  new Columbia, MD screened / enclosed porch.

This area will encompass the new Columbia, MD screened / enclosed porch.

Once completed this Columbia, MD home will have the capability for enjoyment for 3 if not 4 seasons. The combination of outdoor structures will also be conducive to entertaining on a grander scale with areas for conversation, dining or whatever these homeowners  have in mind.

This "before" photo shows the side of the  Columbia, MD home prior to  Archadeck of Maryland starting construction.

This "before" photo shows the side of the Columbia, MD home prior to Archadeck of Maryland starting construction.

You may ask ” is my deck able to be transformed in the same manner”? And, the answer lies within your deck’s structure itself. Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County discusses the idea of converting your deck into a screen porch, or enclosed porch and gives valuable insight and technical  advice on doing this at your home.

Columbia_MD_screen_porch_builder_deck_builder

Design rendering showing view from the side upon completion of Columbia, MD structure.

Can I Convert?

You may be able to convert with minimal effort, but in many cases the foundation will have to reinforced. In a screen porch scenario for example, you must have the capability to support the perimeter because that is where all the snow loading and roof load areas come into play. In this situation we will need to add footings at the perimeters where the walls attach. If your original deck was a permitted project to begin with, then there is a  possibility that you won’t need additional foundation reinforcement. A licensed, custom builder will be able to address any foundation concerns before you begin your conversion.  If you are building onto a deck that has decking boards that have gaps, then we install screen under the structure to keep insects out and may install skirting around it as well. When building a porch from the ground up and making it convertible, you will probably want to choose a flooring which contains no gaps. You also want to choose a material that ensures your boards won’t succumb to cupping, this is important when considering a lower grade material. Ventilation is also important when choosing your flooring material.

Screen_porch_builder_Columbia_MD_deck_builder(2)

This alternate view shows the completed structure in all its glory.

As you can tell, many consideration go into turning your deck, or a portion thereof, into a screen porch, covered porch or enclosed porch. A strong firm foundation is the important factor when deciding to transform your deck. Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County  can make sure your structure is strong from the ground up and can turn your deck into an all season place of refuge and enjoyment. Contact us today to learn more about deck to porch conversions and deck and porch combination outdoor structures. You can call us at (301) 926 – 3001 or send us an email at montgomeryco@archadeck.net or centralmaryland@archadeck.net

John Barrett Archadeck of Maryland

Top 5 reasons to build your screen porch this fall

Archadeck of Maryland outdoor space with gazebo, firepit, grill area, privacy fence and much more

This outdoor space has it all, a screened gazebo, fire pit and grill area all of which can add the utmost enjoyment during the fall months.

Fall comes into our lives each year like a daydream with visions of crimson and amber leaves set adrift on a fall wind, and the pleasant feeling of acorns falling from majestic oaks that play party to scampering chipmunks and squirrels. As one of the most dramatic seasons, autumn is best enjoyed as a front row spectator. The aromas, the mild temperatures and above all the flurry of colors can serve as an inspiration to your daily life from your very own outdoor structure. Imagine curling up on your chaise lounge with your favorite throw while enjoying a  cup of chai tea and witnessing the magic of the season up close and personal from your new screened porch. This scene is delicious, especially when you are flipping through a current issue of your favorite home and garden magazine and realizing the images within the pages don’t hold a candle to the beauty that is present in your very own backyard from your stunning custom outdoor structure with mother nature’s imagery as your backdrop.

Archadeck of Maryland screened porch

This screened porch by Archadeck of Maryland offers a vantage point to watch the leaves change.

Imagine the amount of fun and family memories that can be made in the fall while making smore’s on your very own outdoor fireplace or fire pit. The cool breezes, the warm enticing glow of the fire and the warmth of your loved ones around you. Fall is the perfect season to build your outdoor structure for many reasons, we have broken these reasons into a list of the top 5 to serve as much for inspiration as for guidance.

Top 5 reasons to build your outdoor structure this fall

#1) There is still time to enjoy– There is still plenty of time to enjoy your new structure this season. The upcoming weeks still hold the promise of nice enough weather to be able to enjoy your new structure.

#2) A front row seat to fall– The leaves in some areas are just now getting their tinges of fall color, with many weeks of beauty that lie ahead. Wouldn’t you rather see the season unfold from the comfort of your outdoor structure as opposed to looking at it from a window in your home. Fall is the definitely the prettiest time of the year to build.

#3) Get in on the savings– Undoubtedly, prices on low maintenance building materials are destined to go up again in 2012. Indeed they go up at the beginning of each year. If you start your construction in the fall, you will have the edge on saving money because you will have begun before prices rise again in the upcoming new year.

#4) Avoid the rush– You can avoid the rush on building during the spring when everyone else decides to get things started. In the fall there is not a long waiting period to begin your project, and come spring you will be “sitting  pretty” in your completed structure, while everyone else is still waiting to begin construction on theirs.

#5) Stop and smell the flowers– Many seasonal perennials can be damaged when the soil around them is disturbed during the extreme cold of winter or the excessive heat and humidity of summer. Uprooting or disturbing the soil and roots of plants like Rhododendrons and Azaleas which are commonly used as foundation plantings can damage the plant and leave the plant susceptible to disease, fungus and insects.

Outdoor fireplace on screened porch

An outdoor fireplace used within a screened porch can add warmth as well as offer an intimate setting for chilly autumn nights.

Another great benefit of building your outdoor structure in the fall is being able to take advantage of all those end of-season discounts on accoutrements  and accessories for your outdoor space such as outdoor furniture, grills and decorative items. Autumn is the time for deep discounts on these items and can give you the ability to stretch your dollar further than if you were purchasing these items in peak season.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandIf you are ready to jump into fall, and get a head start on enjoying the benefits of an outdoor structure such as a screened porch, covered porch, covered patio, deck or outdoor fireplace, contact Archadeck of  Central Maryland  and Archadeck of Montgomery County to learn more. (301) 926 – 3001
montgomeryco@archadeck.net
centralmaryland@archadeck.net

Top 10 considerations when building a porch.

Interior of two story screened porch by Archadeck of Maryland

This screened porch by Archadeck of Central Maryland and Montgomery County boasts two levels of beauty and quality.

When making the decision to build an outdoor structure, or outdoor room there are many things to take into considerations. Making the right decisions early on in the process cannot only ensure your outdoor structure compliments your home and landscape, but it can also improve your lifestyle and add value to your property. And above all, it can impact your state of mind.

Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County pride ourselves in planning, designing and building outdoor structures that really make a difference in how you live. One such structure that is sure to add beauty and enjoyment to your life is a porch. Porches can be covered or uncovered; attached to your home, patio or deck; or even detached in a prime location within your landscape. We have compiled a list of the top ten considerations to think of in the planning stage when building the porch of your dreams.

Archadeck of Maryland Screened porch

This screened porch by Archadeck of Central Maryland and Montgomery County utilizes a fireplace for function and aesthetic appeal.

Top 10 considerations to consider when building a porch:

1) What function would you be performing in your porch? This by far is the first and foremost question to take into consideration as it dictates where the porch itself should be located, whether it will be detached or attached and what amenities it will need to include. Usually porches serve as either an extended outdoor family room, or an outdoor dining area, or a combination of both. If it will serve as an outdoor dining space, the porch’s proximity to your home’s kitchen is very important. If you are going to use the porch to function as an outdoor family room, then the proximity to the kitchen is not a big issue. You also need to consider how you want to utilize your space once the seasons change. If you want to make use of your space within the cooler months of the year you may consider building a convertible Artistic Enclosures porch, which uses wall systems to enhance your space from season to season, or Eze breeze by PGT , which uses a screen plus a sliding 4-track convertible system. If you want your porch to serve as an extension of the home because of a lack of indoor living space, you can make the porch a convertible space with windows that can be removed during the warm months, but serve your needs for an enclosed, heated space during the winter months as well.

Archadeck of Maryland covered porch.

This Maryland covered porch offers easy access to and from the kitchen.

2) How high off the ground should your porch be?  This is something most homeowners don’t consider but is a crucial element when thinking of building your porch. If the space between your porch and the area it is intended to work with are too far away or create an inconvenience to move between areas, then chances are that you will not only regret your configuration but may stop using the room altogether for the purpose which it was initially intended.

Archadeck of Maryland screened porch

This two-story screened porch by Archadeck of Central Maryland and Montgomery County utilizes a large area for dining and a large area for entertaining.

3) How large should your porch be? Deciding what size porch you really need will impact how you use your porch throughout it’s lifetime. You need to figure out how many people are going to be using it and what function they will be using it for. I actually often recommend that my customers build a smaller porch than they were originally intending. Here’s the reason. If you envision having a porch span the entire width of the back of your home, that may be much more space than you need and can even cause the room to lose its cozy appeal.

Think of a home that has a very large room that goes from the front to the back of the home or from one side of the home clear to the other side. Often times these large rectangular rooms are hard to decorate and cause the room to be much less cozy. Now if your intention is for your porch to really serve the purpose of being two distinct rooms, then it might make sense. Let’s say that you want to use one side of your porch as an outdoor dining area and that part of the porch opens up into or very close to the kitchen. Then you may want to use the other side as a living room sort of area and that side opens up into your living area in the home. Then, that’s a really good use of a long rectangular space.

A good all around size for a porch that is designed for one living space is generally a 16×16 or 16×18. If you are still unsure, then measure your home’s living or family room. Do make sure to take into consideration the space needed when the items are pulled out. For example, consider how much space is needed around your table when everyone is sitting back after a large meal. People generally pull their chairs out from the table. Will there still be room and foot room within the structure with the planned furnishings? When making your final decision build for the 90%, not the 10%. Even though you don’t want to build more space than you have, not having enough room is a greater dilemma than having a little too much as you can’t just add a few feet to a porch the way you might be able to do with a deck or patio.

4) Screen anyone? If you are choosing a screened porch, then your screening system and type of screen you choose is very important. If your goal is to really enjoy the view of your back yard, try using a screen system that is as invisible as possible. Here are some situations that may require a stronger screen system. Might your screen come in contact with falling tree branches or limbs, birds, cats, or even hockey sticks? Screen comes in many different types to accommodate your individual needs. Durable screens, such as Super Screen which offers a 10 year warranty is recommended for people with dogs and cats. Privacy screens are also available which are a more opaque screening material and appear almost invisible. You can even use exterior grade shades, like roman shades for example.

Mahogany_screened_porch_Bethesda_MD

This porch in Bethseda, MD shows how beautiful a mahogany floor can be when used on a porch.

5) Flooring options. Your porch’s flooring is front and center so choosing a flooring material that appeals to your eye is important. In most cases, your porch will offer some protection from the elements so you have more flexibility when it comes to your flooring than you would on other outdoor structures, such as your deck. If a natural look of wood is your style, woods such a mahogany and tigerwood are popular to use on porches. Some people use stone and tile, which can be pretty but can also be very problematic. The grouting used in stone and tile will eventually crack with the cold and freezing weather conditions we have here in MD. These materials also are cold to the touch, and that also means to the feet. Another choice is a tongue and groove composite. They are long-lasting, and offer beauty and little maintenance.

Archadeck of Maryland screened porch

This screened porch ceiling was finished with beautiful cedar.

6) Coming out on top? This would be your ceiling material choice. In most scenarios your ceiling material will not become a maintenance issue. Ceiling materials that are popular right  now amongst porches are beadboard, and tongue-and-groove pine or cedar. These all offer a touch of rustic elegance to your structure. Skylights are a viable option in darker landscapes that need additional light in the structure or the home. Skylights can be used on any porch which is well lit, or otherwise. But most homeowners with ample light often don’t choose them because of the additional cost. Velux makes a wonderful Low-E skylight. Skylights can also come with a range of features including rain sensors which will close the skylight, remote controls and even blinds built right into the skylight.

MD_screened_porch_with_outdoor_fireplace

Plenty of lighting and ceiling fans can enhance the enjoyment on your porch.

7) Really think about your lighting and electrical needs. It is important to think about this up front. Most people who build a porch consider it their favorite room and are filled with regret that they didn’t build it years before they did. Remember, it is always better to put in too may electrical outlets, than too little. The cost to add outlets in the building process is minimal. The cost to add outlets after building is complete can be very substantial. Think about having outlets to plug in both floor lamps and table lamps. You will likely want an outlet to charge your phone and other to charge your laptop. You will use other electronics such as your television. Depending on the use of the room, you may even want to plug in a blender for margaritas or other kitchen apparatus as well.

Lighting comes in three different formats- table and floor, fan package, and ceiling fixtures. If you desire lighting in the ceiling, you should go with covering the rafters as opposed to leaving them exposed. With recessed lighting you can hide the wire more easily. You can also easily add insulation if you have a covered rafter.

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Archadeck of Maryland captures the charm and beauty of a by-gone era in covered porch design

8) Exterior materials. Maintenance free, formal and finished, or rustic and natural? There are lots of exterior material choices available for porches. Many times we trim the exterior using vinyl because aside from minimal cleaning, it is virtually maintenance free. Based on the elevation of your structure you may or may not need railing or a kneewall. Not having a lot of additional areas to cover will cut down on costs and will give you more light and airflow.

9) Welcome! The style of door you choose is extremely important within your structure. We have customers that stick to wood, but they are few. Most of our homeowners use storm doors. Storm doors are light when they have screen in them. Choosing a good quality storm door may or may not be that much more costly than using a wood door. It will give you more protection from the elements and can also be safer from a security perspective because of its strength.

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This gabled roof lends clean design lines in this covered porch by Archadeck of Maryland

10) Style of roof. Gabled roofs are quite popular amongst our porch customers. However if you are building gables, you will need to make sure it works with the windows above. There are other roof styles available that may harmonize better with your residence. If building a detached porch, you may or may not choose to match the structures roof to your home’s roof, many times a different style roof on a detached porch compliments the property better than a matching roof.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandArchadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County can help you when deciding all the basics of building your porch. We can meet with you and discuss all the options and what will work best for your particular circumstances. This is the fun stuff for us.

Contact us today to help you get started on a structure that will give you and your family much enjoyment for years to come. (301) 926 – 3001 centralmaryland@archadeck.net or montgomeryco@archadeck.net

Screened porch in Bethesda MD

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This photo shows the rich hues of the mahogany flooring used in this new screened porch in Bethesda, MD

These homeowners in Bethesda, MD  got just what the doctor ordered with this beautiful low-to-grade screened porch by Archadeck of Maryland. As any good doctor will tell you “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  Since this structure is right on the grade of the property proper preventative measures were taken during construction to make sure the structure was around for many years to come.

Another view of this lovely Bethseda, MD screened porch by Archadeck of Maryland

Another view of this lovely Bethseda, MD screened porch by Archadeck of Maryland

The homeowners decided upon a screened porch with a vinyl trimmed interior and exterior and finished with deep, rich mahogany flooring and a mahogany rail cap. Even though the mahogany flooring is rated for outside use, Archadeck of Maryland took preventative measures to ensure moisture did not make this beautiful  flooring cup or fall victim to water problems in the future.

Archadeck of Maryland took preventative measures to ensure this Mahogany floor stays beautiful Bethseda,MD

Archadeck of Maryland took preventative measures to ensure this Mahogany floor stays beautiful

First we poured a concrete slab and applied moisture barrier under and above the slab. We used EPDM  moisture barrier which is typically used for flat porticoes and provides excellent performance.  We then installed sleepers. This is wood that sits atop a concrete slab to provide a surface to nail the flooring into. Since the homeowners wanted maximum ventilation within the screened porch, we built the structure without a knee wall.

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A room with a view for these Bethesda, MD homeowners

Since vinyl paints really well as opposed to wood which can flake off due to the expansion and contraction that is natural in most woods, the homeowners decided to paint the vinyl to match the existing home.  The homeowners decided upon a ply bead ceiling which they also chose to paint. Archadeck of Maryland painted not only the screened porch area, we also were able to paint the siding on the exterior of their home and the shutters for them as well. In many cases homeowners need and want assistance with other tasks that are not directly related to our task which is building the outdoor structure. Since we have the skills, experience and desire to help our clients with other needs, we are always happy to accommodate that need for them. In this case we were even able to pressure wash their home and patio and extend their french drain. Archadeck of Maryland will be re-doing the patio for these homeowners in the future.

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The absence of a knee wall allows for more ventilation and lets more of the outdoors in

During construction of the screened porch the homeowners new outdoor furniture arrived and it turned out to be a little larger than anticipated. The homeowners pondered whether to extend the size of the structure to accommodate the furniture. After careful consideration Archadeck of Maryland made some slight adjustments for the furniture to fit. With a structure such as a screened porch scaling a project is important to the structural integrity of the new structure and how it harmonizes with your home. Bigger does not always mean better. As with the case of this structure, once the structure was completed these Bethesda, MD homeowners were elated with the finished product. Now they have a splendid spot to spend long afternoons watching nature unfold around them.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandWhether you see a screened porch, covered porch or new deck in your future Archadeck of Maryland can plan, design and build whatever you set your sights on. Contact us to find out more about making the most out of your outdoor living endeavor. (301) 926 – 3001
centralmaryland@archadeck.net

You can also visit our photo gallery to see other beautiful screened porch ideas for more viewing enjoyment.

A Columbia, MD screened porch and patio combination

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Another example of a screened porch with Mahogany flooring by Archadeck of Maryland

I know you have heard the old adage “you get what you pay for”. Much can be said in the same light when it comes to having an outdoor living structure such as a screened porch or patio built to enhance your home and lifestyle. Hiring a professional such as a custom builder will ensure that every nuance, forethought and even aterthought is covered before your addition is in use. Archadeck of Maryland is currently building a screened porch and patio combination for  homeowners in Columbia, MD and as with the case in many of our endeavors we turn the spotlight onto this particular job and as anticipation towards completion mounts we focus on how important it is to choose a custom builder to ensure the job is done right from the beginning.

These Columbia, MD homeowners wanted a low-to-grade screened porch with mahogany flooring.  We are installing a mahogany floor which has a moisture barrier to minimize any cupping with the mahogany itself. We laid the flooring in a straight pattern, because when you think of a structure such as a screened porch you think of it as an extension of your “living” area. Hardwoods laid within the interior of homes are most often laid in a traditional  straight pattern versus an angled pattern that is often times used when laying decking boards. The exterior of the screened porch is pressure treated, which gives the structure a more “cottage” type feel to it, more relaxed and casual. Using pressure treated wood enables the homeowners to paint the exterior to their liking. The only trade-off with the use of an exterior finish such as pressure treated is you have to decide early whether you want your structure to have a casual feel to it versus one with more formality. The dimensions will be a substantial 12 feet out and 16 feet across, and we are using an open gable design which will allow more light to flow into the structure.

One challenge we faced is the location of the exterior AC unit. It is directly in the location where the screened porch needs to be, therefore we had to have it moved to a more suitable location. We would’ve recommended that the AC unit be moved even if it wasn’t a necessity of the design because of the noise that would have been bothersome and taken away from the enjoyment of the screened porch. Relocating items such as an AC unit should only cost a few hundred dollars, not thousands, and little nuances such as these which are overlooked by less experienced builders make a dramatic impact on how your structure turns out. A custom builder will plan for the unexpected and make adjustments that could impact the quality of your outdoor living enjoyment before and during the building process to protect your investment and make sure you get the most out of your structure.

The homeowners considered stamped concrete for the patio but decided against it because of the climate in this region. Columbia, MD is known to receive several hard freezes and with stamped concrete and freezing climates, it is not a matter of “if” it will crack-but “when” it will crack. With this in mind the homeowners decided upon a paver patio using Cambridge pavers in  toffee/onyx and used three different sized bricks in random pattern with a brick border. Archadeck of Maryland suggested the curved pattern to add more style and some flow to the design. These high quality pavers have very little fading and resemble the look and feel of real stone.  We laid the pavers with polymeric sand which actually hardens in the same manner as grout. Polymeric sand is easily expandable and makes it easier to make adjustments. There are some who are concerned that weeds can grow up and through the polymeric sand, but this rarely if ever happens.

The patio will measure 16′ wide and 12′ across when completed and allows ample room allowing for a grilling and eating area as well.

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Screened porch by Archadeck of Maryland built in pressure treated wood

The homeowners foresee the screened porch as becoming a frequently used living space for their family. We made certain to have plenty of electrical outlets installed, lights and a ceiling fan. They are looking forward to plugging in the flat screen and watching football on the new screened porch, as well as many quiet hours enjoying a good book. We wanted to make sure all the necessary wiring and electrical needs were met to accommodate the family’s present and future needs. With a custom builder these needs are met prior to completion of your structure, so there are plenty of plugs for that reading light and all the wiring are completed to make it possible to catch that Sunday afternoon college game without any hassle or frustration.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandIf you are planning an upcoming structure to enhance your outdoor living enjoyment and want it built with quality and beauty under foot from the beginning, contact Archadeck of Maryland we will make sure every detail is planned and executed to the highest standards with your comfort in mind. (301) 926 – 3001
centralmaryland@archadeck.net