Post Derecho Maryland Storm Deck Repair Needed

Photo courtesy of covisiasolutions.wordpress.com

The derecho, the complex storm that caught most of us off guard here in Maryland and the DC metropolitan a little over one month ago, created some substantial damage and unfortunately some casualties. This dangerous storm left over a million local residents without power, plus the high impact winds meant a lot of tree limbs fell and debris hit homes, cars, and outdoor structures. Unfortunately, some of the beautiful outdoor living spaces we have created had to “weather” what is being called one of the “most destructive complexes of thunderstorms in memory to have swept through the entire DC area.”

We rebuilt a deck for one client last September, and she emailed us to let us know that a tree struck her deck and there was some minor damage from the 2012 derecho. She wanted us to come out, inspect and give our professional opinion on the repair needed so that she could let her insurance company know. She also mentioned: “By the way – I know our old deck would have collapsed like a deck of cards. The tree definitely took the brunt of the damage not our deck; a testament to excellent construction.”

We love to hear feedback like that from our customers, and we’re glad that our solid construction, sturdy and high-quality materials, and reliable craftsmanship have helped many Maryland residents enjoy their outdoor living space and are structures that will stand the test of time.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandIf you had damage done to your deck, patio, screen porch or other outdoor structure, feel free to give us a call. We offer free deck safety inspections. We also design and build new decks, 3- or 4-season rooms, sun rooms, screened porches, patios, trellises, pergolas, arbors or fire pits for homes in Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County or Prince Georges County MD. Our initial design consultation is free. Give us a call at 301-926-3001 or email us to schedule yours today.

A Chevy Chase MD deck and open porch by Archadeck of Maryland

Close up view of Chevy Chase, MD covered porch by Archadeck of Central MD

Our 3-dimensional design rendering shows the open porch design and how it flows from the deck to the homes interior with ease

Maybe you can relate to this scenario…  You move from your existing home into a home that offers more of what you need and want out of a house. The basis  for your move may be a bigger home, a better address, a shorter commute to work or possibly all of the above. Once you get settled into your new location and it begins to feel like home you realize that the outdoor structure that you had at your previous home has been much more sorely missed than you would’ve ever imagined. Even though your interior living space exceeds your expectations, when you reminisce about the old deck and porch you left behind you find yourself humming the tune of the Michael Bolton song, ” how am I supposed to live without you”?

Complete view of Chevy Chase, MD deck and open porch by Archadeck of Maryland

This image shows the Chevy Chase, MD outdoor living areas in their entirety

This is exactly what happened to these Chevy Chase, MD homeowners upon their recent move. They really enjoyed spending time outdoors and they found themselves in a most unfortunate circumstance; their wonderful new home had no outdoor living space at all. Their old home had a nice deck that they used frequently and they contacted us to get the ball rolling to design an outdoor space for them to help quench their thirst for outdoor living.

Chevy Chase deck builder back elevation

This detailed drawing shows the back elevation of the structure and how it harmonizes with the architecture of the home

We set out to design an elegant and formal looking space for them that would incorporate a roomy new deck and open porch. The couple’s existing home is a two-story with a  basement that grades up from one side to the other. Our challenge was to overcome the slope of the space as well as incorporate a large tree that the outdoor structures needed to harmonize with. Our solution was to concentrate our design on the homes rectilinear design to create a space that compliments the home, offers a comforting flow to and from the home’s interior spaces and lends itself to future projects in the back yard.

Close up design rendering of flow and function of Chevy Chase, MD deck and porch by Archadeck of Maryland

Close up design rendering showing the flow and function of this Chevy Chase, MD deck and porch by Archadeck of Maryland

We are constructing a deck which also includes a large rectangular open porch which matches the architecture of the house. The area will tie together with a hip roof on an open porch. The open porch is six plus feet above the grade of the lot so they will enjoy insect control because of the elevation. The french doors that are being installed off the home’s dining room will spill out onto the porch and will also provide access to the family room addition which was added to the home a few years ago. We are flanking either side of the doors which will serve as eating and seating areas. From one side of the open porch the homeowner will have close proximity to the interior kitchen. We also designed the deck to include the family barbecue area in close proximity to the kitchen area for ease and convenience when entertaining or dining outdoors. Since one of the homeowner’s wishes is to focus on the elegance within the outdoor space, the columns will be trimmed to blend the front exterior of the home and will make the design refined, tight and cohesive.

Design rendering prepared for Chevy Chase, MD porch and deck by Archadeck of Maryland

Design rendering prepared for Chevy Chase, MD porch and deck by Archadeck of Maryland

The stunning deck is designed to allow for future projects in the backyard as the homeowners see fit. On the deck and open porch we are using Guardian Prestige in weather wood with Shoreline railings. The entire project was carved like a diamond out of the rough for these Chevy Chase, MD homeowners. Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County was able to overcome the designing obstacles with ease and perfection. The homeowners are eager to enjoy their completed deck and open porch for many years to come.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandContact Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County to find out how to create an outdoor oasis in your own backyard. We provide quality outdoor structures that will not only add value to your home, but enrich your life as well. (301) 926 – 3001
centralmaryland@archadeck.net or montgomeryco@archadeck.net

See more deck and open porch designs by Visiting our Deck galleries and porch galleries located on our website.

This Rockville, MD portico by Archadeck of Maryland takes this home from nice to stunning

The addition of this portico by Archadeck of Maryland gives this Rockville, MD home a new outlook.

The addition of this portico by Archadeck of Maryland gives this Rockville, MD home a new look.

In a world where first impressions mean everything, making the decision to upgrade your front entry or front porch can add tremendous curb appeal to your entire home. A front porch or portico addition can make your home appear larger and more inviting. When you look at the dynamics of design and construction, many times little things can mean a lot. Changing a small area of a home can make a tremendous impact on how the home feels, and especially in the way the home is perceived. Making changes to areas such as entrances, porches or even a upgrading your front door can improve upon your homes aesthetic  appeal and play a role in how visitors and guests feel as they enter your home.

This photo shows the new and improved front porch area perfect for these Rockville, MD homeowners to enjoy their beautifully landscaped front yard.

This photo shows the new and improved front porch area perfect for these Rockville, MD homeowners to enjoy their beautifully landscaped front yard.

These Rockville, MD homeowners recently contacted us to transform their home’s front entrance to not only beautify the front entrance but to also provide them with the ability to enjoy their beautiful front yard within a “rocking chair” front porch environment. By adding the front portico to this already nice looking home, we were able to provide all this and a great deal more for these Rockville homeowners and turn the residence into a stunning structure which is alive with timeless elegance.

This is the "before" photo of this Rockville, MD home before Archadeck of Maryland added the front portico to the structure.

This is the "before" photo of this Rockville, MD home before Archadeck of Maryland added the front portico to the structure.

Their home is a circa. 1960′s traditional two-story colonial with an attached 2-car garage constructed in brick and clap siding. The front door to the home was a standard door with federal style trim. This home although classic in its design, was built during a period in architecture when entrances to homes were not considered to be a prominent feature in the home’s design. We set our sights on changing this to a front entrance that would become a focal point for the home and also encompass everything that the homeowners desired to achieve by transforming this area of their home.

Interior view of the new Rockville, MD portico by Archadeck of Maryland

Interior view of the new Rockville, MD portico by Archadeck of Maryland

Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County built a front porch over half of the front between the family room kick out with low maintenance tongue and groove AZEK  porch flooring which allowed for continuity of the home’s traditional style. We then add footed columns on either side of the porch which give the portico a regal and stately feel as you enter. We even added ceiling fans to make the portico easy to love even when the weather is warm. The end result is a stunning transformation that looks original to the home and gives the entire house a new look.

The homeowners couldn’t be more pleased with their new portico that looks original to this classic structure. They can now enjoy their front yard season upon season, and receive guests in style with this gracious portico.

The new portico changes the whole dynamic of this Rockville, MD homes design.

The new portico changes the whole dynamic of this Rockville, MD homes design.

If you are looking for a way to add style and curb appeal to your home, consider updating your homes front porch or adding a portico to your existing home. Making the decision to transform this area can give your home a more updated look, and in many cases can add tremendous value to your home as well. Contact Archadeck of Central Maryland and Archadeck of Montgomery County to discuss design options for the front entrance to your home. We can give your residence the face-lift you and your beloved home deserves. (301) 926 – 3001
centralmaryland@archadeck.net and montgomeryco@archadeck.net

John Barrett Archadeck of Maryland

See more stunning transformations featuring our custom front porch and portico designs by visiting our photo galleries at http://central-maryland.archadeck.com/pickYourProject/FrontPorchesPorticos.html and http://montgomery-county.archadeck.com/pickYourProject/FrontPorchesPorticos.html

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

An open porch/covered porch or screened porch – that is the question. See what these Highland MD owners chose.

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

When I think of the concept of an open porch design my mind drifts to the grace of a structure constructed with white columns where you spend the late afternoon relaxing and sipping iced tea. This image takes me back to a time when things were simpler and the world moved a little bit slower.  The covered porches of today encompass that same great architecture that we remember from an era gone by. Round columns used in an open covered porch are still hugely popular and are considered quite upscale. When you look at a screened porch, the first thing you notice are these columns, which is part of the covered porch’s appeal and charm. The columns are used to make an architectural statement as well as laying a firm foundation for the structural integrity of the structure itself.

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

We enjoy designing and building both screened porches, and covered or open porches. If you’re thinking about adding a new porch to your home, how do you decide which is best for you? I’ll talk about several factors that may help you decide whether screens or open air are best for you.

Shape

In terms of shape, screened porches, because of the screens and the architectural limitations of making a screened structure, usually end up with a boxed structure, either square or rectangular. The dimensions are usually kept within certain confines to make the screened porch functional and in ratio to the existing house. Covered, open porches are very different in the aspect of what can be done in terms of shape. An open porch gives you more design flexibility by the use of columns. Covered porches can also be built in different shapes, like a half octagon, or even a full octagon reminiscent of a gazebo style design. The use of decorative columns is beautiful and is always popular.

Open porch by Archadeck of Maryland

With round columns and a beautifully detailed ceiling design this covered porch has it all

Columns

Round columns, Georgian and Roman style columns, capital base and trim and even ogee ends halfway up the columns are commonly used in the construction of covered or open porches. Because screening does not need to be attached, column options are greater. The type of columns you choose should complement your home’s architecture, but in the same token, you can choose a design that will have a striking impact on the appearance of the entire back of your residence. With a custom designed and professionally built covered porch you can transform your average looking backyard into something truly magnificent.

Protection from the elements

With an open porch design you will get the same amount of sun protection that you would with a screened porch and you get a little better breeze because there is nothing to impede the air flow. There are drawbacks though, to choosing a covered “open” design versus  screened design. This would be the insects. The insect barrier within a covered porch is non-existent without the luxury of an independent influence. Ceiling fans are commonly used on covered porches to help circulate the air and they provide some minimal insects protection. Insects are less likely to land on you when there is a constant flow of air. A covered porch is an ideal choice for people who want the open feel as well as the endless design possibilities, and those who have a higher tolerance level for insects or those who incorporate pest control into their landscape.

Design rendering in Highland, MD by Archadeck of Maryland

One of the many design renderings Archadeck of Maryland prepared for the upcoming covered porch and deck combination in Highland, MD

Ceilings and electrical

The homeowner has the same options with a covered porch as with a screened porch. Some examples of these options include open or closed rafters, recessed lighting ,skylights, electrical outlets and the capability to mount entertainment equipment such as TV’s, stereos and speakers. There are even open porch designs that incorporate  the luxury of an outdoor fireplaces or outdoor kitchen as well.

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This photo depicts how the upcoming structure will look from an inside the house, with the aid of our design rendering

Another viable option is to construct a deck and covered porch combination structure. In this structure, the porch sits on a deck and the deck extends a significant distance past the porch area. When designing this type of deck/porch combination, Archadeck of Maryland usually extends the deck surface five feet beyond the room and doesn’t add railings. The absence of the railing opens up the deck area and gives you a nice flow from covered to non-covered area as well as from the deck into the yard. This type of design supports the feng shui principles of “less is more”, and not impeding the visual flow from one structure to another.

This upcoming project we are working on in Highland, MD incorporates these same design principles. We are using Square columns, which are large and square to match the homes existing columns. This will ensure the house will match from front to back. When you walk in the home’s entryway, you will see french doors that will lead into the structure. With the aid of a design renderings, which we provide to all of our clients, the homeowners are actually able to “virtually” experience the views of the design before construction begins.

See  more design renderings at the bottom of this post.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandArchadeck of Maryland can plan, design and build a structure that takes you back to a by-gone era with the modern conveniences of today. Contact Archadeck of Maryland today to find out more about these and other outdoor structures. (301) 926 – 3001
centralmaryland@archadeck.net

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You are able to experience another angle with this design rendering for this covered porch and deck in Highland, MD

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This design rendering showcases the open porch in conjunction with the large double deck in Highland, MD

Building an outdoor structure is a personal thing. How do you translate your ideas to design?

Rockville MD custom upscale screened porch builder

Attention to detail and personal tastes play a huge role in creating an outdoor structure that fits the clients needs and wants

As a  homeowner deciding what type of outdoor structure to build can be a difficult undertaking. Especially when you are starting from a blank canvas. How do you even begin to decide what outdoor structure you want or what you would like the design to be? Most “run of the mill” cookie cutter builders want to enter into the job with all the decisions already laid out for them so all they have to do is go in and build what they are told to build, collect their money and get out as quickly as they can.

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A match made in heaven-the screened porch and outdoor fireplace, by Archadeck of Maryland

Building is an interactive process. That is why it is important for you to hire a custom outdoor structures builder. Any building that includes living spaces, whether it is an indoor living space or an outdoor living space is a very personal thing. The decisions you make as far as design and materials can impact your life and the life of your family for years to come. That is why it is important to get it right the first time. It is important to use a builder whose skill set will translate into your needs. A good builder will have the insight, experience and knowledge to listen to you and help translate your needs and wants into a design and a structure that are right for you and your family.

Porch interior detailing like this reflects these Maryland homeowners personal style and individual tastes

I enjoy meeting with the homeowner and talking with them about what kinds of activities they want their outdoor structure to facilitate for them. I look over any pictures they have collected or any ideas they have compiled and integrate all these things into a design rendering of their outdoor structure. The design renderings can  really speak to you  in a way nothing else can. Homeowners find them extremely valuable in deciding upon a certain outdoor structure. The rendering is very realistic and shows details not visible through an average one-dimensional black and white sketch. This realism gives you the ability to make changes and additions to the structure to better suit their needs before construction begins. It is a truly “custom” feature that has proved invaluable in communicating with the homeowner. Most companies do not provide a design rendering.

Interior porch details

Being able to understand the homeowners needs, likes and style choices goes such much further than just being able to compliment their outdoor living environment. I like to understand what it unique about each homeowner’s taste and preferences so that I may design an outdoor structure as individual as you are and encompassing as many elements of your personal taste and style that I can.

When you are planning your ideal outdoor structure it is crucial to think about using the structure every other day, not just on a “special” day, or for special events. You want your outdoor structure to be an expression of you and an extension of your living area.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandI like to meet with each homeowner to discuss the myriad of design choices they have available as well, choices like materials, styles and colors can really help turn their outdoor structure into an extension of their own personalities. I am very passionate about getting to know my customer as well as their likes and needs. My main goal is to help guide them through the process from beginning to end, and end up with an outdoor structure they love.

To set up a design consultation contact Archadeck of Maryland. 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. (301) 926 – 3001
centralmaryland@archadeck.net

You can also visit our photo galleries to see more photos and ideas for outdoor living structures  at  http://central-maryland.archadeck.com/#

An Inspiring Convertibility Possibility: Screened Porch or Covered Porch

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Open porch with octagon roof by Archadeck of Maryland

Here at Archadeck of Maryland we build many different porches and patios. The picture shown to the right is one such structure. This open porch design has a unique octagon roof which the homeowners we built it for fell in love with, as well as myself. This open porch flows harmoniously between the covered area to the deck and beyond. We extended the floored area on the deck an additional four feet to give the necessary space for the furniture and for movement around the furniture.

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This screened porch with travertine floor would convert beautifully into a sunroom

Many outdoor structures offer convertibility to a sunroom or more of an indoor-type room addition.

I find that the primary motive for going for a screened porch vs. an open porch is for bug protection. Many people want to be outdoors but not bothered by the bugs. Screened porches also offer a little more protection from the sun as well.  If people had the ability to have a covered porch without the bugs however, most often they would prefer it over the screened porch because it offers a more open flow and feel to the space.

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An octagonal screened porch as this is an inspiration for conversion

One of the disadvantages of an open porch is if the future you want to convert it to an addition, for example, with decorative columns, that conversion would not be as straight forward. Screened porches offer some convertibility if you wish to make it a convertible porch and then you can get some use out of it in the colder months.

Convertible windows are a viable convertibility option and we have seen some interesting uses from them in coastal environments. You can also use a sliding panel system, such as the artistic enclosures screen plus system. With this system the windows can be lifted completely out to convert a sunroom easily into a screened porch. Horizontal sliding windows, also by artistic enclosures, mimic the function of a sliding door.

Both open porches and screened porches are quite popular here at Archadeck of Maryland. Screened porches are more easily convertible, but the beauty and open feel of the covered porch is still a favorite among our clients.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandIf you are thinking of converting your screened porch into a sunroom, or a new addition such as a covered porch or even a front porch give Archadeck of Maryland a call to find out more. We can convert or construct a structure that will inspire you as well. 301-926-3001 or you may email us at centralmaryland@archadeck. net