The 5 Best Materials for Outdoor Furniture

Archadeck 2012

Have you built the perfect outdoor living space and are now wondering what are the best materials for outdoor furniture, that will insure not just aesthetic and function, but durability? Here at Archadeck of Central Maryland, for over a decade we have designed and installed sunrooms, screen porches, hardscapes, patios, decks, gazebos and more. Once our clients have their new outdoor living space, they often ask us what the best types of outdoor furniture would be as they decorate their space. So consider this post a round-up of the 5 best types of materials for your outdoor furniture!

Cedar and Teak make our list as the top two. They are both types of hard wood that can withstand the harsh elements of the outdoors. They don’t hold as much heat as metal furniture, and see little effect from rain due to their natural enzymes which prevent decay. Wood furniture is a classic choice for decorating your porch, patio or deck, but can be considerably more expensive than furniture constructed from other materials. It’s important to note that other woods that are softer, can absorb moisture and rot over time, so other types of wood would require paint or sealant.

Wicker is another popular material for outdoor furniture. It comes in woven wood or synthetic form. The synthetic wicker stands up well against nature and the elements, while the woven wood type is best with a coat of sealant for protection. The benefits of wicker is that it is lightweight, durable, and easy to clean. Some considerations and perhaps drawbacks of wicker furniture, are that the furniture sets tend to have high price points and can appear massive for smaller and more intimate outdoor settings.

Steel is a durable material found in many outdoor furniture applications. Furniture constructed from steel won’t move around in strong winds. Steel is sturdy and hefty, but can be pricey in outdoor furniture form, plus difficult to easily move or reposition. Steel furniture also necessitates a protective coating to safeguard against rust.

Aluminum is our fifth and final top outdoor furniture material. It is a malleable, lightweight material that works great in a variety of environments, including coastal settings which experience harsh salty/wet and extremely sunny conditions. Aluminum furniture with a powder-coat finish is particularly durable and resistant to both rust and fade. Another benefit of this type of material, is it is simple to clean. Outdoor furniture constructed from aluminum tends to come in a wide variety of styles due to the malleability of the metal.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandArchadeck of Central Maryland is a leader in outdoor design & construction for Baltimore, Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County and Prince Georges County MD. Our team has been designing & constructing outdoor living spaces for over 11 years and has been the recipient of CotY (Contractor of the Year) awards and other distinctions, plus featured in the Washington Post. We’d love to help create the perfect green, outdoor living space for you, whether you’re thinking of building a new eco-friendly deck, 3- or 4-season room, sun room, screened porch, patio, trellis, pergola, arbor, fire pit or other project. We offer a free, no obligation design consultation. Give us a call at 301-926-3001 or email us to schedule yours today.

New Outdoor Living Design Guide Available



Last month we were pleased to be featured in the March 2012 Traditional Home Magazine and Country Living Magazine. Our 2012 Archadeck ‘Outdoor Living Design Guide‘ was featured as a resource for homeowners looking to enhance their outdoor spaces. If you’re interested in requesting your own downloadable copy, click here. You’ll valuable information for homeowners interested in building or remodeling outdoor living spaces such as decks, screen porches, gazebos, trellises, hardscapes, and outdoor kitchens.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandIf you’re thinking about building a new deck, 3- or 4-season room, sun room, screened porch, patio, trellis, pergola, arbor or fire pit at your home in Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County or Prince Georges County MD, give Archadeck of Central Maryland a call, we’d be happy to discuss your options and share what high quality projects we can create. Our design consultation is no obligation and 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.

Fill ‘er up with a new deck this year. What does the price of gas have to do with your new deck?

Archadeck of Central Maryland AZEK deck

This deck by Archadeck of Central Maryland is constructed from AZEK, a composite decking material that looks lovely against the backdrop of autumn leaves.

You can probably feel the sting in your wallet every time you visit the pump to fill up. With the ever-increasing price of gas, many aspects within our economy can be affected. Gasoline is derived from crude oil, which is a commodity, and like many other commodities when demand is on the rise, the price goes up. Everything from hand lotion, to dish washing detergents and even frozen foods are made using derivatives of crude oil in one form or another, and when the demand from crude oil rises, so do the prices we pay for these everyday items.

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This composite deck with pergola by Archadeck of Maryland, is just one example of the many outdoor structures we can have ready for you by spring.

One aspect that is affected by the rising price of crude oil, is composite decking materials. One major component that goes into creating composite decking is plastic and plastic is a bi-product of refining crude oil . The plastic is costing the composite manufacturers more so the composite prices will increase. Throughout the year the trend in rising crude oil prices fluctuates and intermittent pricing of materials that are derived from crude oil will be affected, however through past price hikes we have seen a trend in crude oil prices experiencing a brisk rise during the month of December in recent years. There is always an increase in composite deck materials which occurs twice a year. The increases are generally seen in December and during the mid-summer months.  This means that deciding to go ahead and build that deck or outdoor structure you have had on hold now may save you quite a bit of green in the long run. Aside from the avoidance of rising composite prices, there are many other reasons why building your outdoor structure now, rather than later can benefit you greatly.

An outdoor oasis by Archadeck of Maryland

An outdoor oasis by Archadeck of Maryland

Not only will you avoid the long lines and waiting periods that usually accompany Spring construction, your structure will actually be ready for you and your family to use and enjoy in the Spring. You can enjoy the first blooms of spring from your deck or outdoor structure instead of saying, ” I wish we already had our outdoor structure up and running”. There are also  fewer winter weather delays now than in the months of January and February. The cooler weather conditions also means the crews can work longer hours because of the absence of the summer heat which can sometimes create a longer than expected building deadline to occur if weather conditions are too hot and require more hydration breaks for the workers.

GuardDeck Guardian Elite decking Maryland

GuardDeck Guardian Elite composite decking by Archadeck of Maryland

Another key aspect of choosing to build now is there is less damage caused to your turf and landscaping when materials and construction crews are upon it. Most plants and turf are dormant during the late fall and winter months which helps protect them from damage that may occur from construction, as well as cooler temperatures creating a firmer ground to work on with less risk of turf damage.  Archadeck of Montgomery County  also encourages homeowners to consider building now because of the savings that can be accrued by just the concrete aspect of your outdoor structure.  During the cooler months concrete is being poured below the frost line which means you can use cold water concrete and this can be poured down into the lower single digit temperatures, and financially this comes out to a great deal for the homeowner.

Composite deck by Archadeck

This deck by Archadeck shows the beauty that can be yours with a composite deck.

If you are yearning and dreaming of a new deck, patio or other outdoor structure choosing to build now can mean a big difference in the savings, and in having your structure sooner than you could’ve imagined by avoiding the spring backlogs. Even choosing to wait until April or May to begin construction could put you into mid-summer having your structure completed. Right now Archadeck of Montgomery County is offering up to $2,500 off your project if you sign up before the end of 2011. Our offer gives you 10% off with a cap of $2,500, contact us for details.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandDon’t wait any longer, wouldn’t the perfect outdoor structure be the perfect holiday gift for yourself and your family? Contact us today to get in on the savings, from the gas pump to your backyard. (301) 926 – 3001
centralmaryland@archadeck.net or montgomeryco@archadeck.net

For more beautiful composite and PVC deck designs, visit our composite and PVC deck photo gallery on our website.

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

Silver Spring MD Cabana-style Gazebo, patio, deck and hot tub deck

View from inside the detached cabana style gazebo by Archadeck of Maryland

View from inside the detached cabana style gazebo by Archadeck of Maryland, truly the heart of this versatile outdoor space.

We recently completed a project in Silver Spring which encompasses everything you could ever ask for in an outdoor oasis. The homeowner works for a company that takes care of high-end hotel renovations, so he already had an eye for design. Archadeck of Maryland was able to create the outdoor oasis within this Maryland homeowners imagination into a reality, and now these homeowners have a place to relax and soak in the feeling of “no place like home” upon return of a long business trip.

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

This outdoor space has it all, these homeowners don't have far to go for relaxation and entertaining.

These homeowners really wanted a space the whole family could enjoy but also, with two teenage boys, they also wanted the capability to have privacy and separation within the design. The homeowners said the main uses they wanted to utilize were socializing, grilling, eating and reading. We were able to create a place for each activity and also create a space that could please a crowd or serve as a place of solitude and quiet built for two. This space is versatile in its layout and design. This outdoor space brings new meaning to the phrase ” a place for everything and everything in its place”.

Another view of this stunning outdoor space by Archadeck of Maryland

Another view of this stunning outdoor space by Archadeck of Maryland.

The space has a detached cabana style gazebo, a gorgeous paver patio, a grilling area, a deck that is large enough to accommodate two separate areas for dining as well as seating, a fire pit, a hot tub with deck surround and a privacy fence with a pergola-style decorative feature which adds character and uniqueness.

The detached cabana style gazebo is truly the heart of this versatile outdoor living space. The gazebo boasts a spacious 12×12 area that can be used for seating, reading and also has protection from bothersome insects and the harsh rays of the sun with the addition of having the area screened in. The detached gazebo is perfectly placed within the space for a bird’s eye view of everything going on around the outdoor space as well.

The privacy fence serves as much for visual appeal as it does for safety and seclusion.

The privacy fence serves as much for visual appeal as it does for safety and seclusion.

The hot tub’s deck surround creates a safe haven to enter and exit the hot tub, and the privacy fence with pergola style decorative features will add style and pizazz to an area that serves as a necessity to keep prying eyes away, and gives these homeowners peace of mind.

The Deck is 20″ above grade and is large enough to serve as two living areas, there is ample room for seating as well as dining. The deck steps down to a beautiful curved paver patio. The curvilinear shape is really popular for patios right now, and the homeowners wanted an overall shape to the structure that offered more visual interest and aesthetic appeal than a rectilinear shaped structure. The addition of the custom fire pit within the patio creates perfect design harmony within a space that creates a perfect spot to gather to take the chill off and maybe enjoy some roasted marshmallows or s’mores  by the glow of the fire.

An outdoor oasis by Archadeck of Maryland

Notice how beautifully each area and structure flows into one another.

These homeowners are excited to make use of their new “outdoor oasis” with the cold evenings of September right around the corner. This outdoor space in its entirety is everything they could have hoped for and much more.

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandArchadeck of Maryland can create an unforgettable space for you right in your own backyard, we can customize your outdoor oasis to suit your individual style and purpose. Contact Archadeck of Maryland to learn more (301) 926 – 3001
centralmaryland@archadeck.net