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How An Open Austin Patio Was Transformed Into A Secure, Protected Screened Outdoor Living Space

Jim Schallon, the lead designer at Archadeck of Austin, is well-respected for his thoughtful, functional, and leading edge design of Texas outdoor living spaces.

Custom Screened Porch builder Austin TX

And on occasion, he is met with challenges that are very unique and personal to his client family, based on their Austin location.

Such is the case with this beautiful outdoor living space transformation.

For WUI Compliant Outdoor Living Space Designs In Austin, Trust Archadeck

Due to the location of this Austin home, west of Mopac and east of 183, Southwest of the river, and southeast of IH35, it fell within a designated wildland area.

Before patio in Austin TX

Before the screened porch addition.

To protect homes and families from the horrors and complications of fire within this area, back in 2015 the Wildland-Urban Code – WUI Code – was enacted.

At its core, the WUI Code is all about proactive thinking and planning in the design and construction of outdoor spaces and structures to deal with fire conditions should they arise.

Austin Screened Porch Designs

After Archadeck of Austin added the screened porch.

For the type of projects Archadeck builds here in Austin, the Code restricts the type of building materials that our engineers can use and the type of structures we can build.

The 9 Rules Of WUI Code For Austin Covered Porches And Patios

1. A perennial favorite, Cedar is no longer acceptable as a building material in these areas unless it meets the definition of “heavy timber” per the International Building Code (IBC).

2. For our porch installations, all columns must be metal, wood wrapped in Hardi, or stone/stucco. If a porch is attached to the house, it must meet exterior wall requirements.

3. For decks, the columns will require 6-inch by 6-inch wood posts or steel posts.

4. Any conventionally wood framed decks will have to be skirted from the bottom of the deck to the ground with Hardi board or Hardi skirting. As fire feasts on wood, and melts vinyl almost instantly, Hardie siding will not ignite when exposed to a direct flame, nor will it contribute fuel to a fire. Hardie products are non-combustible, and as such, many insurance companies offer a discount when they are used in construction. Furthermore, unlike wood or vinyl, Hardi will not rot, warp, or burn. As for other material options, Stone would also be acceptable but depending on the height, it may not be feasible. A steel frame is acceptable but considerably more expensive.

5. All railings must be metal.

6. Any pergola shade structures will need to be metal.

7. Gutters will require metal covers such as Leaf Guard or metal mesh screens to avoid debris from collecting.

8. Shingles must be Class A compliant, as all of our shingles are.

9. An unenclosed accessory structure attached to, or within 10 feet of the house, must comply with requirements for habitable spaces and projections.

Building WUI-Compliant Outdoor Living Spaces With The Right Stuff

This official list of WUI Code approved materials can be found here, but at a high level, here is some basic guidance for decking and porch floor construction.

• Ipe, the exceptionally strong Brazilian hardwood. Of all the woods, Ipe came out on top as it has been given an A rating for fire resistance. That means it's the best. Ipe lumber is so naturally dense that it resists fungus, rot and termites, too. It’s a very wise choice.

• AZEK Vintage Series has a CLASS A rating and is acceptable for a decking material. This capped polymer decking line by TimberTech AZEK features advanced materials in its core and cap that makes it more heat resistant than other composite decking products.

For outdoor living structure exteriors, building materials used must be ignition-resistant and be able to resist the entry of flying embers and fire radiation during a wildfire.

Now That We’re WUI Smart, Let’s See The Result Of The Finest Austin Screened Rooms From The Best Austin Screened Porch Builder

When searching for “Austin screened patio builders,” your search will happily end with Archadeck of Austin.

Interior of Austin Screened Patio WUI Compliant

This entire project has a full Hardie wrap on all exterior walls accented by aluminum screened walls in the screened room.

Exterior View of WUI Compliant Screened Porch Austin TX

The protective roof has a class-A fire rating, along with the soffit and fascia.

Within the interior, our client wanted a paintable ceiling but did not want the paint to bleed which often happens with cedar. So we used exterior grade German Spruce as the ceiling, which is a heavier board, but accepts paint really well. This tightly-grained wood is often used for the design and manufacturing of guitars, interestingly enough.

Austin Screened Porch Interior Overlooking Backyard Pool

And as for outdoor flying pests, we’re saying, “Be gone and farewell,” with screening protection for the ultimate insect control.

Austin WUI Compliant Screened Room Builder

Goodbye nasty mosquitoes and a bright hello to views of family and guests outside of the screened structure enjoying the pool area in the transformed backyard.

Discover What You’ve Been Missing – Connect With Archadeck Today

Contact Archadeck of Austin today to schedule your free design consultation.

Jim Schallon, lead designer Archadeck of Austin

Jim Schallon, lead designer Archadeck of Austin.