Blog Screened porch

Screened In Porches – Rooms You’ll Use

As a kid, I remember visiting my aunt and uncle’s house to see their new screened in porch. It was nice, a square room that had 3 screened walls. It fulfilled its purpose as a place to sit and enjoy the outdoors without bugs, but it wasn’t special. It was pretty standard for screened porches of the time, but man have things changed. Knowing what I know now, I see that the plain square screened room is a lost opportunity for a really special space in your home.

Our Archadeck franchisees design and build some of the most beautiful screened in porches I’ve ever seen. As I look at them, it becomes more apparent that the custom design is the key to making sure the room is a true outdoor living space and not just another room added on to the house. Before designing the space, our porch designers will ask questions like: how do you intend to use the space, what time of the day do you want to do use it, how many people does it need to accommodate, etc. These questions lead to projects like these:

This screened in porch in Des Moines is beautiful inside and out and may be one of my favorite examples of an “outdoor” structure that is truly usable. The homeowners wanted an additional porch where they could have a drink with friends and family, enjoy the outdoors without the elements, but most importantly, they wanted an additional outdoor living room. From there, our porch designer in Iowa, Harold, designed this space. You can see from this angle that the structure itself blends perfectly with the finishes of the home. To ensure the inside get optimum amounts of light, windows surround three of its sides and skylights were installed on the roof. While the outside looks beautiful, it’s the inside and its details that define the screened in porch as a living room. Take look at that outdoor fireplace! The large stone fireplace warms up the space both literally and figuratively, and its mantle and hearth give it a homey look. The placement of the TV is key to making the space it a true living space. It clearly isn’t an afterthought. I also love the lantern like light fixture on the roof.

The needs and wants of this homeowner in Charlotte were a little different. He wanted to add a screened in porch to back of his home for an additional place to sit and relax, but needed it to also be a smooth transition to his outdoor patio. His neighborhood is newer and because of construction as well as close neighbors, he needed the ability to block off some of the sides from time to time. Archadeck of Charlotte designed a simple space that fit all of the homeowner’s requirements. All of the woodwork was finished in whites and creams to provide the brightness. Archadeck 2012The transition between porch and patio was achieved by using the same concrete inside and outside the space. The last issue to work through was privacy. The homeowner didn’t want anything permanent and building in any privacy walls would take away from the airiness of the porch so they decide to install some curtain rods along the exterior that can be opened and shut as needed or wanted by the homeowners.

If you have questions regarding screened in porches and how one may add to your outdoor living experience, don’t hesitate to call your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Screened Porches – Perfect for Autumn

Tomorrow (Saturday) brings the official start to my favorite season: fall. I love the changing colors, the smell (yes, fall has a specific smell), football and the crisp cool air. I love to bundle up in a sweater and a blanket and sit in the fresh air in the fall months. And a cup of hot cider doesn’t hurt either.

For me, this is the best time of year for a screened porch. During the day, it’s the perfect temperature to comfortably sit outside and enjoy the outdoors without the bugs and at night, it’s the perfect time to snuggle up in the blanket and enjoy the cool air.

Screened porches are a great way to add value to our home and your outdoor living experience. In most areas of the United States screened porches can be used the majority of the year. Screened porches not only protect you from bugs, but also the harsh outdoor elements like the sun and rain (I love sitting in a screened porch when it’s raining, it’s the perfect time for a nap).

Our Archadeck Outdoor Living franchisees have designed screened porches in every shape and size. Like sunrooms, it’s important to create a usable space that doesn’t detract from the look and feel of the existing home. One of the more difficult design considerations is how it can affect the rooms it is attached to. Natural light into the existing rooms may decrease with the addition of a sunroom. To circumvent that issue, many of our screened porch designers will include skylights in the porch’s roof to keep light flowing into the home.

Ceilings in screened porches come in a wide variety of finishes. While some homeowners may want a wood finish for a rustic/outdoorsy look, others want the ceiling to match the rest of the home’s interior. Whatever your taste, it’s all doable.

Additional features that Archadeck Outdoor Living often include in their screened porches are fireplaces and fans. When designing and building any custom outdoor living space, the designer and homeowner have to consider how and when the space will be used. Ceiling fans are a great in screened porches for those hot humid days of summer when you want be outside without being too hot. On the flip side, homeowners may want to use their porch even when the weather is cool, so adding a fireplace makes perfect sense for them. They can light a fire and enjoy the cool night, and maybe some s’mores, outdoors.

If you are interested in learning more about adding a custom screened porch to your home, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

Screened Porch and Patio Combination in Chicago Area

In previous posts we have talked about planning your entire backyard space at once and building it in phases as schedules and budgets allow. A recent project from our deck builder in Chicago did just that. David Berryhill owns Archadeck of Chicagoland and last year was contacted by a customer who wanted to upgrade their outdoor living area.

The homeowners originally called David to take down their existing deck and build a new screened porch in its place. While there, they talked about possibly adding a patio in a year or two when they were ready. Knowing the future plan, Archadeck of Chicagoland built the screened porch in 2011. They constructed it out of pressure treated pine that was finished to complement the home’s siding and trim.

Inside the screened porch, two skylights were installed to let more sunlight in as well as a ceiling fan for those hot days. The ceiling itself has wood finish with exposed beams for a more rustic look.

After enjoying their screened porch for a year, the homeowners were ready to add the patio they had initially talked to David about. The low to grade patio was constructed using Belgard Mega Arbel product that has a stone appearance with slight variations in color. For added visual interest, Archadeck Outdoor Living finished the spaces with curved edges instead of the normal straight lines.

Because the addition was planned at the start of the original build, the combination of the screened porch and the patio work extremely well together. Check out these photos of the final product:

Put a little holiday in your step with a new deck by Archadeck

In many parts of the country a deck is an outdoor structure that can be enjoyed year round. With mild climates and the prospect of an “Indian summer” coming to call, homeowners in many areas of the country can enjoy the holidays outside just as easily as within the confines of their home. Taking advantage of crisp, fresh air and the true sights and sound of the season are a privilege to experience. Watching squirrels gather nuts and berries, feeling the wind blow through a majestic southern live oak tree and tickle your senses and even the smell of a cedar growing close by can all be enjoyed from the ultimate vantage point, atop your custom-built deck by Archadeck.

These Atlanta homeowners are doing just that from their new deck that is truly a deck for all seasons. This Christmas deck is courtesy of the talents of Jeff Mullins and Sol Elisha of Archadeck of Greater Atlanta. This stunning deck is all decked out for the holidays in style. A scene like this gives new meaning to the old saying that there is no place like home for the holidays! This stunning multi-level diagonally installed composite deck has separate areas for lounging, eating or dining, and entertaining. The addition of recessed lighting carefully integrated into the staircases design ensures safe passage from one level of this stunning deck to another, and promotes an essence of romanticism as well.


This already breathtaking deck has been make even more so by being decorated for the holidays. Can you imagine peering out your window on Christmas Eve and seeing this welcoming design of Christmas decorations and lights upon your deck? The homeowners creativity and talents really shine through. I don’t believe Ole’ St. Nick could have pulled it off better himself. The entire creation sets the stage for a perfect spot to make holiday magic come true and is also a spot to create lasting holiday memories.

Archadeck specializes in designing and building many other genres of outdoor structures, including stunning and versatile decks. Can you imagine a covered patio used as an extension of your living and entertaining space complete with an outdoor fireplace integrated into the design? You could even top off the season with stockings hung with care by your outdoor fireplace, or maybe adorn the structures interior with whimsical Christmas decorations and lights. Remember that Santa doesn’t mind coming to call in your exterior room when it is all decked out in style for the holidays to welcome his arrival.

Archadeck also makes the perfect gift this season. A new deck, patio or pergola is the gift that keeps on giving all year through. What could be more amazing than receiving a gift that offers years of outdoor living enjoyment?


To learn more about laying the foundations of creating your own “Christmas deck” much like the ones you see here, or to give the ultimate gift this year. Contact the deck and outdoor living experts at Archadeck. Give yourself and your family the gift of a deck this Christmas, and next year you can stage a scene that will remind you of the magic and beauty of the holidays.

To find an Archadeck location near you visit our locations list, located on our website.

This three-season porch by Archadeck of Central Connecticut becomes a hero

There are certain things that are part of our daily lives that are made to protect us from harm and disaster. Automobiles are equipped with seat belts and air bags to protect us in the event of a crash. Medications are packaged with child-safety caps to keep our children from harmful medications. The list of items that are designed to keep us safe can go on and on. But who would dream a 3-season porch would be on that list? We just added this 3-season room built by Archadeck of Central Connecticut to that list.

In the quiet of a recent Sunday morning at around 1:30 a.m. in Central Connecticut, something happened to these homeowners while there were fast asleep in their beds. A huge tree fell within their yard and was heading straight for their house. Fortunately, the tree hit their 3-season porch built by Archadeck of Central Connecticut first. Although the tree was tall enough to hit the main house. The tree removal people told us that it would have “sliced the house open” were it not for the porch taking the brunt of the tree’s falling force. This means that not only did the structural quality of the porch sustain the blow of the tree and keep it from destroying the home, it quite possibly could have saved their lives as well.

The only damage to the porch, other that some slight damage to the rake edge of the roof, was a large branch that punctured the upper half of the Artistic Enclosures Contemporary panel. This tragedy is proof of how crucial it can be to choose a qualified, reputable custom builder to engineer and build your outdoor structure.

Very often, homeowners will take the easy way out by choosing a less-reputable builder to construct their outdoor living space. Usually this decision is made to save a little money, or to get their project completed sooner. Unfortunately, for many homeowners this decision proves to be a mistake in the long run. Shoddy workmanship, and inferior quality materials may not be visible to the naked eye early on, but after only a short time the faults will come to the surface. As was the case with this Connecticut homeowner, making the decision to hire a reputable professional builder really paid off. Archadeck prides themselves on quality products and expert design and craftsmanship on every structure we build.

Archadeck’s construction standards are mandated across the entire Archadeck network. This is just one facet of the pride and care we take in every outdoor structure we build, other facets include…

  • Archadeck Unified Structural System governs construction process.
  • Strict adherence to our proprietary Construction Master File documenting all construction details.
  • Construction to and above local and national code.
  • Professional project documentation throughout.
  • Meticulous attention to finish details assure aesthetic integrity.
  • Constructed as an extension of your home, not an “attachment.”
  • Entire process reflects professional craftsmanship and utmost respect for your property.


With Archadeck, you get more than just a well-built outdoor structure, you get the experience and integrity to go along with it. A professionally designed and built outdoor structure from us gives you the peace of mind that you are getting the most from your investment, and peace of mind as well. Contact Archadeck to learn more about the “Archadeck difference”, you will be glad you did. Contact us today to learn more.

To locate an Archadeck location in your area visit our locations list, and locations map, located on our website.

Thanks again to Phil Brown, owner, and his entire staff and crew at Archadeck of Central CT for keeping this family safe from the storm.

Don't let the chill in the air discourage you from enjoying your outdoor living space

The chill in the air is beginning to become more noticeable all around the country. It signifies the end of summer splendor and its long balmy days spent enjoying your deck. Just because summer has ended doesn’t mean you have to cuddle up inside to keep warm and miss mother nature’s splendor that is still unfolding all around you. Many homeowners are considering the ever-popular option of closing in their existing deck, or a portion of their deck and creating a three or four season room or other outdoor structure that can extend your outdoor living enjoyment into and beyond the cooler months of the year. In order to determine if closing in to create an extended season outdoor living structure would be right for you there are several considerations that have to be bought to the forefront.

The first consideration that has to be addressed is the structural integrity of your existing deck. In order to accommodate the weight of a roofed structure. Many decks are not built to withstand the weight of adding a roof. In order for a deck to be able to withstand the weight of a roof. The foundation of the deck will have to extend all the way to the corners of the structure. In cases where the foundation does not extend to the corners, changes must be made to have the foundation extended and new footers will have to be added in order to safely support and hold the weight. Determining whether or not your deck fits conversion criteria can be answered from a quick inspection by a professional outdoor structure builder, and depending on their findings will let you know how you wish to proceed with getting the deck structurally compatible to withstand a conversion such as a three or four season room, a screened porch or even a sunroom.


Once the issue of foundation reinforcements has been addressed, the next step is to decide which type of conversion would best suit your individual needs. Screen porches are very popular and can be enjoyed late into the fall in many areas around the country, but this all depends on your geographical location and whether the area you live in experiences mild autumns or more harsh, cold autumns. Making the decision to convert your deck or a section of your deck into a screened porch will have benefits even in the warm summer months by keeping insects at bay and protecting you from the sun. Screen porches can be in use even during inclement weather since they are roofed. This means that the backyard dinner you had planned won’t be put on hold with a little rain because you would have a roofed screen porch to utilize. Many homeowners also opt to use a sliding window panel system to make use of their screened porch later into the year. A convertible windows like the EZE breeze sliding panel system and the Artistic Enclosures Screen Plus System offer you the ability to convert your screened porch into a three season room on demand. These convertibility systems use sliding glass panels that mimic the function of a sliding door and can be set into place very easily and quickly. By adding a space heater to the structure you can utilize the space for longer periods through even the chilliest season. By using a convertible system on your screened porch you can still feel the warm breezes of summer, and when the temperature drops you have the peace of mind knowing that your screened porch also offers more function with added cold weather protection as well.


Another viable option when making the decision to enclose a deck or portion thereof, is a four season room or a sunroom. These type of structures function as an extension of your homes living area as well as an extension of your outdoor living area. Four season rooms, as well as sunrooms give you an unobscured view of nature by the use of numerous windows that sometimes even feel as though they are window walls. These structures can be used year round, snow or sleet because sunrooms and four season rooms require a HVAC system, or instill the use of a wall mounted electric inversion heating and cooling system that offer individual room control like those offered by Mitsubishi electric. In essence the presence of HVAC, or heating and cooling system creates a dynamic where you actually are getting a room addition when you choose to convert to a four season room or sunroom.


Another benefit of converting your deck into a sunroom or four season room is the freedom of material choices that can be used within it and to finish out your structure. A whole new set of design choices open up to sunroom and four season room owners. All of the same materials that can be used safely within an interior room inside your home can become finish options for your sunroom or four season room. These include sheetrocked walls, carpet, hardwoods and a myriad of other design choices. An added benefit is that the furniture used within your structure won’t have to be weatherproof when considering using it on your sunroom or four season room. The world is truly your oyster.

If you are on the fence about considering an enclosure or conversion of your deck, or a part of you deck into a screened porch or three season room or even a sunroom or four season room Archadeck can make it happen. Contact us today to learn more about improving the lifestyle you lead on your deck.

To learn more and find an Archadeck in your area, see our locations list located on our website.

You can also get more ideas and design inspirations by visiting our screened porch gallery, sunroom gallery, and our three and four season room gallery, also located on our website.

Skylights that have come full circle and inspire us to let the sunshine in

The outdoor structure has evolved, now I don’t mean a “Darwin” type of evolution but rather an evolution of style and luxury. Many of the same pampering elements we enjoy within our homes is available in our outdoor rooms as well. Screened porches, covered porches and patios, sunrooms and 3 and 4 season room have begun to receive the royal treatment in terms of the accoutrements that are now commonplace among professional outdoor structure builders. Features such as wrapped beams, decorative columns, detailed ceilings, ceiling fans, recessed lighting and all the outlets, plugs, areas reserved especially for your HD flat screen TV’s, and more multi-media hookups than you could ever imagine are being seen within today’s outdoor structures. These features, make for convenience and are oh so easy on the eyes to boot.


One such element that we often install in our outdoor structures is the skylight. Gone are the days of the skylight just simply being a skylight. Sure, they allow for your structure to receive more sunlight, which really opens up your space and gives the space a feeling of airiness. But today’s skylights offer many other features as well. Velux skylights are the skylight of choice for many of our! Archadeck locations throughout the country, and for good reason. They offer high quality skylights with a myriad of available features with your convenience in mind.

The Velux skylight slogan is “add drama to any space”, and Velux definitely delivers on that promise. With a 10 year no leak warranty and features such as remote control operation, insect screens and blinds that are built right with choices like classic venetian blinds to systems that block the light entirely. Velux skylights also offer an open and close feature that comes with a sensor that detects the first raindrop and automatically closes the skylight so you don’t have to. Imagine sitting on your lovely screened porch enjoying a mild autumn afternoon with your skylights open enjoying the fresh air and the blue skies. A scene like this is reminiscent of that first drive in a Corvette with the T-tops down, a “wind in your hair” kind of freedom that is unforgettable.

If you are ready to let the sunshine in on your outdoor room, contact Archadeck to learn more. We can help you pick the right spot, the right accessories and the right angle to best suit you and your families needs. Skylights not only look the part, they will make you feel the part as well. 888.687.3325

[email protected]

Archadeck and Eze Breeze enclosures give you a breath of fresh air without the headaches

We’ve all been there. We eagerly await going out on the screen porch for some morning coffee or to do our daily crossword puzzle or relax for a few minutes and grab the sports scores or weather before heading out for the day. Only some days, mother nature puts a damper on those plans. Maybe you live down south and are greeted with a yellow covering of dust all over everything. Maybe it rained last night and there’s a faint moistness to your fabric-covered chairs. Maybe it’s just too darn cold out there.

There is a way to “convert” your screen porch without having to sink a fortune into windows.

There is a company called Eze Breeze that has a convertible enclosure system allowing you to convert your screen porch into more of a multi-season room. These screens can add protection from temperature as well as the elements.

We have been using this system for homeowners who want to get access more time on their screened porch. Eze Breeze systems are easy on the eye and on your wallet in terms of adding more seasons that you can spend on your porch.

Extending the time frame for use in your screened porch is not the only reason many homeowners are using the Eze Breeze system, other factors are influencing their decision as well. Let’s face it, sometimes you want the freedom of the screen but you don’t want the negative things that can still get through that screen. Screens keep out the insects and the harmful direct rays from the sun but pollen still comes through a screen, as does the wind, some the rain and the cold. Eze Breeze makes it possible to enjoy your porch without those negative factors getting in the way of your enjoyment. When the weather turns cold, you can also add the use of a space heater within your porch with Eze Breeze and turn your structure into a 3-season outdoor living room as well. The beauty is that anytime you want to take advantage of the favorable weather or an unobstructed view, this system can be slid out-of-the-way either horizontally or vertically, depending on which system you have, to get you back to the very reason you wanted a screened porch in the first place – to be closer to mother nature and take advantage of all that fresh air.

Our Archadeck location in Charlotte sums it up in this short clip about the Eze Breeze system :


Eze Breeze enclosures are easy and affordable, here’s how they work- the system is made from 10-mil vinyl glazing that gives you the same clarity of glass. This innovative material is not susceptible to cracking or breaking and with many mishaps will return to its original shape within minutes. The enclosures can be installed either horizontally or vertically and the panels can be slid out-of-the-way to obtain a unobstructed view and take advantage of the “feel” of nature. Eze Breeze presents homeowners with a win/win answer to having your cake and eating it too!

Contact Archadeck to learn more about Eze Breeze enclosures and start maximizing your outdoor structures function and beauty. If you are interested in turning your outdoor structure into a safe haven from the elements, the insects and the pollen and don’t want the expense or building constrictions that are present with glass, contact Archadeck today 888.687.3325 or 804.353.6999 • [email protected]

Turn your outdoor space into one worthy of celebration with Archadeck

Yes, the July 4th holiday has come and gone once again. As the nation celebrated its birthday, was your outdoor structure worthy of the celebration? Many of us had outdoor get-togethers and cookouts to celebrate the holiday, many of those celebrations were conducted in or on an outdoor structure that is a little worse for wear or is not as functional as you wished it could be.

Don’t let another holiday leave you feeling unfulfilled with your outdoor structures appearance or lack of functionality. Archadeck can transform your backyard into a space worthy of celebration with the help of our new design guide. The design guide covers all the major considerations that go into proper planning and design of an outdoor living space. The first of which asks the question of functionality. What do you want your outdoor space to be used for? Whether the answer to that question for you is entertaining, dining or just relaxing the design guide focuses on the form and function that would work best for you.


Since outdoor structures are our specialty our design guide also asks the question of how “outdoorsy” you would like your outdoor space to feel. Many homeowners like the look of the outdoors and the feel of the outdoors but not the insects and the suns harmful rays that sometimes come along with it. One of Archadeck’s screened porch or covered porch designs might be a solid choice for this scenario. Our design guide outlines key considerations like this in a step-by-step manner outlined to ultimately bring you to the recommendation of what outdoor space would be perfect for you.

Many of us have a “wish list” that we carry around either in our minds or actually written out of ways to make your outdoor space better, or even creating the outdoor space of your dreams from scratch.The design guide shows you how to create the outdoor space you have been craving with an easy step-by-step process that defines key components focusing on your individual needs. With this design guide Archadeck can help you choose the outdoor structure, or structures that is best suited to you and your family and then goes a step further to set the wheels in motion to meet with one of our talented design consultants for a free consultation based on the areas covered in the design guide.


Archadeck is the leading designer and builder of affordable, functional and innovative outdoor spaces since 1980. Whatever your dream, we can build it. Whatever your need, we can build it. Whatever your want, we can build it. The sky is the limit when it comes to the uniqueness and functionality of our outdoor spaces. Our design guide puts you in the driver’s seat. Visit http://www.archadeck.com/guide/index.html to download your free design guide and learn what we mean when we talk about the Archadeck difference.

Don’t let your next outdoor event make you sigh and say " I should’ve". If you would like to talk with one of our talented and knowledgeable representatives you can contact Archadeck at 888-687-3325 or [email protected]

It Can All Happen Under One Roof

I am sure each one of us would agree that a roof is a pretty important detail in any structure. It keeps us dry and out of the elements. It helps secure other structures that are attached to it. It becomes a component of the stability of a structure it is atop. All these explanations are “no brainers”. A roof is so much more than all of these. A roof can add character and presence to a structure. What type of roof you decide to put atop your structure can really determine how sound it is, and how attractive your structure ends up. That is why it is so important to pick the right roof for the right structure.

One important factor when you decide on the addition of a structure such as a covered patio, screened porch or sunroom is to choose a roof style that matches and fits with the existing architecture of your home. For instance if you have a hip roof, it is usually a good idea to carry that through when building your addition, this will keep the structural integrity of your home and the additional roof will flow into your existing roof. This “flow” is most crucial when the structure is going to be directly connected to your existing house.


The same rules usually apply when you have a gabled roof. If you want to add pizazz and originality to your new addition with a gabled roof there are gable-end designs now available to add a custom look with a lot of flair.

The use of a gabled roof also lends space for higher ceilings which can be a canvas for arched windows, bead-board ceilings, the addition of ceiling fans and unique lighting choices. The design choices available to structures with high ceilings are endless nowadays.


Whether you are anticipating the addition of a sunroom, patio or screened porch Archadeck can show you all the choices and design a roof and living area plan to fit with your home’s architecture beautifully. Give us a call and we can make your dream come to life under one roof.

Take a look at our website at Archadeck.com to see lots of pictures and learn more.

Adding an Outdoor Structure Today Can Add to Your Homes Value Tomorrow


Homeowners make improvements to their homes for a myriad of reasons. Reasons include adding additional living space, remodeling to update a space or style, or upgrades to interior and exterior spaces just to name a few. Home improvements are classified as anything that makes a positive alteration to your home or your land. Today many homeowners are adding new decks and outdoor living structures to their list of improvements.

When an appraiser comes to appraise your home before you put your house on the market, he takes a lot of information into consideration before coming up with that magic number. Appraisers look at land size, square footage, age of the home, the numbers of rooms, the type of home it is, the condition and the quality of the home, and the comparable value of all the other homes around you. Any type of home improvement that adds livable space of any kind, whether it is heated or unheated square feet, does increase your home’s value.


Building a deck for example, can greatly increase your home’s value. Some research shows that up to 75% of the deck cost can be recouped if the home is sold within a year of adding the new deck. Even if you don’t have a lot conducive to adding a deck, a patio is also a solid choice for sellers looking to re-vamp their backyard in preparation to put their house on the market.

Covered porches make an impression to appraisers and prospective buyers when selling your home
Any structure that adds character to your home or land will add value. Any structure that makes you stand out above the competition will add value, and also help get your house shown more often, and thus, sold quicker. You have to think in terms of relativity to the competition around you. Adding an outdoor structure such as covered porch, a gazebos or a pergola can add enough character to make your home stand out from all the rest. Think in terms of the potential buyer’s standpoint, they are going over the houses they have been shown and have to choose from in their price range and they come across yours by memory in their conversation…" yes, that was a nice home, lots of open space, well maintained interior, right amount of bedrooms and it had that beautiful backyard with that lovely covered porch, nice". An addition such as this can often make such a positive impact on your home that the chips will become stacked in your favor.

Keep in mind as well that adding an outdoor space to your home is the most affordable way to expand your home’s value. Archadeck can help you decide on the right outdoor structure for you, from planning, to design, to construction. We can help you every step of the way. 888-OUR-DECK

Archadeck is Thinking Outside the Box When it Comes to the Location of Your Outdoor Fireplace


When you think about outdoor fireplaces, your mind probably immediately takes you to a crisp Autumn evening with you and your family sitting around the outdoor fireplace, sitting in Adirondack chairs and roasting marshmallows over a crackling, welcoming fire…did you visualize the fireplace in an outdoor setting? Of course you did. The image in your mind automatically takes you Outdoors.


At Archadeck we think outside the box. We have started to place the outdoor fireplace in a setting we usually think of as indoors. Imagine, how calming a crackling fire would be on your screened porch or covered patio. That’s right, you and Archadeck can design a plan that is innovative and challenges the way we classify the outdoor fireplace.

We have constructed many beautiful fireplaces within beautiful additions to your outdoor space enjoyment. We can add a fireplace to a screened porch or covered patio. Either attached or separate from your home. All of these spaces after all are just an extension of your outdoor living area. When not in use a lot of our clients add a flat screen TV over the fireplace mantel to make a formidable use of the space even when there isn’t a crackling fire abound. Even without a TV, the fireplace, as in every setting, becomes the center and a gathering spot for fun, conversation and a place to make lasting memories with your family and friends.

We abide by all county and state fire codes and setbacks when we build a fireplace in a setting such as this. Safety is our number one priority, so when considering an addition such as this, make sure your licensed contractor has checked with all the proper legalities to obtain important rules regarding a fireplace.


Gorgeous detailing draws you to this fireplace built into the corner of this screened porch
If you would like to entertain the idea of adding an outdoor fireplace to your screened or covered porch, give Archadeck a call, we can keep those home fires burning. 888-OUR-DECK

Do you want the unexpected when you're hiring a custom builder?

Well, sort yes and sorta no.

Hmmm. That’s not a good answer. When you’re hiring a custom builder to build a large project for your home like a custom outdoor living area, you want to make sure that:

you know exactly what you’re going to get so there are no surprises
you get exactly what they promised
And, in a perfect world, you want a cherry on top. So what is the cherry on top of a custom build? The cherry on top can be getting the unexpected in the design process. In the design and consultation process, a good builder listens well and interprets your needs and desires into functional architecture. But a great builder will also suggest ways that you can build what you want that lead to better use or greater enjoyment of that structure.

So enough speaking in generalities. Here’s an example. When Harold Cross was fist contacted by this West Des Moines IA homeowner, they wanted to turn their existing 2nd story deck into a sunroom. They already had met with and received a plan and quote from another reputable builder. But they had also heard a lot about Harold at Archadeck of Des Moines and gave him a call for a design consultation so they could gain an understanding of what Archadeck might provide as a solution for their needs.

Before I continue, I want to show you the before and after so you have a picture in your head of what their old deck looked like.

Let’s look at a couple of things in these pictures. First, let’s look at the stairs. The old stairs emptied out into the side yard just near the playset and the fence. Likely the playset was there because of the orientation of the stairs. The other builder’s plan retained the stairs in the same location and did not provide outdoor grilling space other than by re-locating the grilling area to the lower patio area. Harold saw this as creating a traffic pattern that did not facilitate ease of cooking with the 2nd story kitchen location. The existing (and other builder’s proposed) staircase location also created a bit of an eyesore.

In Harold’s plan, the stairs would have a landing and point the owners over to the area where they wanted to spend time on their lower outdoor living level. When Harold listens to what homeowners want, he also hears the feedback he’s had over the years from the owner’s he has built with. So many times something as simple as creating a staircase with a landing is something that makes such a huge difference in their quality and ease of living. It’s the sort of thing that homeowners mention again and again as a detail that made all the difference in the world.

The second thing you’ll notice about the picture above are the deck supports. There are two problems with these supports. First, they totally obstruct the homeowner’s ability to put any furniture on their lower patio and secondly, they create a virtual maze on the lower patio level. But, what Harold noticed was a third and much more serious issue. The old supports were not sufficient to hold the additional load of a room on the 2nd level. Although the other builder may have added this to his plans, Harold specifically communicated the need for structural enhancements for the roof load to the homeowner while the other builder had not. This left the homeowner wondering what other critical architectural issues might be left unattended to in the other plans

When I mentioned before that the family would be grilling on the lower patio, this probably set off bells in your head thinking about the fire hazard or where they would put an unsightly outdoor grill in their backyard. The new design integrated an outdoor grilling area right outside the new sunroom. This accomplished a couple things. First, when the family wanted grilled-out food but wanted to eat inside, the grill was very easily accessible to the 2nd floor kitchen. The grill was also easily accessible to the lower level patio. But, it created a designated space for the grill that was not at all unsightly. Let’s face it, grills are unsightly. That’s one of the reasons outdoor kitchens are becoming so popular. People don’t want to see their large grill plunked out in the backyard or taking up room in their eating area. You’ll see from the picture above that there was a perfect amount of space to create a small outdoor grilling area and to leave the view from that window completely unobstructed.

Oh, another thing I forgot to mention was the placement of the stairs as it related to the new outdoor room. Had the stairs been left where they were, the traffic pattern from the house to outside would have been straight through the middle of the room every time. With the alternate door and stairs placement, the chef could easily get to the grilling and outdoor area without creating a traffic pattern through the middle of the room. Note: good for carpet wear too:).

Ok, enough about stairs and traffic patterns. Let’s talk about the new room! The new room is technically considered a 3-season room. It has heat through the baseboard heating and gets air conditioning from the house when the door is left open from the house in the summer. It includes insulated Jeld-Wen windows that crank out. The roof design is a collared gable roof.

Here’s a video tour of the all-new room.

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Here is the rendering Harold provided to his client which included both a design rendering and an architectural drawing.

So, you definitely want the expected but is sure is nice to get a great unexpected too.

Here’s how to reach Harold Cross of Archadeck of Des Moines Iowa.

Archadeck of Central Iowa
Phone: (515) 266 – 8844
Email: [email protected]
Archadeck of Central Iowa blog: http://archadeckcentraliowa.wordpress.com/

Archadeck's new Design Guide puts you in the drivers seat


Archadeck is helping to make backyards in North America more beautiful and functional one home at a time. Archadeck Outdoor Living is inspiring homeowners with some great ideas thanks to our new Outdoor Living Design Guide. This design guide shares our expertise and knowledge and puts it right at your fingertips. It is now available for a free download online at http://www.archadeck.com/guide/index.html


This full-color design guide features outdoor living space photos, ideas, tips and hints to give you a starting point in planning your new outdoor space and make your backyard the best it can be. It takes you on a guided tour of where to begin in planning the backyard you have always dreamed of.

The first step begins with functionality and helps you determine exactly what you want to do in your outdoor space. For example, within the patio and hardscape portion you will be asked to answer questions like do you want to dine, entertain, garden or just relax in your outdoor space. As you answer the questions it will lead you into ways to incorporate nature into your outdoor space because after all that is what makes these spaces so special. Do you want sunshine streaming in? Or maybe an outdoor space free of insects?


The view from within your outdoor space is of utmost importance and Archadeck has made this another point of focus in our design guide as well. This guide also aids in deciding where to place your outdoor space by taking into consideration the direction your backyard faces all the way to your lot and soil conditions.

A well planned outdoor space can complement not only your home’s exterior but the interior as well. With this in mind we show you how to plan a structure that allows for easy transition from interior spaces into your outdoor space.

This wonderful tool puts you in the driver’s seat and puts you in a better position to meet with your Archadeck Design consultant by having a better idea of the outdoor space that will suit your wants and needs. For a sneak peek on how the design guide works visit “http://bit.ly/dreamyards”: today. You can also call us at 888-687-3325 or email us at http://www.archadeck.com/ContactUs.html

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