This past July we made a major improvement to our home by adding a screened porch and deck to the back of our house and I can easily say it’s the best thing we ever built. In a few short months it has become our favorite family hang out spot. The twins love playing in it because they think they are outside and I love that they are safely contained. It also does an amazing job of keeping the bugs out!
We haven’t been on a vacation for two years. We usually make at least one trip to Texas each year to visit my folks and other family members but that hasn’t happened lately either. Why, you ask? I haven’t yet gathered the courage to pack up my twins and all of their MANY accessories, then hop on a plane or listen to them scream at me for hours in the car. I’m getting closer to attempting it but not quite. So we decided that we needed a place at home to relax.
We have known ever since we built this house in 2008 that we wanted to have an outdoor entertaining space in the back but we weren’t sure what that would look like. We considered options such as putting on a large deck, building steps leading down to a paved patio or even adding a sun room. My hubby, Joe, is a great planner so even though we weren’t sure he began setting aside some money for when the time was right.
So in June of this year Joe came to me and suggested we add a screened porch. We have a long porch across the front of our house that I had tried to use as a play area but it was problematic. Once the weather started getting hotter the wasps were attracted to the nooks in the vinyl siding and soffits. It was impossible to keep them away from Lily & Levi so we had to stop playing out there. Also, it was in full sun in the morning so it would heat up pretty quick. If we built a fully screened porch, we could add a ceiling fan to help keep us cool.
Joe the planner began to envision the basic dimensions of what we wanted and then he set out to find contractors to provide bids. For something like this you always want to get at least three bids so that you can get an idea of what pricing is fair and what level of quality you can expect. Contractors can vary in methods and preferred materials used so you also want to educate yourself a little on this as well. We also gleaned ideas from each contractor to help create the dream project for our home.
We chose to go with Rock Remodeling and Outdoor Living. The owner, Clint was very involved in the entire process and was extremely helpful. We explained our basic idea and he expounded on it to provide us with a beautiful addition to our home. Clint has a real passion for this type of work and he takes a very personal interest in helping design the right improvements for your home.
One of the reasons we chose Rock Remodeling and Outdoor Living was their attention to detail. Below you can see design elements that they added to our project which provided a finished look. The best part was that these elevating touches did not come at a great expense. Some were included in the overall price and others were achieved at a minimal cost increase.
I am going to do my best to describe these items but I am by no means an expert so do some additional research and talk to a professional. 🙂
1) “Super Screens” come off of a press vs. being woven which makes them extremely durable. I was told that a child can run into it and it will not break. They were made in huge panels so there are no joining places or panes that get in the way of your view.
2) Fiberon ProTect Advantage Decking with hidden fasteners will withstand the test of time and weather. I LOVE the color variations in these decking boards. We chose the gray birch. Make sure you consider the lengths of the boards when planning the dimensions of your deck. If you can work with the available lengths you’ll have continuous boards without joining places and there will be less waste.
3) Cedar Shake vs. Plain Vinyl in the gable area of the screened porch was Clint’s idea and I’m so glad we went with it. It adds such a nice, finished look to the rear side of our house and at a minimal price.
4) Trim boards on the steps create a more seamless look. You’ll also notice that the decking boards on the steps have plugs in the nail holes for a clean appearance. They also use boards with finished edges.
5) Double Trim boards along the outer edge of the deck really set it off. Not many contractors do this kind of work because it is time consuming but doesn’t it look beautiful?!
6) Discreet Plugs to cover all the nail and screw holes in the decking and trim boards were used. Again, this is a tiny detail that makes such a difference in the aesthetics of the project.
7) Vaulted Ceiling and Fan in the screen porch can provide great relief from hot weather. Hot air rises and having moving air can cool you quickly. We have sat out on the porch in 90 degree weather and have still been comfortable. Note that we also had recessed lights put in the ceiling for evening entertaining as well. They are wired and controlled separately from the fan.
8) Screens under the porch help to make this screen porch virtually bug proof. We have had the occasional ant (no doubt following crumbs from one of the twin’s snacks) but not a single wasp.
The building process took about a month from start to finish so the workers were here daily during that time. These men were very polite and friendly. I felt completely at ease with them. There was no foul language on the job site or anything else inappropriate for my kids. One of the guys, Thomas, even moved some of my lily bulbs from the back steps before demolishing them which was very kind!
If you are considering an outdoor improvement to your home I would suggest you try to think of as many uses and functions you could need for the next 5-10 years. Also think about the investment to the overall value of your home. If you only have the budget for a deck but want more, perhaps consider waiting like we did and save some more before making such a huge purchase.
The Dream Came True
I am so glad that we waited until we could get what we really wanted. This porch has been such a blessing to us and everyone that comes over now absolutely loves it!
When you are ready to start getting bids (and if you live in our local area) consider calling Clint at Rock Remodeling and Outdoor Living. Just to be clear, this is not a sponsored post and there were no discounts involved in exchange for my post – I just REALLY liked their work!