10 Design Ideas for Your Chicagoland Screen Porch

Ten popular screen porch design ideas by Archadeck of Chicagoland.

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Screen porches are a great way to experience the outdoors while remaining protected from elements like rain and snow.  Today’s custom screened porch designs can be as elaborate or simple as you choose. Match your home, opt for a finished look, or keep it rustic and outdoorsy.  Here are ten popular design elements to consider as you plan your screen porch.

Skylights and Exposed Rafters

Exposed rafters create a rustic look and skylights let in more sun.

Screen Porch with Skylights by Chicago Screen Porch Builder Archadeck of Chicagoland

Continue reading “10 Design Ideas for Your Chicagoland Screen Porch”

Screen Porches: Bring the Outdoors In

Screen Porch

Screen porches blur the lines between your outdoor and indoor living spaces and are great for extending the time you spend enjoying the outside. There are many details that make your screen room perfect for your family.  At Archadeck, we enjoy helping our clients discover these details as we design the outdoor living space they envision.

Screen porch with deck

Comfortable living spaces allow you to enjoy the great outdoors while also offering protection from the rain and snow.

Screen Porch View

Aesthetically pleasing and highly versatile Vertical 4-Track windows transform your screen porch into a space that is usable three seasons or even all year round.  These vinyl windows are available in multiple sizes and are designed to allow you to open them 25%, 50%, or 75%.

Windows for Screen Porch

Lifestyle rails inside the porch function as both a safety feature and a drink rail, creating a space to place drinks, plants, and toys.

Knee Wall for Screen Room

Exposed beams and skylights give the room a bright, spacious, and airy feel.

Open Rafter Ceiling

Low voltage lighting on the stairs light the way when the sun begins to go down.

Deck Lighting

Rope lighting under the rails of the deck create a soft, ambient glow.  Deckorator pickets create a striking and beautiful look to the deck.

Deck Rail Lighting

Attaching decks to your screen porch gives you space for grilling and outdoor seating.

There are so many options available to you when building a screen porch.  Our Design Consultants walk you through every step of the way, designing outdoor living space of your dreams.  If you would like to speak with someone about your next outdoor project, give us a call at (847) 749-2373 or email us at chicagoland@archadeck.net.  We would love the opportunity to turn your dreams into a reality.

See you in the Backyard!

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Is a Screen Room Right for You?

Imagine the sun peaking up, it’s first rays glittering through the trees.  The air is fresh and cool.  Aside from the birds chirping their morning songs, everything is quiet while you warm your hands around a hot cup of coffee.  There is something special about spending a quiet hour with the tranquil beauty of the great outdoors.

Screen rooms provide the feeling and function of an indoor room while blurring the lines between your outdoor and indoor living spaces.  Only a thin screen separates you and the outdoors. Whether it’s dinner with the family or just letting the children play, a screen room can add functionality to your back yard while eliminating worries such as mosquitoes and even rain.

Screen Room - Archadeck

Screen enclosures are also cost effective when compared to other home improvements.  The maintenance of a screen room is minimal and most winterize in no time.  If you are looking for a way to use your screen room through multiple seasons, you have a couple of options.  Acrylic storm panels can be placed in the windows when you prepare for winter.  Placing a small space heater in the screen room allows you to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate as you watch the snow fall, draping Chicagoland with a frosty white blanket.

Screen Room - Archadeck

Vertical 4-track windows appear to be glass to anyone looking from a distance, but are made of a vinyl material instead. These windows come in a variety of sizes, but are separated into four sections, allowing you to open from 25% to 50% to 75% This gives you control over the amount of outdoor elements you allow in.  If it’s a particularly blustery day, open just enough to allow just the right amount of breeze.  On a gorgeous summer afternoon, open them all up and enjoy the fresh scent of the season that wafts through your airy screen room.

Screen Room - Archadeck

There are so many options available to you when building a screen porch. From a traditional screen design to a custom three season room; the sky is the limit.  If you would like to take a look at design options or discuss how to put your outdoor dream together, give us a call and set an appointment to visit our show room Our Design Consultants can walk you through every step of the process, helping you make your dream become a reality.  Whether you’re adding a screen porch as an investment or simply to bring the outside in, you’re sure to love your new outdoor room.

See you in the Backyard!

What’s the Latest Trend in Outdoor Living?

According to Builder Blog, a recent survey by Professional Builders shows decks, outdoor fireplaces, fire pits and screened porches are among the most demanded outdoor living features.  Thinking about sprucing up your backyard?  Give us a call and visit our showroom!

 

 

How to choose a contractor you can trust, part 3

When you buy something at the store you see the finished product. When you order something online you see a picture of the finished product. When you hire a contractor, you won’t see the finished product until the project is built.

Buying from a contractor means trusting someone. Trusting they will build what you expect. Trusting they understand what you expect . How can a homeowner be comfortable they are choosing the right contractor for their project? How do they know who to trust? This is the third article in a blog series on how to select the right contractor.

In two previous blogs I wrote about evaluating a contractors background and experience and how to insure the contractor builds what you want and expect. In this blog I will share some thoughts on how a contractor can manage your project so it is built well and construction runs smoothly.

Project management is important in most businesses but it is crucial in construction. There are a lot of balls to juggle. Building department requirements, the carpenters, coordinating multiple crews, trash removal, material showing up on time, ensuring timely inspections to avoid delaying job progress, protecting driveways from dumpster damage, ensuring the correct fasteners are being used in the correct locations, and that is just a few examples. The most important detail is clearly communicating the progress of the job in a timely manner to the homeowner. Understanding how a contractor manages the multiple issues that can arise during the course of the job should be important in deciding who you want to hire for your project.

People and systems can make or break the job. In our organization, we manage each deck, patio, or screen porch project with a system called the Job Progress Methodology. This elaborate checklist (over 200 items currently) and four supporting guides for the field personnel keep us on track to ensure a smooth running project. We use this tool in conjunction with a series of construction standards in our Master File. This is a collection of drawings that clearly reflects how each detail of the project will be built.

Knowing who the crews are and how they are managed are important factors in the end result of the project. Finding tradesmen that are skilled, reliable, and trustworthy can be challenging. Over the years I have been shocked by the lack of skill that some carpenters bring to their work after presenting themselves well in the interview. We issue a written test to weed out many people up front. Asking for their approval to conduct a background check causes even more to drop out. With new crews, our Project Manager is on site daily for the first two to three weeks to insure they are building to our expectations and acting appropriately at our client’s homes. Some trades require proper licensing such as roofers, electricians, and plumbers in Illinois. We check that all insurances are up to date and that all our subs are properly licensed.

If you want full service, the contractor should handle all issues related to securing the permit and the inspections. This includes contacting the utility locater service, JULIE in Illinois, to insure no lines are hit when digging is involved. It should also include providing any drawings and information your Home Owners Association might require. Our company provides all of these services when we build Outdoor Living projects such as decks, screen porches, or pergolas.

How a contractor organizes it’s work, before and during the construction, is critical for success in your project. It is critical if you want comfort your expectations will be met and the job runs as smoothly as possible. If material or crews occur in the wrong order, it becomes difficult to undo the construction, making this organization critical. Of course even a quality company that makes every effort to be organized will still have mistakes, but they need to step up and make them right for you! We will talk more about this in our next blog.

See you in the outdoors.

How to choose a contractor you can trust, part 2

When you buy something at the store you see the finished product.  When you order something online you see a picture of the finished product.  When you hire a contractor, you won’t see the finished product until built. 

 Buying from a contractor means trusting someone.  Trusting they will build what you expect.  Trusting they understand what you expect. How can a homeowner be comfortable they are choosing the right contractor for their project?  How do they know who to trust? This is the second article in a blog series on how to select the right contractor.

 In my last blog I wrote about evaluating a contractor’s background and experience.  In this blog I would like to share some thoughts on how to evaluate the contractors approach to understanding your needs.  In my business we call it “design”, but really it’s about asking questions, listening, and understanding the priorities of the client.  Not all construction projects involve “design” but all of them include understanding the client’s priorities.   In our outdoor living business we strive to offer designs that match our client’s needs and wants.

 To insure that we understand a client’s priorities and, just as important, they understand what we are proposing to build, we provide a clear drawing with detailed specifics related to their project.   Every contractor should give clear written details of your project.  Of course, a written agreement and warranty are important as well.

 Project specifications should include details regarding materials and finishing information. Material information should clarify the quality of the material, if appropriate.  For example, we note number 1 grade decking and stainless steel screws for our deck projects.  Any items the client will be responsible for should also be included in the project specifications.  For example, when we build screen porches, we note that the client buys the ceiling fan which we install. 

 In some cases it’s valuable to visualize your project in three-dimensional photo realistic drawings.  When we build decks, patios, screen porches, sunrooms, or pergolas for shade, we offer a plan view (view from above) of the project.  If a client desires, we can offer custom three-dimensional drawings of their home with our proposed project shown on an image of their home.   This type of design work takes more time so we charge a small project retainer, which applies to the price of the project.

 Of course price is an important part of any proposal.  Some contractors give estimates.  Estimates can change and some contractors purposefully give a low price that they plan to increase once the project begins.  We guarantee that the that we agree will not to change unless the project is changed by the client or something unforeseen occurs.  We define unforeseen as not visually present or a requirement by a building department outside of those noted in the building code.

 In a future blog I will discuss project management and services offered by contractors.

 See you in the outdoors.

How to choose a contractor you can trust

When you buy something at the store you see the finished product. When you order something online you see a picture of the finished product. When you hire a contractor, you won’t see the finished product until the project is built.

Buying from a contractor means trusting someone. Trusting they will build what you expect. Trusting they understand what you expect . How can a homeowner be comfortable they are choosing the right contractor for their project? How do they know who to trust? In the next few blogs I am going to share some ideas that may help homeowners know what to look for and how to select the right contractor.

The first area to consider is experience and background. How much experience does the contractor have with your type of project? Some contractors try to do all types of construction but there are subtle differences in materials and design that affect the outcome of each construction project. For example, our company specializes in outdoor living projects; decks, screen porches, sunrooms, patios, and pergolas for shade. we know all the details to make these types of projects fit your home perfectly. However, I know the basics to remodel a kitchen; but if we did one there would be a dozen little issues that just did not look right. If a company has done at least 100 projects in a category they have probably learned the nuances that insure the project will look right.

What is their background & history? The Better Business Bureau or Angies List are great places to learn how the contractor treats other clients. Speaking to references can tell you a great deal, especially if the contractor does not have a list ready and organized. This is a question we are asked all the time. If a contractor is not prepared for it, then how well will they prepare for your project?

How quickly they response as well as the quality of their response are key indicators of how they will perform for your project. Are they on time? Do they ask questions to help you avoid mistakes? Do they listen to you and understand your priorities? Do they commit to follow up and more importantly do they fulfill those commitments? If the contractor falls short before you sign a contract, they will certainly fall short during the project. Everyone is at their best when they are trying to make a good impression and earn your business.

In an upcoming blog I will talk about the design process and how to insure that the details you expect are included in your project.

See you in the outdoors.