Our Team Can Bring Your Screened In Porch Ideas to Life

screened in porch ideasA screened porch is a great way to add an indoor/outdoor combination space to your home. However, as you are planning this new addition, the options can seem overwhelmingly endless. Here at Structurally Speaking, we have experience with helping homeowners navigate the building process. We’ll help you figure out the best screened in porch ideas for your home. Then, we’ll turn your design into a reality!

Porch Options for your Home – Which is Right for You?

First, keep in mind that a screen porch is just one of the options if you want an outdoor living space. We also have experience building:

  • Sunrooms (aka four-season rooms)
  • Multi-level and single-level decks
  • Combination porch/decks

Typically, a sunroom is the best option if you like spending most of your time inside. On the other hand, a deck is the best option if you like spending most of your time outside. An enclosed porch is the best of both worlds. You can keep it warm with some heaters or a fireplace and cool with some fans. However, unlike a sunroom, you get more fresh air and natural light through the screens.

Our process starts with an in-depth consultation. We’ll talk about your budget, your family’s habits, and your ultimate wish list. Our goal is to figure out what is most important for your new screened porch.

You’re in good hands! Our owner, Jim Brennan, oversees every project, so you get the exact porch design that is right for you. Jim has been working in the deck and porch design field for over 20 years. After working for the largest deck and porch builder in the United States, he founded Structurally Speaking in 2008. Jim gives every family a customized, competitively-priced screened porch design. Rather than an overpriced, cookie-cutter solution, you’ll get a porch, deck, or sunroom that you really love.

How Can You Use a Screened Porch?

When we create your screened porch, sometimes called a three season porch, we can build it from scratch or we can enclose your existing porch. If you have a porch already, you don’t lose any function by enclosing it with screens. You can still sit on your porch to enjoy a nice breeze as you relax. However, adding the screens gives you several other ways to enjoy your porch!

First, our clients love being able to use their porches at night without worrying about mosquitoes. Let’s face it – the evenings here in North Carolina can be pretty buggy. Screens prevent the bugs from eating you alive…and that’s always a good thing!

Because the screens keep out the bugs, this is also the perfect solution for picnics. You’ll have a place to spread out the food without worrying about a fly diving into the dip or a bee buzzing around the barbecue.

Another awesome function of a screened in porch is to provide a protected place for anyone who wants to get out of the sun. When you have a party or picnic in your outdoor area, older family members may need to take a break. Instead of going inside, where they can feel disconnected from the rest of the family, they can enjoy the enclosed porch.

With a screened porch, you’ll also have a safe outdoor living room where your children can play. If you have small children, you might not feel comfortable sending them outside by themselves, even if your yard has fencing. As an added bonus, they can play outside even in the rain!

This just scratches the surface when it comes to screened in porch ideas. You can read about more benefits here! Jim will speak to you about how you plan to use your porch. Then, he’ll design the porch or porch/deck combo that will work best for your family.

Creating a True Outdoor Room

Yes, your screened in porch can function as an outdoor living space, especially in the summer. Some people even turn their screened porch into a “sleeping porch” during the summer because it is the perfect place to sleep when the weather is warm. You can add a small day bed or other comfortable furniture to enjoy the feeling of camping out without having to pitch a tent.

To make your screened in porch feel like a true outdoor room, here are a few ideas you can consider:

  • Install a ceiling fan to help you stay cool, even when there is no breeze.
  • Consider adding some curtains, shades, awnings, or even shutters to give you some additional privacy when needed.
  • Add features to make your porch feel cozy, such as an outdoor fireplace. This is especially helpful in keeping your screened in porch functional well into autumn.
  • Choose flooring that is both easy to clean and comfortable for walking barefoot. We have some great composite decking and wood options, and you can also consider other materials.
  • Keep the porch swing if you love it, but also add other furniture pieces with weather-resistant fabrics and finishes. Use wicker furniture, bamboo and other materials that provide an outdoor ambiance.

As part of the porch design process, Jim will talk to you about how to create a space that is most functional for your family’s needs.

Screened In Porch Ideas for Decorating

We recommend thinking about your decorating preferences when you start the design process. This allows you to choose features like flooring and finishes that make sense for your overall aesthetic. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to decorating! However, here are a few questions to consider:

  • How is the rest of your home decorated? Typically, you’ll want rooms to flow nicely, including your porch. (That’s not to say your porch can’t be a departure if that’s what you want! After all, it is your space!)
  • Do you want to have a theme? Some people like to give their enclosed porch the feel of a beach retreat, mountain cabin, tropical paradise, etc.
  • What colors will complement your home and the outdoors? Think about the yard, street, or other landscape you can see from your porch.
  • Where is your porch in relation to the sun? As you are placing seating, plants, and other items, you’ll want to keep the sun in mind. No one can enjoy a nice cup of coffee in the morning if the sun is directly in their eyes.
  • Who will be using the porch the most? Is it a space for the whole family, an area more for adults, a playroom for the kids, or a hangout spot for teens?
  • Consult various websites for decorating ideas. You will find many resources with specific porch decorating ideas.

As you consider how you want to decorate, we can make recommendations for the types of screens, as well as other things we will be installing, such as flooring and railings. Throughout the process, we are mindful of your budget. We won’t start construction until you are completely happy with both the design and the price tag.

Turning Your Porch into Something More

Many clients find that an enclosed porch is just the first step in creating the perfect indoor/outdoor living space. This is especially true if you are converting or building a back porch, where more people have more space. Instead of a porch alone, we can also create a full screen porch plan that connects to a beautiful deck. This gives you ample additional living space under a roof, while also adding true outdoor space perfect for relaxing and parties.

Our porch/deck combos can be as complex or simple as you want. We have clients who have a small porch that leads to an effortless, uncomplicated deck. However, some clients prefer large porches that have a screen door leading to a large multi-level deck. Some of the features that add function and beauty to a deck are pergolas, built-in seating, planters, and more. We have even built custom hot tub decks for our clients!

If you’re not sure what you want, we can show you a wide range of options that fit your budget and space. Our goal is to narrow down what will work best for you. You don’t have to worry about an overbearing sales pitch when you work with Structurally Speaking. We never talk you into features you don’t need just to raise the price of the project. At the end of the day, it’s most important to us that your final porch area is exactly what you want.

Adding Value to Your Home

One of the other main advantages to a screened porch that we haven’t yet discussed is the increase in home equity. HGTV lists creating an outdoor space as one of the 10 ways you can add value to your home. Even a small screened porch will make your home more attractive to buyers if you ever sell.

If you aren’t thinking about selling anytime soon, adding a screened porch, either as a front porch or back porch can have other financial benefits. Down the road, if you ever need a home equity loan or line of credit, an outdoor living space can lead to a higher appraisal.

Additionally, if your family grows, an enclosed porch gives you extra living space without having to build onto your home. Sometimes, it is nice to have multiple places for people to relax, especially if, for example, one person is trying to study, another is trying to watch television, and another is trying to work. Even a big living room with a vaulted ceiling can feel small when people are trying to do multiple activities in one space.

It is also easy, relatively speaking, to convert a screened porch to a full sun room (aka four- season room). So, if you want to upgrade, we can help you complete that project in the future. The project will be easier with your existing porch than it would be to build a new sun room from scratch.

Structurally Speaking – Builders You Can Trust

We’ve mentioned how our owner Jim is heavily involved with the design process for every client. But what about the building process? Can you trust our crew to create your dream?

The short answer is yes!

Jim doesn’t just oversee the design step of the process. He also keeps careful watch over our construction crew. Here are our promises to you:

  • We don’t hire unknown, unreliable subcontractors to finish the job. Jim oversees our trusted team of specialists who have experience building custom decks and porches.
  • Our crew will respect your property. We don’t leave a messy worksite at the end of each day. Additionally, we take care to disrupt your landscape as little as possible. We’ll do our best to impact your life minimally as we complete your project.
  • Also, we will respect your time. Our team will show up bright and early, ready to work, based on the schedule we set. Sometimes, unavoidable weather delays happen, but in these cases, we always stay in touch about an updated timeline for your porch project.
  • Quality is important to us. We use the best materials on the market and take pride in impeccable work. If you are not satisfied with any aspect of your enclosed porch, we’ll make it right. We’re not happy until you’re happy.

Are you ready to learn more about how we can help you create a beautiful screened in porch? Click here to contact us via phone or fill out the form to schedule a free design consultation. We look forward to working with you!

Screened-In Porches Provide Five Amazing Advantages

 

screened-in porches

Screened-in porches are the perfect home improvement project for North Carolina homeowners. Our year-round mild weather is something all residents want to enjoy at home. A screen porch is the best of both worlds – inside and outside. A homeowner can enjoy numerous benefits from a screened porch. Best of all, porch design ideas are limitless and fun to consider and implement. Structurally Speaking will design and build the porch of your dreams. We provide unique designs, reasonable pricing, quality project management, and unmatched customer service. Contact us at 919-786-4825 to start your screened porch project.

Benefits of Screened-In Porches

Screened-in porches are immensely popular in North Carolina as they provide numerous benefits to southern homeowners. Without further ado, here are the top five advantages to adding on a screened-in porch:

  1. Adds value
  2. Provides additional space
  3. Ability to enjoy the outdoors no matter the weather
  4. Great space for pets
  5. Numerous ways to utilize the space
  6. No insects can spoil your relaxation

Adds value to your house

When taking on a home improvement project, it is always important to consider if it will add value to your current residence. According to a 2017 study completed by the American Institute of Architects, outdoor living spaces remain the most popular requests homeowners are inquiring about to builders. The study stated outdoor living space addition requests increased for the sixth year in a row.

Outdoor living spaces include screened-in porches, patios, decks, hot tub decks, pergolas, three-season rooms and sunrooms. Adding usable space to a home will always increase a home’s value. A screened-in porch as an outdoor living space addition adds usable space; therefore, it adds value to your home. Structurally Speaking has the experience and skill to design and build all of these additions to your home. Let us discuss the needs of your family and the options available during a free consultation.

More space to play and relax

Adding more space not only increases your home’s value, but gives you and the family more space to spread out. A screened porch will be another area of your home for playing, relaxing, entertaining, or whatever you choose to do in that space.

Enjoy the outdoors no matter the weather forecast

One of the best features of a screen porch is that its occupants will enjoy the outdoors while still being ‘indoors’ enough to not get wet from rain or scorched from direct sunlight. Not only does it keep out the elements, but also pesky bugs will not be able to get through the screen.

Great space for pets

People not only enjoy the porch area, but pets will also love the space. Indoor cats typically do not get to enjoy the outdoors other than an occasionally open window. However, a screened-in porch changes that completely! Dogs will also love feeling the breeze and smelling the fresh air through the screen without being on a leash.

Endless ideas for usage

Of course, the ideas for how to use a screen porch are limitless. Here are a few suggestions on ways to use a screened-in porch:

  • Dining area
  • Parties or entertainment
  • Home office
  • Reading nook
  • Study spot
  • Homeschool room
  • Outdoor-style movie room
  • Playroom
  • Garden or arboretum
  • Outdoor kitchen

No insect worries

You can relax and serve food without worrying about mosquitoes, flies or any other uninvited guests invading your outdoor space! Best of all, no mosquito bites to spoil your fun!

Ideas for Year-Round Screen Porches

Now that you know all the benefits of a screened porch, it is time to start considering must-have additions to ensure you can utilize it year-round. Spring and fall are always the perfect temperatures in North Carolina, so a screen porch is flawless the way it is. However, summertime in the south gets toasty. Therefore, an important and almost necessary addition to a screened in porch is a ceiling fan. Depending on how large the porch is, sometimes you may want to add more than one fan to the ceiling. While winters are mild in North Carolina, it still gets cold. In fact, it is usually too cold to enjoy being outside for long. But, adding an outdoor fireplace is a great way to add warmth on cold evenings on a screened porch. Another option is using outdoor heaters.

Porch Design Ideas

The most enjoyable part of any home addition is the design phase! A screen porch is no different. From furniture to lighting, it is important to consider all aspects in your porch design.

Fabulous Furniture for Relaxing and Entertaining

These are a few ideas for your new porch furniture:

  • All-weather patio furniture – wind, sunlight, and rain gusts will impact the furniture’s life, so you want something that will survive the elements.
  • Porch swings
  • Swinging daybed – perfect for those who want a sleeping porch.
  • Synthetic wicker furniture
  • Sectionals
  • Table & Chairs – great to turn the porch into a dining room option.
  • Hammock
  • Desk – during these days when many of us are working or schooling from home, an extra place to have a work/study area is almost a necessity!

Looking for more furniture and design ideas? Check out these pictures on Houzz for more screened-in porch design ideas. Once you decide which furniture you want, next up is deciding how to arrange it all in this new living space.

Illuminating Lighting for the Entire Porch Area

After determining the design for the porch, it is crucial to decide what type of lighting you want to set the ambiance on your porch. Below are a few popular lighting options for screened-in porches:

  • String bistro lights
  • Small lamps
  • Stand-up lamps
  • Outdoor chandelier
  • Carriage lanterns
  • Candles
  • Ceiling fan lights
  • Outdoor lanterns
  • Wall-mounted task lamps
  • Christmas string lights
  • Sconces

Consider the use of the porch area before deciding on lighting. If it will be a study or home office space, then you will want something that gives off a lot of light. Or, if it is for entertaining you will want fun lighting that sets an exciting atmosphere. Do not be afraid to mix lighting up either. There is no rule that says you can only use one type of lighting while designing your new outdoor living space.

Utilize the Ceiling

Do not forget about the ceiling. There is a centuries-old tradition to paint porch ceilings in a pale blue color. People thought the color scared off ghosts and evil spirits and kept them from entering the home. They thought the blue resembled water that spirts could not cross, or the sky which spirits could easily pass through. Consequently, that is how the color got its name, haint blue, which is an alternate spelling of ‘haunt’ during the early days in southern history.

Other Outdoor Room Choices

There are a few more selections to consider when designing your new screened-in porch. Whether you select a sectional sofa or individual chairs, having a fun or classy pillow is a must-add choice. If your backyard is in view of other houses, then privacy might be a concern. One option to add more privacy would be to add some draperies or awnings over each screen. These also keep too much sunlight from coming through a screen when the porch is in direct sunlight.

Rugs are a great choice to place over decking for comfort, especially if you love being barefoot on your porch. Click here for some great tips on how to choose the right rug for your porch or patio spaces. If you plan to use your new screened-in porch for parties or entertaining then be sure to invest in a nice, outdoor-friendly, bar cart. For those that want to make another kitchen space out of their porch, use this Louisiana house screen porch as an example. They add a grill and counters in a beautiful fashion.

Lastly, a final option to consider is what type of screen door you will add to the screen porch. It is important the door always has some type of hook or lock to keep it closed when not opening or closing the door.

Keeping it Clean

Does the thought of keeping your screened-in porch clean make you cringe? Do not worry, it is not too complex. The biggest thing to keep in mind is to conduct regular cleaning as well as seasonal maintenance. Be sure to read this article with tips and tricks on how to easily keep your porch sparkling.

How Much Does It Cost?

Are you excited about the idea of hiring a porch builder for your new screened-in porch yet? You are probably now wondering how much it costs to build a screen porch. There is no exact cost or answer to this question as it greatly varies depending on many factors and the scope of the project. Here are a few aspects that impact cost when building a screen porch:

  • Decking materials and screen fabric
  • Screen size and quantity
  • Size of the space
  • Length of time the project takes
  • Electrical needs, if adding wiring
  • Adding outdoor grill and/or counter tops

These are only a few factors to consider when pricing a screen porch addition. Our owner, Jim Brennan, provides all potential clients with a free, no-obligation initial consultation to discuss the project and pricing. Call us at 919-786-4825 to request yours and begin planning your dream porch.

Enclosed Patio: Screened-In Porch Versus Sunroom

As you read earlier, there are many types of outdoor spaces to add onto your home. Are you struggling to decide between a screened-in porch or sunroom? Are you not sure which patio enclosure is right for you, your house, or your family?

First, it is important to understand the differences between the two. A screened-in porch is an enclosed porch with screens. Whereas, a sunroom typically has glass and walls which does not put inhabitants in direct contact with the elements. It is, in effect, another room added to your home and has heat and air conditioning.

There are various factors to consider when deciding between the two.

Do you already have an existing deck or patio that you can easily enclose with screens? If yes, this choice could save you money.

Is your budget flexible? Sunrooms tend to cost more to build, so if you have a bigger budget this might be a great option.

Are you wanting to enjoy the breeze and fresh air? Then, a screen porch is the way to go.

Read this article for more questions to ask yourself when deciding between a sunroom and screened-in porch.

Why Structurally Speaking?

Structurally Speaking is committed to designing and building high-quality outdoor living spaces for our Raleigh-area clients. Our owner, Jim Brennan, worked with the largest United States deck and porch builder for over a decade. He proved to be one of their top designers in the Raleigh division. In 2008, he started his own business, Structurally Speaking, to provide Raleigh area homeowners with his unique approach to designing porches and decks. His porch ideas are unique for every project and not a cookie-cutter approach. His designs will complement your home’s style and location.

As a top Raleigh porch builder, we are committed to four major values for every project. Those are:

  1. Customized design
  2. Competitive pricing
  3. Expert project management
  4. Excellent customer service

What else can we do? In addition to building top-quality screened-in porches, we also provide these services as well:

  • Deck
  • Sunroom
  • Pergola
  • 3-Season Porch
  • Hot Tub Deck

Your Call to Action

Picture this… a calming breeze flowing through the screen, happy birds chirping, and a warm cup of coffee in your hand. All of that can be yours if you build a screened-in porch for your house! At Structurally Speaking, our goal is to put you in the screened porch of your dreams. We want you to have a space you absolutely love. Give us a call today at 919-786-4825 or fill out our simple contact form to request your free, no-obligation consultation.

Can a Custom Deck Builder Design the Deck of Your Dreams?

Custom Deck Builder

A custom deck builder can give you that awesome outdoor living space your family loves. However, if you don’t know exactly what you want, you are not alone. Many homeowners feel the frustration of not knowing how to improve their back yard.

We can help! At Structurally Speaking, we specialize in building custom decks. Our team can help you develop the plan for your space based on your needs, budget, and current landscaping. You don’t have to have a perfect deck in mind to begin your project. We’ll walk you through the process to bring your vision to life, even if your vision isn’t crystal clear at the start.

The Structurally Speaking Process

We have three phases to the custom deck building process. This helps us ensure we build an outdoor living space you love, rather than a deck that is “just okay.”

First, we’ll sit down with you to discuss your needs and budget during an initial consultation. Sometimes, a simple deck is best. Other times, a more elaborate design will work better. We’ll ask you a lot of questions about how you plan to use the space. Additionally, we’ll talk about your current outdoor space and the biggest frustrations you have about it. We’ll also get a sense of your style by showing you many different options. We also consider the shape of your property and the style of your home…a deck must complement the space to add value.

Next, we’ll create a custom deck design based on our initial meeting. Actually, we’ll create a few designs with variations so you have options. Most people don’t know exactly what they want when we start this process. Our design phase will help us bring the project to life so you can envision the final product. Don’t worry if we don’t hit the nail on the head the first time. We can make tweaks until you are completely happy with the design.

Finally, we’ll start the building project. Up until this point, you can walk away. There are no strings attached during our initial consultation and design. However, once we enter the building phase, we’ll sign a contract so you know exactly what you’ll be paying and the construction timeline. Our team will turn the final design into a reality.

Deck Cost and Timeline

The cost and timeline for your deck project will depend on several factors, including the materials you choose, the complexity of the design, and the time of year. That said, one thing is certain; hiring a professional custom deck builder is always going to save you money and time versus doing it yourself!

At first, it might seem like a deck DIY project is the way to go. Here are a few things to consider:

  • If you build the deck yourself, will the money you save go toward fixing mistakes later? Most homeowners make several mistakes while building their deck. Not only does this take time, but the mistakes you make could cost a lot of money later on.
  • Are you getting the best prices on materials? Sure, you’ll save on labor if you do the work yourself, but we get contractor deals on composite decking, wood, and other materials. We pass those savings on to you.
  • Do you know what permits and permissions you need from your local city/county and homeowner’s association? It depends on your location and the scope of your project. When you work with us, we can handle this for you so you don’t have to worry about fines.
  • Are you building on a solid base? Most deck projects work best with a layer of stone or cinder blocks to prevent moisture. If you build directly on the ground, you’ll have to repair or replace your deck sooner.
  • How valuable is your time? You’ll be amazed how fast we get your new deck built. We’re professionals, and our team does this every day. Plus, we have several people working at once. If you do it yourself, it can take several days or even weeks to finish your deck.

Here’s the good news: we talk about budget on day one. We don’t want to start the design, let alone the building part of the project unless you are comfortable with the numbers. You won’t get a surprise bill at the end of the project when you work with Structurally Speaking. Our goal is to create the deck that you want, while staying within your budget.

Custom Deck Design Materials

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make for your new deck is the building material. The deck installation process is roughly the same for all types of materials, but the material you choose can affect pricing and will definitely impact the overall look for your outdoor space.

A classic wood deck is a choice that’s hard to beat. We have both pressure-treated wood and composite options. Looking for an even more unique deck material option? During the consultation, let us know what you’re thinking, and we’ll let you know if it is possible!

If you do choose the more traditional option of wood or composite decking, we have a variety of options. Pine is a very affordable option that you can stain or paint in almost any color. We also have options such as cedar and exotic woods such as Ipe.

Features Your Custom Deck Builder Can Design

Maybe you want a simple deck that just provides a flat surface for your outdoor furniture and grill. If that’s the case, we can create the deck of your dreams. However, we also can add special features to your custom deck. These features make your deck more functional and beautiful. Here are a few of the most popular options for homeowners looking for something special for their deck:

Imagine relaxing in your very own hot tub at the end of a long day at work. We can create a beautiful hot tub deck that allows you easy access to your new spa.

Add some shade to your new deck with the addition of a pergola. As an added bonus, pergolas offer a great structure for climbing plants such as ivy and various vines. So, if you love the idea of using your deck for plants, a pergola is a great option.

  • Other Plant-Friendly Features

In addition to pergolas, we can include other plant-friendly features. For example, we could include built-in planters. We can also build your deck around trees or other plants that are already part of your landscaping. Additionally, if you love to garden, we can create raised beds as part of your new deck.

  • Built-In Seating

Built-in benches, chairs, tables, and other seating can be a beautiful and functional feature to add to your deck. During the deck design process, we’ll talk to you about how you’ll use your new deck. Maybe you envision small family gatherings and intimate dinner parties. Or, maybe you like to host large reunions and gatherings. It might make sense to have one large seating area, or it might make sense to have several smaller seating areas. We’ll create a design that makes sense for your specific needs.

Multi-Level Deck Installation

Most people think about their decks as a one-level outdoor space. We can build these decks, but we can also expand the vision to include multiple levels.

A multi-level deck allows you several access points from your home. For example, you can exit from your kitchen to the lower level of your deck while also enjoying a balcony-level exit from your upstairs master bedroom.

We can create your multi-level deck using ramps, stairs, or a combination. Don’t forget the built-in lighting. As part of your custom-built deck, we can include solar lights or we can run electrical wiring for lights you can control via a switch or remote instead. These lights keep your family safe while using ramps and stairs to enjoy the multiple levels of your deck.

Building a Deck and Sunroom or Porch Combination

A deck gives you a beautiful outdoor living space to enjoy with your family. However, the weather doesn’t always allow you to spend time outside. We can create an indoor-outdoor combination space by adding on or attaching to a sunroom or screened porch.

Here are some top benefits of including a sunroom or screened porch as part of your deck project:

  • You can enjoy time “outside” even if it is raining. During the spring and fall, a porch or sunroom can also provide shelter from some chilly wind.
  • An indoor-outdoor space provides maximum shade from the sun on hot days. We can even install overhead fans to help keep the space cool.
  • You dream deck could also be a mosquito buffet if your home is near water. A porch or sunroom is a place to get some relief on especially buggy nights. For the same reason, it’s also a great place for the food during a party.
  • If your yard doesn’t have a fence, a screened porch or sunroom is a more secure play area for young children.

Keep in mind that a screened porch or sunroom will also add value to your home, as will a beautiful deck. Even if you currently have no plans to move, you will probably want to sell your home someday to either upgrade or downsize. When you’re ready, you’ll be happy for a backyard that increases the sale price.

Until then, the added equity means that you have the ability to get a home equity loan or line of credit when you need it. This money is nice to have for very large renovation projects, such as installing a new room. The FTC has some great information about home equity loans and credit lines if you’re interested in learning more.

Common Deck Mistakes Homeowners Make (and How to Avoid Them!)

As you are considering the type of deck you want, we urge you to avoid these common mistakes when hiring a custom deck builder.

First, the most common mistake we see is hiring a deck building company that isn’t licensed, insured, and experienced. We get it; a custom deck can be expensive. However, if you hire an inexperienced deck builder, your dream deck could turn into a nightmare. These companies often cut corners, which means you’ll spend twice as much to fix mistakes. They also don’t have insurance, so if anyone has an accident during construction, you could be liable. Don’t hire the first cheap company you see on Craigslist. Do your research and hire a company like Structurally Speaking. A local company strives to please its customers and relies on their recommendations to friends and family. We want your project to appeal to all of your guests and add value to your home. Read some reviews from satisfied customers to see how we value our customer service.

Another mistake we see homeowners make is not solidifying a total budget with a contract. Often, less scrupulous deck contractor companies won’t give you a contract. Then, at the end of the project they present you with a bill that is much higher than you thought it would be. Always get the total cost in writing. Here at Structurally Speaking, we don’t start a project until we are all in agreement about the price.

We also see homeowners make the mistake of hiring a deck contractor that doesn’t have experience with design. Building the deck is just one part of the project. If you know exactly what you want and have a very simple design in mind, these contractors can probably handle it. Although, you could have problems if they don’t get the appropriate permits or have insurance and a license. Some of these national companies will be leaving the area after they complete your project and will not be available if problems occur later on. Therefore, for a more complicated design or just for your peace of mind, always hire a professional with design experience. When you work with Structurally Speaking, you get the full attention of our owner Jim Brennan who has decades of decking experience. He has designed hundreds of decks and looks forward to designing yours as well. Click here to contact us today.

Enclosing A Screened Porch Can Be A Simple Process

enclosing a screened porchDuring the long, cold winter months, you counted the days until spring. However, the warm days also bring the annoyance of bugs, especially mosquitoes. Instead of relaxing in the lounge chair, you’re constantly swatting the insects away. This was not how you envisioned spending your summer. Enclosing a screened porch provides you with freedom from insects and protection against rain showers.

Raleigh, NC ranks #6 on a list for the 20 worst cities in the United States for mosquitoes. While many times a mosquito bite results in an itchy bump, some people are allergic experiencing more severe reactions. Also, mosquitos carry deadly diseases that they can transmit through a bite. Malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, West Nile, and Zika are some common illnesses you can catch from mosquitos. Moreover, mosquito season lasts from April to October, the time most of us like to be outdoors.

Many people turn to citronella candles or insect repellants when spending time outside. However, a study has shown that many repellants simply do not work. Even if you use an effective product, you need to apply it in sufficient concentration to reduce insect attraction. This study also found that citronella candles did not repel mosquitoes at all.

Does this mean you should avoid the outdoors entirely? Of course not! You can enjoy the outdoors by building a screen room onto your home. The screens are a barrier against all insects while allowing fresh air into your room. If you’re looking for a design specialist for your screen room, call the experts at Structurally Speaking. Our owner, Jim Brennan, personally meets with each client. He’ll give you a detailed consultation focused on your function and aesthetic goals. And there’s no obligation with our estimates.

What’s A Homeowner to Do?

When the warm days are beckoning outside, what should we do? Brave the mosquitoes outside or remain inside shut up in our homes? A better solution is to build a screen room. Then you’ll be able to enjoy the outdoors without the threat of insects. Plus, your roofed structure will protect you against sudden summer storms.

Many people love feeling connected to nature. Protected living spaces give homeowners the feeling of outdoors without the inconveniences of bugs and inclement weather. No longer will you have to worry about flies or wasps interrupting your dinner. You’ll be able to enjoy the view outside and pesky mosquitoes won’t be able to reach you.

Do you have an existing patio or deck space? Are you constantly sweeping leaves, grass, and other debris off? A patio enclosure will keep nature’s debris from your outdoor living space. Plus, the overhead roof will protect your furniture from harmful UV rays as well as any bad weather.

Should I Choose A Deck, Screen Room, or Sunroom

When considering your options for extending your living space to the outdoors, you have several choices. Begin by thinking about how you plan on using the additional space. Will you be hosting many outdoor parties? Do you want an additional dining area or family room?

Primarily, your budget is always your first consideration when considering any home improvement project. Knowing how much you can spend will determine the scope of your project. For example, a deck is much cheaper to build than a 3-season room. And a screen room is less expensive than a sunroom.

However, you need to balance your budget against your needs. How do you plan on using the additional space? If you plan on entertaining, you’ll want tables and seating with space to maneuver around. You may even want a screened-in area for protection against insects and bad weather. And if you plan on using the room throughout the year, you’ll want a sunroom.

The Differences Between Each Structure

So, which structure will be best for your needs? Each one is slightly different with varying price levels. Structurally Speaking can help you create, and design a deck, screen room, or sunroom perfect for your needs and budget. Let’s take a look at the basics of each construction.

Decks are generally elevated structures attached to a house. They can be different levels, sizes, and shapes. Typically, builders construct decks from pressure-treated wood, hardwoods, or composite wood. Most decks don’t have roofs to provide shade and protection from the elements.

A screen room is a roofed structure attached to your home. You can build an entirely new structure or build an enclosure around a porch or a patio. Screen panels keep insects and debris out while letting fresh air in. However, you can’t use this type of enclosed structure once the weather turns chillier.

Sunrooms can give be either 3- or 4-season rooms, depending on the windows, insulation, and heating system. Builders construct 3-season rooms with glass windows. Glass provides added protection against the cold for longer use. However, 3-season rooms usually have single-pane windows without insulation or a heating system. Thus, you can’t use your room during the coldest winter months.

Contractors build 4-season sunrooms with double-pane energy-efficient windows and insulation. With insulation, the homeowner can heat and cool the room. This allows for year-round usage.

Options to Consider for Your Screen Room

Once you’ve decided on the structure you want, you can think about extra options. These are amenities you can add to make your space more usable, inviting, and comfortable. When your room is more welcoming, you’ll use it more often.

Ceiling fans are always are an appreciated addition to increase air circulation. Choose a fan with a light fixture and you can use your room after the sun goes down. A fireplace can make a chilly outdoor room warm and cozy allowing you to use it late into fall. While the addition of a television will make your room seem more of an extension of your home.

Some homeowners dislike the barrier screens’ presence. Thus, retractable screens give you the choice of removing the screens. Available in both manual and motorized options, your screens can retract to open your room up to the outdoors. With protected inside casing, UV rays, dirt, and the weather can’t harm your screens. Thus, your screens will last longer.

Glass windows are another option that will turn your screen room into a sunroom. Bow, bay, casement, and sliding windows are among the most popular types of windows for sunrooms. Moreover, you may want glass with a low E-coating that reflects heat energy to keep your room cooler.

Which Is the Best Screen Material for My Porch Enclosure?

If you choose to enclose your patio, you’ll have to decide on what kind of screens to use. Today’s screens are available in several different materials. Bronze, stainless steel, aluminum, and fiberglass all make excellent screens. So, which is the best screen material for my needs? It all comes down to your budget.

Generally, bronze and stainless steel are the more expensive options. These premium metals offer more elegance and are suitable for maintaining the architectural integrity of classic homes. Both are strong, durable, and resist corrosion.

Fiberglass is the most popular screen choice for most homeowners due to its low cost. It offers good visibility due to less glare from sunlight. Plus, fiberglass screens come in a wide range of colors so you can match the exterior of your home.

Some homeowners prefer an aluminum screen due to its durability. On average, aluminum screens last 30-40% longer than fiberglass. However, your choice of colors is much more limited. Typically, aluminum screens are only available in black, charcoal, and silver.

Undecided about which screen is best for your project? Let us review your ideas and budget to suggest your best option. Since 2008, Structurally Speaking has been helping homeowners build the enclosed structure of their dreams. We have designed all of these home enhancement structures and will guide you to the unique solution for your home and lifestyle. You can view some of the projects we’ve constructed in the greater Raleigh Durham area here.

What Will A Screen Porch or 3-Season Room Cost?

Like many home improvement projects, your cost depends on several variables. The size, materials, and scope of the project have a direct effect on the price. Rather than trying to figure out costs on your own, it’s better to talk to a professional. At Structurally Speaking, Jim Brennan will personally evaluate your home to give you the addition you need.

Certain factors always drive up costs. A larger project with more square footage will be more expensive than a smaller plan. Likewise, the materials you choose have a big influence on price. We’ve already talked about the different screens you can choose from. But there’s also flooring choice and added accessories such as a ceiling fan. Decorative touches too can raise the price.

Finally, the scope of the project needs consideration. Do you already have an open porch that you want to enclose with a screen? Perhaps you have an unused patio with an existing roof that requires an enclosure? Or do you want to install glass windows in your screened porch for a seasonal room?

Trying to figure out the price of your project can be quite daunting. An easy way is to give us a call for a free no-obligation estimate. After consulting with you on your needs, budget, and design ideas, we present you with a proposal. We will present one that meets your needs and stays within your budget.

A Porch Enclosure Will Increase the Value of Your Home

Most likely, the reason you’re thinking of enclosing your existing porch is for your own use and enjoyment. You want additional outdoor living space without the annoyances of nature. Increasing the value of your home is an added benefit.

On average, the return on your investment for enclosing your porch is 70-75%. A screen room is a nice added feature that can make your home stand out from others. Many prospective buyers actively seek out a home with a patio, sunroom or porch enclosure. Most likely, you probably aren’t thinking about selling your home any time soon; however, it’s still reassuring to know you can recoup most of your costs at some point. It’s a great investment, since you and your family can enjoy the improvement for many years and then receive a good return in the future!

Are You Thinking About Enclosing a Screened Porch on Your Home?

The insects, especially mosquitoes, can be severe during the summer months. Instead of hiding in your house the entire time, call Structurally Speaking. Enclosing a screened porch can offer protection against insects, while giving you additional living space.

Hiring the right contractor for your project can eliminate much of the stress that goes along with it. At Structurally Speaking, we know all the local building codes and take care of all the permits. When you use a local, fully-insured and licensed contractor, you know that you will receive the best customer service and an outstanding result. We want you to recommend us to your family and friends! All you need to do is to decide on the design you like best.

We plan and build decks, screened porches, 3-season rooms, sunrooms, hot tub decks, and pergolas. Serving the greater Raleigh-Durham area, our personal touch is what sets us apart from other contractors. So, call us today at 919-786-4825. Or, if you prefer, tell us a bit about your upcoming project online. Either way, we’ll contact you for your free no-obligation estimate. The warm months pass by too quickly. Let us build a structure to give you greater enjoyment of the outside.

Be Wary of Red Flags When Finding Decking Companies Near Me

decking companies near meIf you do a simple Google search for decking companies near me online, you’ll find many options in the Raleigh area. It can be overwhelming. However, it is only through asking questions that you can find the best decking contractor for your project.

Here at Structurally Speaking, we put the homeowner first. The result? Gorgeous decks that are exactly what our customers wanted. (Yes, even if they didn’t know exactly what they wanted when we started working together!)

But don’t take our word for it. If you’re considering hiring us – or any deck builder – for an upcoming project, we encourage you to ask a lot of questions. You should feel completely comfortable with the deck company you hire. Here are a few notable red flags that should make you run the other direction when you are choosing a contractor for your new deck.

They Don’t Have Much Deck Building Experience

General contractors are a dime a dozen. If you want the best result, find a contractor that specializes in outdoor projects.

Here at Structurally Speaking, every project is overseen by Jim Brennan, who has been designing and building decks since 1999. After ten years of being a top designer for the largest deck and porch builder in the United States, Jim decided to form his own company. He based Structurally Speaking on his approach to the deck building process, which is to individually design custom decks instead of giving you a cookie cutter solution that doesn’t fully meet your needs. We have been serving the greater Raleigh community since 2008. When you buy from a local company, you know that they want satisfied customers to recommend them to friends and family. That is our goal…satisfied customers who love their new outdoor spaces.

When you hire a general contractor, they may do the work, and it may even be a good job. However, you’ll probably find that your deck isn’t taking full advantage of everything your outdoor space has to offer.

Simply put, Jim has been doing this for over 20 years. He knows exactly what questions to ask about your lifestyle, budget, and personal aesthetic to create the deck of your dreams. To us, your home deserves so much more than a slab of concrete or wood. You deserve a true outdoor living area that your entire family can enjoy.

When You Ask Questions, They Side-Step

It should be a huge red flag to you if a contractor doesn’t answer your questions directly. It typically means one of two things:

  1. They don’t know the answer and are trying to make you think they do.
  2. You might not like the answer, so they’re misleading you.

Some people talk a big game, so to speak. They are great at sales, but lacking in the knowledge department. The honest thing to do is to simply say, “I don’t know.” Otherwise, they might be giving you incorrect information. We learn new things every day. Even though we are deck building experts with more than two decades of experience, sometimes a homeowner asks us a question and we don’t know the answer. If that is the case, we’ll always tell you the truth – that we don’t know, but we will find out. We won’t sidestep a question to try to seem smarter.

It’s even more upsetting that a deck company may try to mislead you because they are worried about your reaction about something. Here’s the thing: when we talk about certain topics, especially budget, it’s a little uncomfortable. We might have to break the news to you that a certain type of wood won’t fit into your price range. Or we might have to tell you that a certain design isn’t possible.

Whatever the case may be, you can always count on us to be 100% upfront about your deck and the building process. If something isn’t possible, we’ll work together with you to find an even better solution. We believe this is the only way to ensure you are in love with your new deck at the end of the project. Ask a lot of questions! (Here are five questions we recommend to get started.)

They Push You in a Certain Direction

Don’t let any deck contractor push you around. A contractor might try to push you toward a certain decking material or design for any number of reasons. Remember, this is your home, not theirs. Your opinion is the one that matters.

The most common way a deck contractor will try to push you in a certain direction is with a tactic called “upselling.” This is when a salesperson tries to convince you to upgrade to spend more money. Often, they do this in a sneaky way by getting you to agree to small upgrades and continuing to push you more and more. Suddenly, you could find that your price quote triples, and your deck project has morphed into something you don’t even want.

Our team here at Structurally Speaking will always present you with your options, including different decking materialpergola options, built-in features like a fire pit or outdoor kitchen, screened-in porch designs, and more. However, we are always, first and foremost, conscious of your budget. If you want to go wild with a custom deck that has room for a hot tub, we’ll make it happen! What we won’t do is talk you into a hot tub that you don’t even want.

You Get No Direction at All

Although you don’t want someone to push you in a certain direction, you also need at least a little input from the contractor. A deck company should never expect you to be the designer of your own dream deck. After all, who is the expert here?

We work with many homeowners who have a good idea of what they want. In this case, we’ll still make some suggestions, which you might want to veto or which you might love. When an expert looks at your outdoor space, they probably see possibilities that you don’t. So, we’ll always give you our suggestions.

If you have no idea what you want, beyond a functional outdoor living space, we can help you as well. In this case, we’ll ask you many questions about what you like and dislike. We can even look at pictures of our past projects together to get a better sense of your personal style. Then, we’ll design your dream deck with various options.

What we’ll never do is expect you to just tell us what you want with absolutely no guidance. We’ll walk you through the design process every step of the way.

Their Deck Construction Timeline is Unclear

Over the years, we have worked on hundreds of projects. It’s a simple fact that deck and porch jobs sometimes get delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, such as poor weather. However, all decking companies near me should be able to give you at least an idea of the timeline.

When you work with Structurally Speaking, we commit to:

  • Giving you an accurate and honest timeline from the start
  • Working with your schedule to ensure that the project fits into your life with as little upheaval as possible
  • Staying in close communication about any delays, such as bad weather in the forecast
  • Showing up on time on the days we will be working, so you never have to wonder where we are

Any deck contractor you hire should be able to commit to these things as well. If someone won’t set a firm schedule/timeline with you, we recommend working with a different contractor.

They Can’t Show Proof of Insurance or a License (All Decking Companies Near Me Should Have Proof!)

When you’re comparing price quotes from several builders, you might notice one thing the cheapest companies have in common: they have no license or insurance.

In North Carolina, a contracting license is required for larger jobs. If your deck job will cost more than $30,000, it would be illegal for a deck builder to take on that job without a contractor’s license. That said, all companies need to have a regular business license, even if your deck will cost significantly less. Companies who operate without a business license are attempting to bypass certain fees and taxes that the law requires.

It’s also important that you work with an insured contractor. Insurance protects both you and the deck builder. Let’s say, for example, that one of the people working on your deck gets injured. If the company isn’t insured, they could turn around and sue you, the homeowner! While your homeowner’s insurance does protect you in some cases, it is always best to work with an insured contractor. That way, you know you’re covered and you aren’t personally at risk.

Don’t be afraid to ask for license and insurance paperwork when you are interviewing companies and collecting quotes. If they sidestep the question or say they don’t give out this information, you shouldn’t work with that company.

Additionally, we recommend never paying “under the table” for a deck job. If a contractor requests this it is because they are trying to illegally avoid paying taxes. Make sure you have a paper trail to show what you paid and when. If you’re paying with cash, have the person taking your money write out and sign a receipt.

You Don’t Have a Good Sense of What Your New Deck Will Cost

Speaking of money, our last piece of advice is to always work with a contractor who is upfront and transparent about pricing. Otherwise, you could find yourself with a surprise bill at the end of a project.

You should speak with your contractor about your budget at your initial meeting. This budget should be the driving force behind their design suggestions. At Structurally Speaking, we always have an honest conversation at the start of a deck project about budget, so we can set realistic expectations. Then, we’ll show you designs and options that fit into this budget.

A price quote from any deck builder should not be a vague range. Before any money changes hands or any work begins, make sure to set a clear expectation about the price. Sign a contract to ensure that everyone is clear about the amount due and how much you’ll pay upfront versus how much you’ll pay at the end of the project.

During the work, your total cost should not increase unless you add new features. Some companies will try to scam you by telling you that there were unforeseen issues or that the price of their materials went up. Any professional deck builder won’t have these “problems” and can complete the job on budget.

The Structurally Speaking Process

If you’ve been getting a lot of red flags with other companies, we would love to take on your project. Here’s how we work:

  • First, we sit down with you to determine your budget and what you want in a new deck. This initial consultation is completely free with no obligation to hire us.
  • Next, Jim will take this information and complete some designs custom-created for your home. He’ll sit with you to present these designs, so you can choose the best option for you.
  • Only after you’ve chosen a design you love, will we start the building process. We’ll stay within the budget and communicate closely with you. If you have any questions, we’re always available.

Jim oversees every single project to ensure the quality of the work. We don’t hand you off to a third party. Your home is important to us.

Are you ready to begin with a free consultation? There’s absolutely no obligation to sit down with Jim and discuss your decking needs. Click here to contact us today. Or, just give us a call at 919-786-4825.