Should you use low-maintenance materials on your Columbus porch?

Archadeck of Columbus explores the realm of low-maintenance and wood products used in covered, and screened porch designs.

open porch Columbus vinyl low maintenance
This open porch in Columbus was built using vinyl low maintenance materials.

I get asked all the time by customers if it is best to build their new porch from natural wood or low-maintenance materials. Like any good question, the answer is… “it depends”. Let’s look at the porch from the inside out. Many customers ask if they should use synthetic decking boards for the floor of their porch. Our answer is that using synthetic decking on a screened-in porch is probably overkill. The primary enemies to wood preservation are sun, water, and heavy use. The worst offender is sun. Direct exposure to the sun causes the decking to expand and contract on a regular basis and also fades the decking unless if purchased a fade resistant decking. So if your porch flooring is covered by a roof and surrounded by screens, you likely don’t need to invest in synthetic flooring. From a cost standpoint, low-maintenance will increase your flooring costs 30-60%.

If you are building a covered porch that is not enclosed by windows or screens, the flooring may get more sun exposure and will get more exposure to rain and snow. In this scenario, other factors come into play. It might make sense to invest in synthetic flooring even though the sun exposure is dramatically minimized. The key factors in this decision become whether your porch flooring materials are connected to your deck and if you’re willing to do maintenance on your flooring. If your porch is attached to your deck that has synthetic flooring, you may want to use the same flooring in your porch for continuity.

Front Porch with Vinyl Rails and TimberTech Decking
On this front porch we used TimberTech composite decking and vinyl rails.

When it comes to the components used in the exterior construction of your porch, this becomes a different story. Components such as railings, soffits, fascias, perimeter trim, roof beams and roof posts are generally not protected from the sun, or the elements. Predominately, as a builder we use wood to frame all of our projects. We do not use aluminum framing. We can however install vinyl sleeves over the exposed areas of the exterior wood framing elements which will deliver you a truly low-maintenance porch. Many homeowners opt to use iron railings, and even aluminum railings for their low-maintenance value and pleasing appearance.

low maintenance vinyl screen porch Columbus
Low maintenance vinyl screen porch Columbus, OH.

Any wood and/or wood trim on a vertical plane would need to be maintained on average of 5-10 years.  Examples are roof posts, roof beams, trim, soffit and fascia’s. Covered and screen  porches built from wood leave only a small number of components exposed to the sun. Many homeowners choose to remain with wood overall because the areas that are exposed are on a vertical plane and aren’t subjected to foot and hand traffic which will cause breakdown and wear over time.

Vinyl open porch Columbus
We used low-maintenance vinyl on this stunning open porch in Columbus, OH.

The answer to the million dollar question is no. You don’t have to use low-maintenance materials to still get low-maintenance value. The important thing is to choose what is best for your taste,  lifestyle and budget. For example, if you never want to have to paint your porch then low-maintenance is worth the investment. You can also get the best of both worlds by combining wood with low-maintenance details that will not require maintenance until later down the road. The choice is yours.

If you are ready to start your journey toward building a new porch, screened porch or covered porch, contact Archadeck of Columbus to help make the trip a pleasant experience. We can help plan, design and custom build an outdoor space that lives up to all your maintenance and functional expectations. Call for a free consultation today (740) 879 – 3730
westcolumbus@archadeck.net

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

To see more examples of low-maintenance and wooden porches visit our covered porch, screened porch and porch galleries located on our website.

Let the sun shine through with an open porch design in your backyard

Archadeck of Columbus turns the spotlight on a versatile combination of outdoor structures in Columbus which includes a rustic open porch, and patio with separate seating area. The perfect match for the outdoor living season.

Interior of open porch in Columbus, OH
This photo shows the lovely interior of this open porch we recently completed in Columbus, OH.

Open porches take us back to a time when you spent the summer afternoon sipping lemonade while rocking away the time on the porch in the company of friends and family. Open porches sure have changed and evolved. Once upon a time an open porch was only a front of the house, or back of the house thing. Today’s open porch designs include detached, open gables, intricate ceilings, and many other “goodies” hidden inside.  Open porches now include many different convenient amenities such as outdoor kitchens, lighting, ceiling fans, fireplaces and even televisions.

open porch design Columbus OH Archadeck
Notice the stunning keystone centerpiece within the open rafter end. This adds character and rustic appeal to the appearance of the porch.

This open porch we recently completed has an open gable roof to allow lots of sunshine to enter the area. The gable includes a stunning decorative element called a keystone centerpiece. The homeowner wanted to use a minimal number of columns so they could utilize the open area more efficiently; therefore we used four columns in the porch’s construction. In doing so we had to engineer the size of the beams to take care of the abundant span on this 17 x 21 area.

Along with the keystone used on the rafter, we also used a keystone on the king truss. The large king truss serves two purposes; aesthetic appeal and the ever important structural support. We were also able to hang the ceiling fan from the king truss to provide further visual interest, and more function.

Since the homeowners specifically asked for intricate details and plenty of lighting in their new open porch, we wrapped everything in rustic cedar. The rustic touches can also be seen in the use of the large 4 X 6 rafters we used. We included lots of lighting including skylights, and lighting on the ridge beams as well.

The king truss adds loads of structural support and beauty.
The king truss adds loads of structural support and beauty.

The beauty and function doesn’t end with the open porch. We also built a patio below with a separate seating area, built with unilock pavers. This multi-structure outdoor area serves all the purposes the homeowners desired and then some. These Columbus, OH homeowners are looking forward to many lazy afternoons on their new open porch, from lemonades to entertaining, the world is the limit.

Contact Archadeck of Columbus to design your outdoor oasis, open porch, or combination structure for you to enjoy the season. Let the sunshine in! Call for a free consultation: (740) 879 – 3730 or email us at westcolumbus@archadeck.net

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

See more stunning open and covered porch designs by visiting our covered porch and front porch photo galleries located on our website.