Thinking outside the box means looking at something from a different perspective, and Archadeck of Austin is good at that! If you no longer enjoy walking down five big concrete steps to the back patio, we can bring the patio up to you! That pretty much describes how we began this outdoor living makeover in the Cherry Creek neighborhood of South Austin, TX.
Ever notice how many builder-grade step-out patios are out there in the world, each one barely more than a concrete pad? When these homes were built, perhaps the homeowners were happy to have any kind of patio at all. Now we have the internet. And Pinterest. We have seen the possibilities, and we know there’s so much more to backyard living than a simple concrete pad five steps down from the back door.
Our client in South Austin’s Cherry Creek neighborhood has some mobility issues and wanted to an easier way to go outdoors. The other item on this homeowner’s wish-list was a screened porch. Archadeck of Austin of custom-designed the perfect raised, screened porch for this client. Accessibility achieved!
Do You Need a Deck, or a Raised Patio?
We’ve observed that a lot of folks around Austin think concrete “decks” are more expensive than wooden decks, but the opposite is usually true. Concrete is generally less expensive. So before you say, “Who’s ever heard of a 36” raised concrete patio?” … well, we have! We’ve just finished building one.
Now that you see how the raised patio (or concrete deck!) fits into the scheme of things, it starts to make more sense. The concrete base you see under this screened porch is not a solid block of concrete, although that’s how it looks. We built a concrete wall around the perimeter of this new porch, a technique called a solid wall system. We backfilled the area inside the wall with compacted road base gravel and then poured a 4" concrete surface on top of that. All of this concrete is reinforced with steel rebar, too. Sturdy? Very sturdy.
We added a textured finish to the concrete floor, an overlay that makes it slip-resistant and easy to clean. This overlay is also more durable and will hold up to having the outdoor furnishings moved around.
Bring on the South Austin Screened Porch, Please!
For the porch roof, we installed an aluminum patio cover from Alumawood®, a low-maintenance option that’s more economical than a full gable roof. It’s also very sturdy! We put in a cedar ceiling to add character on the inside of the porch. Then, we built the wooden structure atop the patio to hold the screens. We stained the wood, added the screening and – bingo: a screened porch!
If you follow this blog regularly, you may know that we’re an old-school screened porch builder. We still install screens like we did in the good ol’ days. Instead of using prefab screen panels, we custom build screens using the blind stop method so they won’t stretch and sag. We attach wood trim (the blind stop, or outside stop) to each side jamb of the window frame, insert the screening material, and add the inside stop. Building screens this way results in stronger screen panels, and these screens stay taut.
Because of the height of the structure (over 36") we installed aluminum balusters to create the rail along the knee wall of the porch. The same railing continues outside the porch, on the landing and along the stairs down to the yard. Extra credit goes to the anyone who spots the pet door in the porch! For the finishing touches to this project, we installed porch lighting and a ceiling fan.
This raised, screened porch project was truly life-changing for the Cherry Creek homeowner. Having easy access to the outdoor living space again means many happy hours spent in the shaded comfort of the new screened porch.
Are you ready to turn the tables on your outdoor living area? We can custom design and build the structures to make your outdoor living space enjoyable again. Call Archadeck of Austin today at 512-259-8282 or email us to schedule your free design consultation.
Jim Schallon, Lead Designer at Archadeck of Austin.