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Expert Advice on Patios, Decks and Porches: An Interview with Nancy Moore of The Porch Company

By Nancy Moore

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

For the first 20 years of The Porch Company, we were a design/build residential construction company focusing on porches and outdoor structures. In the last 2 to 3 years we've branched out by opening an online store that sells porch-related items that we have designed and built (railings, swing beds, screen doors, etc.) for our clients and can now offer to others outside of Nashville, TN.

Can you briefly explain the differences between a patio, deck, and porch?

We have a clear definition and always have to explain because those words are used interchangeably in our world.

Patio: A masonry structure built on over very near grade.

Deck: A wooden platform with no roof.

Porch: An outdoor room with a floor and a roof. A porch can be columns only (we call that an open air porch) or screened in.

Is there anything homeowners should do before they meet with a contractor about building one of those?

Yes, look at pictures. Clip the ones that interest you and try to answer the question "What about this picture is appealing to me?" Think about how you would use the space--dining and relaxing? large groups? small groups? kids? TV watching? reading? cooking?

What are some of the most popular design features that homeowners in Michigan are asking for in a new patio, deck or porch?

Of course, fireplaces are popular. The first consideration with fireplaces is whether to use wood burning or gas vent-less. Although wood burning is most expensive, it gives you the authenticity of a real fire. Gas vent-less, on the other hand, is very practical. You go out to the porch, and with a the push of a button, the fire is roaring. With another push, it is off. The gas vent-less costs less because no chimney is required. And it gives out the most heat because the heat is directed out the front rather than up a chimney. But don't kid yourself, even with a gas vent-less you will need to be right next to the fireplace to feel the warmth. With all the air on the porch, the heat does not linger.

Radiant heaters are also very popular. They are expensive to install but pretty inexpensive to operate. And you feel the warmth the instant you turn them on. It's a very nice feature to take the chill off an evening.

What are the main things that influence what can or can't be built?

The roof line of the existing house. We can always come up with a roof line that will keep the water out, but does it look right with the house? Just because you can build it does not mean you should.

What advice would you give homeowners about maintenance to help avoid repairs and prolong the life of their new outdoor addition?

Do not let water pool. If you build such that water can always find a way out and is encouraged to find a way out, your wood will not rot and mildew. For example, tongue and groove porch floors are sloped and we provide gaps so water cannot get caught between boards. The new materials, PVC and cap stock composite materials are great, but they are expensive.

What's the best way for people to reach you and your company?

Please start at our web site www.porchco.com or give us a call at 615-662-2886.

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About The Author

Nancy Moore is the Owner and Founder of The Porch Company.

Phone: 615-662-2886

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