Retractable Porch Screens: The Pros and Cons

June 24, 2022 Uncategorized

Retractable porch screens have long been considered a functional addition to any patio design. However, many people don’t like the idea of a permanent enclosure that blocks their view. After all, part of the enjoyment of an outdoor living space is the natural ambiance.

Retractable screens offer a more flexible and cost-effective alternative to permanent screens or walls. They allow you to appreciate the outdoor elements you enjoy and block out the ones that aren’t as pleasant.

You should be aware of a few things when deciding whether to install retractable screens. They offer several benefits, but there are a couple of drawbacks. 

Let’s start with the beneficial aspects.

Patio with retractable screens and fireplace

Pro: Year-round Indoor Outdoor Living

One of the most attractive reasons for installing a retractable porch screen is to be able to enjoy your patio year-round. If you live in an extremely hot climate, you can block the sun and keep the cooler air circulating. In cold temperatures, you can keep warm air circulating—whether it’s from a fireplace or from inside.

Patio with retractable screens down around dining area

Pro: Protection from Bugs

Keep your invited guests safe from uninvited guests such as mosquitoes or other flying insects. Imagine dining outdoors without any surprises landing in your wine glass! 

Pro and Con: Cost

Retractable porch screens can be pricey for some budgets. But they are still less expensive than most permanent screens and walls. 

In addition, retractable screens add value to your home, so they can be worth the investment.

Overall, retractable porch screens are extremely convenient, however there are some cons. 

Con: Maintenance

Retractable screens have moving parts that require maintenance. If any of these components are damaged, several adjustments might need to be made during a repair.  

Other climate factors may also play a role in how well screen parts hold up. For example, humid conditions may cause the moving parts to rust more quickly.

Con: Pet Damage

Screens may take some getting used to for your furry friends. Pets can cause damage by trying to squeeze underneath or clawing at the screen.

Final Thoughts

Retractable porch screens can be a wise investment with proper planning and maintenance. They provide protection from less than favorable outdoor conditions with the convenience of being hidden when not in use.

If you need help creating a design that incorporates a retractable screen into your outdoor living space, give one of our outdoor-living specialists a call at 281-265-1994 in Houston or 972-915-2727 in Dallas/Fort Worth. 

Check out our STAR Award-nominated spaces!

Our 2022 Star Award-Nominated Properties

June 8, 2022 Uncategorized

Introducing our 2022 Star Award-Nominated Properties

Since 1992, the Texas Association of Builders has recognized the talented builders, remodelers, architects, and designers within the Lonestar State. In 2022, the association received an astounding 600 entries. We were pleased to have 3 of our projects are Star Award-Nominated in the room addition and outdoor living room categories!

Award-Nominated: A Modern Room Addition With a Poolside View

Built to match the style of a classic mid-century modern home in the Houston area, this outdoor oasis of a pool house included space for working, entertaining, and, of course, relaxing by the fire.

Star Award-Nominated: Outdoor Living Done French-Country Style

The cascading steps, elegant arches, vaulted ceilings, and cream limestone walls are distinctly European yet somehow fit perfectly with the rustic Texas home.

Award-Nominated: An L-Shaped Dream Within a Backyard

We added over 550SF of covered space surrounding the pool area to create a contemporary outdoor retreat with privacy from neighbors and custom finishes reminiscent of a boutique hotel.

About TCP Custom Outdoor Living

TCP Custom Outdoor Living is a family-owned and operated business located in Houston, Texas and Irving, Texas, but our service area covers most of the greater Houston area and parts of the Dallas – Fort Worth area. We have completed more than 2,000 outdoor living projects since we opened our doors in 2004. Find out more about us the TCP Difference.

What Type of Furniture is Best for Your Patio?

June 3, 2022 Uncategorized

The right patio furniture adds to the overall design of your patio and invites you and your guests to live in the space.

With so many options available, it can be challenging to find pieces that work best for your lifestyle and design.

Here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular patio furniture options.

Patio with fire pit and wicker chairs

Wicker Patio Furniture

Outdoor wicker furniture is typically made of a synthetic resin woven into a wicker pattern. It’s a popular choice because it’s durable, easy to clean, and lightweight enough to be moved easily.

Look for wicker furniture made of a synthetic resin with of High-Density Polyethelene (HDPE). Less expensive wicker furniture is often made from PVC. However, PVC is not as durable and may crack and peel more quickly.

Patio cover with lamp and wrought iron chairs with cushions

Wrought Iron Patio Furniture

Looking for something a little more substantial? Wrought iron is one of the most durable types of furniture. You can find handcrafted pieces that last a lifetime.

White patio with wood couch, chairs and table

Wood

When it comes to wood outdoor furniture, we usually recommend teak. Many people are attracted to its durability and natural look. Due to its natural oils, it can withstand some of the most extreme weather conditions.

Teak tends to take on a grayish patina over time, so it’s recommended to have it refinished at least every two years.

Aluminum Patio Furniture

Aluminum is the most common type of outdoor furniture due its budget-friendliness. Despite a lower cost, aluminum furniture is lightweight and hold up well.

Modern patio with couch and fireplace

Cushions and Pillows

Water-resistant cushions normally come with your outdoor furniture. But you can always refresh the look of your outdoor space with new cushions and pillows.

Look for cushions and pillows that are made of weather-resistant materials that can withstand moisture and long periods of sunlight. 

We can help design the right patio. Get a free quote today at https://texascustompatios.com/contact/.

Project Wait Time

April 28, 2021 Patio Contractor, Uncategorized

Since most of us have spent more time at home in the last 12 months than ever before, we have a new appreciation for making a house a home. And because everyone plans to stay home more in the future, but reintroduce guests, most want some sort of outdoor space to entertain them. If you have been dreaming of improving your home, now is the time to do it, but it comes with a longer-than-expected wait time. It makes sense though … while remodeling activity continues to grow, so does project wait time.

Here’s what to expect…

When a homeowner calls us right now – we are anywhere between 3-4 weeks before getting to do an initial appointment with them.    Once we have done that initial meeting, it takes about 2 weeks to get a design back.  Once the design is approved and the contract is signed, we are looking at an additional 12-14 weeks to start construction.

Remodeling wait times aren’t just in Houston either, this stands for the entire country.

With more homeowners reaching out to construction firms, architects and interior designers to upgrade their homes, the wait time to start a new project is also on the rise.

If you look at the chart above, you’ll see that demand for construction services is strong, as the average wait time to begin a midsize project rose to 9.3 weeks. A year ago, the national average wait time was 5.4 weeks, meaning the average wait time is almost one month (3.9 weeks) longer than the same period last year.

-Houzz

Another thing to consider…

Cost of projects have gone up due to rising lumber and material costs.  Labor costs are also on the rise.  This is always subject to change, but it’s worth mentioning.

If you’re ready to move full steam ahead, contact us now!

Outdoor Designs that are Dominating 2021

March 26, 2021 Outdoor Style Show, Uncategorized

If 2021 is your year to build your outdoor oasis, check out these designs that are dominating. No matter your style… we provide turnkey custom design projects. Our specialty is building projects that look original to the home, including patio covers, pergolas, screened porches, room additions, guest houses, decks, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, and custom patios.

Many times our customers come into the building process with only a small idea of what they want to do, we are here to bring ideas to the table, think things through and of course, build it!

Outdoor kitchens remain ruling as king, but don’t forget… big things can come in small packages. Even if you only have a little space, an outdoor kitchen can still be built! Big or small, outdoor kitchens and dining space continues to be very popular.

For those that have a little extra space, freestanding retreats are popping up in many backyards! This type of “patio” is nice because it’s separated from the home and really gives off the feeling that you’re on vacation!

This space above has a gable roof and vaulted ceiling. We used a stained tongue and groove with cedar beams. The columns are wrapped in hardie and painted – they have stone bases that match the kitchen fascia and the fireplace. All of this stone complements the pool coping. The flooring is a wide plank stamped concrete. Two large fans were also installed to create a nice breeze on those hot days of summer and again, make you feel like you’re on vacation!

Retractable screens are sliding into this list because they are functional and look nice! Most homes have a “hot spot” at least once during the day from the sun’s rays, these types of screens make it easy to block the sun in a moment’s notice. They keep the area cool and also keep the bugs out!

Folding patio doors just might be the hottest feature on this list (save the best for last?)… individual panels give the homeowner complete control, so it can be as open or closed as one would like. The large amount of glass opens up the space for that indoor/outdoor living feel.

Now let’s talk budget … a typical patio cover could be in the $25,000 – $45,000 range.  Adding an outdoor kitchen and/or fire feature can add an additional cost in the range of $15,000 – $50,000. After an initial meeting, we give you an exact quote design. It is all based on the size of your project, how it is constructed, type of finishes and what all is included in your project. And before you know it… your sketch is built and you’re enjoying your outdoor oasis!

If you would like more information on how to budget for your outdoor living space, check out our budget blog, here!

What to Expect During Your Virtual Consultation

April 7, 2020 Patio Contractor, Uncategorized

VIRTUAL INITIAL APPOINTMENTS DURING COVID-19

We are now offering complimentary virtual consultations in lieu of an in-home initial visit. As we continue to navigate through this ever-changing time in our world, keeping our customers and employees healthy is our top priority.

If you’ve been thinking about getting an estimate, but haven’t had time to schedule an appointment, now is a great time to do that! Here’s what to expect during your virtual visit.

STEP 1: CALL YOUR LOCAL OFFICE TO SET UP YOUR VIRTUAL APPOINTMENT:

HOUSTON: (281) 265-1994
DALLAS/FORT WORTH: (972) 915-2727

STEP 2: BE PREPARED

You will need a computer or tablet for your appointment (you will be asked to screen share). You’ll be virtually introduced with your one-on-one project developer and will be asked to email a few things:

  • Have a date and time in mind to schedule the virtual visit (expect 30 to 40 minutes)
  • A copy of your lot survey
  • Pictures of the back of your home or area you are considering for remodel
  • List of features you are thinking about (patio cover, outdoor kitchen, fire feature, etc…)

It’s helpful to know the different styles and features you like, so you are prepared during the virtual consultation. You can find many ideas by browsing our gallery, here. You can also explore ideas on our Houzz page, here.

STEP 3: VIRTUAL CONSULTATION

You will receive a follow-up call within 24 hours of your set appointment to ensure the date and time still works well for you. About 5 minutes prior to your appointment, you will be e-mailed a link that will allow you to share a screen with your project developer. You will get a phone call from your developer and will be asked to click on the link. Two important things to note here:

  • You will be able to see their screen, they cannot see yours
  • This is NOT a video call, so no need to do your hair
Screen Share

You will then have an open conversation about your wants, needs, obstacles and expectations. Again, please carve out 30 to 40 minutes for this conversation and have your questions ready! To help you as much in advance, click here for a list of frequently ask questions.

GOALS OF 1ST MEETING

-Review space

-Talk budget (budget blog, read ahead of time)

-Discuss a timeline (timeline blog, read ahead of time)

-Chat about design

STEP 4: VIRTUAL BID MEETING

There will be 7 to 10 days between your first virtual meeting and your second virtual meeting. At this meeting you will be shown the drawings and ideas created by your project developer.

These are just ideas and suggestions based on your prior conversation regarding what you hope to have built in the given areas discussed. Each and every project is completely custom, with measurements and ideas for your home only. You will also be able to view a multidemential rendering of your projected project as well. Click here for an animated version of a rendering.

Click here to see

STEP 5: START BUILDING YOUR PATIO

Once you have decided to trust us with your custom patio build, we get to work! We handle all permits and approvals from the HOA and put a schedule together to get your project going.

At Texas Custom Patios, we really get to know our customers. When you choose to build with us, you get your own project developer who will get to know you, your goals, and your style, and will oversee your entire outdoor living project, from start to finish. We can promise you that you’re in good hands and in a no pressure situation. We hope to hear from you soon!

Recipe of the Month: Spice is Nice

September 27, 2019 Outdoor Cooking, Uncategorized

It’s hard for some people to grasp pumpkin spice and all things nice before we have cooler temperatures, but fall is here and it’s time to celebrate! We put together a few recipes that will put you in the mood for our new season.

Harissa Roasted Pumpkin

Grilled Pumpkin Granola with Pecans and Maple Syrup

Spiced Steak Tacos

Turkey Red Curry in Pumpkin Bowls

Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin Pie Spice Stuffed French Toast

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake with Sugar Cookie Crust

Hot Pumpkin Spice Drink

Turning the Page on Patios

June 24, 2019 Patio Design, Promotion, Uncategorized

Through the years Texas Custom Patios have graced the pages of countless magazines, showing different sizes, styles and price ranges. There is one thing that each project has in common though… customization. Custom is our specialty.

Take a look at some projects that have captured the hearts of many, and serve as example for what you may like to build in the future! There are links at the bottom of each article if you would like to read more.

See more of this home
See more of this home
See more of this home
See more of this home
See more of this home

Recipe of the Month: Top Ten BBQ Secrets

March 31, 2019 Uncategorized

Is the secret in the sauce when it comes to BBQ? Or is it in the entire process… Smoking it vs. grilling it? Marinating vs. rub? When you do get the meat just right, how about a secret sauce recipe (see below)? For the month of March we are giving you the scoop on BBQ perfection from a long-time Houston master of the Que… HarlonsBBQ!  Top ten BBQ secrets, read here!

Jack’s Secret Barbecue Sauce

Full disclosure… we have no clue who Jack is, but man this recipe is tasty!


  • 4-8 ounces of your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce (sweet)
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar (white will work also)
  • 3 tblsp lemon juice (approx. 1 lemon)
  • 1 1/2 tblsp brown sugar
  • 1 tblsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tblsp hot pepper sauce (Tabasco, Frank’s, Trappy’s, Louisiana)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper (fresh ground if you have it)
  • Add more or less of your store-bought sauce, to your taste.

You don’t have to cook this one! Just combine the ingredients, put in a jar with a tight lid (for occasional shaking), place in the refrigerator for a couple of days before the feast. Give it a vigorous shake once in a while.

If you are in a hurry, you may simmer the ingredients for about 25 minutes to serve immediately.

 

Recipe of the Month: Something For Everyone

February 26, 2019 Outdoor Cooking, Uncategorized

Sometimes you want to be healthy, and sometimes you just want to have a burger sandwiched between donuts, right?  We won’t tell!  Below are some delicious recipes no matter your mood!  Try them and let us know which tickled your tastebuds the most!

 

The Ultimate Breakfast Burger

Cowboy Nachos 

The Donut Burger 

Grilled Farmers’ Winter Salad 

Crispy Artichokes and Roasted Garlic Aioli 

Grilled Asian Salad

BBQ Bloomin’ Onion 

Sausage and Pepperoni Pot Pies

Fire Roasted Apples

BBQed Cookies and Cream Cake (no, this is not a mistake… just go with us!)

Peanut Butter M&M Cheesecake with Brownie Crust 

Easy French Macarons 

 

 

Have a project in mind? We work throughout the Houston and Dallas - Fort Worth areas.

Our Customers Love Us

We worked with Mark, who came to us with plans and fully explained the costs, materials, timeline, and talked about the construction methods. The project was well organized, with a new crew arriving once each stage of construction was completed. I kept a photo record of it, which was fun and friends are wowed by the timeline. I completely recommend Texas Custom Patios.

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