Enclosing Your Back Porch? 5 Things to Consider First
Your open back porch can offer a shortcut to additional year-round living space to your home... But is it the right choice for you? Five considerations before ordering windows, paint, and plywood are:
Future Use. How will you use the room? Will it be additional open living space? An office? A bedroom? The ceiling height, square footage, heating and cooling, and other factors may determine whether that back porch is the right choice or best left alone. Contact a qualified builder to weigh your options and consider best practices in home additions in your area.
Building Codes. Safety is paramount. Your local building codes prescribe what can or cannot be added to an existing home, as well as safety standards that pertain to new construction and tying into existing structures. Don’t skip over this element; unpermitted construction can come back to haunt you in many ways down the road.
Weather. Tornadoes, hurricane winds, bouts of freezing cold temperatures, and other weather elements can dramatically impact the methods and standards of construction for rooms being used year-round. Consult with a qualified building contractor in advance to consider how weather plays a factor in the design and construction of the enclosure.
Foundation. Without a solid foundation, your beautiful new enclosed porch is at risk of sagging, warping, or even collapse, if it isn’t structurally capable of supporting the weight of its repurposed life as an enclosure. Additional weight from walls, windows, doors, furniture, appliances, and other factors can make a big difference. Porch floor joists from decades ago were not necessarily designed to support the weight of a full living space, so take caution.
Heating, Air Conditioning & Ventilation. Comfortable, safe indoor living depends on moderate temperatures and clean air free from mildew, dust, and indoor pollutants. Tying into existing heating and air conditioning vs. operating independent climate control such as baseboard heating is a significant consideration. Likewise, the installation of ceiling fans, dehumidifiers, and sliding windows with screens are also important to ensure the right temperature and humidity to keep your room healthy and comfortable for years to come.