Whether you just want a shelter from the rain while you hunt for the door key, or you are looking for a room that is part indoors, part outdoors, there are some things you need to consider when planning the porch additon or remodel.
ebuild, published by Building Products magazine, has an article “Porch Design” which covers the important code issues and construction requirements for a weatherproof design that will last for many years.
The ebuild newsletter lists “10 Practical Tips fromAward-Winning Porch Designers”.
1. Probe the clients for details about why they want the space and how they will use it. “You can’t go wrong if you listen to the client and ask all the right questions,” says Otto, owner of Fair and Square Remodeling in Minneapolis. Then, verify that the homeowners understand what you intend to build.
2. Connect the porch to the rest of the yard.
3. Make the overhang as large as possible so the clients can use the porch when it rains.
4. The roof dictates the architectural style of the structure, Moore notes, so select a roof for the porch that blends with the home’s roof. Also match the porch’s gutter lines with the existing structure. Otto installed “rain chains”—copper cups that catch water as it spills off of the roof—instead of gutters on the bungalow porch because gutters wouldn’t “go” with the style of the house.
5. Build the porch to handle water. Prevent rot, decay, and termites by including floor drains and by ensuring that water cannot get trapped between two planks. Moore’s suggestion: Build the walls so they end one-eighth of an inch before they touch the floor. That leaves an air gap so water has a place to drain. Subtly slope the porch floor, and build the structure above ground level so the owner will step down when walking off of it.
6. Avoid solid walls on an open-air porch. Most municipal codes require that a porch that is at least 3 feet off the ground have a rail enclosure that’s 3 feet high or taller.
7. Add value to the job by offering to design, build or landscape, add lighting, other things involved with adding a porch.
8. Repeat architectural and design elements from the home’s interior on the porch.
9. Consider the impact of the porch on adjoining rooms. If the homeowners have to walk through the kitchen to get to the porch, for example, that kitchen will get a lot of wear and tear.
10. Offer the homeowner the option of built-in benches, shelves, flower boxes, and other carpentry to add value to the project and to create a finished look.
The above list is gleaned from an article in an August 17, 2011 newsletter from ebuild, produced by Building Products magazine.