Looking To Convert Your Deck Into A Screened-In Porch?

Ever step out onto your deck during the hot summer days or very cold winters and wish it had a roof? You have options! Converting a deck to a porch is often possible; it depends on a number of factors.

Custom Porches | Steadfast Construction
Custom Porches | Steadfast Construction

First, look up. Imagine a new porch on your house. Will its roof attach to a house wall or to a house roof? Are there any obstructions – like windows, vents in the wall or through the roof, power lines, or skylights? You may need to move these.

How high is your deck off the ground?  Your new porch will likely require new footings and additional framing underneath. Is there space under your deck to install these?  Six feet or more would be good; four feet or less could pose real problems for conventional sonotube footings.  Can a man or machine get under your deck and dig the four foot deep holes your building code requires?

Next, look at your deck.  Is it well-located for a porch?  Is there an access door from the house?  Will traffic flow smoothly from that room into the porch?  A kitchen to porch path is appropriate for dining on the porch.   A bedroom to porch transition rarely works well.

Is your deck the right size and shape for a porch?   If your deck is too large, you could convert part into a porch and keep the remainder as a deck.

Then, look around.  What shape does your house roof have now?  Gables are very common; hip and shed roofs are less popular.  How steep are the roof slopes?  Matching the shape and pitch of existing roofs will help your new porch to blend in architecturally and not look “tacked-on.”

Your porch side walls will meet your house walls.  Is there anything blocking those intersections?   Existing windows, doors, vents, outlets, lights, etc. may affect where the porch walls can attach and will impact the porch.

If all this seems complicated, that’s because it is.  Properly structuring a porch roof is complicated. It is important to speak with a professional porch builder like Steadfast Construction who will do all of this for you and propose what will be the best plan of action.

View our porch gallery for ideas.

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Three Season Porch vs Four Season Porch

Three Season Porch

Sturdier than your average screened in porch or enclosed deck, a 3-season room addition is a good option for homeowners who want to enjoy outdoor living in style but who don’t need the living space available all year long. 3 season rooms are:

Custom Porches | Steadfast Construction
Custom Porches | Steadfast Construction

  • Used primarily spring, summer and fall
  • Often added to an existing deck or patio with a few structural changes
  • Separated from the rest of the house with an exterior door
  • Heated and cooled separately from the home, if at all
  • Not insulated
  • Generally completed within a week

A 3-season porch has windows with integrated screen systems and can be used for long periods throughout the year. They can shield you from outdoor elements such as rain, wind, sun and insects, but 3-season porches are not heated. Therefore, it is not a part of finished square footage, but is considered an enclosed space.

Economical

One of the biggest benefits to a three-season porch is the fact that it is very economical. Since it is not heated or cooled, it costs much less to build than a four-season porch or room addition would. It also does not require any additional money to heat or cool this space. Maintenance costs are very minimal as well.

Four Season Porch

Sunrooms | Steadfast ConstructionA 4-season porch (also known as an all season room or sun room) is a room that functions as an interior room, but allows you to take in the views of the outdoors year-round. It has permanent heat and is included in the finished square footage of the home.

A 4 season room, also referred to as all-season or year round room, is integrated into the construction of your home, existing roofline and exterior. This structure is:

  • Constructed to use your existing HVAC for year round usage
  • Open to the rest of the house
  • Constructed with insulated, walls, floor and roof

Northern Virginia Front Porches Favorite for Centuries

First becoming popular almost 2 centuries ago northern Virginia front porches gradually became almost necessity for medium and large houses to not seem bare. This was before air conditioning, when cooling off outdoors was a frequent necessity. It assisted people to make the daily transitions between their outdoor public world and inner private space. As it became popular, it became a symbol of early Americana.

Porch Steps

Andrew Jackson Downing, who popularized the front porch in the US, wrote:

A porch strengthens or conveys expression of purpose, because, instead of leaving the entrance door bare, as in manufactories and buildings of an inferior description, it servse both as a note of preparation, and an effectual shelter and protection to the entrance. Besides this, it gives a dignity and importance to that entrance, pointing it out to the stranger as the place of approach. A fine country house, without a porch or covered shelter to the doorway of some description, is therefore, as incomplete to the correct eye, as a well-printed book without the title page, leaving the stranger to plunge at once in media res, without the friendly preparation of a single word of introduction. Porches are susceptible of every variety of form and decoration, from the embattled and buttressed portal of the Gothic castle, to the latticed arbor-porch of the cottage, around which the festoons of luxuriant climbing plants cluster, giving an effect not less beautiful than the richly carved capitals of the classic portico.

 

(page 304, A treatise…)

Here’s some more thoughts on the history of the porch in the US in the following NPR broadcast: