The following is a brief review of important considerations when converting an exterior porch to interior space. Your decisions and the construction work may include:
· Insulating walls and ceilings. How much and the type of insulation used depends in part on the existing structure and the room’s function. Typically the existing porch ceiling will need to be removed. Often the ceiling joists will need to be added to in order to have enough depth to properly insulate the ceiling.
· Windows and doors. Adding, replacing, or installing new windows and doors using energy-efficient models is best done now. Remember to match or complement your home’s existing window styles.
· Plumbing. The proximity of the room to existing plumbing will greatly impact the difficulty and cost of installing plumbing.
· Electrical wiring and fixtures. Plan and install all immediate and future electrical lines from the outset to avoid costly revisions later.
· Flooring and wall coverings. Flooring especially can require planning. Porch floors are often not level, may not be at the same height as the existing floors in the home, and may need to be raised to allow for insulation, avoiding a cold floor. Most people choose to sheetrock the entire room but other options may include an exposed brick wall or decorative beadboard trim.
· Interior and exterior trim. Details such as door and window trim and other interior and exterior moldings can make the difference between a room that looks finished or one that simply looks like an enclosed porch.
· Heating and cooling systems. While some homes may have systems that can accommodate additional rooms, others may need a supplement. Baseboard heating, while easy to install and inexpensive, is costly to operate. A mini split ductless system is a quiet and efficient choice. This is basically a small heat pump without ducts and much quieter than a traditional through the wall system, often found in hotel rooms. Consider also a wood burning stove or gas fireplace. New models are efficient, attractive, and can heat a large room easily.
If you have a home with a porch and need additional space, you have all the ingredients you need to create a beautiful new room with a significant cost savings over building an addition.