Monday, July 16, 2012

Porch Conversions: Scope of Work

Converting a porch to an interior space is a cost-effective way to gain space for your home.  Below is a discussion of the scope of work often involved in this type project.

1. Insulating walls and ceilings.  How much and what type of insulation used depends in part on the existing structure and the room’s function.  In some cases it is necessary to frame down the ceiling to create a large enough cavity for proper insulation.

2. Adding energy efficient windows and doors.  Matching or complementing your home’s existing window and door styles is important.  If the rest of the windows in your house are old, this would be a good opportunity to upgrade to new units.

3. Plumbing.  This is a necessity if you are planing to convert your porch to a bathroom or kitchen.  The proximity of the room to existing plumbing will greatly impact the difficulty and cost of installing plumbing. 

4. Electrical wiring and fixtures.  It helps to plan ahead and add everything you need now, but also what you may want in the future while the structure is being built.  For instance, you may want to install speaker wires in case you decide to add a sound system to the room at a later date.

5. Drywall, flooring, painting, and millwork finishes.  Finishes will vary with the intended use of the room. Think about the character of your current house and try to complement that.  You may also want to try to use these finishes to create a theme or mood in the room.

6. Details such as door and window trim, chair railings and other moldings can make the difference between a room that looks finished – or one that simply looks like an enclosed porch.

7. Heating and cooling.  While some homes may have systems that can accommodate additional rooms, others may need a supplement.  Baseboard heating is an inexpensive option to install but may be expensive to operate if used continually.  Wood burning or gas stoves are an efficient, attractive option that can heat a large room easily.  Through the wall split HVAC systems can both heat and cool the room in a quiet, efficient manner and are simple to install when remodeling.

If you have a home with a porch and need additional space you have the basic ingredients to create a beautiful new room.  Careful consideration of the materials and scope of work will result in a quality project.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Exterior Porch to Interior Space

If you need additional living space and your home has a porch you have all the ingredients you need to create a beautiful new room.  Enclosing your porch could be a simple, cost-effective way to gain the space you want.

You can gain living space without encroaching into your yard and a portion of the structural work may already be in place.  Side porches can be easily converted into home offices, playrooms, or den/family rooms.  Rear porches are ideal for adding space to extend your kitchen.  Almost any porch can be enclosed for year-round enjoyment. By using energy-efficient windows and correct insulation in the building process, your new room will help you save energy in your home as well.

The porch’s location, its wall and floor materials, and the condition of the existing foundation will influence the ease or difficulty of modifying a porch.  Some porches may need more modification than others to enclose.  It is also important to consider the style of your home and ensure that the enclosed porch add to your home's beauty and does not look out of place.

Our next blog will review the typical scope of work in converting a porch to a full season room.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Gaining Space without an Addition.

Many homeowners wish to expand their home living space without adding an addition.  At ADR Builders, we recomend two possible options; converting an exterior porch to an interior space and remodeling an unfinished attic.  The next couple of blogs will provide a brief review of these projects.  The following is a discussion of attic remodeling.

Attic space often already has a floor, walls, and of course has a roof so it is an opportunity waiting to be used.  To be a good candidate for remodeling attic space needs three important ingredients;

1. appropriate headroom
2. easy access
3. adequate floor joist support

1. Headroom is of primary importance.  Building codes require at least 7-1/2 feet of headroom between the peak of the roof and the floor.  If you do not have this space you could raise the roof, or add dormers, but that is a larger project requiring a larger budget. 

2. Another important factor is how the attic space can be accessed.  Pull-down stairs are not appropriate as a main access nor do they meet building codes.  If no attic stairs are currently in place you may have to carve the space for a stairway from an existing room.  Traffic patterns that develop to and from the converted attic space are an important consideration.

3. One final aspect of remodeling your attic into living space is the strength of the floor joists.  Most ceilings are not designed with joists that can withstand the weight that a floor must handle.  This means that the ceiling joists must be reinforced, which could be a complex process.

An attic conversion can provide your home with a uniquely designed space to serve a range of functions – an extra bedroom/bath suite, guest room, office, family room, exercise room, or hobby room.