As Labor Day quickly approaches, many homeowners set their sights on an outdoor space that will enable extended function during the autumn and throughout the cooler months. Protected spaces such as screened porches and 3-season rooms allow the flexibility of outdoor living with the added benefit of protection from inclement weather. Here in the Columbia area outdoor rooms are quite popular and in particular we receive a number of inquiries about transforming existing decks into outdoor rooms. As simple as this task may seem, there is much more to a conversion project than meets the eye.
Most homeowners don’t realize that there is more to transforming a deck into a porch or outdoor room than just building a roof over it, so much more actually. In most cases, conversions are possible, but it is crucial to hire an outdoor structure professional who is knowledgeable in decks and outdoor structures. Hiring a professional ensures the safety and success of your intended conversion. Several factors come into play when you consider a deck- to- screened- porch or deck- to- outdoor- room conversion.
Deciding whether a conversion is even possible first begins with an evaluation of the structural components of your existing deck. A good majority of decks are not built to support the weight of a roof, so you will need to first verify it is built strong enough to withstand a roof addition. Another factor is how the deck was originally built and what kind of foundation does it have? What kind of joists and beams does the deck have? All these are important questions that have to be addressed before planning can even begin. In many cases we can retrofit the structure by installing new footers to support the new weight of a roof. A foundation strong enough to support a roof needs to reach all the way to the corners of the structure. So, if you wish to expand and add a new roof, the foundation of the structure must be extended and new footers added at the corners to support and hold the weight. What seems like the most simple of questions has to be answered prior to moving forward. Another key consideration is most important: can your builder even get underneath the structure to reinforce it?
South Carolina, like many areas of the country, requires everything a quality builder does to be properly permitted and inspected. This means the previous structure you have, if it passed inspection, should be deemed sound as a deck. Even if this is the case, it still may not be strong enough to withstand the weight of a roof because it wasn’t made with a roof in mind. Be aware from the beginning that most builders will only warrant the framed portion of the structure that they build. This means if something goes wrong with the substructure as a result of adding a new roof, you cannot use their warranty anymore. This is why we recommend reinforcing the foundation so it supports the new roofed structure.
The road to a deck-to-porch conversion may seem rocky in light of all the specific considerations you need to have your builder cover, but in reality, we can schedule a deck evaluation that will address all these requirements. Archadeck of Central SC can inform you early into your anticipated addition whether a conversion is possible.
Even if it is not possible to convert your deck into a screen porch or outdoor room, Archadeck of Central SC offers our customers a chance to build the backyard of their dreams through “staged building.” This actually means that we can plan and build your outdoor living structure in stages according to your budget. The benefit in doing this means that you stay poised for growth. For example, we can design and install a versatile deck or patio knowing that in the future when you want a screened porch or 3-season room, the foundation has been laid to support it.
If you are ready to make an outdoor living change to an existing space or are thinking of an existing outdoor living space upgrade, contact Archadeck of Central SC to help confirm the structural soundness of your existing space and decide if it is a candidate for an upgrade. Call us for a free design consultation, or to schedule a deck safety inspection today at (803) 603 – 2160
Please visit our screened porch photo gallery and our three and four-season rooms photo gallery located on our website for more deck-to-outdoor- room conversion ideas.