On a temperate day, there’s no match for a screened-in porch. What could be more luxurious than enjoying the beauty of the outdoors without the nuisance of insects or exposure to direct sunlight? The only drawback of screened-in or “sleeping” porches is that they can only be enjoyed when the weather is relatively pleasant. For DC metro area homeowners, outdoor living spaces may go unused for four to five months each year.
For this reason, many homeowners are revisiting their screened-in porches, with the goal of enjoying these spaces year-round. For those looking to “add” usable square footage, converting a porch into an all-weather space is often easier than finishing a garage and less time consuming than digging out and finishing a basement.
Additionally, finishing in a screened-in porch provides more opportunities to create a space that is tailored to the needs of your family. Many homeowners opt to include the space as an overall part of their home design while others make the space stand out.
Thanks to the development of composite materials, it is possible for homeowners to create unique structures, roofing angles, or additions that incorporate rounded edges or interesting lines to these spaces. Even without the use of composite materials we can make your space stand out by adding features such as cathedral ceilings, skylights, and/or a fireplace.
Regardless of what type of design inspires you, the best remodels and additions incorporate the existing and newly finished spaces in a way that makes them look and feel like they’ve always been a part of the home—both inside and out. To accomplish this, there are both logistic and design considerations:
- What type of additional space is needed or missing from your home currently? Too often, homeowners create standalone rooms rather than considering the space holistically. At Case, we have years of experience seamlessly blending new and existing spaces by removing walls, windows and doorways. Your screened-in porch may represent an opportunity to enlarge your family room, move your kitchen or add an office.
- How will the façade of your home be affected? Case can use the same materials, colors, and styles of your existing structure to help the new project blend seamlessly. Remodeling also provides an excellent opportunity to give your home’s curb appeal an upgrade by choosing new materials to incorporate into an already existing façade.
Once homeowners have considered how they would like to use the additional space, we consider how furniture will be placed in the room. How will people gather in this space, will there be a television, shelving, etc.? All of these are important considerations for the placement of windows, electrical outlets and lighting.
One mistake I’ve seen many homeowners make when finishing these formerly exterior spaces is not carefully investigating a number of infrastructure issues that can make a space comfortable, habitable and — most importantly — safe.
Foundation. Your existing foundation will impact whether or not the space can be finished as-is, or if upgrades will need to be made in order to meet structural requirements.
Structural considerations/materials. Was your existing space constructed with pressure treated wood, is there any damage or rot, and is it strong enough to hold the weight of additional materials, insulation, etc.?
Heat and cooling. Ensuring a comfortable temperature year-round is especially important to making a lasting space for your home.
- Energy efficient windows and high-density insulation will help keep the elements out and reduce your heating costs.
- When possible, we will connect existing HVAC systems to the new space, but this may not be possible in all cases and a mini-split system –a standalone duct-less system- may be appropriate.
- When adding to the current HVAC system, it is important to consider the impact on the existing furnace and air conditioner units.
Finishing an existing sleeping or screened porch into an additional four-season living space can be great value-added for both your home and your family. We’ll handle the tough stuff to create a space that blends seamlessly with your existing home and creates the space to make sure you love your home.