Sunroom vaulted pine ceiling Devonwood CT beamed vaulted ceiling

Devonwood, CT sunroom.

Though the weather outside this time of year in Connecticut may be frightful, enjoying the many benefits of an outdoor room addition is delightful! Outdoor spaces such as porches, 3 and 4 season rooms and sunrooms provide various levels of comfort while still allowing you to enjoy the beauty and splendor of the outdoors – even during the ever-changing seasons of Fall & Winter. With the impending arrival of the holidays and the flurry of family and friends coming to call now, more than ever, additional outdoor and indoor living space is appreciated. I know how “cramped” conditions can get as loved ones converge on your home and having additional space for dining, relaxing or even extended holiday decorating can put your mind, and your patience, at ease.

By now you may have heard other companies tout how they can effortlessly convert an existing deck into an outdoor room. Chances are they make it sound easy and every deck is a candidate. This is certainly not the case and a thorough inspection of your deck is required before deeming it fit. Archadeck can perform an inspection to determine whether your deck fits the criteria for a conversion. Depending on these results, we will then discuss our recommendations as to how to proceed with getting your deck structurally compatible to withstand a porch, 3-season, 4-season or sunroom addition.  If the idea of a deck-to-outdoor-room conversion sparks your interest here are some points that will have to be addressed:

Central CT porch builderThe importance of using a professional

It is crucial to hire an outdoor structure professional who is knowledgeable about porches, outdoor structures and conversions. Hiring a professional ensures the safety, quality and satisfaction of your project.

Can your deck take the weight?

In certain circumstances it may be possible to convert an existing deck to an outdoor room. Notice I said certain circumstances…as a conversion means your deck has to be able to structurally support the weight of a roof addition. The substructure must also be able to accommodate the weight of added walls, in the case of a covered porch, or walls and windows in the case of a sunroom conversion. In either case, the support structure will have to extend all the way to the corners of the area. In cases where the foundation does not extend to the corners new support piers will have to be added in order to safely support the weight. Now for the roof: Snow loads in Connecticut are 30 lbs. per sq. ft. and dead loads are 15 lbs. per sq. ft. which means, just for starters, the roof has to accommodate 45 lbs. per sq. ft. Even if the frame of your deck is in good shape the likelihood it will support the weight of a roof is slim unless it was built with the idea of converting it to support a roofed structure down the road.

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To explain this in the simplest of terms, and in honor of the season, your deck would have to be able to support the weight of Santa, his sleigh and 8 not-so-tiny reindeer (with Rudolph it is 9),  in order to be deemed structurally sound enough to facilitate the load requirements of a conversion. Breaking it down; the sleigh weighs about 1200 lbs., 9 reindeer weighing in at 400 lbs. each = 3600 lbs. and of course Santa at around 300 lbs. This equals a little over 5,000 lbs — or 2.5 tons!

Previous permitting

Connecticut, like many areas of the country, requires everything a builder does to be properly permitted and inspected. This means that the existing structure, if it passed inspection, should have been deemed sound as a deck. Even if this is the case, it still may not be structurally sound enough for a conversion. 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 addition of a roof system, their warranty no longer applies. This is why we recommend reinforcing the support structure for all the decks we build.

Archadeck of Central CTChoosing the best fit for your home’s architecture, your desired function and your budget are also important. Archadeck of Central Connecticut is the premier outdoor room and porch builder serving Avon, Cheshire, Farmington, Guilford, Madison and the surrounding area. We can determine if a “porch to outdoor room conversion” is the best fit for you. Contact us to learn more by calling (203) 793-7142 or email us at centralct@archadeck.net.