Ask Your Raleigh Screened Porch Builder: Can My Deck Be Converted to a Screened Porch?

Raleigh screen porch conversionsScreened porches are one of Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham’s top specialties. They are very popular in the Raleigh-Durham area due to their beauty, charm, and functionality.

While we build screened porches as completely new structures, we also receive requests to build them as conversions from existing decks. When possible, this is a cost-effective way to create a beautiful new outdoor living space with added benefits of shade and protection from weather, insects, and pollen.

There are two primary issues to assess when deciding if we can design and build a screened porch where a deck currently stands. The first is the state of your deck’s substructure, and the second is how your porch roof will “tie-in” to the roof of your home.

Can Your Raleigh Screened Porch Builder Work with Your Deck’s Substructure?

Deck substructures may or may not be able to hold a porch roofThe first thing we’ll need to check is the deck’s substructure, to see if it is up to code and able to handle the additional weight of a porch. Most deck substructures are not built to support more than a deck, its furniture, and its inhabitants. Building code requires that deck footings be able to hold a total load of 50 lbs per square feet. (This includes 40 lbs of “live load,” such as people and furniture, and 10 lbs of “dead load,” including the weight of the actual deck and railings.) These calculations do not account for the additional weight of a porch roof, for example. When we inspect the deck footings, we will determine whether we could add the additional weight of a porch to the substructure as is, or if we would need to reinforce it.

In addition to weight, another consideration is the age of the existing structure. Typically, pressure treated pine has a life expectancy of around 30 years, so the age of your current deck may determine the feasibility of re-using the structure.

Cost is another important factor when it comes to working with an existing substructure. Usually, the cost to reinforce and upgrade an existing deck structure is equal to or greater than the cost of starting over new.

Can Your Raleigh Screened Porch Builder Work with Your Home’s Roofline?

can a porch roof tie in to your home's rooflineAnother key assessment for converting a deck to a screened porch is where and how the roof of your porch will tie in with the home’s roof. Factors we must consider include:

• What is the style of your home’s roof; for example, does your home have a gable roof or a hip roof?
• What style of roof do you want for your porch? Gable and shed roof styles are common.
• Are there any windows or utility elements – such as a vent or electrical lines – that may interfere with how the roof ties in?

If the rooflines are compatible and clear, we can base the design of a new porch roof on the design of your home at that juncture. If we cannot design a porch roof to tie in with your home’s roof, we may be able to tie the porch roof in with the outer wall of your home just below the roof.

If you’re wondering whether or not your deck could be converted to a screened porch, call Archadeck of Raleigh-Durham and the Greater Triangle today: 919-973-1523. Our clients tend to replace the entire structure because of the considerations mentioned above, but together we’ll examine what is possible with your existing structure and what is the best path forward for building the custom screened porch of your dreams. We look forward to working with you!

Read our blog post 10 Ways to Tell You Need a Screened Porch, for more information about the benefits of having a screened porch.

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