Important considerations when deciding where to place your new Columbus screened porch

As part two of our design series, Archadeck of Columbus discusses the ideal place on your house to attach your screened porch.

Columbus OH Screen porch with flat ceiling
Placing your screened porch in the right spot is crucial to its function and aesthetics.

I know you have heard the phrase “location, location, location” in the world of real estate. Location is just as important in the addition of adding your new screened porch to your home and yard. When considering the addition of any outdoor structure to your home there are several factors to take into consideration. In essence about 95% of the screen porches we build are located on the back of the home; the remaining 5% are built as freestanding or detached structures or in locations other than the rear of the home.

Columbus OH Screen porch with pine tongue and groove detail
Notice the bay window through the window of this lovely screen porch, and the location of the door that enters into the home. All were important factors in determining where to place this porch.

Where, oh where on my house should my new screened porch be?

The most important consideration in deciding the best location for your screen porch is to address the spatial and functional needs that are important in regards to your lifestyle. If you are going to use your space for dining, for instance, you may choose to create an area within close proximity to your interior (or in some cases) your outdoor kitchen. Functionality is important in choosing placement that is ideal for your individual needs, but structural influences will usually dictate the most realistic area your screened porch should be.

A good exercise is to go into your backyard with a tape measure and think about where you want your boundaries to be and where you want to begin the screened porch. We recommend centering your back door in the space as a good place to start to get a good idea of  your desired starting and stopping points.

Structural influences such as doors and bump out swill dictate where your screened porch should begin and end. Utilities can also play a role in placement of your screened porch. Typically, when houses are built utilities like A/C units, water spigots, gas meters and vents are placed in the most inconvenient places in terms of adding on. In many cases we can work around the utilities or we can help to get them relocated.

Columbus OH Screen porch with skylights
By adding skylights to your screen porch you add an open, airy feel to the space and also let much-needed light into interior rooms in close proximity.

A consultation with a qualified and reputable builder is key when considering a screened porch addition because many times the design of your house and roof will dictate how and where the screened porch will tie into your home. If roof lines are an issue, a sidewall connection is the answer. A licensed professional will also consider the details that are often overlooked when considering the addition of a roofed structure such as loss of light within the home. Adding a screened porch can impact the amount of natural light that flows into your home. The roof for your new outdoor addition will likely affect the area within the home’s interior that is the closest in proximity to the new porch; this can many times be amended by the addition of skylights within your screen porch. We take all these factors into consideration when designing your new space because overlooking the smallest nuance can mean the difference in falling in love with your new outdoor space or leaving you with regret over the small things you should have considered before construction began.

If you are considering the addition of a combination outdoor structure that includes a screened porch and deck or patio combination then you need to consider additional factors such as harmony and flow and how each structure will function together. With combination structures the grade of your lot is also an important consideration. If you have a relatively flat area then consider adding a patio or deck. Patios are less expensive to build on a flat grade than a deck. If you have a steeper grade then the opposite is the case because a patio would require more aggregate and retaining walls.

Columbus Timbertech XLM Sandridge Colored Deck with Screen Porch and Patio
This outdoor living combination includes a screened porch, twin decks and a stunning hardscape patio. Notice how the structures, and the existing home harmonize as one.

No matter where you decide as the most advantageous location for your new screened porch it will likely become your favorite room in the house, and the space you gravitate to during the outdoor living season. With fall in the air now is the best time to begin your screened porch addition. You may even get to enjoy some of the colors of autumn from your new screened porch before the arrival of winter.

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

Contact Archadeck of Columbus to help you decide on the perfect porch, or outdoor living combination as well as the perfect way to tie it all together. Call for a free consultation: ( 740) 879 – 3730 Email:westcolumbus@archadeck.net

You can get more ideas for the perfect placement of your screened porch by visiting our screened porch gallery located on our website.

Challenges in placement and roof style of adding a porch or sunroom to the back of your home. A case study in Columbus.

Do you know all the factors that affect where you can build a deck or porch or other structure on the back of your home? Read this article to learn about these factors.

Oh, the challenges we face.

Many of my customers decide they want a new structure whether it be a deck or porch or sunroom. They go to the back of their house and decide exactly where they want it to be. Then I show up and often feel like the bad guy because I have to present a list of reasons why that won’t work. I don’t want to be a downer but my job as a professional builder is not to jimmy rig something to fit where it doesn’t fit but to tell the client why that will or won’t work. When deciding where to place an outdoor addition, we need to consider existing windows and roof lines so the new structure will work aesthetically and functionally.

Windows as challenges in attaching new roofed structures.

When attaching a new structure, we cannot attach the roof where windows sit. Often the placement of the second story windows makes this a huge challenge especially as it relates to attaching a roof. Depending on the style of roof (Gable, Hip or Shed) we have to accommodate this by either keeping roof line below the window(s) or building the new roof to cover them.  Another aspect homeowners should consider is how much light will be obstructed with a new roof.

Consider the sun

Another big consideration is the direction of the back of your home. Will your new structure get lots of sun or very little? How will that sun affect the light that enters the back of your house? You may love the way the light pours through the windows on the back of your house – at the very spot where you want your new sunroom or porch to go. The porch will then enjoy that streaming sunlight but your light inside the home will be affected. But I want you to be happy year after year in your new porch or sunroom. I don’t want you to feel like you made a mistake because of how it changes the amount of light in your favorite room. I don’t want to build it in such a way that the sunlight is so overwhelming on one side of your porch that you only want to use it at certain times of day. I treat you like I would my brother or family member. I want to use my experience to guide you in making the best decision.

This one was REALLY a challenge

Take a look at the picture below showing the back of this home. The family wanted to convert their deck into a screen porch. Looking at the back of the home, it’s pretty much of a no brainer right? The obvious choice would be to put the screen porch where the deck was. And, also obvious was to use a gable roof. We always want to make the roof style fit with the home. In this case, you can see 3 gable roofs on the back of the home so using a gable style would fit right in. In addition, using a gable was perfect because it would extend over the existing half dome window and not cause any problems with other windows.

Columbus conversion to screen porch
The customer wanted to convert this deck into a screened porch

As it turns out, there was quite an architectural challenge in designing this screen porch. The first challenge was that the gable roofs on either side were a different heights and pitches so we needed to design something to work well with both adjacent gables.

One of the larger challenges that an inexperienced contractor might not think of was water drainage. If you look at the adjacent gable roofs and imagine the screen porch abutting up to them, the water coming off those other roofs is going to flow right down into the screen porch.

In this scenario, water would drain right down from the adjacent roof into the screened porch

Take a look at how this design would work if no accommodation was made for the water flow and appropriate drainage. In order to fix that problem, we engineered cricket roofs to divert running water away from the screened porch.

Cricket roof diverts drainage water away from screen porch
Cricket roof diverts drainage water away from screen porch

As noted above, working with architectural elements on the home can be a challenge and is a major factor in the design. This home not only had a large elevated half-round window that they wanted to keep but they also had a vent on the back of the house that we needed to work around.

As you can see in the final design below, we were able to accomplish all of the architectural challenges while still creating a stunning structure that would look like it was built with the original home.

Delaware townhome screen porch with gable roof Columbus OH Archadeck of Columbus
You can see how the gable roof fits in beautifully with the architecture of the home. You can also see how the screened porch is finished to match the look of the room to a tee.

Our work at this Delaware home is in progress so we look forward to sharing pictures once we’ve finished. One thing that isn’t apparent in this picture is matching the materials. Often one of the first questions people ask me is “Can you make it look like it was made to go with our home?” The answer almost all of the time is yes. We hunt down roof shingles, paint colors, siding, gutters and other materials to match your new structure to your home.

The deck of this home used Trex composite decking. We were able to extend the stairs by using the same decking material for a perfect match.

On this particular home, we are working with a stucco exterior. Stucco is a challenge because it is thin mortar and is brittle. When attaching the structure to the home, very special care and attention is paid to working with the stucco on the home’s exterior.

As we mentioned before, adding a roofed structure to your home will affect the light into your home. In many of our screened porches and sunrooms we add Velux skylights. These not only bring more light into your new room but allow for more natural light into the adjoining room in your home.

As you can see, it’s really important to work with an experienced outdoor builder. You might not want to work with a general contractor unless they have extensive experience in building outdoor roof structures. It’s a fair question to ask specifically how many screen porches or how many sunrooms they have built. When you are meeting with the builder, make sure they ask you a lot of these types of questions. Any contractor that takes a quick look at it and says “yup I can do it” is almost certainly not one you should work with. Also make sure that your builder is going to give you a design drawing. One person’s interpretation of specs can be a lot different than another’s. You want to make sure that you and your builder are on the very same page.

Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus
Michael Reeder, Archadeck of Columbus

We build throughout the greater Columbus area and would love to talk to you about a screen porch or another outdoor addition you are planning for your home. Give us a call at (740) 879 – 3730 or email us at. westcolumbus@archadeck.net. Please also feel free to take a look at our website. You can see hundreds of great pictures of all sorts of outdoor projects.