Top 8 questions you should ask if considering building a porch atop your existing deck

If you’re considering adding a new porch to your home, undoubtedly you’ve wondered whether your existing deck can be utilized in the construction of your new porch. After all, it’s in the correct place, it’s the correct size and it’s strong enough to hold up walls right? Unfortunately, it’s likely that none of those assumptions are true. We’ll start with the last one.

1) Is it strong enough and built correctly to support the extra load of a roof?

When your deck was built, the structural requirements required that it be able to hold a modest number of pounds, enough for a railing, people and furniture. We can guarantee it was not engineered to hold the weight of walls and a full finished roof. While decks can be modified to accommodate the very significant weight of walls and a roof, you are probably money ahead to build a new deck instead of trying to retrofit an existing deck to meet those new structural requirements.

2) Is it really in the right shape?

Adding a new porch is a significant expense. Most decks were not designed in a shape that will accommodate a roof. Depending on the porch and the amenities, your new porch will likely cost a minimum of $30,000 and up depending on the number and type of amenities. Do you really want to hang that investment on an old deck?

3) Would that nullify your warranty?

At Archadeck, all of our projects come with 3 warranties. These include a warranty of completion, a workmanship warranty and a warranty of structural integrity. Further, several of the material manufacturers may also provide warranties. Unfortunately, building a structure atop an unsuitable foundation would nullify all the warranties.

4) Does the old deck need repairs?

If you were to build a new porch atop an old deck, there would be costs involved in removing the railing, possibly re-sizing the deck, replacing boards, and making other repairs just to the deck surface, not to mention the under structure. The multiplicity of repairs to an old deck can easily exceed the cost of replacing it.

5) Is your deck the size you want your porch to be?

You may want to walk out onto your deck and envision walls on every side and a roof. Think about the activities you hope to enjoy on your porch and the furnishings you’ve imagined. Can those goals be met within the confines of the size of your existing deck? Most likely you would want a porch with a larger footprint from your existing deck.

6) Is your deck where you would want your porch to be?

Many homeowners envision their outdoor living space existing in the same exact position as their existing deck. When adding a custom outdoor living space, one of the valuable freedoms is choosing the most ideal placement on the back of your home. Perhaps you enjoyed having your deck outside your breakfast room but you may desire your new porch to be outside of your living room or den. Perhaps the previous builder placed the deck in an area that was easy but did not attach the deck in an area that made sense for how you want to live outside. If you’re investing in adding a room where you intend to spend a good deal of time, the best thing to do is work with your builder to identify where you want your new porch to be.

7) Are there obstructions that would prevent you from having your porch in your deck’s current location?

Depending on the type, shape and dimensions of the roof you are considering for your new porch, that configuration may not work with the part of your home where your deck currently resides. Your new porch will have a roof that elevates the vertical profile of that space. Your current second-story windows or other roof lines may restrict the design of your new porch roof.

8) Does your current deck have a landing?

While this is a minor point, it further illustrates the number of reasons why you should demolish your existing deck instead of trying to use it for your new porch. A porch requires a landing outside the door. Likely your current deck doesn’t have a landing where your door would be. Adding a landing would likely require dismantling your current stairs. Many building codes require a landing outside your door.

As you can see above, there are many reasons you should not consider using your existing deck as the foundation for your new porch. At Archadeck of Kansas City, we are passionate about working with homeowners to design space for how they want to live outside. During the design consultation, we share many different ideas and options to help you select the space that meets all your outdoor living goals. Give us a call for a free consultation at (913) 851-3325.

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