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Turning a Roof Deck into a screen porch

Discussion in 'Residential Building Codes' started by cape_matt, Mar 5, 2020.

  1. cape_matt

    cape_matt Registered User

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    Hi,

    New to the forum. The house I'm referring to is on Cape Cod, MA

    I'm at the very beginning stages of investigating what it would take to turn my roof deck into a screen porch (with full roof). I am not ready to call an architect or hire an engineer. I'm just ready to start learning what codes I might have to follow and what the construction might have to look like. Here to learn...

    The roof deck is about 21' x 12'. It is built on top of a '4 season' room that was an addition to the house. The 4 season room is about 21' x 10' meaning the roof deck is overhung or cantilevered by about 2'. Currently access is to the deck is only via the 2nd floor through a sliding glass door from a bedroom. The surface of the deck is an interesting product called dec tec which acts as both the decking surface and roof.

    In my mind it is as simple as building a roof and supporting it with 4x4's. I have seen, and like, the eze breeze product and think it would work well between the 4x4's. To prevent people from falling through the screens I'm thinking of using a low-visual impact horizontal rail system like cables.

    At this point my questions are:
    *how do I determine if the cantilevered deck can support a roof? I realize I could call an architect, but I'm looking for something more educational than that...if someone had rules of thumb or references to review I'd appreciate it. I realize that ultimately it will require more than rules of thumb but I'm very early in this process.

    *how do I determine the construction details of the roof and roof supports? again, with the same caveats noted above.

    thanks for any helpful posts!
     
  2. TheCommish

    TheCommish Sawhorse

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    Hire a qualified, licensed and insured contractor, you are in a high wind zone, with out of the code structural issues
     
  3. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Welcome

    Not my area,

    But you might have a residential structural engineer look at it, and going forward you will more than likely need one anyway.

    As with the wide wide internet, it is hard to get a good answer.
    One problem is not having eyes on the building.

    And many ways to achieve what you want
     
  4. cape_matt

    cape_matt Registered User

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    Maybe if I phrase the question differently?

    Again, not not not looking to be told to hire someone. What I am looking for is to learn as much as possible before determining whether or not I want to move to even the first step with the project and have a better chance of hiring the correct person. My experience with calling contractors is that they are not all that into 'speculative' projects where someone wants to learn what is and is not feasible etc. I'd much rather go into that conversation with as much knowledge as possible. To be clear I am not contemplating reading a few replies and heading to home depot next week for lumber and start putting this thing up. I just like to be educated even when hiring someone to do something.

    So, if you read my question and A) Know what you're talking about & B) Are willing to share your knowledge, then I'd truly appreciate any knowledge you can share on the subject. "Hire someone" is not sharing knowledge. Sharing knowledge would be (for example) "areas are broken into X different categories of wind exposure, and this has a significant impact on the structural requirements......and so on"
     
  5. Keystone

    Keystone Registered User

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    You have numerous variables to consider, Will the existing footing, foundation and framing support the additional load and load points of an additional roof, add into that the existing cantilevered 4 season room and as @TheCommish pointed out your in a high wind zone! My office would require a very competent contractor to provide clear, concise & detailed information and even with that and more likely a design professional, Engineer, to review the above identified conditions and provide written determination and if necessary load calculations.

    Ask your code office if they will complete a site consultation for a fee to provide you with the direction to be taken. They likely will not but it’s worth the asking.
     
  6. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    If the four season room was built and approved with a permit your nut to crack is uplift. That starts with the foundation.

    My AHJ would let you build it as an owner builder. An engineered plan would be required.

    As to what’s feasible? Man has set foot on the Moon. If you want a sunporch....well then, it can be built.

    The project starts with an engineer that you don’t want to hire.....I would be leery of plans done at gunpoint.
     
    #6 ICE, Mar 6, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
  7. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Knowledge shared::

    To many variables, without seeing the place.

    Knowledge shared:::


    Have a residential structural engineer look at the place to see if the building can handle it.

    Knowledge shared::

    Set down with the city building official,, to see if they will allow you to build this on top of the house
     
  8. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    I want to say without a set of plans for the existing house, or eyes on, there is not an Internet answer.
     
    ADAguy likes this.
  9. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

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    Is the 4-season room on a concrete slab or engineered slab? Does it have footings? Does it have piers? Is the 4-season rooms floor at the same level as the house floor? How is the 4-season room attached to the house? Is the 4-seasons roof slanted for draining rain or snow, will it be leveled? Is the 4-seasons roof built for the appropriate snow load for Cape Cod which will now need to be calculated as your floor load including a new roof load? What type of roof rafter material, steel type, wood, species, grade, width of joist, span of joist, joist on center spacing etc? Roof joist support is it framed walls, headers, beams etc? Have you verified the conditions of the existing 4-season room for rot or insect damage? Have you checked with the HOA or historical society to verify colors? Will your new roofed porch on top of your 4-season room block another property's view? I'll need a permit application, a set of stamped plans and permit fee. Then I'll do a review and get back to you with your fee. Have a nice day sir!:)

    Typically footings are constructed for the plans at hand and not for a future added load like a second story.:eek:
     
  10. ADAguy

    ADAguy Registered User

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    See, we have many questions to your questions.

    This "is not" a DIY project.

    Also, how old is the house? How far from the waters edge?
     
  11. tmurray

    tmurray Registered User

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    The engineer you need to hire is the one who will answer these questions and produce a design for the contractor to follow.

    Sometimes you have to spend money to find out you can't do something.

    The only other option is for you just to sit down and read the building code. There are so many details required here that we could only hope to scratch the surface.

    ...can you use 4x4s there? minimum size here is a 6x6 for a column.
     
  12. ADAguy

    ADAguy Registered User

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    "That" is only one item. have you asked your local (for free!) building official?
     
  13. my250r11

    my250r11 Sawhorse

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    What code year, with or with out amendments. As said before and you don't like to here Way to many things need to be looked at. No rule of thumb for this.
     
  14. ADAguy

    ADAguy Registered User

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    Watch what you ask for, you may not like the answers.
     
  15. cape_matt

    cape_matt Registered User

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    such a strange, strange thread. all I can think is the people who are on this forum are 'rules followers'...rules are their lives...and they cannot think out of the box. you seem to think if you can't teach me everything you can't teach me anything. you seem to think that if you can't answer my question completely, you can't answer it all.

    some of the posts are actually helpful, although I'm not sure they were intended to be! some of you point out many things I had not considered. some of you pointed out some things that don't need to be considered--but that's OK. the 4 season room was built before I owned the house but I have confirmed permits were pulled and signed off. I did not consider the foundation of the 4 season room and do not know its construction--I can see how that would be something vital to consider--knowledge gained on my part (thank you). I recognize that only underscores my lack of knowledge, which is fine with me.

    for future reference, this:
    "If the four season room was built and approved with a permit your nut to crack is uplift. That starts with the foundation." is helpful

    everything cda and ada wasted their time typing is not. I could not have made it more clear this would not be a DIY project. I could not have made it more clear that I was not here to design the porch or make detailed plans for the porch or get the porch approved at 'gun point' or otherwise. I came here to learn about something I do not know about. And I have learned some...and a little of it was even about what I asked!

    The downright childish "watch what you ask for" response just proves you're an ass. I in no way am disappointed or surprised by the few on-target points made in the thread. I am starting from a knowledge base of virtually zero and my only expectation is that I have a lot to learn. I can assure you one thing I will not do is just stroke a check and miss an opportunity to learn. I have not gone through the process of 'an addition' before but I can assure you that if/when I do then I will be educated on the subject by the time it's done...yes I realize that makes me unusual, which is an unfortunate statement. I then will look forward to helping someone like me learn about the process when they go through it. I do thank those of you who attempted to help in my quest to learn (I recognize it is hard for some to teach those who are truly uneducated on a subject, especially when surrounded by the class clowns).
     
  16. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Ok

    People coming to this forum get the same questions and answers.

    Your question,,, “” I am starting from a knowledge base of virtually zero and my only expectation is that I have a lot to learn“””

    Is the same thing that happens when a question is asked that needs a lot of details, pictures, plans, before an answer could even be started.

    Seeking info is good, especially when you are putting money out. But when you ask your friend the architect, brother in law engineer, pastor the contractor,,

    They will ask the same questions asked here. It is not a simple answer, throw some 2x4’s up there and call it good.
     
  17. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    I guess I am in good company with ADA.



    Pad kid poured curd pulled cod


    I feel a Yelp review coming on.
     
    #17 cda, Mar 9, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2020
  18. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    I don't know about the rest of you guys but I recognize the entertainment value that matt brings to the forum.

    And cda it's cold, not cod.....cold.....cold
     
    cda likes this.
  19. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Depends on which MIT grad you talk to,, what year were you there?

    The way I see it, just another day at the office, making the citizens overjoyed.
     
  20. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Here is the book with all the answers


    https://up.codes/viewer/massachusetts/irc-2015
     

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