Building A Three Season Porch

A three season porch would be a much better use of space for one of our customers and her husband than the existing open deck. They had no idea when the started the project, just how long it would take to complete. Challenges with permitting and communication issues with the contractor delayed the project, but in the end, they’ll have a beautiful room they can enjoy with family and friends. 

Project: Adding a Three Season Porch
Budget: Around $50,000

This family lived on a beautiful ranch home built in the 1950’s. The house is part of a development which encompasses several streets.  Over the years, neighbours have added on or remodelled to customize many of their homes. The customization has turned what was once a homogeneous neighbourhood into a collection of very individualized homes. Jeanne’s house has three small bedrooms, one bath, living and dining room, kitchen and family room off the kitchen. The previous owners added the family room and Jeanne updated it in the early 1990’s. The basement is also mostly finished.

The home owners have a large blended family that includes multiple generations, ; they wanted more space that they could reliably use for entertaining and relaxing. The open deck off of the family room was used for many a barbecue and family party over the years, but Jeanne wanted a space her family could enjoy without being so dependent on the unpredictable weather. The home owners decided to convert the open deck to a three season porch. The goal was to create an enclosed space with insulated walls, but lots of glass to let light and warmth in, while still leaving some open deck space for grilling and sunning. Since the addition of the three season porch would drastically change the roof line, and the existing roof was over 30 years old, they also decided to redo the entire roof as part of the project. 

Challenges of Building a Three Season Porch

The greatest challenges the home owners faced had nothing to do with construction.  Before one board was removed or one nail was pounded, the biggest challenge they faced building her three season porch was obtaining the necessary permits from her city. The building department required a long checklist including a plot plan, survey of the land, and fire department check before issuing a permit.  It took over two months to get that permit, and it might have been longer had the wife not written a letter to her council representative as well as the mayor to find what was causing the delay.  Since the footprint of the house wasn’t changing she could not understand why the project was being challenged so much.

The second challenge she faced was communication with her contractor. Demolition for the three season porch project began in late July and she had hoped they’d be able to use the space by the early fall. The job still is not complete. There were delays with the windows and even a temporary reassignment of the construction crew to another job.  When she selected the contractor, she was told she’d have access to a website which would keep her informed of the outlined schedule and the daily progress.  She was able to access the website but there never was any schedule information available.  Her main complaint was lack of communication with the contractor’s crew, especially when they knew they would not be coming on certain days due to other jobs they were doing. 

The three season porch almost finished

 Advice for Building a Three Season Porch

As of this writing, the project is 98% complete, but still requires gutters over the sliding doors and a dry well. Now that the ground has frozen, it’s likely that at least the dry well will have to wait until springtime. The home owner’s advice for working with contractors is patience, lots and LOTS of patience. And, if necessary, don’t be afraid to rattle a few cages when the process – be it permitting or construction – is not moving along at a reasonable pace.

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