I had a caller from my radio show ask about extending the existing roof outside on a porch area. He has an existing patio area. It has what he called a mental or aluminum roof. Chances are it’s going to be what we call an aluminum pan roof, it’s a porch area and like most of those porch areas they’re quite unusable when it gets to the degree that it is today, which is hot. So he wants to close that area in and make it part of the house.
So, what he has right now is going to be what we consider a non-permanent structure. It typically has a concrete slab and an aluminum kind of structural wall. Sometimes it can have some screening there and then the top area is going to be aluminum. Usually there’s going to be seam every 12 inches, it’s called an aluminum pan roof. Sometimes if there’s a seam every 4 feet, it’s called a structural panel; which is called Elite and is the most common. Those areas are great in times where it’s not very hot outside, but the moment that it gets hot they’re pretty unusable. I’ve been seeing a lot of people wanting to get rid of those and then close that area in to add some additional square footage to their home.
Now this is considered a structural change to the house. You can do it, but you have to have a set of plans. Those plans have to be stamped by a structural engineer. This is as if you are doing any other sort of addition at your house, because you can’t enter a room or have a room that doesn’t have egress, in another words fire protection. You couldn’t have a bedroom, for instance. When you have an existing patio, if you have any bedrooms that are along that back section, if you’re going to close this area in you have to make sure that all of those bedrooms have egress, a way to get out of them to the outside wall. So, this is one of the things that we have to take into consideration when we do these exterior patio additions. We’re doing three of them right now. A lot of times, what we have to do is we frame those exterior walls either with block or wood frame. Usually the concrete, we have to bring up to the same height as what the rest of the house is. Typically those areas will have a slope bond to get the water away. They are 3 or 4 inches lower in that area; that all has to be brought up and it has to be the same height as the interior house. You have to have a permit and you have to get an engineer in and all that. This is not something that is typically a do-it-yourself type of project. Usually you would want to hire a contractor to do this type of work, just because it is pretty involved.