Author Topic: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?  (Read 997 times)

DadJokes

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Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« on: March 04, 2019, 12:40:15 PM »
I'm close to reaching my initial budget in savings for a covered back porch. My FIL, who used to be a general contractor and now designs houses for a living, is going to draw up some design ideas. Since he is getting up there in age, I don't know how much actual labor he can do, and the extent of my experience is minor maintenance on vehicles. However, I would like to DIY whatever I can and hire out for whatever I am not able to do.

Plans include:
18 x 24 x 1.5 ft exposed aggregate concrete back porch
Roof that would attach to brick veneer & other parts of the current roof
Wood pillars
Gutters
Electrical work to put light in and extend current porch lights out to corners of new porch.

Without much experience, I am guessing that all I can do myself is shingles & gutters. My FIL can do the electrical work. However, after typing this out, I'm doubtful that my initial budget of $12k is going to be sufficient.

Has anyone taken on similar projects? What were some challenges? What was the budget? And did costs come in around the budget?

Montecarlo

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2019, 03:02:34 PM »
12K sounds like more than enough to me.  I've never done something that complicated, best I've done is built my own greenhouse using these plans: http://www.ana-white.com/2012/05/plans/barn-greenhouse

But your project doesn't sound that much more complicated.

You'll probably get a lot better advice than what I can give, but I think you can do this.  These are some things I've learned in my couple of projects:

  • Don't handmix concrete.  I did for a slab that is tiny compared to what you'll be doing, and it was very hard and results weren't great.
  • take the time to makesure your slab is level.  This will help tremendously when doing the framing
  • Use the right tools for the framing.  I know this is kinda lame at face value, but I wish I had a speed square and a miter saw when I built the greenhouse.
  • avoid having to cut compound angles
  • You're FIL should be a wealth of knowledge.  You have a great opportunity to learn a lot of things while saving a crap ton of labor.  Get him a lawn chair, a shade umbrella, and a cooler full of beer and let him watch and advise!

BiggerFishToFI

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2019, 04:02:34 PM »
I've done something similar. A couple things:

You will most likely need a building permit. Skipping this can have you run into issues if you ever decide to sell the house.

Roofing can be miserable in the heat. If you plan to do it yourself consider the time of year.

I would lean towards have the covering attach as high up the house as you can

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2019, 06:57:04 PM »
I'm close to reaching my initial budget in savings for a covered back porch. My FIL, who used to be a general contractor and now designs houses for a living, is going to draw up some design ideas. Since he is getting up there in age, I don't know how much actual labor he can do, and the extent of my experience is minor maintenance on vehicles. However, I would like to DIY whatever I can and hire out for whatever I am not able to do.

Plans include:
18 x 24 x 1.5 ft exposed aggregate concrete back porch
Roof that would attach to brick veneer & other parts of the current roof
Wood pillars
Gutters
Electrical work to put light in and extend current porch lights out to corners of new porch.

Without much experience, I am guessing that all I can do myself is shingles & gutters. My FIL can do the electrical work. However, after typing this out, I'm doubtful that my initial budget of $12k is going to be sufficient.

May I suggest that if you FIL is getting up in age and used to be a general contractor and does (presumably good) electrical work you take this as an opportunity learn these skills from him before it is too late.

Quote
Has anyone taken on similar projects? What were some challenges? What was the budget? And did costs come in around the budget?

My FIL shared his rule of thumb for DIY with me. Take your initial estimate of time and money of a DIY double the cost and triple the time then you'll be close.

I've that smaller projects I can make a pretty good estimate. But his rule of thumb still reins king in larger projects; either because I have forgotten in include something in my estimate (fasteners, joist hangers, necessary tools, beer and pizza to bribe help, or some other odd or end) or a nasty surprise (the joists run a different direction in that area of the house, the sheeting is rotten there, there should not be knob and tube here, why is the septic drain line routed there, they build the deck using roofing nails for the joist hangers, and so on).

Since you are hiring it out what are you basing your budget on? It sounds like you don't have plans, and presumably don't have any quotes for the work you would hire out.

The first thing I would do is a plan on what you are going to be building and how (if you happen to be like me it will be changed many times before you are done). If you FIL can design it all for you that is a step you don't have to learn or hire it out (but if he will tolerate questions of why and how, I suggest learning).

Second once I know exactly (what you think) I would be building, I would determine I can do now (for example: dig the holes for the footings and install roofing), what I can stretch to do (perhaps basic framing), what I can learn from others (sounds like electrical is a good bet here) and what you need to hire out because you cannot do or cannot do alone.


« Last Edit: March 04, 2019, 07:01:58 PM by BudgetSlasher »

Radagast

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2019, 08:49:18 PM »
I have not done that specifically, but I would say it sounds quite doable. The stressful DIY projects are the ones where your house gets wet if it isn't done on time, and the water in/out and food in/out rooms where you have no back up. That said I might hire out the concrete because having 90 minutes to get the finish right is stressful to me, but that is just me.

The rest doesn't sound that bad. FIL will at least be able to keep you plumb and level and point out knowledge mistakes (no make this connection with these fasteners or it will blow away), which is the critical part. The hard part of the electrical is the connection to existing, the rest is just wire and connection with a screw driver.

Fishindude

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2019, 06:27:42 AM »
Toughest part of something like this is getting it all tied in so that it doesn't look like an addition, and so that you don't have any water infiltration issues where new meets old.   You have a huge advantage with a FIL that is an experienced contractor, pay attention to the advice he gives you and follow it.    Don't be afraid to pay and hire out a few of the things that seem out of your league, and bring in some help for the heavy lifting, etc.   Also, rent or buy the right equipment and tools to do things correctly and safe, don't cheap out and risk it.

Would be a fun project and great learning experience.   Since it's an outside addition, you won't be inconvenienced with the mess, etc. as badly as something inside the house.

DadJokes

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2019, 10:42:06 AM »
I've done something similar. A couple things:

You will most likely need a building permit. Skipping this can have you run into issues if you ever decide to sell the house.

Roofing can be miserable in the heat. If you plan to do it yourself consider the time of year.

I would lean towards have the covering attach as high up the house as you can

Not only will I need a building permit, I'll also need permission from my HOA (bleh).

The height of the roof is going to be a problem that I hope we can find a solution to. It is a two story house, and there is a window from an upstairs room right around where the ridge would be if I were to use a gable or hip roof style as I would like.

HipGnosis

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2019, 10:57:43 AM »
Whether your budget is enough is unknown until you get the plans.
You mentioned connecting to multiple parts of the house roof - that sounds expensive.
Do you know if your porch will have railings?  Do your codes require it?
Then I suspect you will find that only a general contractor will build to your (FIL's) plans.   And I suspect that many of them won't want to bother with such a small job.  Which is even smaller by you doing some of the work. 

Fishindude

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2019, 07:23:13 AM »
The height of the roof is going to be a problem that I hope we can find a solution to. It is a two story house, and there is a window from an upstairs room right around where the ridge would be if I were to use a gable or hip roof style as I would like.

This is where you really need to lean on your FIL for assistance.   Have him draw up some plans and figure all of this stuff out on paper beforehand.   You'll need them to show the HOA, to get permits and to estimate costs anyway.

DoNorth

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2019, 12:06:49 AM »
make sure you read up on how to properly install step flashing.  As an added measure of protection, I suggest using window tape/flashing with 1/2 the tape on the top half of the step flashing, and the other half adhered to your sheathing/the material under your siding (at the point where the porch connects to your main house.

Adam Zapple

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2019, 02:34:07 PM »
Once you have your plans, take them to your local (real) lumber yard (not home depot) and have them price out the materials for you.  Any decent lumber yard will do this free of charge.  12K sounds like it is somewhere in the ballpark, but material costs have risen significantly recently and pricing is regional.  I also have no idea of your finishes etc.  If you can tolerate a shed roof, that's the way I'd go for a DIY first timer.  I did a family room addition a few years back off the back of the house and the shed roof looks great, I don't regret it.  The only issue with a shed roof could be ceiling height/roof pitch depending on the depth of the room.  I made a step down into my family room to address this issue. 

Some issues I can foresee being an issue will be the tie-in with the existing brick veneer and matching if you break or need to replace some of it.  Realize that if you are just putting the room up on posts (no foundation) you are creating a lovely new home for local critters, especially mice, so seal the crap out of any penetrations into the home.  I would let someone else do the roof shingles if you end up having to weave into the existing roof.  On that note, will you care if the roof shingles don't match?  They likely won't unless the roof on your house is brand new. 

It should be a fun project and with a pro there to point you in the right direction you'll be fine.  Good luck.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 02:36:49 PM by Adam Zapple »

Versatile

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2019, 08:25:32 PM »
It's already been mentioned but worth repeating: make sure sure the addition looks like it belongs with special attention paid to the roof and the way it joins the existing home. Fine Homebuilding used to devote its back cover with the title "reMuddling" and showcase examples of people not following that rule. Some of them were quite entertaining.

Sounds like your FIL is squared away though so I wouldn't worry too much. As it's an addition I would take my time and truly learn how to build so that when you are ready to tackle another project you won't be intimidated. I learned how to remodel after buying a fixer-upper and there are so many resources out there to show you how to do things (Youtube) that it's almost a sin to not even try. With that said, there are some things left to professionals for a beginner but your FIL should be able to guide you there also. Good luck.

DadJokes

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2019, 07:02:14 AM »

Some issues I can foresee being an issue will be the tie-in with the existing brick veneer and matching if you break or need to replace some of it.  Realize that if you are just putting the room up on posts (no foundation) you are creating a lovely new home for local critters, especially mice, so seal the crap out of any penetrations into the home.  I would let someone else do the roof shingles if you end up having to weave into the existing roof.  On that note, will you care if the roof shingles don't match?  They likely won't unless the roof on your house is brand new. 


Fortunately for me, the house was new construction and was completed last April. The person who did the roof lives in the neighborhood, so I'll be going to him for a shingle match.

Below is a pic of the back of the house. I had drawn up my idea for a gable roof, and it still might work. I'm really just waiting on my FIL to take his PE exam next month before we sit down and actually design it.

Fishindude

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2019, 08:33:57 AM »
If you do a gabled roof, you need to do it at the same roof pitch as the rest of your house or it will look like a real ugly add on.   
After seeing the photo and where you want to tie in, I don't think your plan is very practical.   It's a very difficult tie in and could wind up being a leaker.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2019, 08:35:39 AM by Fishindude »

Adam Zapple

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2019, 08:48:37 AM »
Wow that's tricky.  What is in that bump-out with the horizontal siding?

DadJokes

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2019, 10:03:24 AM »
Wow that's tricky.  What is in that bump-out with the horizontal siding?

A gas fireplace is on the other side. I will have to check with the builder and see if that raised portion of the roof is necessary.

Versatile

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2019, 06:47:51 PM »

Some issues I can foresee being an issue will be the tie-in with the existing brick veneer and matching if you break or need to replace some of it.  Realize that if you are just putting the room up on posts (no foundation) you are creating a lovely new home for local critters, especially mice, so seal the crap out of any penetrations into the home.  I would let someone else do the roof shingles if you end up having to weave into the existing roof.  On that note, will you care if the roof shingles don't match?  They likely won't unless the roof on your house is brand new. 


Fortunately for me, the house was new construction and was completed last April. The person who did the roof lives in the neighborhood, so I'll be going to him for a shingle match.

Below is a pic of the back of the house. I had drawn up my idea for a gable roof, and it still might work. I'm really just waiting on my FIL to take his PE exam next month before we sit down and actually design it.

That new roofline will look terrible if the red line is the design. I would strongly consider something different.

Versatile

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2019, 08:47:27 PM »
That last post came out pretty harsh which wasn't my intention. The roof really does need to flow into the house though.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2019, 05:23:45 AM »
That last post came out pretty harsh which wasn't my intention. The roof really does need to flow into the house though.

Perhaps if the roofline cannot be easily blended into the house the roof can be made to serve a second function.

For example, make is a balcony/deck and convert the window in the 2nd story dormer into a a door.

calman

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Re: Building a covered back porch - will I be in over my head?
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2019, 08:46:17 AM »
What does the 1.5 mean in "18 x 24 x 1.5 ft?

You might want to think about a shed roof.  Here is the one I built years ago. 
You could also do a metal roof instead of shingles.