Homeowners often ask if they can build a sunroom on their deck or a concrete slab or patio.
Unfortunately for the homeowner, the answer is usually no. While there are instances where the existing structure allows this to occur, it is rare. The Uniform Dwelling Code (UDC) applies to the entire state of Wisconsin and local building inspectors in the Madison WI area adhere to the code. If you are considering working with someone who says they can build on a deck or patio, it is a good idea to get an additional opinion.
Sunroom Basics To Considered When Building
Have your contractor pull the sunroom building permit. This is important because if a homeowner pulls the permit, he or she assumes all liability for onsite injuries, damages, etc. The contractor you choose to build your sunroom should be licensed and insured. Ask for proof. In addition to a building permit, your contractor may also pull a Zoning Permit, Electric Permit and possibly a Heating-Cooling Permit to build a sunroom. Clearview Sunroom and Windows takes responsibility for all needed permits its customers require.
Building a Sunroom Floor - Be Sure Your Floor Will Last
Typical wood floor construction requires 18” diameter sonotubes, which are concrete filled to the ground level, 48 inches below grade. This gets the concrete below frost level and keeps your 6 inch x 6 inch posts from touching the ground to avoid rotting. One set of footings is needed at the front of the sunroom for room dimensions up to twelve feet away from the home. Projections past 12 feet usually require additional center support footings.
The wood sunroom floors Clearview builds are all 2 inch x 10 inch green treated Kiln Dried After Treatment – KDAT - joists 16 inch on center with double or triple outside rim joists under the walls of the sunroom.
KDAT lumber is used to eliminate twisting and cupping of the boards, plus it is dried to 19% moisture to shrink the board to its correct size. This eliminates floor shifting caused by use of regular green treated lumber, purchased from mass merchandisers. The floor Clearview designs includes many specially prepared beams and components, strategically placed hardware, insulation and adhesives to ensure durability and function. An example of how a floor needs to be built to pass code is in the Clearview showroom. It is an excellent resource for a homeowner.
Concrete — An Option For Your Sunroom Floor?
Concrete is an option, however, costs are higher when building on a concrete base for your sunroom. Excavation causes more yard damage than building a wood floor. There are specific code requirements relative to how the foundation is designed, including steel rebar, mesh and insulation.
When given a choice, concrete floors are not as popular as wood floors. Ask your contractor for details. Building a solid foundation will ensure your new sunroom will serve your family for a long time.
Four Season Sunroom Heating and Cooling
When your sunroom and its foundation are insulated according to UDC code, heating - cooling options become available. When a sunroom is attached to a home and has a thermallyinsulated door between the home and sunroom, the sunroom can be heated as a four – Season sunroom.
This door can be a conventional swing door, French door or a sliding door. Taking the door out and opening the room to the home converts the sunroom to an addition of square footage instead of a sunroom. This is significant because taxes will usually be lower when building a sunroom compared to an addition of square footage. Of course, each municipality has its own unique tax code, so it’s important to get the details for your area.
Remember, with a four season sunroom, a permit must be pulled if it has a permanent heating source, as opposed to a removable space heater. Permanent heating sources such as fireplaces, biomass stoves, baseboard heat, furnace runs and heating-cooling heat pump units can all be used for a sunroom or addition.
Sunroom Bottom Line
A sunroom is one of the most enjoyable home improvements a homeowner can make. However, there is a misconception about building sunrooms, probably a result of the prefabricated metal sunrooms popular in the 1970’s and 80’s. That myth being sunrooms are a quick project requiring minimal effort, which isn’t accurate. Done well, an experienced contractor can make the project enjoyable and homeowners can have a great time creating a special room for their home.
For more information call ClearView Sunrooms & Windows or email and we will contact you.
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