Enclosing front porch

Shades_of_idahoAugust 28, 2012

WE have a South West facing front porch. Oh so hot in the summer. It is on full foundation.It is basically a deck with railings. Totally open except for the railings. I think the floor is trex.

I was wondering if Walls were built in between the pillars and well insulated. Nice windows but not really huge. Would this cut down on some of the heat on the porch or just make it worse? I know it would make the inside of the house a little darker on that side. We would be ok with that as it is really too bright as it is now.

I am not trying to make this an added room to the house. I am just trying to make it cooler. There is no way to plant anything in front. We are too close to the road.

I already talked to the building inspector, he is a friend of ours, and he said we do not even need a permit to do this as it is already on a foundation with roof. Unless we want to add some more electrical outlets. That would require an electrical permit.

Thanking you in advance for thoughts on this.

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There are a couple things you can do. Be careful selecting your windows, as there are some made specifically to reduce solar gain. Use reflective barriers on the outside of the walls, under the sheathing. Another possibility is awnings, which would help even if you don't enclose the porch.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 6:20AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I know you said you can't, but I would still investigate planting a tree...there are those that grow straight and narrow that don't take up a lot of space, but it really would be an ideal solution....

I think awnings would help. Enclosing it will make it cooler...if you put the A/C on...

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 7:42AM
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Me, I would plant a tree and install ceiling fans.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 9:01AM
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Hi Jay, Good to hear from you. Hope your build is going well. I like the awnings idea. Will look into that. I wonder if partly enclosing the walls with the reflective sheeting on the walls and no windows to still let air through would help?

AnnieDeighnaugh. Ground is awful there. I have been trying to grow some thing there for four years. I have tried Honeysuckle,Virginia creeper,Hops and Thuja. Soaker hoses.
It is just too hot and dry there. Too bad the house could not have gone where the shop is. There is a tree there. BUT if the county decides that tree will have to go.:^( It was here when we bought the land and is in the right of way.

Lu_Ann_in_PA A ceiling fan would be a good idea. I will look into that.

I think I will look into awnings. They need to be wind resistant. We can have sudden winds.

Thanks for the suggestions.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 11:02AM
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You can also look into a pull down shade as I imagine this is really only a problem for your for part of the year... I think if you did enclose it, you'd have to A/C it too.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 11:51AM
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Two ideas:

1) Have you considered just screening in the porch using solar screen materials? Solar screening materials can block as much as 80% of the sun's heat and, because breezes can still blow thru, you don't get the "greenhouse" effect that you would get if you glassed in the room. Our screened porch (open on two sides) stays at least 10 degrees cooler than outdoors. Plus, screening in the porch would cost a WHOLE lot less than enclosing it. My guess is, you could probably screen in the the entire space, buy a nice screened door, AND add a nice outdoor ceiling fan for $750.

2) Forget about enclosing the porch and instead, simply add a "misting system" around the perimeter of the porch. Lots of restaurants in my area (central Texas) have added misting systems to their patio dining areas and they makes a HUGE difference...dropping the apparent temp by as much as 20 to 25 degree. Below is a link to ONE misting system that just costs $39.99. I'm sure there are lots of others out there and I can't vouch for how good this one is but it has mostly good reviews. For $39.99, it certainly seems worth a try to me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Misty Mate

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 2:31PM
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If you enclose and don't a/c, it will likely be hotter.

I like the solar screen idea but I also 2nd or 3rd the planting idea. That really isn't that close to the road. The soil can be amended - obviously things grow naturally around.

I also like the misting idea. I've considered that for a covered patio area but then the summer cooled down so fast that I forgot about it....

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 3:59PM
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Kirkhall, I also like the pull down shade idea. DH nixed the awnings because they would have to come down in winter with our usual heavy snow. Pull down shade would be out of the way. I really do not want another room to the house to AC for sure. We use swamp cooler now for the house and it is great as we are in high desert. Very inexpensive to run.

Bevangel, I am going to look into screening the area. Solar screening. Who knew? Need to look into this for sure. Maybe I could combine that with a roll down shade?? The porch would be lovely to enjoy with out the mosquitoes if totally screened in. Does not seem the cost would not be very much either. I think it is 28' by 8' so not really very large. I also like the mister idea. I have done that before at another house for the patio. Forgot all about it. I just used a single mister but a series of them would be great. Just have to take it down in winter.

Thanks so much for all the good ideas/options. I can see I have a lot of research to do. The porch gets up to 25 degrees hotter then the house. No way to enjoy it in summer except early mornings.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 4:09PM
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