Home>Discussions>YARD & GARDEN>Decks, Patios, & Porches>Previous owner converted poorly built deck into sunroom
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eduesterhaus
Previous owner converted poorly built deck into sunroom

I'll upload pictures/drawings of this later today, but a previous owner of my house converted a poorly built deck into a sunroom that is now part of the interior of my house.

The short of it is, the "deck" underneath is supported by vertical landscaping timbers that are resting in dirt and being held in place by brick-depth concrete "footings" (if they could even be called that.)

Is there a way I can salvage this hack-job of a foundation without breaking the bank? I don't even know what search terms on the internet to look for to see if this has already been asked...

I'm sure detailed advice will probably require pictures - so I'll get those as soon as I can.

ed21
Re: Previous owner converted poorly built deck into sunroom

The general term for foundation repair is called underpinning. It's usually done a portion at a time so the foundation can still support the existing load.
In your case I don't see why the building can't be shored up at each support and then dig and pour a new foundation/footing. These could be done one at a time or possibly a few at a time. The concrete will need time to cure before putting the load back.

A. Spruce
Re: Previous owner converted poorly built deck into sunroom

Yes, this "deck" area of the house can be leveled and a new foundation placed under it. This will be done by resupporting the structure, removing the existing, then digging and installing proper foundations and support piers. It is something that an experienced DIY'r could do, but it's better left to a professional.

To post pictures you'll have to use a hosting site, such as photobucket, then link the pics here.

eduesterhaus
Re: Previous owner converted poorly built deck into sunroom

Thanks for the knowledgeable answers! I don't fall in the "experienced DIY" category yet (far from it) but with every project I do, I'm learning a TON.

It sounds like this will be something I'm going to need to hire done though, as doing it myself would have a non-zero risk of collapsing my sun room, crushing me to death, or both.

Now I know what to read up on and what kind of pro to contact, and I won't be completely in the dark when asking them what to quote!

Thanks again!

edit: My reply to this thread didn't show up. Here are the pictures: http://imgur.com/RtwSsDW,kZGOPvl

dj1
Re: Previous owner converted poorly built deck into sunroom

This job has to be done right and to code, so hire a pro. The process is as described above.

eduesterhaus
Re: Previous owner converted poorly built deck into sunroom

Is imgur blocked from here?

I posted pictures, and edited my latest post, and both immediately disappeared...

Anyways, after crawling under there and getting the pictures, it became readily obvious that there is more going on under there that I realized, and it isn't good.

The support posts are propping up 2x4s layed flat (I guess these are supposed to be the beams), with 1/8th inch panels holding in insulation. I can't see under the panels, but if the track record of the guy who cobbled this together holds, I'm guessing there are 2x4 joists going across the beam above the paneling.

Obviously I'm using the terms to describe the anatomy of this deck VERY loosely.

The first half of the room is supported by cut stone pillars, and appears to be properly built (if old). It looks like under the old deck this room was built on is an even older porch (that matches my front porch). This part is probably OK...

Based on my description, if you guys were to bring in pros, what would you expect them to quote/estimate, and how much do you think it would cost? I'm in a smallish midwestern town of about 40000 people, with a median home value right around 100k.

Something tells me my entire summer projects budget for this year is going to be blown by this :(

ed21
Re: Previous owner converted poorly built deck into sunroom

Try just posting a link to the images.

eduesterhaus
Re: Previous owner converted poorly built deck into sunroom

img ur.com/GnQw8T1

Well, It appears I can't post an actual link to imgur or photobucket, so try the above :(

edit: obviously, take the space out between "img" and "ur" when pasting it into your browser.

ed21
Re: Previous owner converted poorly built deck into sunroom

I really can't tell what's going on, but going by your description, you may have other issues such as a double 2x4 "beam". Some of the plywood needs to be removed to see what's above it.

Are you having issues with sagging floors, etc.? How is deck/sunroom attached to the house? What is the span and size & spacing of joists and beams. How deep are foundations of the stone pillars.

I assume that frost depth where you are is at least 30" to 36", so the bottom of footings need to be at least that.

Structural modifications are generally required to be permitted. Since it doesn't appear that the sunroom ever was, be prepared for additional building department scrutiny.

A. Spruce
Re: Previous owner converted poorly built deck into sunroom

The man sure liked his spray foam! LOL

Ed brings up a lot of good points, not only about the structure, but the scrutiny that the building department may have with it. Before you start calling contractors in, you can do yourself a favor and do a little exploratory surgery by removing at least some of the paneling and insulation so that you can see what the deck was made from and how it's attached to the house. Undersized joists can be sistered with new, proper sized joists when the foundation work is done.

When finished, you'll want to reinsulate and enclose the underside to keep the floor warm and critter free.

eduesterhaus
Re: Previous owner converted poorly built deck into sunroom

Once again, thanks for the sage-like advice. I'll do some "surgery" as suggested.

There is no evidence of sagging of the sunroom, at least since I moved in. All this was initiated because I want to build a deck off the sunroom, and add ductwork to the room. It's eventually going to get scrutiny from the city anyways when I present my deck plans and try to get a building permit, which is obviously getting way ahead of myself - this house isn't ready for a deck off a deck (deck-ception!)

I don't have answers to the other questions from Ed since most of that will come from cutting a little more open, but those questions are incredibly helpful to have asked.

This forum is quickly becoming my new favorite place on the internet :) Thanks again. I'll keep the thread updated with what I find out.

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