Q&A: Any Suggestions for Adding an Outdoor Room?

From on June 02, 2008 in Decks and Patios

screened-porch.jpgFirst of all, adding an outdoor room to your home is a great idea. It will add square footage, value, and beauty to your home. The key here, as always, is planning, and the first step is knowing what you’re going to use the room for.

Will it be a sun room, garden room, or a screened-in porch? Is it a place you will use for relaxation, or more for entertainment? Some outdoor rooms are extensions of kitchens or family rooms, others are game rooms, exercise rooms, reading rooms, and whatever else your creative mind can come up with.

When you’ve decided what you’ll use it for, start laying out the room. Sketch out a plan on paper to help you visualize it. Think about how much furniture you’d like and where you’ll put it. Think about windows. Usually outdoor rooms have large windows to afford maximum view of the yard, garden, and the horizon if you’re lucky enough to have an expansive view. You don’t necessarily need to use real windows. You can easily use a wood frame and screen.

If you’re using real windows, you should consider solar heat gain. With so many windows in one room, it can really heat up in the summer time. New, energy efficient windows can help fight heat gain and keep the room at a reasonable temperature. Also, if you can help it, don’t put all your windows on one wall. Usually you’ve got two to three walls to work with, so use them. This will create airflow and maximize the pleasure of those summer evening breezes.

Next, you’ll want to hire a contractor. Most contractors have worked on a lot of outdoor rooms and will have some very helpful advice and ideas. You can view a list of qualified, pre-screened contractors in your area here.