Ideas for replacing screened-in patio

michey81July 17, 2010

My husband and I moved into our house in February. After tackling the kitchen and completely renovating it now we're moving onto the screened-in patio. The patio is about 15x18. The base is cinderblock, the floor is pavers and the actual enclosure is wood that's rotting with corrugated fiberglass roof.

We were originally planning to just tear down the structure but then we realized that it was most likely put up to stop the downstairs room from flooding as our house is a split-level. We've looked into getting a 3-season room but that seems way over our budget and we don't think it would be worth it. Does anyone have any suggestions for what we could put in place of the patio that would keep the steps from flooding or ways we could fix up the existing structure. Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what we're dealing with.

Thank you so much!

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I looked at the three photos in your recent upload.
In one of them I noticed that a downspout seems to dump rainwater right onto your flat patio roof.

I don't think I'd be too quick to tear this structure down, because it does seem to protect your sunken door from possible flooding.

I see a window above the flat roof. If you are considering a renovation of the structure, think about raising the roof to a high peak and including the window inside the new space. Depending on the layout of your upper floor rooms, you could turn that window into a French door and have steps coming down inside the remodelled area. Or, build a glass or Lexan enclosed set of stairs which would connect the upper floor directly to that below grade entry, and remove the flooding problem--this would allow you to tear down the patio if that is what you wish to do.

Other thoughts:
I'd look into some sort of sump pump and figure how to make the water go to the storm drain if your town has one.

To work on other solutions, I think we must determine if you really NEED that below grade entry. It might be possible to make the door level with the ground,not sunken, and when it is opened you are then going down steps on the INTERIOR.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 2:57AM
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Tear down the ratty structure part of it and for a while use it as a patio.

An entry canopy over the door to the lower level would keep most rain out.

Then, with a bit of experience in the house and a budget recovered from the kitchen remodel, decide whether you want to build a conservatory room out there or not.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 3:10PM
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I'd start by redirecting that downspout away from the patio roof. Overall I think it looks like a wonderful room that with the addition of a good quality roof and some windows all around would be something that you could enjoy year round.

Unless that roof leaks, the roof framing should be OK, and the side framing is what you say is rotting. A "three season" room per se might be out of your budget, but you could still have a contractor come in and replace the rotted wood and install some insulated windows. Once you have some good side framing, then look to a peaked roof that drains water and snowfall away from your foundation.

Finally, I'd replace that slider with some pretty French doors. I love that room and definitely wouldn't want to tear it down. I think you have a diamond in the rough.

Short Story: Years ago we bought a house in Colorado that had an enclosed patio. The workmanship on it was very poor, but we figured we could tidy it up and use it. We found that the previous owner had done the work himself. None of the electrical outlets were live. The patio had a poured concrete foundation, but the roof overhung it by 24", so he laid common wood planks on the bare earth all the way around the slab and constructed the walls on top of them, leaving no overhang for the soffits. To hide the planks, he glued astroturf on the floor of the room.

The first winter we were there, every time it rained, the water seeped into the room and flowed across the floor. The floor froze and frost formed on the windows. The windows he used were secondhand and for some reason he hung them upside down, so water gathered at the sash and poured down the inside of the room. Everything about it was done wrong and it was unusable.

We hired a contractor to come in and fix everything that was wrong. He eventually had to rebuild the entire structure, and it cost us about 10k. But it was well worth it because it was beautiful. Even without heating, it stayed temperate in there year round due to the sun coming in the large windows. My plants loved it and they grew and flourished at a phenominal rate.

I had an angel wing begonia that was 4' across and constantly covered with thousands of bloom clusters. (Side note: At the Denver home and garden show that year my husband and I observed that an angel wing begonia had a lovely blue ribbon, hanging on it that said "BEST IN SHOW". It was about 18" around and had one or two bloom clusters on each branch. We just looked at each other and burst out laughing.)

The original room only had an aluminum storm door and it was totally unsuitable for the Colorado weather. We replaced it with a good quality insulated exterior door. there were no drafts in the room once it was finished and we could open the slider to the main house and smell the flowers and the moist earth.

So that's my little story, except to add that when we sold the house, the buyer came in full price because she said the patio room was...

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 5:23PM
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Hi Michey,

I would remover the structure and put a mudroom with a sitting are or something there. When budget allows you can add a pergola or some sort of a gazebo later.While I don't suspect the garden structure matches your house my main focus was the door.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 10:26AM
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