How to Enclose a Porch or Patio for Living Space

Enclosing an existing Patio is one of the most common changes homeowners make.
It allows them to expand the living area very efficiently because the roof and
floor are existing. Increasing the living area also increases the value of the house.
An existing porch can be enclosed with wood or masonry walls.
Both types of walls are fine, I prefer masonry walls in South Florida.
It is easier to build wood walls around the patio and easier to anchor
those new walls to the existing structure but it depends on the type of beams
below the roof and the type of existing foundation that is below the new walls.
Independently from the type of walls used, the Florida Building Code requires
that the concrete footing must be min. 16″x18″. Unfortunately around a patio
the footings are much smaller, about 10″x12″. It has
to be increased to meet Code and to resist the extra gravity and lateral load.
If the beam below the roof is made of wood material, it is not easy to anchor
a masonry wall but it can be done. In this case, a wood wall would be more
appropriate but most homes in South Florida have concrete beams, so a new
masonry wall is a perfect match and easy to anchor to the existing concrete beam.
A #5 steel rod can be used to connect both elements in order to resist
high wind pressure and have a perfect joint between the existing and new.

Mario Mangone

Mario Mangone Architect is located in Jupiter Florida. He has more than 20 years of experience in residential and commercial work . Graduated from the University of Architecture in Venice Italy, with a Masters Degree in Architecture and Urban Design. Obtained his License to practice Architecture from the Polytechnic of Milan in 1981. Licensed in the State of Florida and is also certified by NCARB.

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