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Old 02-17-2013, 10:51 AM   #1
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Planning to Upgrade a Sunroom


We purchased a 1955 ranch-style last June - long ago, the carport had been converted into a sunroom.

Long-term, we'd like to upgrade the room so that it's livable square footage.

Anything we should keep in mind? Since this will be a phased project over the next couple years, any order of operations to follow?

Our thoughts right now:
  1. Soon
    1. Paint the floor
    2. Paint the brick
    3. Replace window shades
  2. Later
    1. Replace "Florida" windows with proper windows
    2. Install a proper door
    3. Install lighting
  3. Still Later
    1. Insulation & Drywall
The room has two exterior storm doors (one pictured - front of house) and one leading to the backyard, and there is a door to the house. There is proper insulation above the ceiling. There are two ceiling vents connected to the HVAC system - they're just closed off (we'll eventually go to a heat pump but, for now, we have baseboard heat in the rest of the house and no heat in this room).


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Old 02-17-2013, 11:00 AM   #2
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Planning to Upgrade a Sunroom


My first concern would be how close that slab is to the grade outside.
It's very common to see some DIY convert a garage or carport and have water getting in under the walls and door opening.

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Old 02-17-2013, 11:15 AM   #3
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Planning to Upgrade a Sunroom


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
My first concern would be how close that slab is to the grade outside.
It's very common to see some DIY convert a garage or carport and have water getting in under the walls and door opening.
Thank you - a very valid concern.

It's just slightly above the immediate grade but the ground slopes away in every direction from this part of the house.

That is something we need to keep in mind as I'm toying with the idea of removing/relocating the tall shrubs directly outside the sunroom to make room for a narrow fenced-in "alley" in which to keep the trash, recycling, and some yard stuff.

We had some minor flooding our basement soon after we purchased and we had some serious waterproofing done (full perimeter interior trenching with multiple pumps and integrated window well drains). The same storms that prompted us to do that work - and later storms that tested that work - didn't cause any trouble in the sunroom. Water only came in when it was wind-driven against the storm doors and windows (since the doors are old and the windows are a stupid-in-the-mid-Atlantic style that never really close).
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:18 PM   #4
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Planning to Upgrade a Sunroom


I may be wrong (not a pro), but I don't believe you can legally make truly liveable space out of that sunroom unless there are footers under the slab. I assume you're planning to tear out the existing structure and do proper framing, roofing, insulation, HVAC, and wiring? Considering where you live, that's the only way you're going to make the room usable year round and meet code requirements for habitable space. Until we tore it out, my daughter and her husband had a sunroom which looked a lot like yours, and it was useless during the winter.

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Old 02-17-2013, 03:09 PM   #5
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Planning to Upgrade a Sunroom


Rather than paint the floor perhaps install a nice indoor/outdoor carpet?
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:21 PM   #6
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Planning to Upgrade a Sunroom


I'd tile instead of paint. Paint will just be an on going maintance issue.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:30 PM   #7
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Planning to Upgrade a Sunroom


Quote:
Originally Posted by md2lgyk View Post
I may be wrong (not a pro), but I don't believe you can legally make truly liveable space out of that sunroom unless there are footers under the slab. I assume you're planning to tear out the existing structure and do proper framing, roofing, insulation, HVAC, and wiring? Considering where you live, that's the only way you're going to make the room usable year round and meet code requirements for habitable space. Until we tore it out, my daughter and her husband had a sunroom which looked a lot like yours, and it was useless during the winter.
Thanks - hadn't considered footings - I suppose it's unlikely they exist under the slab already.

Our hope was to stick with the slab, framing, roofing, HVAC, and wiring as-is - and then add insulation & drywall to the walls, new windows and doors, paint, possibly an electric baseboard since the two HVAC vents will struggle November-March, and call it a day. Being able to call it habitable square footage in terms of re-sell is a plus but we're not planning on selling for a few decades so it's more of a nice-to-have.

It's going to remain a mudroom/sunroom - our goal is just to have it a lot more useful year-round. (Right now, it functions well to hold our trash cans and keep beer cold since the room just stays whatever temperature it is outside without wind chill.)
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:39 PM   #8
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Planning to Upgrade a Sunroom


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
I'd tile instead of paint. Paint will just be an on going maintance issue.
I'd kind of like to go with some rough-cut slate in the long-run - paint is just a cheap win for now - just about anything is an improvement over bare concrete with an oil stain that's probably from the mid to late 1960s.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:44 PM   #9
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Planning to Upgrade a Sunroom


For the floor, you might consider the epoxy coatings now sold for use in garages. It is quite durable and comes in various colors. If you don't want to do it yourself, some of the companies that do spray-on bedliners for pickup trucks also do concrete floors.
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:53 AM   #10
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Planning to Upgrade a Sunroom


Just close this out WAY after the fact - this turned out okay - the 'soon' bits anyway -



- For the floor, we used one-part epoxy over BIN oil-based primer after cleaning/acid washing the concrete. It works okay. Human traffic is no problem but the epoxy will come off if you're trying to move anything heavy across the floor. We now have a great big indoor/outdoor rug in the middle and some tough mats inside the doors.
- The walls and ceilings look a lot more like they're from the past decade - and we went through about ten tubes of caulk for the many, many gaps between things - that alone has cut down the errant bug population by about 99%.
- Good riddance on the window shades. The new curtains don't exactly shade much of anything but the room doesn't actually get hit directly with much sun.

The room has been nice over the summer. Come winter, I imagine it'll be an icebox.

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