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project back porch enclosure

John Dirks Jr

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What better place to turn for suggestions and guidance than here?

We're fixing up the back porch into a patio enclosure.  While in the process of planning I'm thinking about the ceiling.  I want to do this relatively inexpensive and I'm thinking about vinyl soffit panels for the ceiling.  The ceiling is a 2:12 pitch over a floor space of 12 by 24 feet.  We want to run the linear feature long ways so obviously there would be seams.  If I trim the mounting tab properly, will the panels overlap fairly good?

Here's the material.  >  https://www.lowes.com/pd/12-in-x-143-75-in-white-vinyl-solid-soffit/1095077?cm_mmc=shp-_-c-_-prd-_-lbm-_-google-_-lia-_-103-_-vinylsiding-_-1095077-_-0&kpid&store_code=2594&k_clickID=go_625667893_34613737510_111132545110_aud-299487635210:pla-259301822122_c_9007872&gclid=Cj0KCQiAtbnjBRDBARIsAO3zDl8FCfrDwEjD01hfqOelkr4x81qnTGBfdZiXod3dGprfwQsTfgZF7RsaAvNLEALw_wcB

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Thanks for the replies everyone.

The ceiling material (whatever the choice)  will get affixed to framing that is constructed under the rafters.  The rafters are 2"x6" and I think the framing beneath them is also 2"x6".  The underside framing is pretty straight and currently has 1/4 inch plywood on it running length wise with the structure. 

The 4'x8' sheets always held good and never looked warped.  The only thing it suffered from was the roof leaks and that is no longer an issue.  The 16" on center framing could surely serve well for affixing 4'x8' beaded hardboard.  I like this idea since it not only looks nice but might even cost a tad less then vinyl.  Maybe not when you include efforts for paint and trim.  I'm going to try and convince the Mrs to the beaded hardboard panels idea.

If we decide to go with vinyl, we have already agreed to change the direction which will require strapping like Tom pointed out.  The benefit in this choice is, the direction change would eliminate butt end overlaps.  Tongue and groove cpvc would also be nice but the cost of that material would severely dent our budget for this project.

If vinyl winds up being the material of choice, the nailing tabs are slotted and I'd be sure to keep fasteners slightly proud to allow movement.  I'd keep slack at the ends in the trim channels too.  I'd keep it all a floating assembly just like vinyl siding is done.

Here's a beaded panel ceiling example.


Heres the porch we’re working on. 



Here’s the current ceiling. 


Edited by John Dirks Jr
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5 hours ago, John Kogel said:

This will give you a chance to rewire that ceiling light too.😁

Does that space get hot in the summer? Looks like there is some shade, and is the ceiling insulated? just curious. Our patio area has an open metal roof, gets uncomfortably hot for 2 months a year. 

Everything will be insulated including the ceiling.  All interior panels are being stripped and all the electric stuff fixed.

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I got started on the interior demo today.  I'm feeling my 54 year old body now.  No pain at all when I'm working because adrenaline is abundant in me.  When I begin to relax after working is when I feel it.

The space had been divided by a wall in 1980 and was used as a small apartment for several years.  There was also a brick garden bed across the back of the house as far back as the 60's.  I removed the partition wall (non bearing) and knocked out the brick garden bed.  Where the garden bed was, the slab will have to be filled in.  I'm wondering if I'll try my hand at concrete finishing or farm that part out.  The finished exposed concrete needs to look good and match the existing surface as close as possible.  The plan is to paint the concrete floor and use a throw rug here or there.

Here's some pics of the process thus far.






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On 2/23/2019 at 12:51 PM, Bill Kibbel said:

I don't like plastic anything. The fiber cement is really quick and easy.

If you dont have one, grab a cheap drywall lift from Craigslist or Horror Fright.

Agree with Bill. The fiber cement is the way to go!

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Thanks for all the suggestions on the finishing.  We still have time to make decisions so nothing is settled yet. 

On to some structural choices.  There will be multiple sliding glass doors across the back wall.  The header is a double 2x8 and the distance between the header and slab is roughly 82 1/4”. 

What should I use as a bottom plate under the door thresholds?  I was thinking treated 1x6. 



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If your door is a standard 6' 8" door, 82 1/4 doesn't leave enough room for a sill plate under the threshold.  That 2 1/4 is gonna be taken up by the threshold, top jamb, door/frame gap and header clearance.  What Jim said, just flash the threshold.  Pan and dam.

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On 3/3/2019 at 9:34 PM, John Dirks Jr said:

Scroll down and expand the specs.  You'll see it there.

Lowes sliding door

Ok.  The 82 1/4 cued me into a pre-hung with an 80" door.  82 1/4 is a common RO for that.  My mistake.

I'm not sure you're going to like stepping across a high threshold if you add that 1X sill plate.


Edited by Marc
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I'm not planning a floor covering,  just painted concrete.  The doors across the back are not generally intended for entry and exit so a 3/4" plate wont make an issue there I dont think.  There will be a standard hinged door into the carport area and a slider into the mudroom area for entry / exit.  I will discuss the threshold height condition with the boss and get the reaction.  Sometimes that alone concludes the decision.  But at least I'll keep the thresholds of the doors intended for entry / exit as low as possible.

There is another condition with the line of doors across the back.  The space between the slab and header is 82 1/4 at one end and fluctuates gradually 1/4"  to 3/8"  more across the 24 foot length, which alone I'm not too concerned with.  The other irregularity is the slab line and header gradually slopes downward together towards the end of the structure.  Exactly how much I do not know yet.  I'm going to pull a tight string line and use a line level to see how much the droop is.  My choice is how to deal with the droop.  1) just run the doors and allow each of them to follow the droop?   2) slightly stagger each door in attempt to keep them closer to a common plane?

Obviously, this decision and affect the decision to use 1x as a plate, I mean the 1x would reduce the amount of space I have to fiddle with across the 24 foot span.  In the pic below, the porch structure droops off towards the right of the structure.  I think the slab was in this position when the structure was framed onto it.  I think the framers just followed the slab.



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I would just follow the slab. If everything is crooked in the same direction by the same amount no one will ever see it. Make one component level and will stick out like a sore thumb. 

The real trick with the doors you have picked is making sure that the sills are flat. The directions will harp on plumb, level, square...but a flat sill is far more critical. Most of those doors aren't manufactured square.

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Flat sills...check!   The doors across the back are mainly for viewing and natural light so having a 3/4" sill shouldn't make a problem for us.  The sill plate material can also help provide a flat surface for the door sill to rest on.  I could cut each sill plate piece so they are individual under each door.  That way as the slab gradually slopes towards the one end, each sill plate can be independently flat directly under each door.  Does this make sense as an approach?  Shim each plate as needed to make them flat?

Edited by John Dirks Jr
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