A Large Sunroom Addition

Laying brick

WANTED: An addition to provide extra space for eight super active children and two adults!

Father and son shovel sand

Father and son shovel sand

Laying brick

Laying brick

Tiled window sills for potted plants

Tiled window sills for potted plants

Dining area

Dining area

The family dog barked in disagreement when I moved his kennel into the back yard and began to dig footing trenches. It’s hard to describe the challenges that lay before me, but for starters, all equipment and machinery had to be brought into the rear yard through an opening in the garage wall! I scratched my head: how would I dispose of excavated dirt? How would I pour concrete? Getting materials to the site posed an on going headache.

I got out my trusty calculator and did a bit of math. Slab-on-grade construction, I figured, would allow me to spread the excavated dirt far back in the yard. Since the addition was part dining room and part all-purpose room, building the addition on grade with a framed second level made sense.

Foundation trenches were lined with 2” thick foam, which acted both as concrete formwork and insulator. I installed wood forms around the perimeter of the foundation trench. Mechanical ducts were laid into a bed of tamped sand. With the help of my capable wife, son and brother-in-law, I poured both the foundation and the floor slab as one unit. This method worked very effectively, and I was able to power trowel the slab to a smooth finish as night fell.

I “hired” my daughter and son to clean and stack the old brick for re use. They warmed to the task and gratefully received their wages.

The shell (2×6 R26 walls) of the addition completed, I laid a knee wall of brick around the outside, and capped window openings with lintels, thereby providing visual continuity with the rest of the house. Painted fiber cement board siding, an aluminum soffit/fascia system and a brick half wall lend an appealing, virtually maintenance free exterior finish. A stone patio and small shrubs lend a pleasing touch to the addition.

Deep window sills are tiled, and provide space for potted plants. Pella windows can be cranked open. There are Venetian shades between triple panes of glass.

The casing around the windows, as well as the 8” high baseboard, are made from ¾” oak plywood, capped with thin strips of solid oak.

Inside, the addition is divided into (upper) dining and (lower) activity areas. The upper section has a hardwood floor, sanded and finished on-the-job. The lower floor is tiled.

A new roof – I tore off two layers!- and painted cement board siding around the rest of the house complete the project.

The addition took about 8 weeks from start to finish. The entire job spanned more than three months.

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