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Question DetailsAsked on 10/5/2011

I have four steps down to patio. If I add a sunroom, should it be raised to the floor level of the house where there are sliding doors?

The patio is made of pavers and not perfectly level. If the floor of the sunroom should be raised, is it better to use a concrete base or a wooden deck base. If it is not raised, what should the room be built on? Thanks

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2 Answers


Your answer depends on the budget of the project and the size of the sunroom.

If you do not raise your sunroom, you still are going to have to build a foundation that is code compliant. Your existing patio will not be used to build the sun room. Depending on the area where you live, you may be able to use treated lumber, pilings or posts. If you live in a moderate to high risk of termites area, you will need to have any non-treated wood 18" +/- above grade. This alone may answer how many steps into your new area.

The next consideration is size. A small sun room may be built similar to a deck, with open posts supporting beams that hold the floor joists. In this case, you can set the floor height of the new room at any height you desire.

As you go larger in your floor area, you may want to consider installing a traditional footing and concrete or CMU foundation walls. This puts a crawl space under your sun room to make duct work, electrical and other connections more easy to make, and may provide you with exterior storage.

As for the step question; do you want to walk up and down steps when you go in and out of the sunroom? This is personal preference. Most people (resale value) do not like steps between rooms. A single step is often referred to as "a tripper"; you forget it is there and fall into the room.

If you are okay with a few steps down, consider putting in a concrete pad. If the sun room is large enough (bedroom size or larger) consider adding in floor radiant heat. It is very inexpensive to install and use, and will make your sunroom usable all year long. Tile and vinyl may be installed over the concrete to create a finished look.

If you eliminate the steps, use traditional floor framing (joists or trusses). Set the new finished floor at or 1/4" lower than the current floor finish level. Let the door threshold span the floor difference, and no one will notice it.

This job will require permits for construction, site work, and electrical at least. Even if you are working with a sunroom installer, there will be parts of the project that they will expect you to take care of (electrical, foundation and permits, commonly) Look for a licensed architect to help you set a budget and make these important decisions before you start. An architect can help you select a contractor, help with the permitting process and can oversee the work to ensure you get a quality installation at a fair price. They can also ensure that this addition compliments the existing building and adds value to your home.

Answered 8 years ago by Kenny Johnson


It is always best to continue with the type of foundation you already have, which I presume is pier&beam This would keep the level same as the house. Mixing slab and P&B causes problems over time unless you are building on very substantial ground, such as rock, because the foundations sink slowly over time, at different rates, and respond to moisture in the soil differently, at least in my area.

Answered 8 years ago by iamgerardj

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