We’re adding a sunroom, two porches, a deck, swimming pool, and pool house to enhance the homeowners’ view of the water. In the first of our two-part video series, we:

  • Pour the foundations for the addition and decks.
  • Frame the floor, walls, ceiling, and roof of the addition.
  • Add steel reinforcement to the framing to resist high winds.
  • Excavate and pour the concrete swimming pool.
  • Install impact resistant windows.

Watch Sunroom, Deck, and Pool Addition Project, Part 2 for more.

Video Transcript

Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner we’re building an addition to create a room with a view, and that view comes with a price. So we’re building this thing to stand up to the hurricanes that often threaten this coastal spot.

You know, I’ll bet a lot of you have thought about having a nice, big deck on the back of your house; or maybe a screen room when the weather is really nice, or maybe a sun room. Well, these homeowners want all of the above, and they’ve been working on this idea for quite a while.

And we are well under way with the batter boards in place, all of the strings to outline the perimeter of the addition. And soon the footings will be dug, concrete poured to create the foundation for this fairly large addition to this home.

That’s taken quite a while to get to this point on this project because of all of the plans that had to be drawn, all the approvals that had to take place and a ton of engineering because of where the house is located.

You can see over here a lot of water and we’re right on the Gulf Coast in South Alabama. And this is Fowl River that leads out into Mobile Bay that leads right out into the Gulf of Mexico. A hurricane prone area, oh yeah.

In fact, hurricane Katrina destroyed a covered deck that was on the back of this home right where our addition is about to be built. And because of all of these conditions, in an area like this you really have to build something right. And also many of the building codes are demanding a few changes in the way that we have built things in the past.

Now, over the next two weeks we’re going to share with you some of what’s involved now in building in an area like this. And also, get down into some of these details of these different projects, in case you’re thinking of building one of these projects yourself.

Now, all the permits are complete, all the engineering’s done, it’s time to go to work. Before the digging starts, there’s more layout and marking to be done, because there is a swimming pool going in at the same time as our addition and there’s no need in digging holes twice. Especially, with this many to dig.

The swimming pools curved lines start with a shallow trench and perimeter fence to guide the backhoe operator and mark the final elevation of the pool lip, which will be higher than the level of the dirt on the lower side.

Still there’s a lot of dirt to get out of here, and these guys do it very precisely. The footings for the addition are a little more labor intensive, since they are being done by hand. Plus, they also have to remove the old foundation from the storm damage deck we are replacing.

Concrete is pumped in to fill the footings before the blocks are laid to define the perimeter of the addition. These walls will support a lot of weight and to help them stand up to the fury of future storms, we are pumping them full of concrete, but we are not stopping there.

Joe Denson: These are the straps that will actually hold the building down. So the continuous steel in the footers runs up the blocks with horizontal steel, which these straps tie underneath before its solid, so the footers are continuously connected to everything, which will be connected to the wall of the house; one solid structure.

Danny Lipford: It should be that, and it’s starting to take on some size, too.

You may have noticed when our masons were laying all of our blocks for our foundation that it looks a little different than a traditional block. This is called a split-faced block, and it has a textured finish and the commercial guys have been using this type of block for a long, long time.

And it makes a lot of sense you have to put all the blocks up anyway for the foundation. Why not use this as the finished wall. Now, all they have to do is just clean this, and it will be a great looking finish for years to come. Or it can be sealed, or even stained or painted. But before, we just used plain block we had to do something to give it a finished appearance, this is a lot better idea.

Now, one of the advantages of having a wood floor system is that you can do with a lot of space underneath that you can use for a variety of different purposes. Here, the homeowners plan on using this as a utility storage area, and later on a little bit of work will be done in here all of this temporary supports. Two by eights will all be removed so that we can put a large door in here so that he can park his riding lawnmower ride inside.

Now, we also made sure that we are leaving plenty of time for everything to get good and dry, because mortar and concrete takes a while. And if you remember, we filled all of these blocks with concrete, so it takes a little while in this cooler weather for it to dry completely. But it should be in good shape.

And as you can hear, the guys have already started the framing. And we’ll look at that little closer right after Joe shares with us this week Simple Solution.

Joe Truini: If you’re like me, chances are you’ve got a few of these five-gallon buckets in your workshop or garage that you use for storage. Well, here’s an idea you may not have thought of. Using a bucket like this for storing and carrying around your extension cords. But it’s not just that, it’s also a good way to use the cord.

What I did is I took a drill with a one and a half-inch diameter hole saw, and I drilled a hole, as you can see here, right near the bottom of the bucket. What that allows me to do is take the male end of the cord and feed it through the hole.

Just pull out maybe two or three inches, and then I can just dump in the rest of the cord. Now, you can bring it to the job site, plug this in, then pull out the cord and use it.

Now, you can see here that this is a 50-foot cord, and there’s still plenty of room to put in some hand tools and even a power tool. But it’s really important to remember when you’re using this, don’t leave the cord all coiled up inside because it can build up heat. But if you pull it out and then put it back when you’re done. You just unplug the cord, and take it with you on to the next job site.

Danny Lipford: This week we’re working on a great addition to create a room with a view. And we’re building this thing to withstand hurricane force winds, because of its coastal location. While we were digging the foundation, we were also digging a pool, and that is moving along very quickly.

The rough shape was established in the dirt and supplemented above grade with form boards. Then, a grid work of steel reinforcement was laid along every surface so that when the floor and the walls were sprayed with concrete they would have the strength needed to hold all that water. They’ve even set the tile border and capstones to complete the coping.

Over on the addition, we have the block walls up and filled with concrete so the framing of the wood floor system can begin. There’s a lot of wood in this floor, because the joists have to span about 18 feet from the existing house to the outer wall of the addition.

On top of the wood floor system, the walls start going up. But because this is a room with a view, there is a lot more space allotted for window openings than wall surface, which means that the framing has to be strong.

Boy, looking at this view of the water, I can really tell why the homeowners are so excited about having this addition built. Just look at the view they have, and they’ll really be able to take advantage of it with all the windows. There’s a large window unit here, there is a large door unit on that side, another large window unit here, there, and even one on the driveway side.

Now we mentioned earlier about this project being right in the middle of a very hurricane prone area. So, all over the place you can see things that we are doing to this building to make it a lot stronger than normal. Here’s a good example.

Now you might remember earlier we had these steel straps that we stuck down into the foundation block and poured concrete around them. Now, they are being brought up and nailed to the framing.

In a case like this, where it protrudes up into the window opening, this will be cut off with a side-grinder later and evened off right there, but at the other places where it extends up on the stud, they are nailing them off using tons of nails to really tie this framing down to the foundation. It’s real important when those winds really pick up.

But, hey, this is a pretty sizable addition, about 550-square-feet, but it’s going to feel a lot larger than that because of the height of the ceiling here, this goes all the way up to 10 feet. There you go. So, you can tell it’s going to be a very impressive room. Now, they’re pretty much finished with all of the framing of the walls, so you know what’s next, ceiling framing and the roof.

Ceiling joists support more than the drywall surface you see at the top of a room. They also give the walls rigidity and support the roof framing above them. So strength is always a concern, but especially when you have to deal with the kind of wind generated by a hurricane.

These large laminated lumber beams do a lot of that work while supporting the smaller ceiling joists that tie into them. The ridge for the new roof sits in the center of the space to be covered, which includes the addition and the porches on either side of it.

So the rafters that run from the outer walls all the way up to the ridge are incredibly long. So long, they have to be pieced together from two boards cut on a diagonal and joined together. Then, a plywood gusset on the side adds a little extra strength. Every few feet these rafters are supported from beneath with struts that keep them from sagging or being lifted by wind. And of course, there are steel straps everywhere to supplement the nails holding it all together.

The gable end wall facing the water is the roof’s first line of defense against high winds, so it has to be rock solid. The overhang here is only cosmetic, though, so it’s barge rafter on the outer edge is only attached at each end while the plywood roof decking supports the rest. That decking is perforated by a line of hundreds of nails along the gable wall so if the wind begins to lift the overhang, it will tear off without damaging the rest of the roof.

Finally, the rest of the plywood can go down before the roofers arrive to cover it all up with underlayment and shingles. The roofer left off some of the shingles on this portion of the roof because we’re building another roof that will tie in right at that point where the shingles end, and it will extend out over the spa and even part of the pool that the homeowners are putting in as another project while we’re doing the addition.

Now, on a cold day like today, you don’t think about a pool like this, but once the weather warms up it will be great. Now, the roof will extend right out to the edge of the house and provide a lot of cover for this area, but this roof will be a little bit different.

We’ll frame it in a similar fashion with the regular roof. This will have metal roofing on it. Hey, that will be a challenge tying that metal roofing into this roof, this part of it that has a little hip on it, then, all the way under all of those shingles.

Somebody’s going to have a lot of work ahead of them, but first let’s check in with our Best New Product of the week.

Jodi Marks: These days people are trying to spend less time sitting on the couch, and more time outside with their families. Well, the downside of that is the recent spread of mosquito borne illnesses.

Whether you’re enjoying your patio, or your deck, watching a sporting event, or even gardening. You need protection, and area repellents are a lifesaver. This one from ThermaCELL provides hours of protection, is highly portable, and once activated, actually creates a 15’ x 15′ mosquito free zone of protection.

In fact, this little handheld guy is up to 98% effective. Pair it with other units, and you can clear an entire yard of mosquitoes. It works with no sound or smell, and best of all, no sprays or lotions to create a sticky mess.

To activate it you simply insert the butane cartridge and repellent mat, turn the switch on, and press start. The self-contained heating element starts up, vaporizes the repellent, and after two to three minutes, it drives away the mosquitoes and other flying insects. Give it about 10 minutes, and the area should be free of pests, so you can take back the outdoors.

Danny Lipford: Our room with a view is coming right along with the framing of the floor, the walls, and the roof complete. In case you haven’t noticed we’ve put tons and tons of lumber into building this thing, so that it can deal with the tropical storm systems that threaten this area each year. And all that lumber is sitting on top of an awful lot of concrete inside this wall and underneath it.

We’ve already pumped concrete here twice and we’re not done yet. We’re pumping even more concrete into this backyard. And the concrete today we’re using for the foundation that will support a large wood deck that we’ll have running along beside the pool and tying back into the existing addition porch that we have here.

So this will all be treated wood, a lot of framing, very heavy. So the foundation has to support all of that weight, in addition to a roof we are building that will extend from this edge all the way out to the corner of the house. That will be a nice area to hang out during a hot summer day.

Now, as we’ve mentioned earlier, we are in the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico right down in South Alabama. And all of this area is very hurricane prone, so we’re having to build this to some very, very strict standards.

Now along with that, one of the most important components in any addition or home, particularly if you are in a hurricane prone area, is the windows and doors. There’s a lot of glass along here, and it has to be strong. And if weight is any measure of strength, we’re in good shape because when the windows and doors arrive, it becomes obvious that just getting them off the truck is a challenge in itself. These windows were chosen specifically for this project, so we asked the window rep what was involved in that decision.

Bob Plovanich: We take into consideration where the house is located, and its proximity to the water, and its location in the hurricane prone area. Glass was probably one of the most important considerations.

They had other options such as shutters or plywood but with the use of JELD-WEN’s ImpactGard impact glass, there’s no need for an exterior shutter or plywood in the event of a hurricane. JELD-WEN’s ImpactGard impact glass offers maximum protection against airborne debris and also excessive wind loads that are typically generated from a hurricane.

Impact glass is made with two pieces of glass with an inner layer that is laminated in between which gives the glass its strength. And the inner layer is what really protects the window against airborne debris.

The inner layer is actually a plastic type material. The inner layer that JELD-WEN uses is 10 times stronger than what’s used in the industry. These windows have been tested to Dade County protocol, which require the windows to pass a missile test where a two by four is shot through a cannon. JELD-WEN’s ImpactGard actually protects the home from airborne debris, which could actually penetrate the envelope of the home and literally blow the roof off.

Danny Lipford: By the time the first view windows are installed, our footings are ready for us to begin work on that next section of roof and framing this one is pretty straightforward.

There is also some decking to put down on the poolside porch, but the rest of the windows still need to go in. And for some reason, the guys are procrastinating. Well, Joe, I see you got a few of the doors in and a couple of the windows, but what are you going to do with these big boys here?

Joe Denson: They are going to be a bit of a problem, but I think I have a solution worked out for them.

Danny Lipford: Okay, well I got to hear this. Okay what’s the plan and how are you going to get those heavy windows up and in place?

Joe Denson: Our stucco contractor has agreed to set up his scaffolding to the bottom of our windows for us. That way we can prep the windows, and set them off of his scaffolding.

Danny Lipford: Well, that helps a lot but those things are still heavy. How much do they weigh, it’s probably like 9′ by 9′ there.

Joe Denson: The window units weigh in around 600 pounds each. We will take two sashes out of each window before we set them, to reduce the weight down to about 400 pounds.

Danny Lipford: Okay, so you got you and you got three other guys, four of you can you handle that?

Joe Denson: I don’t know if we can or not, I’m sure we’re going to have to get some extra hands out here when we do it.

Danny Lipford: Not surprisingly, when the time comes to set those windows, the extra hands have made themselves scarce.

Allen Lyle: Tough day at work, huh, Tim?

Tim McCraney: Oh yeah, it’s real tough.

Danny Lipford: They obviously heard how big the job is, so these four guys have to suck it up and get it done on their own. 400 pounds, four guys 100 pounds apiece. Well, that doesn’t sound bad, but angling these things through those openings makes carrying that weight a little awkward. There is a little cussing and fussing over pinched fingers, but otherwise it goes off without a hitch.

After the heavy work is done, the windows are leveled, secured to framing and the flange is waterproofed. I think these guys are probably thinking break time. While they do, let’s try Thinking Green.

You may not think that you can look in your kitchen cupboard or refrigerator to find inspiration for energy savings, but here it is. While it’s true that many people have made some fairly interesting things from tofu, I’m actually talking about what all of these things are made from—the soybean.

And one of the most energy efficient and eco-friendly uses for this plant is in insulation. Soy-based insulation that uses water to blow it in place is even better, because it means there will be no off-gassing of chemicals.

Once the soy insulation is sprayed into your walls, ceilings, or floors; it will expand up to 100 times its original size, filling every nook and cranny, creating a seamless air barrier. You can save anywhere from 30 to 50 percent on energy bills, and it’s also a great sound proofer.

We started with a home that had lost its deck to a hurricane, so we set out to replace it by creating a room with a view and another deck and a porch and a pool, all designed to stand up to the next storm that passed this way.

Well, it’s obvious why we didn’t complete this project in just one show. It’s a fairly large job, plus as in any case, many times, these homeowners have added a few extra things, including a pool house and extra decking around the pool.

Now next week we’ll look at all the finishing touches, including the stucco that will be applied on the outside of the interior walls, electrical, flooring, all of that. But we will focus on a lot of the outdoor living areas. And that’s one thing the homeowners are really excited about. Not only will they be able to enjoy the deck and the covered porches when the weather’s nice, they will be able to enjoy the beautiful view of Mobile Bay.

Thanks for being with us this week, I’m Danny Lipford. We’ll see you next week for more Today’s Homeowner.

Room With a View was brought to you by JELD-WEN Windows & Doors. Reliability for Real Life.
If you would like to purchase a DVD copy of this week’s show, visit our website at dannylipford.com, or call us at 1-800-946-4420.

Editorial Contributors
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Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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