Family Room Addition: The “Hunt” for More Room

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The Hunt family poured the slab for an addition to their home 25 years ago, but the project has been on hold until now. After serving as a patio for all those years, they are finally ready to tackle the addition of their dreams, as well as a new porch and deck to go with it.

Foundation Problems

You would think that having the slab already poured would make building the addition easier, but changes in the building codes over the years now require more concrete to support the walls. To comply with the changes, new footings were dug around the perimeter of the slab, wooden forms set in place, and a new foundation poured to support the exterior walls.

Since the old slab wasn’t completely flat or level, a new layer of concrete was poured on top of it as well. Once the concrete had set, the framing for the addition could begin. The first step was bolting pressure treated wall plates to the slab. Next, the walls were framed up on the ground before being lifted into position.

Framing for a Hurricane

Since the house was located in an area prone to hurricanes, additional straps and bolts were required to secure the walls to the slab in order to resist high winds. With the walls in place, plywood sheathing was attached to the outside to add support to the structure. To increase wind resistance, local building codes even specify the number of nails required to attach each piece of sheathing.

Finally it’s time to raise the rafters, which are supported by a center ridge board that ties into the main roof of the house. Additional metal hurricane straps were used to join the rafters to the walls.

Metal Roofing

When the framing was complete, the rafters were decked with plywood to add even more strength to the structure and provide a firm foundation for the roofing. After the decking had been covered with roof wrap, sheets of metal roofing were cut to length and screwed to it. Metal roofing provides more resistance to high winds than traditional asphalt shingles and can last several times longer.

Ventless Gas Fireplace

The homeowners selected a ventless gas fireplace, since it costs less to install and doesn’t waste any heat. Ventless units can raise safety concerns, however, since any carbon monoxide produced from the combustion process remains in the room. Some states—including California and Massachusetts—do not allow the use of ventless models, so check your local building codes before considering one. Also, be sure to install carbon monoxide detectors in your home, regardless of whether you have a fireplace or not.

Porch and Decking

While the insulation was being installed and drywall hung inside, the brick walls were going up outside. Another important detail when building an addition is to make sure the ground slopes away from the foundation. This prevents rainwater from pooling next to the walls which can damage the foundation over time.

Once the proper grade had been established, work began on the pressure treated wood porch and deck surrounding the addition. Having the deck in place made it easier to install the porch ceiling, which consisted of 1/2″ plywood followed by 1/4” beadboard paneling to give a decorative look.

Finished Addition

The floor in the family room was covered with a prefinished, engineered hardwood to match the floor in the rest of the house. After the molding had been installed and a final coat of paint applied, the new family room was complete. It has lots of windows to let in light, and the gas fireplace can warm up the coldest day.

A widescreen television—with a built-in, ceiling mounted sound system—makes it a great place to watch the big game. Outside, the sun deck and covered porch provide a perfect place for relaxing.

Other Tips from This Episode

Cleaning Downspouts

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Cleaning Downspouts

It’s important to keep your gutters clean to prevent them from clogging. Elbows in downspouts are the worst culprits, and the flexible metal cable of a plumber’s snake is the best way to clean them out. Insert the end of the snake in the downspout until it meets resistance, then turn the crank and work it back and forth to loosen the clog. Insert a garden hose in the downspout and turn on the water to flush out any debris.

Ryobi TouchStart String Trimmer

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Ryobi TouchStart String Trimmer

The TouchStart string trimmer from Ryobi features an easy to use 12-volt, battery powered, electric starting system that makes pulling cords a thing of the past. The powerful one horsepower, 30cc, 2-cycle gas engine is designed to produce lower emissions. The TouchStart trimmer is available at The Home Depot stores.

Saving Energy with Window Film

Thinking Green with Danny Lipford:
Save Energy with Window Film

Applying window film to the windows in your home is a great way to reduce solar heat gain and block UV rays. This not only saves energy spent on air conditioning during the summer, but it can reduce fading of furniture and rugs. Window film is easy to install and available at home centers in both clear and tinted shades.


  1. Hi, i am a registered childminder in chaddesden derby looking for some free help to build a playroom ajoining the back of the house. I am a single parent wanting your help please as my living area is far to small for the children i look after. I really want them to have there own space. Could you help me please and donate your time and help. Kind regards,Caroline Hughes 54. de21 4nt.


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