House Post: Sleeping Porch Problems

The sleeping porch, a small three-season room off our second floor hallway, is one of my favorite spaces in the house. In the summer, we put in screens and I spend hours and hours reading and relaxing in the hammock.

It is, however, one of the more troubled rooms in the house. I’ve largely been putting off dealing with it, but with the progression of work on the rest of the house having reached a good spot, it’s time to start thinking about the sleeping porch work for this summer.

There are, loosely, two main areas of concern and a third small piece.

The first and largest concern is the roof. Our house has three different kinds of roof in different areas: asphalt shingles on the main part of the roof; a kind of non-shingled single-sheet asphalt over the sun room; and standing seam on some accent pieces and the sleeping porch.

Above is a very poor quality Google Maps satellite photo of our house. The sleeping porch is largely obscured by a tree but you can see where I’ve pointed at it with the red arrow and you can also see our problem. The roof is quite rusted. That doesn’t automatically mean it’s bad, but…

Look at what happens in winter.

I took this photograph a short while ago. If you look just behind the chimney, you can see the problem immediately. Yes: those are icicles coming down behind the trim. It’s not great. It’s hard to tell what the problem is, exactly. Is the roof actually failing – perhaps at the top, where it connects to the main roof of the house – and the water is getting in up there, traveling underneath the roof, and then out behind the trim? Or is the water hugging the edge of the roof and wicking up and behind the trim because the paint flaked a little bit?

The good news is that we should have the beginning of an answer soon. I’ve finally found a contractor who will work with me to take a look at this – as well as two other spots of flaking paint & siding rot that are less worrying but still need to be addressed. I’m bracing myself for a new roof at the least, and possibly a more complicated rebuilding of the underneath parts of the roof as well.

The second major area of concern is the windows.

The windows have some problems both inside and out. In no particular order:

  • several of them are cracked and need panes replaced
  • even windows with intact panes need reglazing
  • the system for opening them, by sliding them sideways along tracks, is terrible and needs to be either dismantled and cleaned out or replaced entirely
  • the blinds are godawful and need to just be removed, that’s an easy one at least
  • the trim needs a thorough going-over with some replacements, and then repainting

Being able to open the windows all the way up and essentially replace them with screens over the summer is a big appeal, so I’d like to keep that concept in whatever we do going forward.

It’s not clear whether it will make the most sense for this to happen before, during, or after the roof work.

Finally, the easiest problem: some cosmetic upgrades. Right now, the entire interior is painted white. Because of its weather and temperature exposure, that paint is done. There is some evidence that the original wood was stained and covered with poly, based on this water stain in the ceiling.

I kind of love the look of a stained wood ceiling on a porch. The rest of it can stay white; it keeps the space feeling open. The floor right now is a sort of bland brown. It might be fun to paint that (it’s sort of wide baseboards, boring but practical, and should stay painted because of exposure) in a sort of pattern, to mimic a carpet. Probably at the same time we’ll also add an outlet, and if we do have to open up the ceiling to address the roof, we might add a fan as well. (For sure a new fixture is in order.)

That definitely comes last, after all the other work is done.

So: the sleeping porch. It’s complicated, and it’s going to cost a chunk of money, hence the delays.

7 thoughts on “House Post: Sleeping Porch Problems

    1. It’s terrific in the summer! And water damage is one of my absolute biggest fears about home ownership. It’s so destructive. Fingers crossed we’ve got a good plan for fixing it going forward.


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