Why and how to transform a terrace into a porch?

When the time has come for choosing the space where the house expansion will be built under the shape of a porch, the existing terrace would offer a wide array of perks. In this article, we will see why it may be advised to build a porch instead of a terrace, and most of all how to do so as best as you can.

terrasse transformée en véranda

Why choose to transform a terrace into a porch?

Widen the living space with an affordable house extension which is both design and comfortable.

First and foremost, the main interest in converting a terrace into a porch is, obviously, the simple benefit of having a porch. As an expansion of the house, the porch provides several advantages.

  • This solution is generally far more affordable than a hard-standing expansion, not to mention more adaptable.
  • The aluminium models offer major design advantages, whether for the outer aspect of the house by their style and elegance, or its inner adornment by the natural light input and wide openings.
  • Porches improve everybody’s comfort and redefine the inner spaces within the house.

Broadly speaking, not only do porches bring light and warmth, they also add a welcome opening on the surrounding wilderness. Once the house’s living rooms are redistributed, building a porch will fit in perfectly with the other large-scale home renovations.

Embracing all the advantages of the terrace

In general, the terrace represents an excellent spot for building the porch, and for several different reasons. On one side, the terrace is more often exposed in order to enjoy the sunlight at the best moments of the day.

On the other, the terrace is already considered as an interface between house and garden by the house residents. Old habits are here to stay, as are the possible wall openings for bay windows, and the rest of the house is already laid out in order to serve this interface outwards.

Finally, terraces often benefit from several arrangements which will ease the creation of a glazed extension of the house. These may include water intakes and electric wiring, along with the presence of a concrete slab, or simply a levelled ground which doesn’t require further excavation work.

terrasse utilisée par toute la famille

Tackle the bioclimatic issues while improving the family’s living conditions.

Bioclimatic porches allow the conversion of sunlight into heat in order to retain it during the warmest hours of the day and redistribute it during the coolest hours. Every porch can’t be qualified as bioclimatic. Indeed, the bioclimatic extension requires specific equipment and design, including particular ventilation and natural air circulation systems or yet again bricks made especially for storing heat.

However, modern porches both well insulated and very bright allow to raise a few points regarding bioclimatic issues organically, without specific equipment. When it’s well designed by skilled manufacturing carpenter, an aluminium porch lowers the needs in lighting and in heat, even though the bioclimatic approach still isn’t fully taken into account.

Elements to take into account for the project

While most terraces are well suited for building a house expansion, it’s important to allow yourself to go beyond. However, the terrace’s layout and dimension will determine some of the technical choices which will impact on the porch’s design and creation.

Key physical features

Most terraces are located on the level of a facade equipped with a sliding window or at least wide French windows. If it’s not the best way to enjoy a pleasant terrace, this aspect may be more crucial when it comes to porches.

For most porch projects, it is indeed necessary to have a wide opening with the rest of the house. Whether or not this opening is equipped with swinging or sliding doors, it will ensure the interface with the rest of the house. By definition, the porch is a bright and pleasant living room, and as such the circulation of air, light and people should be optimised. In lack of existing openings, it shall be checked whether the facade overlooking the terrace may be drilled in order to host the porch.

The porch’s dimensions are yet another technical feature to take into account, as they may eventually serve as a reference for the dimensions of the future porch. It is by no means an obligation. However, if need be, this allows to reuse an existing concrete covering when laying out insulating flooring, for instance.

The layout of the terrace on the property shall equally be taken into account in the porch project. A house expansion meets the same regulations than a new building, notably for building permits or appeals to an architect, according to its size. It shall in particular respect the local urban planning scheme, which may enforce a minimum distance between neighbours, or a maximum height of the expansion.

The terrace’s exposure according to the region

The terrace’s exposure according to the sun will determine the creation and even the use of the porch. But most of all, it all depends on the region and its level of sunlight!

  • A southern exposure, in the North of France, is ideal for porches with a glazed roof. In the South, you should better provide for a full rooftop or blinds integrated to the side windows to prevent the room from overheating in summer.
  • The northern exposure, in the cold regions, restrict the use of the room in winter. However, it brings quite a pleasant light and a bit of softness during the warm season, even in the South of France.
  • No matter the latitude, the eastern exposure is perfect for a glazed room or enjoying breakfast in the sun.
  • The western exposure, in the North, offers a comfortable warmth all seasons long. In the South, however, it should be used along with high solar protection, or restricted to specific uses, such a covering a swimming pool, for instance.