The broad term "veranda" refers to a range of covered patio or porch spaces. Although veranda designs and building materials vary, the common characteristics of verandas include a location immediately adjacent or attached to a main structure, and a column-supported roof covering. The type of foundation support, the size of the veranda and the veranda's roof structure are important considerations for the do-it-yourself builder. Learning about veranda features and building outdoor structures will help you create a veranda that blends with your existing structure and adds functionality to your outdoor space.
Whether attached to a single- or multiple-story structure, veranda floors and structural framing rest on a solid foundation. While some veranda foundations are an extension of the adjacent structure's foundation wall, most veranda foundations, particularly those constructed as additions, consist of poured concrete footings or precast concrete piers. Metal brackets or straps protrude from the top of footings and provide a fastening point for the veranda's deck posts. Posts typically support a framework of horizontal beams covered with finish-quality planking, such as weather-resistant cedar or redwood. Alternatively, builders might install tile or outdoor carpet as finished-floor surfaces. Ideas for attaching a veranda to an existing structure include specially designed metal brackets, or fastening support boards directly to the existing structure's framing.
Ultimately, size determines the potential functions of a veranda. When designing a veranda, homeowners should consider the desired uses of the outdoor space. For example, second-story verandas that extend a few feet from a building allow only standing space. Alternatively, a deep veranda adjacent to an entry door creates a porch suitable for outdoor dining and living space. If you plan to place furniture on your veranda, factor the size of tables, chairs and necessary walking space into your veranda design.
Veranda roofs typically attach to an adjacent structure, and most designers specify a veranda roof design that matches the existing structure's roof in both style and materials. In many cases, veranda roof framing connects directly to the existing roof's fascia and becomes a perfectly matched extension of the building. Alternatively, builders can attach veranda roof framing to a structure's walls. Veranda roofs attached to walls are often single-slope, shed-style roofs. Veranda roofs accept all types of roof-covering materials, including tiles, asphalt shingles and metal or plastic roofing panels. To increase a veranda's exposure to natural light, consider translucent or transparent roofing panels, or a series of skylights.
Veranda Design Inspiration
Whether online or outside the home, a small amount of veranda design research yields great results. Outdoor building materials manufacturers and manufacturers' associations often adorn their websites with pictures of attractive finished projects. Whether you plan to use their products or alternative materials, pictures of finished verandas serve as an important--and free--source of inspiration. Additionally, many educational institutions and museums offer online information regarding architecture and design. Outside the home, a trip to a local lumber yard or home improvement store can land you some product literature, do-it-yourself building publications full of pictures and building procedure descriptions, and access to salespeople with years of construction and design experience. Finally, a leisurely drive through local neighborhoods allows you to view verandas firsthand.