Here's a shot of the actual second story porch on right, downsized a bit from the plans:
Second, there was also a construction consideration in this decision - the original larger porch on the second story meant that part of the screened porch would be over inside living space on the first floor. Although we had planned to use state of the art impermeable membranes on the second story porch, we were told over and over by a variety of experts that, eventually (maybe a decade down the road) we'd have water problems in the lower level living space with an outdoor porch above it. Since the plan is for Glenlochan to be our home for our golden years, it wasn't likely that this would be someone else's problem down the road, but, in fact, would be our problem to deal with in the future. We realize that we cannot plan for every eventuality, but I'm all in favor of avoiding problems that can be avoided, even when they promise to be far into the future. Hence the second reason for our decision to sacrifice the size of the second story porch - to avoid water problems down below in the future.
But, this decision did not negate the need for an impermeable membrane on the second story porch floor, to keep water out of the first story porch. Enter Duradek (www.duradek.com ). According to the Duradek website, Duradek is a vinyl roof and walking deck membrane. To us, it's the new floor on our second story porch, and it's a pretty cool exterior floor. We selected a lovely gray color - Aspen Ultra Heritage - and it should last for our lifetimes. Here's a few shots of the Duradek install:
And, the finished product (with cardboard sitting on top blocking part of the view):
With the Duradeck install complete, the columns on the back porches were able to be installed. Don't get me going about the price of columns, wow - they can be real budget busters and who knew that square columns are actually MUCH more costly than round ones (which will soon be installed on the front porch):
As you can see, the back porches are really taking shape. The second story porch will also be getting hand rails installed and both will have full screens added towards the end of the project. You'll notice I didn't mention the floor materials for the first floor screened porch. We are still researching that since we have a lot more flexibility in material choice, and Ipe (pronounced EE-pay) is in the lead at the moment. Ipe is, according to some, the finest quality wood available. Hmm...more to the point, ipe is an exotic hardwood that is naturally resistant to rot and decay, is 8 times harder than California Redwood, and is guaranteed for at least 20 years without preservatives. You can see the attraction. It's also particularly resistant to salt water damage (hence it's popularity on waterfront properties) and it looks utterly beautiful. We'll let you know the final decision...and if you have a suggestion for a better floor for our first floor back porch than Ipe, please let us know!