Do You Need A Permit To Enclose A Porch? (Find Out Now!)

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

If you are planning to enclose a porch attached to your home, it is important to make sure it is done correctly. Building is a costly process, and you might need a permit to enclose a porch. Having to go back and redo even a portion of it only adds to that cost.

You need a building permit to enclose a porch if it covers more than 200 square feet. You will also need a permit to enclose a porch not supported by an exterior wall of the pre-existing structure. Renovating a small porch doesn’t require a permit, but you still must meet the current building codes and regulations.

Building codes vary from place to place, so it is important that you check what they are in your area. Meeting these codes the first time can save you time, money, and a lot of stress.

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Can I Enclose My Porch?

There are many different home renovations that you may want to make your house look better or to improve it. You might want to do something like enclosing your porch to protect from the elements. This addition could also add more security features to your home. An enclosed porch will be more difficult for robbers to get into.

Enclosed porches can also be great for protecting yourself against the elements without totally sacrificing the outdoor feel of a porch. But, as desirable as an enclosed porch may be, can you actually enclose it?

Yes, you can enclose your porch. Nothing in the building code suggests that you are not allowed to enclose your home’s pre-existing porch.

In most cases, you would need to secure a building permit to perform any renovations to your home. But you must adhere to building codes and regulations.

How To Determine If You Need A Permit To Enclose A Porch

Is your porch under 200 square feet, (approximately 14 ft x14 ft or less)? If so, and you are not adding a new porch, you don’t need a permit.

It is also important that the exterior load-bearing wall of the existing structure connects to the new walls so that it has sound support. The new additions need to connect to the building in a substantial way.

During natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes, this is very important. High wind speeds can pull small add-ons off, so attaching them to the structural wall anchors them to the foundation.

Building Permits To Enclose A Porch

The law can be strict regarding building permits, especially because of safety standards and minimum legal requirements. You are not required to acquire a building permit as long as you abide by the laws’ limits.

You only need permits for porches that have an area of more than 200 square feet. Very few porches are that large, so more than likely, your porch meets this requirement. However, if you have any doubts or questions about the size of your porch, measure and calculate the square footage.

You must follow the building codes just as you would for any other home renovation project. Whether interior or exterior, codes are put into place to keep the homeowners and their families safe from faulty structural issues.

Planning Permits

Different areas also have different building and zoning laws. Always do your research. Some cities have stricter laws and regulations in place than areas that are more “suburban” or “rural.”

While these areas may not require building permits, they may have different regulations that require the acquisition of a planning permit. Planning permits consider the land you are building on and how it will change due to your project.

Planning permits consider the height of the structure you are building or the thickness of the walls. They also account for the distance between the structure and the land between the nearest roads and the structure.

If you want to enclose your pre-existing porch or deck, it is important to make sure that it meets the requirements. It must be under 200 square feet and attached to an existing wall.

It is important that whatever you build meets building codes and regulations that apply in the area you live in. Look into whether or not a planning permit will apply depending on the parameters of your new structure.

Remember that if you are in doubt about what you can legally build, it is better to cover your bases. Hire a professional to help you legally meet the requirements and permits of the build. Having to tear it down and start over could cause many problems.

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Related Questions

Do I need a building permit to fix my porch?

If your porch only needs repairs, you won’t need a permit. You do not need a building permit to fix any existing portion of your home as long as it is a minor repair. (i.e., replacing a few boards, adding a rail, etc.)Major repairs may or may not require a permit, depending on where you live. This is more likely to be a requirement in a heavily populated area than in a rural location. It also may need an inspection upon completion to ensure it meets local codes. This ensures the safety of anyone who comes over to spend time on your deck. 

Do I need a building permit to tear down or remove a deck?

No, tearing down an existing deck should not require any permits. If you have a deck attached to your house that you would like to remove, you may do so. You should, however, make sure that you take precautions when taking down the existing structure. Know the location of your electrical wiring, if any, so that no one gets electrocuted while removing the deck. As you pull posts out of the ground, you may also need to be aware of underground structures like plumbing and septic lines. Permits are necessary when erecting new structures or when changes to existing structures could cause bodily harm to any occupants. If you’re ever unsure whether you need a permit, it’s in your best interest to check before starting any work.

Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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