In a climate like ours, some sort of porch is pretty much a necessity, not just as a place to store muddy boots and wet coats, but to act as an air lock so that warm air loss from the house is minimised when the door is opened. When we built the classroom we left a space outside one end where we knew the porch would eventually be, and a couple of years later it was time to get it built. With little money available, we had to make use of the materials we had around the place.
This was mainly shipping pallets in 2 main sizes – the broadly square or 1×1.2m ones, and some double size containers too. These gave us the internal and external cladding, and the sarking board for the roof; as well as some 3×2 and 4×2 timber for the frame. Our neighbours gave us a decent front door, some wooden shelves and gun racks that make excellent coat hooks. We had some salvage double glazing units, leftover polythene damp proof membrane, and breather membrane offcuts. This left us to buy timber for most of the frame, which was the main cost.
The house sits directly on granite, so creating foundations was simply a job of levelling, and placing 9 pads of reclaimed concrete blocks. We then infilled them with rubble to make the space below the porch less attractive to rodents.
The floor frame then sits on bits of damp proof membrane on the pads, and the porch frame was built on top of it.
The next step is to wrap the frame in breather membrane, ensuring big overlaps. This is then battened on the outside using 2×1, ready to accept the pallet cladding. All the window openings were created to fit the glazing units that we had to hand.
Here is the porch ready for its cladding. Plenty of horizontal battens as much of the pallet timber is only half-height. I used over-and-under vertical cladding, as it keeps the water out well. Even with just the membrane, the structure would be weatherproof at this stage.
The roof is first timbered with pallet wood, then covered with the breather membrane. Then a couple of layers of plastic damp proof membrane, and some old carpet underlay to protect the plastic and give the soil above something to grip onto.
The porch with turf on the roof, and cladding on. I was careful to ensure that there are no gaps anywhere under the eaves. On the inside I used a leftover recycled paper vapour barrier, which was carefully fitted to make the porch draughtproof – in the past I’ve not done that so well and it really makes a difference. The interior is then covered with horizontal palletwood, with a seat on one side and plenty of hooks (old gun rack from a shop), and shelves.
The floor is the last of all the tiles we’ve used in the 2 cottages, and they just fit perfectly. The difference in the room beyond is amazing, and the house is finally clear of all the boots and shoes that used to lie around the place