Building a Screen Porch

A screen porch is a versatile addition to any home, especially if you can remove the screens when not needed. With a screen porch you are able to enjoy the beauty of nature without enduring outdoor discomforts … primarily flying, biting bugs! If you already have a patio or a deck, converting that space into a screened porch should be relatively straightforward.

Planning Your Screened Porch

It is necessary to plan the porch. You should make sure that your screened porch permits and meets all the side and rear yard setbacks and every other aspect of the zoning code. Be sure you get proper building permits before starting any major building project. An architect can then be called. Make sure the architect is experienced and well versed in the subject. Make sure that the size of the finished room suits your needs. Put all the furniture you want to use in the patio.

Building a screen porch requires an understanding of some basic elements like climate and construction. Evaluate and explore various options. Take into consideration various styles and accordingly plan the basics of the building. Screen porch can be square or rectangular in shape. The flooring can be hard wood or laminated.

Screen Porch

Cost Estimation

It is important that you do the costing as it will save further headache. This can be accomplished by doing a material take-off. This is a simple list that shows the type, quality and quantity of material required for the project.

The Foundation

The deck of the porch is very important. The piers of the deck should be properly dug. For this first build the deck outline. After the corners are established you can easily find the centre of your piers. Dig the post holes with the post hole digger down to the frost level.

Pour approximately 8 inch thick layer of concrete in the bottom hole. The next day, insert the treated lumber post that has an attachment for the joists. Around the post fill about 6 inch of gravel and finally 6 inches of concrete. This way it is easy to replace the post should it become necessary.

Decking and Walls

The deck or the floor is important. You can use treated lumber. Do not put any spacing between your decking boards or else they will shrink.
Seal the deck boards before nailing. Get your electrical wires installed and possibly a gas line for your grill. Plan for these things beforehand as to how they reach the porch from the house.

The walls are simply screened panels that fit between the posts that support the roof structure. Put the panels of the walls at the end.
Screening is available in a wide range of materials including rust-proof bronze, copper or aluminum, as well as anodized aluminum with a baked on finish, and even vinyl.

Corner/Support Posts

This is important as the beams rest upon them. The beams span over the posts and are connected with special post and beam galvanized hardware. The lumber used should be untreated as treated ones will twist as they dry out. Use the lower grade as it has tight knots.

Roofing

The roof adds to the overall look of the porch. If your house has a hip roof use the same for the porch. These are very strong and help to lock the walls together. It can be made up of any material including translucent sheeting or solid roofing material,

You can find clear, colored or translucent fiberglass panels for roofing your porch. Fiberglass panels provide shade and protection from the elements. You can have more or less shade depending on which type and how much translucence the panels have.

Light weight fiberglass roof panels are available, which are durable and resist impact well in case of hail, high winds and other inclement weather. The material will not shatter, shrink or expand significantly over time and is easy to install.

Electric Requirements

One should always plan for the electric requirements in advance. You may need outlets for radio, lamps or TV’s, fans etc.

Painting or Finishing

This is very important as it adds to the overall effect. Wooden screened porches require maintenance. This can be minimized by pre-painting or finishing the wood before installing.

This also reduces the damage due to water. Paint the screen panels before installing the screens. You can also paint the roof rafters and underside of the roof plywood before installing them.

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