There is nothing like sitting outside and enjoying some wine on a cool night. If you're looking to build an inexpensive screened-in porch yourself, you'll love this article and it's totally possible! In this article, James explains how to build a screened-in porch for yourself.
Build an Amazing Screened-In Porch Yourself
Dear James: I plan to convert part of my large concrete patio to a screened-in porch. I cannot afford a complete kit. What are some ideas for building an inexpensive one myself? — Mark T.
Dear Mark: You and your family should get a lot of enjoyment from even a small screened porch and it should add more resale value to your home than its material costs. With a patio in good condition, building a screened porch should be within the skill level of most do-it-yourselfers.
At a later time, you may want to add windows over the screened to convert it into a three-season room. There are a number of options to accomplish this from using clear acrylic plastic to real window glass. Large sheets of acrylic are available from any home center store.
- Enjoy outdoor entertaining without pesky mosquitoes
- Keep pests from bothering your outdoor fun
- Enjoy the benefits of a screened porch for a fraction of the cost
- Fits patio umbrellas up to 7.5' in diameter
- Maximum of 7.5 foot umbrella
You may be able to find inexpensive scrap windows from a local window contractor. Sometimes a customer ends up not being able to pay for the custom-size windows or the wrong size was made. The contractor will often sell these window inexpensively just to get rid of them.
The most difficult part of the job will be attaching the main support framing to the patio. It is best to just vertical post supports which are short metal sockets that the corner wood beams fit in. You will have to drill into the concrete patio and screw or pop rivet the sockets in place.
Most patios are not set on footers, so the patio can move up and down with changes in the seasons. This is particularly true in colder climates where the ground may freeze. For this reason, don't plan to rigidly attach the house side of the porch beam to the house. The house in on footers and will not move.
You mentioned a small porch, but don't undersize it. A size of eight by ten feet would be a minimum for four people to sit comfortably in chairs and eight by twelve feet would be even better. Remember, you will probably also want a couple of small tables in there to place drinks or the newspaper on.
Make the corner posts on the house side longer so the porch roof slopes away from the house. Unless you plan to get fancy and add a gutter on the end, extend a shingled plywood roof two feet past the end of the porch. This will allow water to run off without splashing back through the screens.
The least expensive method to cover the sides is to build your own frames and staple on screening. The frames can be screwed to the porch framing over thin adhesive-backed foam weatherstripping to seal out insects. Place the stapled side against the porch framing for a cleaner appearance.
Another slightly more expensive option is purchasing screen framing kits. These consist of special channels and splines which snap together to hold the screening taut. Check at your local home center store or contact Rite Screen, (717) 365-3400, www.ritescreen.com; or Screen Tight, (800) 768-7325, www.screentight.com if you cannot find them.
Install a hinged screen door and frame in the side of the porch closest to your back door. Since the size is not critical, again try to find a scrap one at a contractor. Build heavy framing around it because children often try to swing on the doors.
Send your questions to Here’s How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com.
To find out more about James Dulley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM