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How To Build Screen In Porch

Screened In Patio Overview

Build a Screen Porch on a Deck without Attaching to the House

Our 14 x 16-ft. enclosure is a big project, but its the best of any do it yourself screen porch kits around! Although its fairly simple structurally, it requires careful work with a lot of large-dimension lumber. The trickiest part is getting all these components square and plumb, which probably calls for more than a beginners skills. And youll spend a lot of time buildingtwo or three weeks going at it full time, or much of a summer in your spare time.

We built our screen room roof high enough to preserve a pleasant view through the sliding doors. In summer, the awning top shades the bright sun, yet allows plenty of light to pass into the house. And heres the biggest selling point for this project: You can easily remove the awning in winter and let the sunshine in. The structure is designed to look good even without the awning top. Of course, you could leave the awning on all year in many parts of the country, but it wont support a heavy snow load.

The awning is attached as shown in Fig. E and Photos 15 and 16. A slide-in channel at the peak and turnbuckle clips along the edges make for a quick, no-hassle on-and-off in spring and fall. The approximately 16 x 16-ft., one-piece, vinylized canvas weighs only about 10 lbs., so its easy to handle.

We had our screen room awning top made by a professional awning maker, who also handled the initial installation. As an alternative, you can also consider metal or plastic roof panels, which are sold at most home centers.

Ready To Screen In Your Porch

You now have a really good view of screen porch installation from 30,000 feet. There are hundreds of other tiny details involved in creating a screened-in porch. You may be able to tackle this large job on your own, but if you feel intimidated by the process, by all means consider getting quotes from professionals. Youll get the best quotes if you take the time to create great plans and provide photos of exactly what you want your porch to look like. Good luck and enjoy your new screened-in porch for decades!

Other Things To Consider Before Building A Screened

The success of all home improvement projects is firmly rooted on excellent plans and specifications. Your plans become your north star – they guide you from the beginning until such time as you move furniture into your new stunning insect-free retreat. You should give serious consideration to extending electricity into the porch. Youll never regret having outlets for floor or table lamps and to power computers or tablets. Youll appreciate having a paddle fan above you in case its a stuffy day or night. Be sure to think about how the sun sets and rises each day and how the low-angle rays might pass through the screening. Think long and hard about the periodic maintenance of all the products that are part of your new deluxe refuge.

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Types Of Screen Material

Choosing the screen mesh material is another consideration when figuring out how to screen in a porch.

Fiberglass screen is the common choice for porches because it is less expensive than aluminum screen. It is easier to install because of its flexibility and doesnt crease like metal screen mesh is prone to do.

Metal screen mesh, such as aluminum screen, is more durable than its fiberglass counterpart, which stretches and tears more easily than other types of screen fabric.

If potential damage from pets paws is a concern, screening in a porch at least the bottom portion with pet-resistant screen is an option. This type of pet screen is made of plastic mesh that is puncture and tear resistant. It can be a good choice if pets or children will be on the porch but its thickness makes it more visible than fiberglass or metal screen mesh.

How To Screen In An Existing Porch

How to Build a Screen Porch: Screen Porch Construction (DIY)

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Enclosing an existing covered porch with screen simply requires you to build a stud wall or walls along the open sides to create surfaces for attaching the screen. The walls are constructed from pressure-treated 2x4s, which we primed and painted ahead of time.

Since most patios slope for drainage, the height of the studs may not be consistent, so measure each one separately. Stack the two horizontal 2x4s that will form for the top and bottom plates of the wall on the patio. Measure from the top of them to the beam and determine the height of each stud, at each location.

Because of its length, we build the long wall in two pieces with the seams in the top and bottom plates offset from each other. We build the walls on the ground so we can nail the studs to the plates from the top and bottom, so fewer nails are visible. Once we lift each wall into position it must adjusted so that the offset from the outside of the beam is consistent and the studs are all perfectly plumb, or vertical.

Now the wall can be secured to the beam and adjoining walls with nails. To secure the base plate to the concrete slab we use a powder-actuated nail gun. The weight of the beams above will be spread out over the length of this long wall so with it in place, we can lower the jack and remove the temporary post.

Once the screen door is installed in the door opening the room is complete. Watch the video for detailed instructions.

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Create Holes For The Bolts

Have an assistant push one of the screen panels tightly up against the floor and ceiling nailing boards. Using the six-foot step ladder, drill two holes at the top of the panel, all the way through the panel and the nailing board behind it. Back on the ground, do this again for the floor section. Repeat for the second panel.

Building Permits And Land Surveying

In most areas, a screened-in porch is considered an addition, and that will require a building permit. These permits can cost anywhere between $447 to $2,313 the national average is $1,380. Small communities may only charge $150, while some cities can charge as much as $7,500.

If your municipality doesnt include land surveying when you apply for a permit, another $200 to $1,000 .

Since the range is so broad, we recommend looking into the cost of applying for a building permit before starting anything.

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Stainless Steel Mesh Screen Cost

Stainless steel has always been used for its incredible strength, and it will not rust or tarnish, or be physically damaged from impact. This is an ideal porch screen material in coastal areas since salt has no effect on its appearance or structural integrity. Also, it’s price tag is attractive, coming in at $1/sqft on average. It will require very little maintenance once installed, but given that it is stainless, its shiny surface will reflect a little sunlight on each strand of the mesh, and as a result, it will bounce in more light and heat than other options like brass and copper, once they are discolored.

Choose A Porch Screening System

How To Screen A Porch | This Old House

Gone are the days of constructing a screened porch with wood frame and staples. There are a variety of do-it-yourself patio enclosure kits and other screen solutions for small or large projects of a variety of budgets. You will also want to choose materials based on how many seasons you would like to use your porch.

Shop all of our porch screening systems.

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Building A Deck With A Screened In Porch

If you dont already have an existing deck, the construction for a new screened in porch is much more expensive. The average cost to build a deck starts at $25 per sq. foot with most homeowners spending around $4,380 to $10,080 total.

Of course many factors go into your final cost, but an average construction estimate to build a brand new screened in porch will cost around $30-60/sqft. This is for a basic setup, if you plan to add additional screened in porch features such as lighting, fans, furniture, and fireplaces, the prices increase accordingly.

How To Choose Screen Porch Material

To help you build an affordable screened porch, this project provides you with several material options to choose from.

From aluminum to fiberglass to premium metals, you can learn the pros and cons of each of these screened porch materials through this project.

So, take note of the information regarding the standard insect screening here.

If you reside in an area that is prone to small bug problems, the project recommends you use a 20×20 mesh screen.

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Install A Nailing Board On The Floor

Use the cordless drill to drill four pilot holes through one of the 4-foot two-by-twos. Switch to a driver bit and drive the 2 1/2-inch screws through the two-by-two and into the face of the floor.

For a finished look, step back the board 1 1/2 inches from the leading edge of the flooring. This will allow the bottom edge of the screen panel to be flush with the outer edge of the flooring.

Plumb And Brace The Walls

How to Build a Screen Porch: Screen Porch Construction

Stand the walls and screw the wall corners together. The key to standing the walls is to check and double-check along the way to make sure they’re straight along their top and bottom plates, perfectly plumb and square, and securely braced. Start by positioning the walls with their outside edge flush to the deck and screwing them down. Next, screw the corners together, making sure the top plates of adjacent walls are even with each other. Use a long level to plumb the walls while you attach diagonal braces to hold them in position. Leave the braces in place until after the roofing is complete.

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Diy Screening In A Porch

Prior to purchasing your materials, measure your vertical and horizontal support rails. Most are constructed with either 2 x 4 or 4 x 4 boards. Base strips are available in two corresponding widths: 1½ inches and 3½ inches.

Also, be sure to measure the distance between the vertical supports. Screens are available in widths ranging from 36 to 72 inches. Plan to allow for an excess of at least 6 inches on all four sides, which will be trimmed after the screen is secured into the base strips. For example, if your average width is 60 inches, you will need to purchase 72-inch-wide screen material.

Attach The Soffit Flap

Attach the soffit flap with grommets and turnbuckle clips mounted on the rafter bottoms . To ensure an exact fit, our awning maker took his measurements after the screen room enclosure was built. It then took two weeks for the awning to be made and installed. The awning has an 8-in. apron dropping down vertically along the front edge, with this bottom edge line continuing along the sides, slightly above the tops of the doors. It’s the perfect addition to our outdoor enclosed patio.

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How To Build A Screened Porch On A Deck

Screened-in patio framing is your next step. You’ll need to add 2x4s along the walls to form studs. Your porch may already have some, so consider whether you need more. They should be secured on the top and bottom using 2×4 plates. Use a level to ensure that they are perfectly plumb.

If you live in a climate that regularly experiences high winds, you may want to add additional end studs perpendicular to the others about 10 inches from the top floor and ceiling. Even if you’re looking for screen porch ideas on a budget, proper bracing will help your construction last longer, saving you money in the end and avoiding common problems with screened-in porches.

As you work, you may also want to add temporary diagonal bracing to the studs from one corner to another until the roof is complete. This bracing can ensure the frame remains effectively in place during your process.

Choose Your Porch Screen Materials

Build Your Own Screened in Porch | A to Z

Your budget and skill level will determine whether you use a screened-in porch kit, or assemble the porch screen panels yourself.

If youre a beginner, we recommend using a screen kit. It includes everything you need for a DIY screened-in porch and is much less labor intensive. It also produces cleaner results than the traditional method of stapling a screen to wood frames.

Design Builders recommends the ScreenEze system, which they use for all of their installs. Compared to other kits, ScreenEze doesnt require the use of spline rubber cord that securely holds window screen in a frame. Using a kit that doesnt need spline will save you a step.

Types of Porch Screen Fabric

Depending on the kit you use, you may have a few screen types to choose from:


The less expensive screen types are easier to work with and help keep your overall cost down. The drawback is they are easier to damage then more expensive screens. They can run anywhere from $0.25 to $0.70 per square foot on average.

  • Fiberglass screen fabric is the most commonly used material. Its soft and easy to work with and wont rust or corrode.
  • High-visibility screen fabric is a very fine weave of fiberglass. Its easier to see through, but is more fragile.
  • Aluminum screen fabric is sturdier than fiberglass, but can be more difficult to install. If uncoated, it is prone to rust and corrosion.
More Expensive

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Brass Mesh Screen Cost

Being made up of around 70% copper and 30% zinc, brass is referred to as an alloy, and because of the copper content, it acts somewhat similarly to copper in respect to how it will tarnish over time from weathering, called safe corrosion. The darker black and brown appearance is from a normal process called oxidation when it is out in the open. This alloy is better than copper alone because of its ability to resist abrasion and the resulting strength from the combination of the two metals.

However, its not a wise choice for homes near saltwater areas because the salt will cause active corrosion with brass, leaving a green powder or bright, white and green spots often referred to as bronze disease. While it is a stiffer metal than copper, the mesh can still be bent by hand, but unlike copper, it has some spring back whereas copper does not. On average brass mesh screening will cost you $6/sqft.

Choose To Diy Your Project

Considering that labor cost starts from $2 per sq ft, building a screened-in porch yourself will lower your budget for sure.

Thus, simply note that you should only attempt to DIY your screened porch project if you are certain with your woodworking and constructing skills.

If you cannot install the screen properly or there are creaky floors, the project will go waste. Therefore, you may even need to pay more to get a professional to fix the issue later.

Hence, opt for DIY if you can do it. If not, have someone build the screened porch.

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Cut Away The Overhang And Siding On House

If you have siding and a roof overhang on your house, youll need to cut those away in order to make room for the roof associated with your screened-in porch. The first part of this process is deciding and outlining exactly where you would like to attach the porch.

Next, you can cut away at the siding and overhang, setting the saw blade just deep enough to cut through. The goal is to cut through enough so that the innermost patio roof truss can fit against the wall, but not too much where youll have exposed siding. After youre finished, you can remove the siding and waterproof the slot with building paper.

How To Design A Screen Porch

Wonderful Screened In Porch And Deck Idea 11

When determining the size of your screen room, decide whether you want only a sitting area or a place to dine, too. Keep in mind that a long, narrow porch can provide adjacent spaces for seating and dining and lets more light into the house than a square room.

If possible, build a room that is open on three sides. This increases the feeling of sitting outdoors and helps air circulate. A peaked roof will allow you to install high windows, which also help with air circulation, and provides space for a ceiling fan. A gas or wood-burning fireplace will ensure the room is comfortable on chilly spring and fall evenings.

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Tips For Screening In A Porch

  • For the sake of appearance, if you would like to use wood that is not pressure-treated, you should treat the outside of the wood with a weatherproof coating.
  • It is vital to keep the screen material tight on the sides of the panels, as bumps may create holes through which insects can enter the screened-in porch.
  • Do not assume that the floor-to-ceiling height is the same throughout the entire porch. Instead, measure separately for each screen panel.

Install Cleat On Floor

Attach a 4-foot-long two-by-two to the floor of the porch. If the porch has no railings, push the cleat to the very edge of the porch flooring. Drill pilot holes first, then attach the cleat with the 2 1/2-inch screws. Attach to the floorboards. There is no need to drive the screws into the joists.

If the porch has railings, step the cleat back at least 4 inches from the railing.

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