Having a screen around a porch or deck area is a great way to protect yourself and your friends and family from bugs while enjoying the outdoors. It’s also a way to enjoy the summer breeze and sunshine without the glare of direct sunlight.
Screening A Porch with An Existing Roof
If the porch has a roof and posts, then the screening process is quite easy. Because the overall construction of the room is already in place, this project can be completed in as little as a day.
Step 1: Using a roll of screen (this can be purchased at a window supply store, or a large hardware/home supply store), lay out the amount that is needed to completely cover the area between the posts.
Step 2: If the posts are spaced too far apart, add false posts in between. These posts won’t bear the weight of the roof but they will acct as anchors for the screen. Add the posts by using joist brackets for the same width of the beam and new post. Anchor them to the base of the patio as well.
Step 3: Using a staple gun, uniformly attach the screen to the posts. Make sure to pull the screen taut as you work to prevent sagging. The screen roll can be very heavy and cumbersome to work with so ask a friend for help with this step.
Step 4: Once the screen is stapled in place, go back over the staples with thin strips of cap trim to hide the staples and provide a professional finish.
Deck Considerations for An Enclosed Screen
Many decks already have railings surrounding the perimeter for safety. Some, even include an attached roof for protection from the elements. Well-secured deck railings can act as jumping off point for the rest of the screening process. When using an existing railing as a foundation for your structure, make sure to thoroughly inspect the railing for any decay or damage before continuing to the screening process. If repairs are needed, make them the first step in the screening process.
When it comes to screening in an existing deck, first, a roof and posts will need to be installed. Second, and depending on preference and placement, only a portion of the deck needs to be screened in.
If the deck extends further than 12 feet from the anchoring structure (i.e. house, building, etc.), there will need to be additional weight bearing posts attached. This process can require extra permits and code approval from the local municipality. Be sure to get your extended deck plan approved before you start the project.
Prepping the Deck for Screening
Step 1: Use joist brackets by attaching them to the eave or side beam of the anchoring structure. They should be spaced every 24 inches. For spaces less than 20 feet, space the joists 18 inches apart. The beams should be at least 2 x 6 inches thick in order to hold the weight of the plywood on top, so make sure to get brackets that will accommodate the size of the wood.
Step 2: Place flat faced brackets on the handrails, preferably on top of posts that are in place for support. This will help to ensure that the handrail is not compromised during the construction or while in use.
Deck Construction and Screening Process
Step 3: Place the beams in the proper slots of the brackets, and nail them securely to the anchoring structure. It is best to begin with the side beams. Join them at the top using another 2 x 6 beam that stretches across the length of the area that is being screened in, on top of the side beams that were just installed. The cross beams coming from the house will then attach into this main beam.
Step 4: Cover the top with plywood and a roof to protect against water damage.
Screening the Deck
Step 5: Once the construction has been completed for the deck, the screening process is quite easy. Complete steps three and four of the porch screening option to complete your project.
Tip: If your plan requires a new load-bearing beam or anchoring structure, before you begin, make sure your project is in line with local building codes. Get an official approval before proceeding with your project.
Other Screened-In Outdoor Area Options
This type of project can be as basic or as elaborate as you want it to be. There are kits available that can make this project very easy, but most do require that certain construction elements exist in order to install the screen properly. For installing the roof of a screened in area, you can choose oak or a pine that you can stain later, giving the area the feel of an open living space.
Most importantly, and not to overemphasize the point, it is imperative to check local building codes to make sure that your home is safe and within proper code regulations.