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 when on your previously uncovered deck.
The process to screen in an outdoor area like this can have different design elements to accommodate. The first is a porch that has posts and a roof, making the screening process a bit more simple. Additionally, a deck typically has only handrails, creating more construction for screening the area in.
Screening a porch with an existing roof
If the porch has a roof and posts, then the screening process is quite easy.
- 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.
- If the posts are spaced too far apart, then add false posts in between. These will not be weight bearing, but merely anchors to hold the screen.
- The posts can be added by using joist brackets for the same width of the beam and new post. They will need to be anchored to the base of the patio as well.
- Using a staple gun, uniformly attach the screen to the posts. The screen will need to be taut or the material will not hold up very well.
- Go back over the staples with thin strips of cap trim that act as a veneer so that the finished product is pleasing to the eye.
The porches with a roof make the project much easier because most of the construction is already in place. With the exception of a few details, this project could easily be completed in a day. Keep in mind that rolls of screen are very heavy, so having a friend to help is strongly recommended.
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Deck considerations for an enclosed screen
Many deck areas are characterized by the presence of deck railings alone, often without roofs of their own. This means two things. First, that 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
Use joist brackets by attaching them to the eave or side beam of the anchoring structure. They should be spaced to be every 24 inches. If the area is not very big (less than 20 feet), consider spacing them 18 inches apart.
The beams will need to 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 this size of wood. 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
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 are set to be screened in, on top of the side beams that you have just installed. The cross beams coming from the house will then attach into this main beam. Cover the top with a plywood finish. In order to prevent water damage, it is recommended that a roof be installed as well.
Once the construction has been completed for the deck, the screening process is quite easy. Complete steps four and five of the porch option to complete this project. Again, 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. 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.
Now, bask in the breezy outdoors; you deserve it.