Screened-In Porch: Tips for the Construction, Design and Placement

Did you ever want to just relax outside on a hot summer afternoon without being exposed to an army of mosquitoes trying to feast on your blood? Although screened-in porches were first built centuries ago, they are just now beginning to make a much-needed comeback. A screened porch allows you to enjoy the warmth and breeze, while still protecting you against insect bites, ultraviolet radiation, and rain. And thanks to a steady number of innovations within the past decade, a screened-in porch can be adapted in many ways to fit your various personal needs. By just installing some glass inserts, a screened-in porch can be magically transformed into a sun room. Or if you would rather avoid the sun, you can install shades to block off the glaring rays. In fact, if you just want to watch nature without even feeling its hot breadth on your skin, you can install an air conditioning unit in your porch.

Screened-in porches can also lift the monetary value of your home so long as the porch is well designed. Unfortunately, a good screened-in porch design is very difficult to locate. The reasoning behind this assertion is that most screened-porches I have seen come across like mutated decks haphazardly chucked onto the side or rear of a home. They lack solid design and style. If you intend to build your own screened-in porch, be prepared to do the necessary research. I will give you some general tips, but still do your own research. The more you understand how a screened-in porch works, the better your porch will come out looking.

First, you must choose materials that allow for architectural compatibility with your home, as well as durability. If you intend to paint your porch, ensure that the grade and species of wood you choose will hold the paint well. Cedar and redwood are especially good for paint adhesion. Modern science has also produced ‘pressure-treated lumber’ that are very resistant towards insects and rot.

As for the screens, they can be made from either metal or plastic. I recommend plastic because they are more durable, lightweight, and rust resistant. In addition, I advise using a pre-framed screen as they make it much easier to both clean and replace the screen. You can just remove the whole screen as just one single unit.

Second, you must choose the right location for your porch. Typically, a screened-in porch is connected to a living room or family room. They should nearly always offer a nice view of your backyard and garden. The key is to place it such that while offering a great view and allowing for continuity from your house to the porch, it does not block the view from other rooms. It is all about transparency.

Your third consideration must be the intended size of your screened-porch. One outstanding method to determine the floor plan is to pre-purchase furniture. First, setup your furniture in your back yard. Ensure that enough space has been placed amongst the furniture items so that people can move about freely without banging their knees on chairs and tables. If you intend to use your screened porch as a recreation area for your kids, then I suggest using only low tables and chairs. Then use a ball of thread to make an outline around the furniture. Measure the outline and you now have the dimensions to your screened-in porch.

Fourth, the exterior of your screened-in porch should match the design and fashion of your home. This means ensuring that the pitch of the roof, as well as exterior trim details, look the same. Although they need not be exact, they should at least be proportionate to one another. I once saw a yellow house with a white porch. I guess the owner of the home felt the contrast would be an interesting spectacle to behold. WRONG. It was very awkward, and ultimately resulted in his home losing monetary value.

Fifth, I recommend you consider using a vaulted ceiling on your screened-in porch. This serves several purposes. It helps hot air rise and expel itself more easily from the porch. This ensures a cooler, more comfortable experience. In addition, a vaulted roof offers a majestic feeling to your porch. It is as if you have your own little castle outside your house.

Sixth, your porch design should allow for room for floor lamps. The light will bounce off the ceiling, allowing it to illuminate the entire porch. Lighting is very important, especially if you intend to eat in your porch or engage in a fun game of poker. The best scenario is if you have ceiling lamps combined with floor lamps.

Seventh, do not forget to plan for electric outlets. Not placing well thought out outlets means you might end up having to use an extension cord. I very much advise against that, as they are quite dangerous in a porch. A child might trip over one. Or rain may fly in from the screen and wet the cord. Either way, stick with carefully placed outlets.

Eighth, consider decorating your screened-in porch with wall hangings and paintings. A nicely decorated screened-in porch will lure your friends and family into the room. It also offers a more inviting aroma, as well as a more comfortable experience.

Ninth, check your local zoning and building codes. Certain cities may have restrictions on the type of screened-in porch that you can build.

Last, but not least, ask yourself whether you really want a screened-in porch. It requires a lot of patience, time, and effort to complete. You will also need to maintain your porch. Having a screened-in porch will allow you a myriad of benefits that the average homeowner does not have. They key is to use careful design and style.

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