Building a screened-in porch is a good move, both for you and for your investment in your home. A porch can ad tremendous value to your property if built right, and listed below are ten helpful tips to keep in mind when building. Have fun, stay safe and remember, the porch is for your enjoyment, so make it one you’ll like.
1 Price Shop
Doing it yourself does not necessarily mean that it will be cheaper. It never hurts to shop around and find out how much others will charge, how long it will take them and what you’ll get in terms of extras. Also, looking at what others offer might give you some ideas.
2 Look at your property
Are you on a hill? Does your property have dirt, mud or sand around it? What are the terrain obstacles for where you want to place your porch?
Is this a screened in front or back porch? Will this require an addition to the roof, or possibly a new door put into an existing wall? Are there extra cables or connectors that you should consider when ripping out a wall? Look and make sure the location works for you.
4 The base
Some screened-in porches are built on cement bases, which work especially nice if you have a concrete base to your home. Others are a bit more daring and go for wood floors and base, but remember that wood needs to be treated, and that it’s not as strong as concrete. Also, wood bases are usually hollow, which means you could soon have some unwelcome animals living under your porch.
5 Screens and windows
Don’t skimp here. Remember that you live in this house, and that means year round exposure on your porch. Don’t just staple up some mosquito netting and call it a day, actually take the time to put in windows. Screens are nice, but in the winter you’ll be thankful for the added protection of glass. Your heater will love you, too.
6 Traffic flow
It’s one thing to have a nice patio, but usually a porch has an entrance to the house, so consider how that entrance will be used. Is this some place that will have a lot of traffic? Should you consider some heavy-duty carpet along that route, or maybe an extra mat? Also, what about extra staining from traffic? Outdoor carpet and floor mats typically help here. I would avoid clear plastic mats, as water can get trapped under them and ruin your carpet.
The patio is an entryway to your home, so make sure it’s a secure one. Don’t be afraid to install double doors, or to make sure the door from the patio to the house is secure. Also, make sure the windows you install are ones that can lock.
8 More Power
Is this patio for sitting or for hot tubs? Make sure you have enough room for the addition of a tub if that’s your goal, and if you have a tub picked out already, build your porch with some added room to get around the outside. Also, make sure you have the proper electrical outlets in place and good ventilation for those nasty chlorine fumes.
My screened-in patio in my old house had built-in lights, and it was a very pleasant addition in the evenings. Since you’re screened in, you don’t have to worry about bugs, and it’s pleasant to read with the outside air on your face. Consider any lighting obstacles you may encounter, as well as any plugs you want to install. Also, is the switch for the light inside or out? The more things you keep inside, the less chance you have of weather damage.
Many companies will try to sell you DVD’s, kits or do-it-yourself quickie patio sets. Don’t be suckered in! Take the time, talk with experienced builders and get the right information about what you need AND what you want. Compare and shop around, and don’t be taken by a quick fix. An addition to your home, if done correctly, will probably run you anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. Anyone who tells you it can be done for under $500 is going to take advantage of you, so be wary.
For further ideas and tips on patio construction, try the following sites: