The Return of Screened Porches

Once a standard facet of most homes, screened porches gave way to decks and patios in the 1950s and 1960s. The many conveniences provided by screened in porch area, however, have allowed them to make a much-heralded ‘comeback’ in recent years. By protecting you from insects and the elements, they open up an entirely new area of your home for additional living space. Unique screen porch ideas and accessories add value and a surprising element of charm to the outdoor area of any home. There are kits and systems that are perfect for the do-it-yourselfer or you can watch your various deck ideas come to life with the experience and expertise of a professional contractor. The latest advances in building materials and improved techniques make them look much more attractive than older versions while still providing all the functional benefits.

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This is a nice little outdoor room created by 'screening in' a porch area.

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Screened porch plans can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. The total cost of the installation can range anywhere from just a couple hundred dollars for a DIY project to several thousand for an elaborate job done by a professional.

Screened Porch Room

You can also save some money and time using a kit, which will be discussed shortly. The cost will vary depending upon the design’s complexity, the materials used, the size of the structure, any additional custom features and whether you decide to install it yourself or hire a contractor. If you have a porch that you just want to enclose, you can save a lot of money by doing it yourself.  This may or may not involve any building regulation or inspections, coding or permits, so you might need to consult with a professional contractor.

Screen Porch Kits

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Building one yourself, like this photo, may take you a week or more. You might be able to save some time building using a screen room kit.

Screen porch kits make for an easy DIY project. They come in a variety of standard sizes and popular colors. Each kit comes with nearly everything needed for the patio enclosure, including aluminum screen panels, lumber support posts and cross beam, and an aluminum frame. Assembling a kit involves first assembling the frame and attaching it to the designated area of the house, and then roof and wall installation. With the help of some friends, you can have most kits installed and ready for use in a single weekend.  Better make the party for next weekend though – you know how these things go!

Kits often include a vinyl roof. Vinyl is durable, resistant to most climate conditions, and easy to replace. There are also different types of screening specially designed to resist things like insects or pet abuse. Different window shapes and designs, knee walls, and high-quality ceilings further increase the attractiveness and security of the structure. A weather-resistant sealant tape is used for weather-proofing.

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Parts are pre-cut, so your part largely consists of simply fitting them together and securing them. A cordless drill or screw gun will greatly assist you with this project, along with basic essentials like a hammer (nail gun or stapler is better), ladder, level, measuring tape, pliers, saw and utility knife.  Many of these kits work much in the same way as the sunroom designs that are made to be built by the DIYer.  However, assembling screen porch systems often don’t require the same technical skills as building a more formal room or framing, hanging/installing glass windows does; as is required of a sunroom.

Screen Porch Designs

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Here is an example of a simple, yet modern looking screened porch with outdoor curtains and a ceiling fan.

The endless possibilities of screen porch designs allow for a host of creative spaces.  A beautiful multi-level deck with a screened-in area or enclosed porches with a wrap around deck are some examples of screen porch ideas that add a unique and functional use of those often seasonal outdoor spaces.

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More and more decking designs are including the use of screening and awnings to create more usable living space.  Add a lattice or brick enclosure for additional storage space underneath the structure. Install a variety of overhead accessories, like a skylight, ceiling fan, or recessed lighting.  Likewise, below you can install tiled floors, furniture, and numerous other accessories to create a relaxing space that is all your own and fits in seamlessly with your home decor.

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