Enclosing the front porch is an excellent way to add living space to your home. On newer homes, a front porch enclosure is almost always built from scratch, whereas existing porch posts and columns can be used on older homes. Many screen porch kits are available that come with aluminum posts, prefabricated windows and screens, and instructions on how to assemble it, but your options are limited to preset standard styles. To customize a screen porch addition, a DIY approach is best.
Things You'll Need
- Wood screws
- Plywood sheathing
- Insulation (optional)
- Waterproofing membrane
- Aluminum or wood siding, or stone veneer
- Welded wire mesh (optional)
- Screen and 1-inch-by-2-inch wood, or screen framing kit
- Staple gun
- Pre-assembled door in wood frame
- Paint, paintbrush, roller, tray
- Wood glue
Steps to Screen In a Porch with an Existing Roof
Check with your local building department to determine if a building permit is required. Draw up plans for the enclosure, noting the distance between the existing posts and how it can best be tied into the existing architecture. The distance between the existing roof fascia and the top of the existing railing will become the size of your screens and windows. To save costs, nail additional two-by-four wood to the posts, railing and fascia to reduce the size of the opening to a standard size for prefabricated screens and windows.
Replace the existing balustrades under the railing with two-by-four studs spaced 16 inches on center (14 1/2 inches between the studs). Attach plywood sheathing to the two-by-four studs with wood screws on the exterior, then a waterproof membrane on top of the sheathing. Aluminum or wood siding can then be attached with wood screws, or stone veneer can be mortared to a welded wire mesh and scratch coat. The exterior cladding should be consistent with the architectural style of the house.
Install batt insulation between the two-by-four framing on the interior, if desired. Attach drywall with drywall screws or plywood with wood screws to the two-by-four studs.
Build a frame for the screens with 1-inch-by-2-inch wood mitered at the corners and attach screen to the frame with a staple gun. Attach a second frame of 1-inch-by-2-inch wood on top of the screen with wood glue. Another alternative is to purchase a screen framing kit that comes with all of the parts.
Attach the pre-hung door assembly to the existing posts with wood screws. Use shims to fill in gaps, or screw in additional two-by-four studs to close the gap.
Paint the interior and exterior wood framing. Install windows according to the manufacturer's instructions. Set the screens in place between the posts.
Tips & Warnings
- Screens that you assemble yourself with a wood frame should not be more than 4 feet in width or they’ll become loose. Use a screen framing kit for larger size screens.
- Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
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