Screened-in porches can be a delight in the summer time, allowing for enjoyment and relaxation of being in the warm summer weather without the worry of bugs and pests typically found outside. As the weather cools off in fall, screened-in porches should be winterized to prevent damage to flooring and furniture.
Winter insulation kits can be found at any home improvement store or online. These kits often come in predetermined sizes, which often do not fit the large windows of screened-in porches. If using these kits, be sure to measure the window openings prior to purchasing them to insure a proper fit. Transparent plastic drop sheeting is thicker and provides better insulation but will not be as transparent as the type of plastic found in kits.
Things You'll Need
- Heavy plastic window insulation kits, or transparent plastic sheeting
- Removable window insulation strips (if glass windows exist)
- Finish nails
- Door insulation strips
- Measuring tape
- Razor knife or scissors
- Insulation caulking
- Caulking gun
Do a thorough cleaning of the area. Sweep and mop the floors, if possible. If the porch has windows, clean them completely of debris. Cleaning prior to winterization will prevent the need to take down window plastics and insulation for cleaning. Remove any window coverings such as curtains or blinds and wash those as well.
If glass windows exist, measure the interior width and length of each window to be insulated on the porch. Cut insulation strips to fit and adhere them to the inner edge of the windows, ensuring a snug fit against any places where cold air may enter the porch.
Measure for plastic covering over the windows by measuring the window/screen to the outside of the trim area. Cut the plastic to size using scissors or a razor knife.
Starting at the top, tack the plastic sheet into the top of the trim area about every 3 to 4 inches and at the corners using finish nails. Do not hammer the finish nails completely into the trim because they will need to be removed in the spring. Be sure to pull the plastic taut at the bottom but not to the point of tearing the plastics. Use a hair dryer on low on the plastic to ensure a tighter fit and to make the plastic more transparent.
Insulate any doors on the porch. If the door is not to be used during winter months, plastic sheeting can be placed over it using the same method as windows. If it will remain in use, felt door insulation strips are available as well. Measure the door jamb and place insulation strips around any areas where cold air may enter the porch.
It is important to insulate any areas along the bottoms and tops of the porch that may leak cold air and moisture. Specifically look for gaps around the base of the walls and the floor of the porch. Scrape away any debris or old caulking, and fill these areas with insulating caulk.
Replace any window coverings or blinds.
Tips & Warnings
- For large windows, such as floor-to-ceiling windows, it may be necessary to enclose the area with plywood.
- Floors retain more heat if they are covered. Consider laying indoor/outdoor carpet on the floor of the porch.
- Once the windows have been covered with plastic, the room will trap more vapor inside. Use caution when using chemical cleaning solutions inside.