If you love the outdoors but are easily bugged by insects, consider adding a screened porch, which provides the benefits of being outside with protection against swarms and sun. A good porch, if properly sealed against the weather and built in accordance with zoning laws, will be a useful addition to your home, providing you and your family with years of enjoyment while increasing the value of your property.
Before building your screen porch, check with your zoning officer or neighborhood association representative. Some communities have strict regulations about modifying any existing residential structure, and some municipalities require any improvement to a primary residence to get the approval of a building inspector.
Screens come in different sizes and materials. Metal screens are more resistant to puncture but will rust, whereas nylon screens will not. Some specialty screens have very tight weaves--this can be significant in areas with very small insects like no-see-ums. If your porch will have a lot of traffic, consider buying repair kits when you buy the screen material, to make sure you will have a good match if you need to patch a tear.
The most durable porches will have concrete floors. The concrete can be covered with indoor/outdoor carpeting or rugs to make a more indoorsy feeling. Porches built like decks can use planked flooring, but beware that bugs can crawl between the planks, largely defeating the purpose of screens. Use standard 2-by-4 framing studs for the walls of your porch, with high-quality plywood on both sides. Match the house siding on the exterior of the porch, and consider simple but elegant paneling for the interior walls.
To keep your porch bug-free, make sure all possible areas of insect entry are secure, including the seal around any exterior doors or windows. If a pre-built screen does not quite fit the frame for your windows or door, use color-matching weather seal tape; the tape will keep the bugs out but will not prevent (as caulk would) removal of the screen if you put glass panes in place during the winter.
Wind and Drainage
A screened porch makes a great vantage point for watching a summer thunderstorm, but make sure the porch has proper drainage. Water that cascades off the roof and onto the screen material will eventually weaken the screen and could leak into the porch. A screened porch that has inadequate protection from the wind is at greater risk of damage in high-wind areas, so consider installing some sort of windbreak or shutters to protect your screens.
A screened porch can still be useful in cooler climates, even in winter. Make sure the porch has access to a properly weatherized electrical outlet so a summer fan or a winter radiant heater can help moderate mother nature's thermostat.
How to Keep Rain Out of a Screened Porch
Screened-in porches provide relaxing outdoor shade and protection from insects. But any porch owner knows that most screens are too flimsy to...
Do it Yourself Porch Plans
A well-planned porch area can extend a home's living and entertaining area. Most families like to use a porch to sit, dine...
How to Build a Deck Porch
Adding a deck porch to your home can be a rewarding but difficult task. Make sure that you have all the necessary...
DIY Porch on a Cape Cod House
A porch addition on your Cape Cod-style house can be a wonderful investment. Whether screened or fully open, it is a great...
How to Build a Cheap Screened Porch
The least expensive way to construct a screened-in porch is to start with an existing foundation such as a deck or patio....
How to Screen in My Porch
Sitting out on your deck is an enjoyable way to relax after a long day, but the insects drive you indoors. Screening...
Do It Yourself Screened in Deck Plans
A screened-in deck or porch can be a beautiful and practical addition to any home. Not only can it make a house...
Do it Yourself Porch Enclosures
In some regions, having an enclosed porch is significantly more beneficial than an open porch. Fortunately, porch enclosures are relatively easy to...
DIY Porch Kits
The great thing about DIY porch kits is that the kits contain just about everything you need to build the enclosure in...