While a screen porch is a nice addition to any home, a glass patio enclosure can add months of enjoyment to the area. The glass helps to protect from the elements while offering an unobstructed view of the surroundings that's far clearer than that available through a porch screen. Making the changeover from screen to glass is also a simple process, and, if you do it yourself, it can be completed cheaply and quickly with only a moderate amount of construction required and materials from any home improvement store.
Remove the screens to prepare for the glass panel installation. To remove the screens you'll have to first remove the batten boards covering the screen seams at the framed wall studs. Use a prybar or claw hammer to remove the boards from your porch and set them aside for later. Removing the boards should reveal the screen attachments. You should completely remove all screening material, making sure to remove any staples holding the screens in place as well. With the screens and batten boards removed you can begin installing the glass.
Install a series of single-pane pre-hung windows in the areas where the screens once stood. You'll want to provide some level of cheap waterproofing, so wrap the frame studs with a self-adhering waterproof membrane before installing the windows. You can choose from a variety of window types, but for best effect you'll want a single sheet of glass extending from the top to the bottom of the porch opening. Get a window that's easy to install, complete with window fins that go on both sides of the opening. You'll only need to extend the fins, place the window in the space between the studs and nail it into place using 1½-inch roofing nails.
Once the window is in place apply any manufacturer-supplied flashing to the window frame with caulk in the top edges of the flashing to keep water from seeping beneath the thin metal strips. The flashing will protect the frame of your house from water, providing another level of protection in addition to the moisture wrapping. With all the windows in place, replace the batten boards covering the frame studs, completing the cheap installation in costs, but not cheap appearing transformation of your screen porch into an enclosed glass patio.
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