Do it Yourself: Building Terrace Screen Enclosures


Do-it-yourself terrace screen enclosures are very efficient and economical when it comes to constructing a structure to protect you against insects and disagreeable weather. You can enjoy the terrace for relaxing day and night, rain or shine. A popular method of construction is to build a roof structure and frame the screen walls with lightweight aluminum channels and screen panels. Speak to the local building department code inspector to learn what the local regulations are for building your enclosure.

Construction Methods

  • Most terraces are located off a wall of the residence, so you will basically be constructing a three-wall screen enclosure. Start the project by setting a post in at each corner at the front of the terrace. Use pressure-treated 4-inch-by-4-inch timber that is at least 8 feet long. If the terrace is more than 8 feet wide you may need to install an additional post because most building codes require a post every 8 feet.
    The depth of the posts depends on where you live. Check the building code to find out what the frost line is for the geographic location. Use 2-inch-by-4-inch boards to brace the posts and keep them straight until the concrete has set. Pour quick-set concrete in the holes.
    Mount a header on the wall of the residence under the edge of the roof. Use three 2 1/2-inch long 16d nails in each of the studs. You can also use one ½-inch by 2 1/2-inch long lag screw for each stud. Pre-drill pilot holes so that you don't split the studs.
    Allow the concrete to harden around the posts before you install the support beam for the roof rafters. Purchase a pressure-treated pre-fabricated beam or build a beam by fastening a piece of plywood between two 2-by-8 boards. Do not secure the beam to the posts because you may have to trim the top of the posts to make the finish height of the beam low enough for the roof to drain properly. The slope of the roof should be ¼ inch per linear foot.
    Once you determine the proper slope, fasten the beam in place and install the roof rafters, which are 2-by-8-inch boards. The top of the rafters must be flush with the top of the header. Rest the rafters on top of the beam. You can choose to extend the rafters 16 or 17 inches over the beam to create an overhang, which helps to guard against rain. Use 5/8 inch plywood or oriented strand board to sheath the roof. Apply roofing felt and shingles or roll roofing to cover the structure. Install gutters and downspouts.
    Now you can frame the perimeter of the terrace with the aluminum channels. Mount the channels to the posts, terrace floor, resident wall and the underside of the beam and rafters. Frame opening for the screen door. Follow the product specifications for separating the screen panels, securing them in the channels and installing the screen door.

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