A screened porch provides an outdoor space that protects you from rain and sun while still allowing fresh air to circulate. However, if you live in a region where screened porches are seasonal, you'll need to find ways to temporarily enclose your porch during the winter. Enclosing a porch will also protect it from damage in the event of a severe storm.
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One of the easiest ways to temporarily enclose a screened porch is to use conventional window shutters. Your porch will need exterior walls that are wide enough, and sturdy enough, to accommodate shutters. However, once they're installed, you'll be able to close the shutters to cover the screen windows quickly, allowing you to customize air flow and block out rain while leaving sheltered screen windows open. Shutters can also provide a decorative element to your porch.
If you live in a region where season storms are common, you may need a way to quickly enclose your porch to keep out high winds and rain. Boarding up a screened porch with plywood will protect the porch interior and help prevent wind from damaging the rest of your home's structure. There are several ways to board screened porches with plywood. Installing window clips ahead of time is one of the best methods, since the clips will be in place, ready to accept precut plywood coverings when they're needed.
Canvas tarps present another solution for enclosing a screened porch. Tarps can be rolled up inside a sun awning or stored separately. They can attach to screen windows with zippers or using metal grommets that attach to small hooks around the perimeter of each screen. If your porch walls don't have room for shutters and you don't need the extra protection of plywood, canvas can keep out rain and provide privacy for your porch on a temporary basis.
Glass windows on a screened porch serve the same function as they do on other windows in a home, allowing in light but insulating the interior. Glass isn't strong enough to provide adequate storm protection, but sliding or interchangeable glass windows will allow you to use your porch more during the spring and autumn months when temperatures are mild. A combination of screens, glass windows and shutters can make your screened porch a convertible, year-round living space.