Do-it-yourself wood screen-house kits are becoming increasingly more popular as more homeowners are looking to create structures that enable them to enjoy the breeze and warmth during the warmer months and not be overwhelmed by bothersome insects. The structures are economical, and people with the necessary do-it-yourself technical proficiency can build them with little difficulty.
Get as much information as you can about the various screen-house kits that are available. Most kits are made of lightweight aluminum channels that attach to wood framing, and the screen panels are secured to the channels. Once you decide on a style, consult a building-code inspector about the local regulations for screen houses. Find out if there are any regulations regarding the type of fasteners that are acceptable, especially if you live in a hurricane zone. Some jurisdictions might require you to submit plans for the screen house and acquire a building permit before you can start the project.
Install the screen house on a deck or concrete floor. Usually, you will need to construct the roof and framing for your screen house unless you are converting an existing patio or porch that already has a roof. Install one pressure-treated post in each of the corners at the front of the floor or deck. If the width is wider than 8 feet, local building code might require you to install posts every 8 feet. Set the posts in concrete footings that are below the frost line. Check with the building inspector to find out what the frost line is for the area. If you also are pouring a concrete floor, place the posts at the same time.
Once the concrete has set, install a 2-inch by 8-inch header or ledger board under the eaves of the roof. The board must be fastened to the studs with lag screws with a 1/2-inch diameter and 2 1/2 inches long. Drill the holes in advance to prevent splitting the studs. Install a prefabricated crossbeam on top of the posts. Run a 2-inch by 8-inch rafter to complete the roof structure.
Slope the roof away from the house at 1/4-inch per foot to allow for adequate drainage. The finish height of the posts and beam will be lower than the header. Install the rafter, which must be attached to the header, 16 or 24 inches on center. Secure the end of the rafters on top of the crossbeam. Use 2-inch by 8-inch boards. Fasten plywood or oriented strand board to the rafters, and apply a roofing material, such as shingles.
Now, frame the borders of the wood beam, posts and house wall with the screen-house C-channels and the corner channels as detailed in the instructions in the screen-house kit. You also will need to mount channels around the perimeter of the floor. Also, frame out the opening for the screen door you will be installing. Follow the instructions for installing the screen panels, including the channels that separate the screen panels.
Caulk and seal the screen house to keep bugs out of the structure. If you have a deck, you might need to cover it with exterior carpet to keep bugs from intruding.