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How Do I Install a Screen for My Deck, Porch, or Patio?

Monday, March 11, 2024

You can relax on your screened-in porch, read a book, or chat with your family while keeping pesky bugs on the other side of your beautiful porch. You can make your own screened-in porch so that cool breezes can blow in and the sun doesn’t shine directly on you. If the outdoor deck or patio has the right foundation, you can get the same benefit by installing a screen.

Why Porch Screens Are a Good Idea?

A three-season screened porch can provide you with a dry, bug-free outdoor living space so you can enjoy the outdoors rain or shine. If you’ve ever gotten swollen and itchy mosquito bites, or painful and swollen blackfly or horsefly bites. Then a screened-in porch is the best way to avoid that pain. There are many benefits to installing screens on your porch, including making your home more valuable and giving you a place to comfortably enjoy life outside your home.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Porch Screen?

The price of a screened porch will change over time. The price depends on the type of porch you want, the materials you choose for your screened-in porch, whether or not you need power, how difficult it is to connect the porch to your house, and other factors. When finding out the price of a screened-in porch, think about everything you need to realize your project.

First, check if it is allowed in your area. Then, you need to find out what kind of plans your local building department will need to obtain a building permit. The drawings you make may be enough to get you a permit, but they may not answer all your questions when you get the tools out.

Other things to consider

Good plans and specifications are the foundation of any successful home improvement project. Your plan is your guiding light from the beginning until you move your belongings into your beautiful, bug-free new home. Adding power to your porch is something you should consider. Equip your computer, floor lamp, or desk lamp with plugs and you will never regret it.

If it gets hot at night or during the day, a fan above your head will come in handy. Think about how the sun goes down and up every day and how the low-angle light gets through the screen. You should really think about how you keep everything in your new luxury haven in good condition.


Different Kinds of Screen Fabrics

You will soon realize that you will need to make significant choices about the screens for your porch. There are a variety of screen materials that can be used for screened porches. Here is a short list of the different types of screen fabrics:

  • Aluminum
  • Fiberglass
  • High-Visibility
  • Pet-resistant
  • Solar

Aluminum Screen Fabric

Aluminum screen fabric is an old fabric. Not only will it not rust, but the sun will not harm it. It won’t sag or bend no matter how hot it gets. However, it will still dent if you press it hard. This screen material is not easy to install on your own. If you live near salt water, the thin threads will begin to discolor over time.

Fiberglass Screen Fabric

Many people prefer fiberglass screen fabric for a number of reasons. You will find that you can get a variety of colors for a low price. Fiberglass won’t bend or break, but it is nowhere near as strong as aluminum. Fiberglass can be easily cut or torn, and the UV rays from the sun can damage it over time.


Screen Fabrics for Visibility

You may not like the fact that some screen fabrics block your view. That’s why high-visibility screen fabrics were created. Nonetheless, many of the benefits of fiberglass screen fabrics can still be seen through some of them. It would be very helpful if you could get samples of both regular fiberglass screen cloth and high visibility screen cloth and place them five feet away. You will notice the change right away.

Pet Resistant Screen Fabric

In the past, some fiberglass screens have been broken by dogs and cats. Screen manufacturers have invented a material that prevents pets from making holes in your new porch while chasing mice, birds or chipmunks around the yard. You can see samples of this durable material at your neighborhood screened porch seller.

Sunscreen Fabrics

If you live in a sunny area where the sun’s infrared rays are strong, you can use screen fabrics that reflect or absorb heat. If you want to sunbathe on your new porch in the middle of the day and the sun is shining directly on the screens, then this is a material you should consider.



You should think about the style of your screened-in porch. Factors that influence style include the form of the porch, the height and type of ceiling, the amount of roof overhang used for shading, and the size of the screens that can be used.

The size of the porch is probably the most important part of the plan. It’s a good idea to purchase the furniture you want for your screened-in porch before you start making plans. Move this furniture around your driveway or lawn to see how it will fit on the finished porch. Make sure there is enough room to walk around the furniture. Use string or longboards to draw outlines around the furniture to look like real screen panels. This activity will help you get an idea of how big the real building is. Then you can start thinking about how it will look and how it will harmonize with the rest of your home.

Don’t assume that a square or rectangular porch is the only shape. If you do some research online, you will find that you can build octagonal, hexagonal, rectangular with a 45-degree recess, and other shapes of porches. You should spend a few hours online looking at pictures of other screened porches and checking out albums of porches they have built.

Pay close attention to the type of flooring you choose for your porch. Keep in mind that screened porches are always wet. When it rains heavily, water can get into the porch. When the porch is wet, the flooring must be non-slip and waterproof. The materials used to build your new screened-in porch must not rot because water can seep in through any gaps or seams. All of this becomes very important when deciding on the overall design.


How to Install a Porch Screen

To put screens on your porch, you simply buy a large roll of screens and nail them to the posts of your porch. This will keep the bugs out, but you probably won’t get a beautiful look.

Building a new screened-in porch takes a lot of work. The porch may sit on top of a sturdy enough deck. It may also be necessary to pour a new concrete slab or build a raised platform that will serve as the floor of the porch next to the house.

For both cases, you will need to put walls and a roof on the new building. It takes a lot of skill, time, and a variety of tools to do these things in order to build a new space instead of patching up an old open porch.

Step 1: Build the Floor

The floor of a new screened-in porch will probably be made of concrete. For concrete to work, the soil must be compacted and have no organic material on it. Steel supports are very important. You should consider using 1/2-inch rebar placed on 2-foot centers, like squares of paper. The floor slab should be at least 5 inches thick, preferably 6 inches. Make sure the concrete is perfectly level so that water does not pool when it rains.


If you choose a wood flooring system, it’s like building a screened-in porch on a wood deck. The floor joists must be sized and spaced to fit the entire porch. To ensure that the floor is not flexible, you may need to add one or two beams underneath the floor. All fasteners and metal connectors must be approved for use outdoors with treated lumber that will be damp. Again, the floor will get wet from rain, just like any other open deck.

Step 2: Building the Walls

The walls of your new screened-in porch will be very different from any other porch. You will only need a few supports, as the screen panels will cover the voids in the walls. Although they block the view outside, vertical support posts hold up the beams that span the top of the wall and support the roof.

You may need to hire a home structural engineer to help you determine how big of a beam you need to support. Be sure to ask an expert how to properly connect posts and beams that sit flat on the ground. There are metal connectors specifically designed for this job.

It’s not enough to simply nail the crossbeams to vertical wooden posts. In addition, the engineer needs to specify how to connect the wooden support posts to the floor. If not properly attached, a breeze could lift the entire screened porch off the ground.


Step 3: Cover the Roof

There should be a roof over your new screened porch to keep it dry and out of the sun. Roofs come in a variety of styles. The simplest is a flat roof. A roof that slopes downward can be a gable roof or a nice sloping roof. If you have an L-shaped screened-in porch, it will have a nice valley above it.

This is not difficult, but you will need to learn how to use a carpenter’s framing square before you start building your roof. A steeper roof pitch (7 inches per foot of slope) makes a vaulted ceiling with a screened porch look great. On hot summer days, imagine lazy paddle fans at least 10 feet above the ground blowing cool air your way. A covered porch with a high roof always feels better.

Think carefully about adding one or more skylights to the roof of your porch. A screened porch can get dark, but you won’t regret it if it lets in some more light. Once the roof frame is erected, it’s time to lay down the roofing material and do all the necessary waterproofing where the roof meets the side of the house.

Step 4: Door Frames and Openings for the Porch

There must be a door on the porch so you can get out. First plan and create the room, then select the door. The door will come with information on how to rough it in. To do this, you will need to know the width and height of the door opening. Remember to consider whether the door is going to rest on the finish of the rough timber support posts. When first starting out, people tend to make their doors too narrow, which can be difficult to fix.


You will need to do the same for the holes in your screens. Do you plan to make your own screen panels? If so, what are the dimensions? Whoever makes them, make sure they are made of rot-resistant wood, such as redwood or high-quality cedar.

Openings in doors and screen panels must be square, not spiral. An opening is square when the diagonals between the corners are the same length. This is based on the idea that the vertical distance is the same on both sides of the opening and that the top and bottom of the opening are the same length.

Step 5: Painting the Front Porch

If you want the paint on your screened-in porch to be less likely to flake off, you will need to use a special painting method. It is important to prime and paint all sides and cut the edges of each piece of finished lumber used to cover the rough frame. Pay extra attention to the end grain of the boards, as water can soak in there and swell the wood.

Purchasing all the finished lumber for the porch and painting it all before cutting and installing is the best way to prepare it. Two coats of paint on the end grain after each crosscut will provide the best hold.

Make sure all bolts are either hot-dipped galvanized or made of stainless steel to avoid rust marks. If you are going to be near the ocean, you must use stainless steel decorative nails.

Paint that has a polyurethane resin base is best. This outdoor paint sticks well to wood that has been painted and prepared properly. You will need to paint all sides of the screen panel before installing the screen.


Step 6: Assembling the Screens

If you have never installed a screen before, it is best to start with a smaller hole. Follow what the screen manufacturer tells you to do. Don’t try to guess which fasteners to use.

You can watch videos online for some tips on keeping your screen level. It’s not easy to do both at the same time, but with practice, you’ll know what works best for you.

To Summarize

There are a lot of other little things involved in making a screened-in porch. It is possible for you to do this big project on your own, but if you think it’s too difficult, get a quote from a professional. It will help you get the best price if you make a detailed plan and send photos of the porch design you want.

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