If you are considering turning all or part of your deck into a screened porch, we’ve got some great places to start and tips to consider. Converting your deck into screened porch has a lot benefits beginning with your return on investment and ending with you enjoying every minute of your new outdoor living space.
The most important part is determining if your existing structure can support the additional weight of a roof structure. You will want to inspect your existing deck or have it examined by your contractor. It may be in perfect “ready to go” condition or you may need to reinforce your structure. Additional footings and/or framing can be added to meet weight load and code requirements to support your new screened porch.
Next comes porch design and material choices. Cost guidelines vary for screened porches because materials and trimmings vary so widely. Making design and material choices early on and knowing how you will your porch will help things go more smoothly with less hiccups and options to fumble over.
The 3 most widely used roof styles for a screened porches are shed, hip and gable. A shed style porch is a great economical way to go and the hip style roof is typically the strongest and most expensive. Finally, a gable roof lets in the most light. You will want your roof to tie into the existing home making it seamless down to the shingles.
Your porch ceiling won’t be exposed to the elements but it will still absorb moisture and heat. Stay away from unfinished wood and drywall for your ceiling. Look at products like stamped plywood panels that have a tongue and groove look. Cedar or Redwood are terrific choices because they are beautiful and naturally rot resistant. Some easy care choices are composite and PVC. You will never need to paint or stain these products and they are weather resistant.
Deck Floor and Railings
Thoroughly inspect your decking and railings. If your decking or railings have seen better days now is a wise time to replace them. When it comes to your decking choices, low maintenance decking is your best option for this type of project. Low maintenance composite decking will afford you the luxury of not having to stain, seal or sand your new floor ever. When installing your decking floor it’s a good idea to place screening under your decking to keep unwanted pests out. As for railings there are many styles/colors and materials to choose from. Aluminum deck railing will hold up the best because it’s a strong, durable and does not rot or corrode. Aluminum is also green product because it is 100% recyclable. With both your decking and railing choices you will want them to compliment each other and the existing home.
Porch screens matter! You will want something that is tough but still provides great visibility. The most commonly used materials are fiberglass, aluminum and stainless steel. Fiberglass is the most affordable, comes in many different colors, has decent visibility and weathers the elements. Fiberglass screens are not the best looking over time as it can tear or stretch easily. Aluminum is stronger than fiberglass but prohibits visibility somewhat. Stainless steel is the more expensive choice and checks all the boxes whens it comes to durability and visibility. Keep in mind stainless steel will be more costly upfront, but worth it over time.
Some porch options are more cost effective to do during the build process and make the overall project flow better than if done at a later date. Electrical extras like a ceiling fan provides a terrific reprieve from the heat and helps the air to circulate. Also, you can never go wrong with additional outlets. Another nice feature are fireplaces, which can really extend the time you can seasonally enjoy the space.
No matter if you are a do-it-yourself type or if you are looking into contractors, these tips are some great places to start. If you need help with the design or build of your new outdoor living space call Cedarbrook, 301-703-8728 – www.cedarbrookinc.com, and let us get you off on the right foot.