Building Screen Porches
Building a screen porch onto an existing porch is easier than you may think. Use 2x4 cedar lumber for the vertical and horizontal structure of the screen porch. The screen frames are made of 1x2 cedar members that are pocket hole screwed and glued together to make the corners as strong as possible. The screen is stretched around the outside of the frame and stapled to the side of the screen frames.
In order to hold the screens in place, an exterior and interior stop needs to be made. Using a table saw, 1 inch strips are cut and then routed to give the edge the desired profile. You can also purchased 1 inch stock that already has a profile . The outside stops are nailed along the outside perimeter of the 2x4s to create a lip that keeps the screens from falling out. The inside stop performs the same purpose as well as gives the screens a finished look.
For screen doors, typically swinging standard aluminum clad screen doors are recommended. However, If you are looking to keep everything clean, you can install retractable screen doors as I have on this particular screen porch. They are easy to install and costs range from $180 - $500 depending on the size of the opening. Openings over 6 feet wide typically need to have the retractable screen mounted vertically rather than horizontally.
Make sure that you add screen material around the perimeter of your deck in order to make the screen porch completely bug proof. Use window/ caulk to seal all joints where water can penetrate and sit, rotting wood over time.
You can keep a very open concept with screen porches and still have it be very decorative if you use this method. In reality, you are basically building windows without glass, just screens!
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