A screened-in porch can be a very popular method of extending living space from the inside to the outside of a home. Designing a porch for your family’s needs is a matter of deciding how the space will be utilized and the building materials desired. Here are some steps to design your own screened-in porch.
Step 1–Evaluate the Space Available
Very often, a screened-in porch begins as a patio or covered porch area that is adjacent to the home. This area is often used for entertaining or outside activities. If an existing patio will be used as the foundation or beginning point for an enclosed porch home improvement project, then evaluate the current state of the patio, including the foundation (concrete slab, brick, pavers, etc), any existing covering and supporting pillars. Also consider the current landscaping around the patio and whether any of this needs to be reinforced, repaired or removed.
Measure the existing porch, or if there is no porch, measure where you anticipate placing it.
Step 2–Investigate Required Permits
In many areas, any building construction that results in a building or room that is subsequently attached to an existing structure is required to have a building permit. Before you begin planning for your screened-in porch, investigate whether you will be required to obtain a permit. If so, this could make a difference in what kind of enclosure you decide to construct.
Step 3–Decide How the Porch Will Be Used
Decide if the enclosed porch will be used primarily as an extended playroom for children, a conversation area for adults or anything else. Also determine if the goal is to create a room that can be used throughout the year or primarily during warm weather months, when the screens can be left in place. Decide if the room will have flooring installed, windows and a door or if it will be left unfurnished. Consider if there will be a need for storage or cabinets and if plumbing or electrical will also be needed.
Step 4–Determine Building Materials
A very simple enclosed porch can be easily constructed with PVC piping and lightweight screen fabric. However, for something more substantial and durable, you may decide that you want to construct walls into which windows with screens are installed. Consider that a more durably constructed screened-in room will probably require a building permit, but will also add to the value of the home. Here are typical building structure requirements:
- Supporting Corner Columns
- Wall Framing
- Roof Framing
- Roof Covering
- Window Framing
- Door Framing
Step 5–Choose Finishes
Finishes include floor coverings, wall coverings, plumbing fixtures and furnishings. If the screened-in enclosure will be used throughout the year, then furnishings should be chosen that will be easy to clean and comfortable year-round. Rugs or floor coverings should be chosen that are either water resistant or will be easy to clean if mud or dirt is tracked in on them.