How to Change a Porch to a Screened-in Porch

Building a screened-in porch will expand a home’s living and entertaining space. Having the protection of screening will keep insects at bay and make the room usable for watching television as well. Almost any size porch can be converted, but the design must work well with the home’s architecture.

A screened porch can include artistic touches to match the home's style.

It’s usually wise to build a screened porch on the side or back of a home. Good design will help ensure the new space adds value to the property.

  1. Measure the porch space to define the enclosable area. You may want to expand the porch base or roof to make the final screened-in space at least 9 by 12 feet. Look at ways to use either decking or concrete flooring to increase the base of the porch, if needed. Transfer the dimensions for the construction to graph paper. Draw the roof slope, overhangs, guttering for the porch and basic shape of the framework you will enclose with screening.

  2. Purchase materials. Buy 2- by 4-inch pressure-treated boards to enclose the porch. Cedar is one option for a high-quality look. Recycle lumber from other projects, if it’s in good shape, by staining all of it the same color before adding the screening. Buy roofing materials, such as half-inch plywood to cover roof rafters, and asphalt shingles. Buy screening material recommended by an adviser at a home- improvement store.

  3. Secure all framework into place, including roof rafters. Use bolts to attach header boards to house framing; use screws only if you're building a new roof. Tie the porch rafters into existing house rafters by removing part of the roofing, if the roof design calls for this. Keep in mind that strong winds can wrench a screened porch away from a home’s structure. Install perimeter boards around the concrete base with concrete anchor bolts.

  4. Finish up the roof space. Nail plywood and asphalt shingles into place. Use flashing along a seam between the porch roofing and house framing to prevent leaking over the years. Create a well-made roof structure in case you want to enclose the screened porch into actual living space or a glassed-in sun room at some point.

  5. Staple screening material into place, stretching it to smooth out all wrinkles. Add wood strips to cover all ragged edges and give the room a finished look. Hang a strong door mounted on double hinges, because the door will receive lots of wear and tear. Install guttering with downspouts and splash blocks or corrugated plastic drains to carry water away from the structure and the home's foundation.

  6. Tip

    Install support framing, either permanent or temporary, before taking out existing porch columns that will not be utilized. Keep the roof intact with support framing so that no shifting will take place.