How to Screen in an Existing Porch

Enjoying a bug-free evening behind the safety of screening can add to the pleasure you experience in your home.

Flexible fabric screens are used on porches and windows to keep critters out.Flexible fabric screens are used on porches and windows to keep critters out.
Some areas of the country are subject to lots of night-time bugs while the evening is still early, warm, and comfortable. One way to conquer the bugs is to install screens on your porch. Adding screens to an existing porch is fairly simple using track systems that mount easily to your posts and floor.

Install vertical base strips of a Screen Tight-type product designed for easy screen installation on porches. Use a three-and-a-half-inch-wide strip when mounting over a four-by-four-inch post. Screw through the holes in the base strip and into the post using the screws provided with the kit. If your porch is of an unusual height, you may need to trim the strip to the right size using a hack saw and saw box.

Attach all of your vertical base strips around the perimeter of the porch. Measure, mark, and cut your horizontal base strips using tin snips. Horizontal base strips are one and a half inches wide and designed to attach to the two-inch side of two-by-four-inch deck railings. Your base strips have a groove where the screens attach. Once you install all of your horizontal base strips you can install the screens.

Position your screen material even and level at the top base strip. Insert the rubber beading into the groove, making sure you have excess screen material on each end. Use a roller screen tool to roll the rubber beading into the groove. Turn the corner and stretch the screen so that it is even and smooth, and roll your beads down each side and across the bottom. Repeat this for each screened panel.

Remove excess screening material by cutting the material outside the rubber beading in the edge of the groove using a utility knife. Cut and fit the cap trim over both sizes of base. Tap the caps into the base strips using a soft mallet. This will hide all your screws and create a finished look.

Select a matching vinyl screen door to fit your door opening. These usually mount with pre-hung hinges on one side and a simple latch on the other. Screw the hinges to the post using a screwdriver and attach the latch as recommended by the manufacturer.

Things You Will Need

  • Vertical base strips
  • Horizontal base strips
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Hacksaw
  • Saw box
  • Tin snips
  • Cap trim
  • Mallet
  • Screen door


  • These types of screening systems are sold in different colors and often never need painting, so select the color that works best with your house.

About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.