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Florida Building Codes for Screen Rooms

Florida homeowners love beautiful weather. With a screen room, they can enjoy it while keeping a layer of protection between them and the bugs. But before you build a screen room, there may be one or more building codes you should research. In Florida, there are layers of building code regulations. First, the state guidelines set the standard everyone must adhere to. At the local level, a city government might require additional guidelines be met. All codes applicable to your situation must be obeyed.

Approved Plans

View natural Florida up close and personal with a screen room.

Whether you do the construction work yourself or hire a contractor, you must get the proper building permits before the screen room is built. You have two ways to go about doing this. The first is to hire a licensed contractor, check his references and license status, and let him deal with obtaining any permits and making sure everything related to the screen room meets the approval of both the state regulations and any applicable local guidelines. Your second choice is to familiarize yourself with the regulations and build it yourself. In any event, someone must obtain the necessary building permits before a single shovel of dirt is turned. A permit simply means the state and local government has looked over your proposed plans and given you the go-ahead.

Wind Load

When taken as a whole, Florida's state and local building code regulations are probably the most rigid in the country. The primary reason is because of the state's hurricanes and accompanying wind. Your screen room must be built to withstand these winds of up to 150 miles per hour. You should check your local code for specifics, but expect to find regulations requiring thicker metal beams, brace plates, wind bracing and stainless steel hardware to anchor your screen room to the deck. If you hire a licensed contractor, he will know exactly which regulations apply to your area. If glass is used, it should be impact resistant. Hurricane shutters may be required to cut down the incidence of wind-borne debris.

Other Elements

While hurricanes are the natural weather element most associated with Florida, don't forget the spongy terrain, humidity, heat and rainfall. All these can degrade the safety of a screen room over time. Building codes take this into account, which is why aluminum is the siding of choice rather than wood, which can rot. Stronger than normal screens can resist Mother Nature's best for 8 to 10 years.

Inspections

Inspections of your screen room are required at various stages of construction. Once completed, the concrete foundation must pass inspection, then the framing, sheathing, roofing and the swimming pool, if applicable. Every facet of the construction must meet all local and state guidelines. If it doesn't pass inspection, you keep working on it until it does.