Can You Make a Screen Porch From an Existing Deck?

Screen porches are patios or decks with roofs, providing comfortable outdoor living spaces that allow air and sunlight in, while keeping troublesome insects out.

Design

Vigo County Indiana’s Extension Service notes that screen porches can play an important role in protecting humans and household pets from the hazards of mosquitoes. Adding a screen porch to an existing deck is relatively straightforward; you need to decide on design, ensure structural integrity and check local regulations.

Spend some time thinking about the design of your screen porch. Consider the way you and your family will use the space, as recommended by Tim Carter at Ask The Builder. If you plan to do a lot of outdoor entertaining, you may want to have a low wall topped with screens and an overhanging roofline to help keep rain off your porch. If your porch will be used to store equipment or as a place where pets will spend time, screens that flow from ceiling to floor may be appropriate. Designs can be as simple and inexpensive as spacing vertical two-by-fours equally around the deck and bolting them into place, supported by horizontally placed two-by-fours between the uprights. Screen mesh can be stretched between the two-by-fours and stapled to the wood, or you can build simple frames for your screen mesh and nail these to the two-by-fours. Build a more elaborate screen porch from bricks or concrete blocks that are used as the uprights and secured to the deck with rebar, then mortared into place. Frames for the screen mesh can be fitted securely between the uprights and caulked into place. Build the frames yourself from wood, or purchase ready-made window frames. Build your roof from plywood laid across the uprights at an angle to ensure good water run-off. Cover them with roofing felt and asphalt tiles nailed into place. The interior of the roof becomes the porch’s ceiling, and can be painted, or texturized and painted, depending upon your preference. A more complex alternative involves creating a pitched roof with an A-frame support that is covered with plywood and roofing tiles. Extend the pitch to blend with your existing roofline, creating a more formal, permanent look for your screen porch.

Structural Integrity

Before you begin building your screen porch, check your deck to ensure it needs no repairs. Also be sure that your deck has enough structural integrity to hold the weight of your screen porch and its roof. If you are uncertain, contact your local lumber yard or builder’s supply company. They will help you assess your deck’s strength and any improvements it might need, and help you determine the type and quantity of materials you will need.

Regulations

Check with your local city and municipal regulatory authorities and your homeowners association (if any) to determine whether or not you need permits or permission to build a screen porch.