DIY: Enclosed Porch

Whether you want to expand your living area or just want a place to enjoy your outdoor spaces, building an enclosed porch is a great idea.

Screened-in Porches

From screens to glass walls, there is no shortage of porch designs. Decide on what kind of porch will suit your needs. Then figure out how much work you want to put in, as well as your budget, and you’ll be able to build the right porch for you.

Many homeowners just want an enclosed porch where they can enjoy warm summer nights without the hassle of insects. This is best accomplished with a mesh screening system. These systems are easy to install and do not have to be a permanent fixture. Homeowners can take these systems down once the summer is over or if they change their minds.

Mesh screen systems for the porch can be purchased at most home stores. They’ll also come with all the tools necessary for a successful homeowner installation. Mesh screening is spread along the areas of the porch that need to be enclosed. The screening is then stapled and framed into place. This will work best if you have an existing porch with an overhanging roof and posts. While this is the most inexpensive option, there are drawbacks. Over time, the mesh may need to be replaced or fixed if it begins to sag.

Another screening option is called a vinyl-spline system. This is very much like a regular mesh screening system, but it comes with tracks and channels that hold the mesh in place. This system takes away the need to staple mesh in place. The tracks also help to keep the mesh in place and eliminates any sagging that can occur.

Glass Porches

A glass-covered porch, also known as a sunroom, is another enclosed porch option. These are great if you want to enjoy the outdoors year round. If you decide to enclose your porch with glass, make sure that the glass is well insulated. If not, you’ll have a very cold porch and the rest of the home will experience some frigid temperatures.

Kits for building a sunroom are available at several home improvement stores. These kits will provide all of the glass panels, doors and accessories for putting the room together. If you decide to build a sunroom on your own, it is best to construct it on an existing porch or patio with simple decking. If your porch has posts and railings, you may need to eliminate them in order to put in the new system. Measure out the space and begin constructing the glass framing over a flat deck or concrete slab.

One of the downsides of a sunroom kit is that there are not many elaborate designs to choose from. If you are looking for a complete sunroom transformation, it is best to have an experienced contractor do the work. Also, a contractor can help find a way to make sure that your sunroom is not trapping in cold air.

Framed-in Porches

If you want your enclosed porch to be another room in your home, consider framing in your existing porch with finished walls. If you have some advanced carpentry skills, you can do this on your own. Otherwise, contact a contractor to help you out.

Framing an existing porch is similar to building an addition on a home. You’ll need to build up three more walls that will connect to the home. To frame the porch with wood, make sure you know how to install columns and joists. Also, decide if the porch will have a natural wood look on the inside or if you will hang drywall. If you really want your enclosed porch to function like another room in the home, consider insulation behind the walls. You may also want to consider running electricity to the porch. Avoid this option unless you have the guidance of an experienced electrician.

Before drawing up any blueprints, decide on the use of windows and doors. Choose how many windows you want the porch to have. Perhaps you want one or two of the walls to be made entirely of windows. Also, decide if this porch can only be accessed from inside the home or if there will be a door that leads in and out of the house.

Windows can be installed by simply putting in glass and securing them between posts. Or you can create your own traditional windows and install them.

About the Author

James J. Siegel is a journalist with over ten years of experience. He graduated from Bowling Green State University and works as an editor for a trade magazine. His freelance work has appeared in San Francisco Apartment Magazine and Meefers.com.