When you bought your home, you dreamed of languid evenings on your back deck. But then: The bugs. Ugh. Now you’re dreaming of a screened-in deck.
Buyers love them, says Elaine VonCannon, a REALTOR® from Williamsburg, Va. “It works for everybody who likes to sit outside.”
If you’re one of them, you can’t lose. Here’s what else will help you get started:
#1 Start With the Roof
Your deck will need to be able to support a roof. Check with your local building codes, but you may have to do one or more of these things:
- Add more posts and foundation piers ($500 to $5,000).
- Beef up joists and beams.
- Pour a concrete foundation (which could cost $10,000).
You’ll also need to choose the style of roof:
- A shed roof is the most economical and very common on porches.
- A hip roof is the strongest (and priciest).
- A gable roof lets in the most light.
The key is to choose a roof that will look like it has always been part of your house. Using the same roofing materials will help.
#2 Don't Scrimp on the Screen
Do you have rambunctious pets that make strength a top priority? Or is there a beautiful view you don’t want to block with an obtrusive screen? There’s a different type of screen for just about any need.
Porch screen types and how much they cost:
Fiberglass. Easy to install and the most affordable. Tears easily and has a tendency to stretch and look floppy. (17 cents/square foot)
Aluminum. Stronger and more durable than fiberglass, and the least visible. Can oxidize easily. (26 cents/square foot)
Vinyl-Coated Polyester. Strong enough for pets, and it can dissipate heat in hot climates. (60 cents-$1.53/square foot)
Bronze. Strong, doesn’t easily oxidize in salt air along coasts, and develops a patina with age. ($1.10/square foot)
Monel (alloy of copper and nickel) or stainless steel ($2.25-$5/square feet). Strong, and tear-, rust-, and corrosion-resistant.
Pre-made screen panels are easier to install and repair than rolls of screening, but you pay the price of $50 to $75/running foot.
#3 Screened-In Deck Ideas to Make Yours Extra Special
- Add electrical outlets for lamps, ceiling fans, and phone chargers.
- Add a skylight to the adjacent room to avoid the loss of light that will happen when you enclose your deck.
- Remove railings if you want a floor-to-ceiling screened porch, which gives you an unobstructed view.
- Bug-proof the floors, too! To keep tiny critters from climbing into your new porch from below, attach a fine mesh screen or landscape paper to the underside of the floor. Or, replace the current floor with tongue-and-groove boards that fit so tightly bugs can’t climb through.
One final tip: check local building codes for setback regulations and building specifications before you're fined (or worse, told to re-do!).