Screened deck looking out onto a lawn

Tips to Convert Your Deck Into a Bug-Free Screened-In Porch

Itch-free living outdoors. It can happen.

Sara Tucker

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 porch.

It’s totally doable. You just need to know a few things, the first of which is that it’s worth the time and money because it’s a great way to add value to your home. (That’s good news because it will cost about $10,000 to $12,000 for a typical 14-foot-by-14-foot 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:

Pay Attention to 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.

Compare Screen Types and Costs

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.

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. 

Related: Repair a Torn Screen

Avoid Regrets With These 5 To-Dos

  1. Check local building codes for setback regulations and building specifications before you’re fined (or worse, told to re-do!).
  2. Add electrical outlets for lamps, ceiling fans, and phone chargers.
  3. Add a skylight to the adjacent room to avoid the loss of light that will happen when you enclose your deck.
  4. Remove railings if you want a floor-to-ceiling screened porch, which gives you an unobstructed view.
  5. 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.

Related: Get Ideas for Screened-In Porches

Smoke from a backyard grill

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