Extend Living Space with a Comfy Screened-In Porch
Adding low-cost living space is just one of the benefits of a breezy, bug-free screened-in porch.
This charming screened-in porch gives the second-story master suite a breath of fresh air, and also provides another entry via a set of exterior stairs. The tiled floor is slightly slanted to encourage moisture runoff, and under the tile is a drainage system that protects the room below.
Extend Living Space with a Comfy Screened-In PorchVanishing Wall
On summery evenings, a 14-foot-wide, 3-panel sliding pocket door system converts this master bedroom into a big screened-in sleeping porch. When the weather turns chilly, the insulated glass doors close to seal in warmth but let in light. Sliding window walls can be made up to 12 feet tall and over 20 feet wide. This model is about $13,000, uninstalled.
Image: Tyler A. Smyth, architect / Archer Builders, contractor
Extend Living Space with a Comfy Screened-In PorchBreeze, Please
Your screened-in porch has it all: beautiful views, comfy seating, and protection from the elements. But if Mother Nature doesn’t provide a nice cooling breeze, add your own with a ceiling fan. For a modest cost ($200-$600), you can ensure a gentle zephyr that’ll keep you cool during the dog days. Get a remote control so you won’t have to break a sweat walking over to a wall switch.
Extend Living Space with a Comfy Screened-In PorchExtend the Season
Get more use out of your screened-in porch by swapping screens for clear acrylic panels when the weather gets chilly. Lightweight acrylic panels are easy to install, and they’re about half the cost of glass. They won’t turn your porch into a true all-season room — they don’t perform like insulated glass, and you’ll still have air leaks through porch flooring — but they cut wind and capture heat from the sun. You’ll need a place to stash them when not in use.
Extend Living Space with a Comfy Screened-In PorchKeeping Floors Dry
Even though it’s covered by a roof, the floor of a screened-in porch can get soaked with wind-blown rain and snow. Help the floor shed moisture by sloping it away from the house at the rate of about 3/16 inch per foot. If the flooring is tongue-and-groove (shown here), the boards should run 90 degrees to the house to prevent the seams from trapping moisture.
Image: Tyler A. Smyth, architect
Extend Living Space with a Comfy Screened-In PorchBring Your Porch to Light
Like any room, a porch with lots of light is a cheery place to be. Help maximize daylight with a skylight — this one includes a roller shade to block summer sun. Recessed lights over the doorway are great for evening gatherings. Candles add a touch of romance!
Extend Living Space with a Comfy Screened-In PorchSelecting Screens
Window screen material can do a lot more than keep out bugs. Ultra-thin screen is nearly invisible and opens up views; solar screens block UV sunlight; tough security screens help prevent break-ins. Screens also come in colors. The most popular screen materials are aluminum (about 32 cents/sq. ft.) and fiberglass (about 20 cents/sq. ft.). For coastal regions, copper/zinc blends are $2/sq. ft.
Extend Living Space with a Comfy Screened-In PorchScreened Porch: There’s an App for That
This screened-in porch was designed with a free downloadable app from a screened porch manufacturer. Using a computer-generated image of your house, you can play with different sizes and configurations, then produce a materials list for everything you’ll need. As you design, the app calculates the cost of each option so you can keep tabs on your budget.