Enjoying balmy summer evenings on your porch is one of life’s finer pleasures, but not when mosquitos swarm in to torment you. Screening your porch can easily prevent insects and leaves from spoiling your outdoor lifestyle. The porch ‘n skeeter problem is so ubiquitous both DIY and commercial porch-screening solutions are readily available easy to implement. Let’s take a look.
The best way to screen in a porch is to vertically mount a set of mesh-covered wooden frames to the porch’s floor, pillars, and roof support beams. Hang a porch screen door and seal all gaps between the house and the porch with fiberglass or aluminum mesh to keep the patio free of bugs.
Hiring a professional to screen your porch could cost over $1000, which is a lot to pay for an insect repellant! But, you’re a home makeover enthusiast, and screening in a porch is a relatively easy project, with options to suit all levels of DIY capability. With the right tools, materials, and methodologies for your screening needs, you’ll have that porch perfectly quarantined from wee-winged irritants.
Different Types Of Porch Screen Solutions: the best Do it Yourself kits
Porch designs vary greatly and are often custom-built. The ideal screening solution will depend on the existing structural specifications of your porch. Having precise measurements of the apertures you intend to screen will enable you to buy the best DIY screening materials or screen kit.
When it comes to deciding what a porch needs by way of screening materials, it’s best to segment porch designs into two basic types:
- A porch that is entirely open, floor to ceiling, with minimal pillars.
- A porch with balustrades or a low wall, and several pillars.
Your porch may have a wooden floor or a concrete floor with tiles. Several pillars or only a couple of poles may support your porch roof.
The point is:
- Your porch will need a customized screen solution to slot into its existing structural elements.
- A Type #1 porch with a bare-bones pillar design will require extensive DIY work, including the making and fitting of wooden studs and rails for the DIY screen frames and a DIY screen door.
- Type #2 porches with an existing wooden framework can easily accommodate a porch screen kit with a prefabricated porch screen door.
- In some cases, a combination of DIY and kit materials may provide the best porch screen solution.
Whether you use a porch screen kit or go the full DIY route, there’s no getting around a lot of measuring, ripping, cutting, stretching, and screwing.
- The route you take to screen in your porch will ultimately depend on your DIY capacity, your budget, and the design of your porch.
Remember – the end game of any porch screen project is a 100% seal against bugs.
How To Measure Your Porch For Screening
Most porches are square or rectangular with two or three open sides, with the house serving as the fourth wall. Measure the open sides accurately from pillar to pillar, and floor to ceiling to ensure a tight fit once the frames, screens, and door have been installed.
Once you’ve measured the dimensions of the porch sides, you’ll be ready to quantify how much timber, screening mesh, and securing materials you’ll need to get your porch screened correctly.
It’s also crucial to identify small apertures or gaps where your house and porch join.
Look for the following:
- Gaps where the porch roof meets the roof of your house.
- Gaps where the porch roofing meets the fascia beams.
- Wooden slatted house walls that hamper a flush fit for wooden studs.
- A wood-deck porch with gaps between the floorboards.
Mosquitos are sneaky, so: Every small gap on your porch must be sealed with mesh or a foam sealant to prevent insects from getting in.
The Best DIY Porch Screening Materials
Weatherproof pressure-treated wood and galvanized screws are ideal for outdoor structures. Fiberglass mesh is easy to work with and durable, making it suitable for DIY porch screening. Quality staples, hinges, handles, and paints will help ensure a successful screen porch project.
For a Type #1 open porch, buy the following materials:
- 2×4” boards for the uprights (studs) rails and door.
- 2×2” timber for the screen frames.
- Wooden lattice trim to cover the staples and finish the screen.
- Fiberglass mesh for the screens.
- ¼-inch staples to attach the mesh to the screen frames.
- Galvanized screws (wood and concrete, if necessary) to attach the timber to the porch and to make the frames and door.
- Weatherproof primer and paint.
- Two door hinges.
- A door handle and lock.
- Insulation foam (to seal the small gaps around the porch framework).
For a Type #2 porch with a balustrade or low wall, you’ll need all of the requirements for a Type #1 porch, except the 2×4” boards, because your porch has an existing wooden framework to support the screens.
The Best DIY Porch Screening Methods
Porch screens can be permanent or temporary. Make removable screens using demountable frames or Velcro-stitched mesh for seasonal porch screens. For fixed screens, staple the mesh to the frames. Use a circular saw and a pocket hole jig to cut and join the porch screen frames and door.
Once you’ve purchased, measured, and cut the necessary timber, the construction procedure is as follows:
- Screw the 2×4” rails to the porch floor and ceiling.
- Install the 2×4” studs and a 2×4” doorframe to the rails.
- Leave a section of the floor free of wood rail to accommodate the door.
- Securely assemble the screen frames using a pocket hole jig.
- Paint the frames and lattice trim.
- Attach the mesh to the frames with a staple gun.
- Screw lengths of lattice trim onto the frame to conceal the staples.
- Trim off excess mesh with a utility knife.
- Install the screens into your stud and rail framework.
- Assemble and hang the screen door.
- Seal all small gaps around the porch (and under deck floorboards) with mesh and insulation foam.
- View how to screen in a two-sided Type #1 porch in this video below.
- Watch a DIY guide on how to screen in a Type #2 porch and make a screen door.
To make removable screens, hang the screens using demountable screen hangers or use Velcro to attach the mesh to the porch framework.
- Watch how to DIY a demountable mesh window screen and adapt the design to suit your porch screen requirements.
- Sewing Velcro to screen mesh and gluing the Velcro hook side to the porch framework makes a practical, removable porch screen alternative.
- Porch screen kits are year-round fixtures but the mesh can be easily removed from the vinyl track mounting system, making an easy-to-install temporary porch screen solution.
One last thing: If your porch doesn’t have a low wall, install a wooden kick plate at the base of the screen framework to prevent damage from wayward feet, children, and pets.
Mosquitos can ruin a warm evening on your porch, but a fully sealed screen porch solves that pesky problem. Determine your porch screen budget and how much time you want to spend on the project, and then use these guidelines to formulate your best skeeter-busting DIY screen porch strategy!