Many homes have either a front or back porch and some homes have both. A porch encourages homeowners to sit outside with family, friends and neighbors while enjoying a beautiful night. Unfortunately, mosquitoes and other insects may ruin the picturesque setting. Sitting outside, exposed to insects and may be even some small animals or reptiles can be a very uncomfortable situation. Adding screens to an existing porch offers homeowners a place to enjoy the beautiful weather while remaining protected from bites, stings and general annoyances. Screens create a barrier to keep insects and other creatures out or to keep small children or other pets inside. Screens are a useful and practical addition to a porch.

Types of Screens

Screens are available in a variety of materials ranging from metals to fabrics. Screens come in an assortment of sizes ranging anywhere from 36 inches to 96 inches wide and lengths 100 feet and longer.

Tear resistant fabric and fiberglass screens are both wise choices for those that have pets and small children. Some of the tear resistant fabrics are guaranteed to keep even the most determined dog inside. Tear resistant and fiberglass screening materials are also good
choices for those who live in areas that have severe winter weather conditions because the fabric or fiberglass has enough strength to stand up to the weather unscathed.

Copper screen is highly durable and very strong, but also the most expensive choice available. Copper screens will develop a beautiful antique green patina creating a stunning screened in porch. Copper matches very well with Victorian style houses.

Aluminum screens are typically the least expensive of all of the screening materials. Aluminum does not stand up particularly well to changing weather conditions or impacts. Aluminum screening is likely to tear, rip or develop holes.

Getting Started

Use a tape measure to --  measure the height and width along the front and both sides.

Note the overall measurements.

Measure each section from the outside of the post to the outside of the post to determine the necessary minimum width of the screens.

Note the measurements.

Purchase the screening material of your choice using the measurements to buy a sufficient amount of screening material.

 Installing the Door

Use 2 by 4’s to build a frame at the top of the steps. Use a circular saw to cut a 2 by 4 equal the door’s width plus four inches. Cut the  2 by 4 so it equals the height from the porch floor to ceiling.

Space the 2 by 4’s standing upright on the running from floor to ceiling. The upright 2 by 4’s should equal the width of the door plus 4 inches.

Nail 2 x 4’s into the deck and roof with galvanized nails.

Nail the support piece across the top of where the door will hang.

Cut three pieces of 2 by 4 so it fits from the top of the door frame to the porch ceiling. Put them standing up on top of the door frame. Nail the 2 by 4’s into the frame and then into the ceiling to make a header.

 Fit the prehung door into the door frame opening and then nail the door jamb into the frame.

Get Ready To Screen

Bring the roll of screening material onto the porch. Move it to the corner nearest the house. Fit the screen along the top, leaving it 2 to 3 inches longer than needed. Leave the side edge that abuts the house 2 inches wider than needed. Always screen in the porch from the inside edges rather than the outside.

Use metal shears to cut metal screening material or sharp scissors to cut tear resistant material or fiberglass, 2 to 3 inches longer than the required length of screen.

Align the screen at the top leaving an excess of 2 inches. Staple the screen in place on the top edge of the porch. Shoot galvanized staples into the screen every 2 inches beginning in the center and working out in both directions.

Fold the extra 2 to 3 inches of screening material over to almost meet the line of staples. Fold it a second time – you will have a thick fold of screening material. Staple the folded screening material into the upper edge of the porch. Position the staples so they are shot in between the first row of staples.

 With the assistance of a helper: Grip one edge of the screen, while the helper grips the other edge. Pull the screen taut toward the porch posts. Staple the screen into the porch post every 2 inches, leaving an extra 2 inches on each post. Staple the screen into the porch post, on both posts.

Fold the extra 2 inches over until the top edge almost meets the row of staples and then fold it in half again to form a thick edge. Staple the folded screen into the post, positioning each staple in between the first row of staples.

Pull the screen down to the bottom edge of the porch firmly. If the porch has rails or slots along the bottom edge, pull the screening material down to the porch deck – leave an extra 2 to 3 inches along the bottom edge.

Staple the screen into the porch deck or if there is a half wall, staple the screening to it, every 2 inches along the entire bottom edge.

Fold the extra screening material over until it almost reaches the row of staples and then fold it over a second time to make a thick edge. Staple the bottom edge into deck or lower half of the porch wall in between each existing staple.

Continue to use the same method between each porch post until the entire porch becomes screened in.

Screened In Porch Tip

If you would like to enjoy your screened in porch even during cold or inclement weather, consider placing plastic sheeting over the screens and tack the plastic in place with staples.