Have you ever wished your deck was a fully-protected screened porch? A backyard deck is a great place to dine, relax and entertain – if it isn’t too hot, too wet or overflown by too many bugs. You can improve the versatility of your Madison WI home’s outdoor living space by adding screened walls and a roof to your deck. Screened rooms extend the enjoyment of the space by weeks every year.
A screened-in porch turns an open air deck into a room. It provides protection from the elements and boosts your home’s value at the same time. Although a screened room isn’t typically heated or cooled – but it can be – options like ceiling fans are great accessories. Providing shade from blistering sun and protection from showers is a major goal. But in southern Wisconsin the No. 1 benefit is keeping bugs from ruining your day.
Early Screened Porch Planning
The first stage in converting a deck to a screened room is creating a detailed plan that includes a site evaluation. As you move forward with your plan, consider:
- The deck’s foundation – adding walls and a roof increases the weight on the deck’s foundation. Make sure your foundation is solid enough to support the added weight.
- Decide on size – your screened room doesn’t have to cover the entire deck. If you already have a spacious deck, consider leaving some of it open for your grill or seating when you want to “get some sun.” Another option is to expand the deck area to add this kind of uncovered space.
- Plan for conveniences – adding a porch so you can use the deck more often makes sense. So, don’t forget the little things that make a deck a room – lighting, electrical outlets, ceiling fans, audio/video connections, etc.
- Plan around lifestyle – what’s the most common use for your deck? How do you plan to use the new room? If outdoor dining and cooking is your top priority, make sure there’s space in the new room for a table and chairs and space outside to safely accommodate your grill.
- Building codes – when you add walls and a roof you’re creating a real room. A space that has to meet all the appropriate building codes. The more bells and whistles you add – electricity, etc. – the more regulations to comply with. And, of course, you’ll need construction permits and in some cases professional inspections. Working with a professional contractor like Sims Exteriors & Remodeling takes all the guesswork out of the process and keeps the work safely on track.
Design Options For A Deck Turned Screened Room
Turning an existing deck to a screened room is a great way to expand the value of your outdoor living space. With careful planning a professional guidance it’s easy to make the new construction blend with the old so it appears to “belong.” You want your new screened-in porch to look great, not like an after-thought, right?
Creating an enjoyable outdoor space isn’t easy. When a major goal is to keep away bugs, the biggest fail for do-it-yourselfers is to forget about the floor. Traditionally, decks have cracks between the decking. Bugs of all kinds crawl and fly between them – especially if you’re building atop an older deck. Creating a truly bug-free environment is virtually impossible in Wisconsin. But, adding screening below the deck, or installing new sold flooring is the best defense.
Selecting appropriate screens is a key choice, too. The basic decision comes down to screen material. There are two most common options: aluminum screen and fiberglass cloth screen. The holes in both are small enough to keep out most bugs.
For today’s new installations, fiberglass screens are the No. 1 choice. Why?
- Fiberglass is lighter than metal.
- The screens won’t corrode or stain like metal.
- Fiberglass is flexible – bird strikes bounce off without leaving a dent!
- Fiberglass screens are available in colors.
Colored fiberglass screens add a new dimension to a porch. Most are silver, a yellow-gold, brown or bronze. However, if your designer’s eye tends toward something more dramatic, bolder colors are available.
If you choose metal screens your choices are usually limited to silver, charcoal or black. Note, silver aluminum will reflect light and be annoying in bright sun. If you go with metal, pros recommend sticking with black or gray – they shade your new room better and are almost invisible from the inside.
Consult A Pro To Turn Your Deck Into A Screened Porch
No matter which material you choose, the color makes a difference when it comes to overall performance and appearance. Take time to outline your goals for the new porch screens:
- Visibility – do you want to enjoy the view without the filtering of an easy-to-see screen?
- Privacy – do you want seclusion and privacy from neighbors or passersby? Darker colored mesh makes it difficult to see in.
- Cooling shade – is your porch on the west or south side of the house where you need protection from the afternoon sun? Dark screen provide added shade. Specially-designed solar screens not only add shade but protect against UV rays and reduce the temperature inside the porch.
- Protection – do you have pets or children? There are specially-engineered “pet screens” that are thicker than standard to resist the scratching of dogs, cats and kid’s toys.
Each of these considerations plays a role in the look and function of your new screened room. It’s important to weigh your needs with the options before moving forward on the new screened-in porch.
Your current lifestyle, your home’s layout and your vision for the future all factor into your choices. Will your existing deck support a porch? Is there room to expand the deck and add a screened structure? How will a new outdoor room look and fit with the existing building? Questions a professional remodeling contractor is ready to answer.
When you decide adding to your home’s outdoor living space with a new porch is the best move email Sims Exteriors & Remodeling or call 608-825-4500. As our name suggests, we specialize in everything you need and we’ll create a comprehensive plan. We’ve been providing remodeling plans, large and small, to Madison area homeowners for decades. Take advantage of our years of experience and craftsmanship to convert an existing deck into a versatile, inviting screened porch for your Madison WI home.