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Anyone have a screened porch?

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navigator9

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Among the other necessary things I'm having done to the house, like a badly needed new roof and windows to replace the original, 1950 aluminum storm windows I have now, I'm also planning something I've been dreaming about since I bought this house....a screened porch. I've been reading a lot online, and looking at pics on Pinterest, and I have a general idea of what I'd like. This will be a screened porch on a budget, nothing fancy. I love the idea of a screened porch, because you can sit there at night and not worry about bugs, you can sit there on a rainy day and read a book. I'm just wondering if any of you who have them know of anything I should look out for.

This porch will not have windows, just screens, so the floor may get a bit wet if it's rainy and windy, so I was thinking deck paint on the floor. I want to make sure there's a fairly simple way to change out the screens if they get damaged, (I'm fairly sure at some point, the cats may decide to climb the screens.) so I have to talk to the contractor about that. I'm not sure if there will be a knee wall or the screens will go all the way to the floor. I'd prefer a gable roof, but I know that's more expensive, so may have to go with a shed roof instead, and I'm OK with that. It all depends on the contractor's estimate. I wish he would hurry. I'm hoping it won't be an arm and a leg, I figure it's a roof and a floor, with screens in between, so how much can that be, right? Hopefully, I'll be happily surprised.

Here are a couple of pics of what I have in mind, one with a gable roof and one with a shed roof. So I'm wondering if you have any advice like definitely don't do this, or make sure you do this. I keep thinking about how I've been waking up at the ungodly hour of 5am since I've retired, and how nice it would be to take my coffee out to the porch and watch the sun come up and listen to the birds. I'm so excited about this stupid porch! LOL I would love any advice you may have to offer.

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Seawolfe

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I dont have any suggestions about the porch (I live in the gloriously unbuggy So Cal), but I do have one on the screens. If you have climby cats or bouncy dogs, I would make each screen panel modular, and there's a type of screen material that is "pet proof" - I've replaced all the windows my little buttheads can reach and its a godsend. 10 years and still no visible damage even though they make a point of climbing up it and bouncing off of it. Its a little darker than regular screen, but it's all I will use in windows now.

I guess the stuff I have is like this described here: http://www.metroscreenworks.com/pet-screen.php and you can get it at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Phifer-Pet-Screen-36-Kit/dp/B0040VAKUU or Home Depot (http://www.homedepot.com/p/Phifer-48-in-x-84-in-Black-Pet-Screen-3004153/100565927)
 
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shunt2011

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I loved having a screened in porch. Unfortunately we no longer have it as my husband totally enclosed it for a man cave. However, we have a gazebo that is entirely screened in at our cottage and it's awesome to go out there with a cup of tea and a book early in the morning when all is quiet and watch the sun come up. Nothing more peaceful.

I would agree with Seawolf on the pet proof screens. You just never know what the furry pets will do.
 

Yooper

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I built my screen porch last summer, and I'm so glad I did! It's been 90 degrees here the last few days, so we hauled bed matresses out there and made a "sleeping porch"!

My screens are just the "rolled" screens, but a heavy duty one. It will be easy to replace when they tear. My sides are 38" high, due to the snow load here (we don't want snow piling up and leaning on the screens). I have a shed roof, again, due to snow loads. I also have a metal roof on mine, like my house, due to the tons of snow we get.

For the floor, I just went over my existing deck (well, through the deck for the posts), and then put down indoor/outdoor boat carpeting. It does get wet- the carpet "wicks up" water from the sides, but it dries thoroughly once it stops raining.

I have part of the porch "open" and part screened in. I am going to eventually find a swing to hang in the open but covered area.

Here are some pictures from when it was first built:
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IMG_0675.jpg

There are two doors, one leading to the "open" area (not shown in the photo very well), and one to the yard/pond area. My contractor is the one who suggested the second door, and it was a great decision, to go out and get the mail, have the UPS guy stick things in there when we're not home, etc.

It's been painted now, but I left the ceiling alone. It's not in the photos, but it's like a tongue and grove plank over the beams, and it's quite pretty.
 

not_ally

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Couple of questions, Navigator. Is this for your forever home, ie; do you think you might be re-selling at any point soon? If so I would try to be more budget-conscious, people's tastes vary so much that someone else might immediately tear out/redo something you loved and spent extra money on accordingly. If not, I would be less worried about spending on certain things you want/love.

Where is the porch going to be, front/side/back of the house? If visible from the street I think it is more important to go with the design that works best w/the house. What type of architecture do you have?

I like knee walls, always. I don't like it when screens go all the way to the floor, somehow the porch looks unfinished to me that way. Having a short wall makes it seem more organically connected to the house, IMO, as if it was aways part of it instead of an addition. I think it also makes a difference to the resale value (it makes it *look* more like additional/countable square footage, however that stuff works in your area) even if it costs a bit more up front.

Get a very good, very pretty fan, the one you like the best. The hundred/couple hundred dollars more you might spend is totally worth it there for somewhere you will spend so much time, it will be in use a lot of time.
 
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navigator9

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Seawolfe.....thanks for the tip on the screens. My cats are indoor cats, and I'm sure they'll go bonkers at being able to be almost outdoors! The love to sit on the windowsills in the sun, and they have a window hammock to relax in and watch the squirrels, so all that open space will be like heaven for them.

E.G........standing invitation for all of you to come over for a cool one when it's done, sit, relax, take a nap maybe? Ahhhh.

shunt.......glad you at least have a screened gazebo to enjoy while your husband's in his man cave. lol I often wonder why decks got so popular. You can't use them at night (not around here, anyway), or in bad weather. Screened porches seemed to have fallen out of favor for a long time, but I think they may be making a well deserved comeback.

Yooper.....oh, I love the idea of a sleeping porch! We have temps in the 90s predicted for the next eight days. Ugh. I was thinking about maybe stringing up my hammock on the porch, too. And I love your idea of a swing. My girlfriend used to have one like this, that she loved. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003P583A6/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20 Well, maybe not so much a swing, but she loved it. And you know, we get a lot of snow here too, and I never thought of that being a consideration as to snow piling up at the base, if the screens went all the way to the floor. You've given me something to think about.

not_ally.......yes, this is my forever home. Having just retired, I've given this a lot of thought. It's a small ranch, built in 1950, the same year I was born, and being small and all on one level, I think it will be doable for me as I get older. The porch will be on the back of the house. And the more I think about it, a knee wall really does seem to make sense. And it provides a spot to place a margarita, or for a cat to sit. And yes, I've already thought about a fan, I'm sure it's something that would get a lot of use, as hot as it gets around here. And I will make sure it's pretty. :) I'm dying for the contractor to get back to me, many of my decisions will have to be driven by budget, but I have to make this happen because..........I already bought furniture! LOL Well, I started looking, just to see what prices were like for outdoor furniture, and I was appalled at how much it cost, but the longer I looked, the closer the end of summer is getting, and prices are going down, and things are going on clearance, so I saw some chairs that I liked, and I jumped on them. I think I will try to make some little end tables, cause anything else will blow my budget out of the water. Somebody stop me! My girlfriend told me I have to make this happen, because I've been talking about it for the past 17 years, since I bought the house, and she's tired of hearing about it, she wants to come over and enjoy it, too.

So now you know the reason why I haven't been soaping. In addition to trying to get all my paperwork in order, my garage and closets cleaned out, because I feel the need to be unencumbered by "stuff", now that I'm retired, I'm also getting all the things that need to be done on my house finished, so that I can have that burden off my shoulders as I get older. So that I can sit on my porch with a margarita and a book, a couple of cats, some friends, some good music playing, have friends over for lunch, I don't know, doesn't that sound like heaven? You're all invited! :D And thanks for your input.
 
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not_ally

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It does sound like heaven! I know how overwhelming it can be, and how you accumulate stuff before everything is done/closed in. I use do flips, and often lived in the places I was flipping regardless of what condition they were in. People think of Austin as being hot, but when one of the sides of your house is gone it in the winter, it really, really isn't :)

Your gf may be rolling her eyes now ("I already told you what I think about that, a million times", I know that look) but I bet she will be all about relaxing on the porch w/a margarita when it is done!
 

not_ally

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Ok, if it's a single-story ranch and at the back, I'd go with the shed roof, espec. if there is a substantial difference in cost. I actually think it sounds as if works better than a gable roof from a design perspective, anyway. A mistake in front is awful, you see it every single day from all angles as you drive up, I can't tell you how many times I've made "curb appeal" mistakes and had them irritate me constantly b/c of that.
 
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TeresaT

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I miss my screened porch. But it was in the front of the house and offered no real privacy. I have a tin roofed back deck that I plan to eventually screen in. I love the sound of rain on my tin roof and highly recommend one.
 

navigator9

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Oh, you guys have given me so much to think/dream about! Rain falling on a tin roof.....napping in a hammock. Oh, and Yooper, I forgot to mention how much I like your yard, the pond, the flowers....it all looks so cozy and welcoming. My kind of place. not_ally, when you were flipping houses, did you do any of the work yourself? One way or another, I'm sure you learned a lot that was valuable later on. You never know what will come in handy later on down the road!
 

lenarenee

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Ooooh....I think porches are essential to happiness! When they stopped building porches on new homes decades back it changed American culture and greatly reduced a neighborhood's sense of community. Think how many conversations and friendships were started because people sat on their porches and issued polite hellos to those who passed by walking their dogs.

It's been a long time since we've had a porch, but it's very helpful to have adequate room underneath to crawl in case of repairs or trapping racoons or possums who may also fall in love with your porch! We had a gate type door on ours, and could also store a few supplies under it.

Let us know how it goes and best of luck with your planning!
 

nsmar4211

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I have a huge screened back porch. Problem is, when they added it onto the house the attic soffits were not accounted for. So now ALL the hot attic air just pours down into the porch, making it so hot 75% of the year you can't use it. Right now it's 98 on it. And half of it is under a huge oak tree so its all the attic air. Trying to figure out some sort of gutter system to redirect the air...or a giant fan at each end...dreams...

Also, make sure you have enough of a pitch so water runs off quickly. Mine also has a leakage issue due to the water not moving fast enough and there's no way to fix it other than redoing the whole roof (no thanks).

I second the pet proof screen, that's what I'll be replacing mine with when it gets too old :)
 

not_ally

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Nav, I didn't do much of it myself, I just acted as the gc. Most of the stuff I don't have the skills for (carpentry/plumbing/electrical, etc.) Even the stuff I could have done like painting didn't really make sense from a timing perspective if I was actually doing the house for sale, I usually wanted to get it done and listed as fast as possible. I did all the design stuff, though. I did learn a lot about construction/design/architecture, etc,. It is pretty interesting stuff.

I third on the tin roof, I used to have one and loved it too. They can be loud, but there is nothing like going to bed with your kindle and the sound of the rain on the roof ...
 
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TeresaT

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I love being out there in a downpour. It is loud as all get out, but it sounds magical somehow. Maybe I'm just weird. I bought this house because of that tin roof and the willow tree outside my bedroom window.
 

tbeck3579

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Our home was built by great-grandpa in 1905. The porch still looks the same but I did add a gingerbread type screened door last summer -- 110 years of slamming the screened door.
 

not_ally

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That place looks amazing, Teresa, must be so much history there. Where is it located?

I like the way the porch was added, it works v. well visually.
 
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tbeck3579

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Thank you! I'm in Illinois. The porch was always there, a part of the original plan. There was another screened porch on the north side (that's a pic of the south side), the "main" entrance into the kitchen. Screened porches and transoms above the doors for cross breezes and air circulation was considered fancy air conditioning, hehehe. I would have lived in the basement on days like today -- hot and humid -- the screened porches are nice though.
 

not_ally

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They really did know how to build them in the old days. I was continually surprised at the level of craftsmanship in some of those old houses, I kind of hated changing so much sometimes.
 
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