If you’ve been considering screening in your porch for the buggier and sunnier months ahead but feel daunted by the installation process, take a deep breath. It’s actually not too difficult to do yourself and you don’t necessarily have to go through major renovations to screen-in your porch or patio. If you consider yourself pretty handy and already have a porch but just want to add a screen, you’ll actually only need a couple of supplies from your local hardware store to get the job done (only basic building skills and a tool belt required). Allow this handy guide to screening in a porch lead the way.
First, Make a Plan
If you’re wondering how to decipher whether this is something you can DIY or something you should hire a professional to do, consult a contractor or experienced carpenter to confirm that your existing posts are screen-ready. “It’s structural work and you want to ensure that it’s safe for you and your family first and foremost,” says contractor Meredith Still. If the posts are sound, and you’re reasonably handy, DIY-ing is pretty straightforward—and will save you a lot on labor!
But if your project requires anything beyond rehabbing a preexisting porch, you might want to hire professionals to help. “While you might feel comfortable doing the work yourself, you would likely need to file for the appropriate permits with your local building department which would require a licensed builder,” Still explains.
Then, Gather Supplies
If you porch is structurally sound and you’ve decided this is a project you can do yourself, it’s actually super simple. All you really need is a heavy-duty stapler and strong mesh screens (either the pre-cut kind or custom, depending on your space and how permanent you want them to be). If you’d like to ensure the screens last longer, you might consider getting a kit, such as Screen Tight: It will include a base strip that’s installed along the wood posts, a knife roller to crease the screens into the base strip, and a cap to seal the screens in place. But before you head to The Home Depot, make sure you take measurements so you know what dimensions you’ll need for all the supplies.
Now, Add the Screens!
If you’re going to the basic route, all you have to do is use a carpenter square or level to place your screens, pull them taut, and then staple them to the wood frames. That’s literally it. Or, if you want to make things a bit more polished using the Screen Tight kit, you won’t need the stapler: Just nail the base strip to the wooden frames, roll in the screens to secure, and cover with the included cap. Voila! A bug-free porch. You can find more details from Home Depot if you need a little extra guidance.