How To Convert A Porch How To Convert A Porch

There are several different ways to convert a porch to a different usable space. One of the most popular porch conversion projects is creating an enclosed screened porch or lanai.

Constructing the Ceiling

The first thing you will need to do to convert the porch to a screened lanai is to construct a ceiling structure. Measure the area of the porch that will be converted. Using cement footings, install corner beams and then supporting wall beams at regular intervals of 2 to 4 feet. Attach horizontal support beams to create a frame for the porch ceiling to the vertical posts. Attach supporting cross beams to the ceiling frame. Install metal flashing where the ceiling frame meets the building. Place enclosing plywood over the top of the ceiling framing and then install shingles to complete the ceiling.

Installing Screening

Once you have the ceiling frame and ceiling constructed to cover the porch, you will need to construct the framing to support the screening and decide what type of screening you want to install.

Framing will provide the supporting structure for the screening materials. If you intend to have a door leading from the porch to the exterior, you will also need to install a door frame and a door. A simple wall frame can be constructed from PVC piping for a temporary structure. Alternatively, you can construct a formal wood frame similar to that of a simple wall. A wood wall frame offers the option to install lower and upper panels in the wall that can be used to frame for the screens and also provide interior support for decorative items like curtains to be installed.

There are several different types of screens that can be installed for an enclosed porch. These include sectional screens and wall screening fabric. If you plan on installing sectional screens, you will need to construct wall framing to hold the screens. Sectional screens can be an excellent option for homes located in areas with variable summer weather, since it is possible to install screens that can have solid structures placed over them to prevent rain from coming inside the porch area.

Often, homeowners will install wood panels in the lower portion of the porch wall to provide visual variety and also to allow for easy maintenance of the screens. This system also provides support for placing furniture against the wall and additional privacy.

Wall screening fabric can be purchased in needed lengths. Attach the fabric to the porch wall frame by stapling it to the wood supports of the porch enclosure frame. Screening fabric can be installed so that it runs the entire length of the wall from floor to ceiling.

Regular Maintenance

In most cases, an enclosed porch will need regular annual cleaning. You can clean the porch screens with pressure washer equipment using bleach and water solution to eliminate mold and fungus that may have accumulated on the screens. Alternatively, a wide paint brush can be used to brush dirt and debris from the screens.

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