A screen porch system is an excellent way to enjoy the outdoor weather without having to be bothered by allergens or insects. Porch screens vary in material, cost, aesthetics and maintenance, and some screens can only be fitted onto certain kinds of building materials. Each system has its advantages and disadvantages, making this a choice you will want to fully consider.
Staples and Trim
One of the most common porch systems to build involves taking a piece of fabric and stretching it over the framing of the porch openings, then stapling it tight. Once you remove the excess fabric, a 1-by-4 inch lattice is nailed over the stapled edges.
The advantages to using this system are that the system is cost-effective and very easy to install. The down side however is that once this system is installed, it is difficult to remove the system without damaging the trim. It will also be hard to do any new painting to the trim once the system is in place.
Screen frames are similar to the staples and trim method; the difference however is that instead of using a pre-existing frame, you attach a new one made out of wood or aluminum. The frames are held in place with rubber splines (or twist locks if they are going to be removed frequently) and can thus be taken out for cleaning or maintenance.
Thus, the main advantage in using this system is that it doesn’t suffer the problems that the staples and trim method does. The only disadvantage is that building brand new frames for your porch can become quite expensive, especially if you are using high-grade materials.
The main idea behind a so-called “frameless screen” is that you use strips of Velcro to hold the screen fabric in place. Attaching fabric to Velcro means that you can take down the screen easily.
Again, the advantage here is that the system is very versatile and easy to install. However, the system is also more flimsy and won’t look like it was made from quality materials.
Custom Screen Panels
Custom screen panels are easy to install and are usually made from materials you would find in a window. You can use screen fabric or acrylic for the actual paneling, and of course design it to your exact specifications.
The main advantage here is that a custom screen looks professional and should last a long time. The disadvantage is that this option is one of the most expensive and will be especially costly if you have someone design and install the screens for you.
Screen doors are a great option because the retractable doors allow you to convert the porch to an open porch in a matter of minutes. This option is ideal if your porch is by a pool or some other outdoor activity.
The advantage here is that these doors are very easy to install. However, the doors are only practical if you plan to keep your porch open at least some of the time.