Modern screened in porch with a couch and table over a large rug.

How To Screen In A Porch The Right Way

Jamie Johnson6-minute read
July 20, 2022

Outdoor home improvement projects are one of the best ways to improve the resale value of your home. And if you’re looking to improve your backyard, you may consider adding a screened-in porch.

In addition to boosting the resale value, a screened-in porch makes the home more enjoyable to live in. A screened-in porch allows you to enjoy the outdoors and fresh air, while keeping out bugs and debris.

This article will look at how to screen in a porch, and the tools and resources you’ll need to get started.

What Is A Screened-In Porch?

A screened-in porch is a porch near the exterior of the home that is surrounded by window screens. These window screens help prevent insects, debris, and other objects from entering the area.

This allows homeowners to experience nature and enjoy an outdoor living space while still providing some protection from the elements. A screened-in porch can greatly enhance the livability of the home, and make the porch more functional.

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Use your home equity for a cash-out refinance.

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How To Build A Screened-In A Porch

The process of screening in a porch is the same whether you plan to hire a contractor or DIY the process. Here are seven steps you’ll take to get started.

Measure The Porch

Before getting started, you’ll need to measure the distance between posts and the size of the entrance. These measurements help you determine the best way to frame the porch screens, and ensure you buy the correct amounts of materials.

However, you may need extra materials so it may be a good idea to purchase 10% more than you think you need. Window screens come in rolls of varying sizes, usually ranging from three to eight feet. You’ll need to choose the right width to fit the opening.

Make Any Necessary Structural Repairs Or Additions

If your porch is on the smaller side, you may want to expand it to make the outdoor living space more functional. Or you may need to fix cracks, rot damage, or sagging sections in the wood. You’ll need to take care of these repairs and additions before you can install the screens and the framing.

Choose The Right Screen Type

The screen type you choose will make a big difference in terms of the appearance, durability, and overall functionality of your porch. There are two main types of screen material you can choose from: fiberglass and aluminum.

Fiberglass is cheaper and easier to install, but it’s much less durable than aluminum. Aluminum is more expensive and inflexible, so it’s harder to work with. But once it’s in, it’s less likely to need to be replaced.

If you’re new to this work or don’t have an extra set of hands to help you, go with the fiberglass. It will save you a lot of frustration. If it rips in the future, you can always replace it with an aluminum screen.

Install Base Strips

You’ll start your project by installing the base strips into the frame of the porch with a drill and screws. You can use pruning shears to trim the base strips to the correct length. Make sure to use a level so you’re sure the strips are straight.

Attach The Screen

Attaching the screens is the biggest part of this project, and this step will probably take you the most time. Roll out your screen and cut it with a utility knife so it fits the space. It’s a good idea to cut a little more screen than you actually need.

From there, you’ll place the screen in the gap of the strip. Push a spline tool in the gap so it wedges the screen in place. Do this on all four sides of the screen and screen panels, having someone hold it in place while you work.

Install Cap Strips

Once you have the screen attached, you can tap in the cap strips with your rubber mallet. Simply place the strips over the base and tap them in lightly. These strips conceal the screen and the spline, giving your porch a more trimmed look.

Install The Screen Door

After you’ve enclosed the entire area, it’s time to install your screen door. It’s a good idea to use a retractable screen door — these are doors that swing in and out. They come in a variety of sizes and are easier to install than a hinged door.

Need extra cash for home improvement?

Use your home equity for a cash-out refinance.

NMLS #3030

The Advantages Of A Screened-In Porch

Let’s look at the practical advantages to adding a screened-in porch to your home.

Improves The Curb Appeal

A screened-in porch can improve the curb appeal of your home. It gives the home a more attractive appearance and makes it more inviting. If you plan to sell your home in the future, a screened-in porch could make it more attractive to potential buyers.

Adds Value To The Property

A screened-in porch could add value to your home by making the porch a more usable space. On average, you can expect an 84% return on your investment.

That means if you add a $10,000 screened-in porch, it will add $8,400 to the price of your home. Homeowners tend to prefer houses with screened-in porches since it helps increase the safety and the porch’s overall usefulness.

Keeps Bugs And Debris Away

For many homeowners, insects can be a huge deterrent from spending time outdoors. A screened-in porch allows you to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors without worrying about mosquitoes or other annoyances. And a screened-in porch prevents things like acorns, leaves, grass clippings and other debris from getting on your porch.

Provides Weather Protection

Unless you’re in the middle of a full-on storm where the rain is blowing, a screened-in porch provides weather protection. It can keep out rain, which will keep your porch dry. And it provides sun protection, so your porch will stay cooler and fewer UV rays will get through.

Gives Privacy and Security

A screened-in porch gives you more privacy because it darkens the area, making it less easy to see what or who is on the porch from the street. This can add a little security to keep away unwanted visitors and keep young children and pets safe.

It also provides an additional barrier to entry for intruders. Someone is less likely to try to steal something off your porch if they have to go through a door or window screen.

Should You DIY Your Screened-In Porch Installation?

There are two main ways to build a screened-in porch — you can do it yourself or hire an experienced contractor. Let’s look at a few factors you should consider before deciding how you want to screen-in your porch.

Your Experience With Construction

If you’re comfortable working with tools and have some construction experience, it may make sense for you to build your own porch. However, if you’re inexperienced or aren’t confident in your abilities to take on this project, you may want to hire a professional.

Your Budget

Another factor you need to consider is how much money you have to put toward the project. Of course, this begs the question, “How much does it cost to screen in a porch?”

There are several factors that play into the cost of screening in a porch, including:

  • Location
  • Size
  • Materials
  • Permit and inspection
  • Installation (if you don’t do it yourself) 

On average, it costs $10 – $14 per square foot, depending on the materials used and where you live. So if you have a 400-square-foot porch, you’ll pay $4,000 on the low end and $5,600 on the high end.

However, you can save money on labor by installing the porch on your own. You should consider your home renovation budget before deciding on the right installation method. However, you may be able to increase your budget by taking out a cash-out refinance mortgage loan.

The Condition Of Your Existing Porch

If your porch is in good condition, it will be easier to screen in and you may be able to handle this type of installation on your own. But if your porch needs to be repaired or you’re looking to expand it, you’ll probably need to work with a professional.

The Bottom Line

A screened-in porch installed the right way looks great, adds value and increases security and privacy. Screening in a covered porch is a DIY project you can do that will probably take you and another person a weekend of work.

However, if you’re starting without a porch, or don’t know if you’re ready to do it yourself, hiring a professional is the smart way to go. Building a screened-in porch from the ground up can be pricey, so you might want to look into financing options.

A cash-out refinance can be a great way to go, as it often comes with lower rates than you could get with most other loans. As an added bonus, if the renovation adds value to your home, it will help “repay” the equity you’ve taken out.

Sound good? Why not start the process to get a cash-out-refinance today?

Need extra cash for home improvement?

Use your home equity for a cash-out refinance.

NMLS #3030

Jamie Johnson

Jamie Johnson is a Kansas City-based freelance writer who writes about a variety of personal finance topics, including loans, building credit, and paying down debt. She currently writes for clients like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Insider, and Bankrate.