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How to Screen in a Porch

Screening in a porch beneath an existing room provides a comfortable place to sit outside and keeps away the bugs.

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screened in porch is a big backyard improvement Watch Video

Step 1: Install the Plate

Lay pressure-treated 2" x 4" boards around the perimeter of the porch. Use a framing square to make sure the sill plate is square. Fasten the sill plate to the concrete floor using lag bolts and concrete anchors (Image 1). Attach a layer of untreated wood on top of the sill plate to provide a base for interior trim work. Use a reciprocating saw or a handsaw to remove the sill plate from door opening.

fasten sill plate to concrete floor

Courtesy of Cary Wiedman

Step 2: Install the Top Plate

Stand a stud on top of the sill plate against the wall, check for plumb and temporarily fasten it in place. Place a board for the top plate against the ceiling, using the upright stud to support one end and another stud to support the other. Nail the top plate to the ceiling. Repeat this process around the perimeter of the porch.

Step 3: Install the Wall Studs

Check the width of the screen before installing the studs. Most screens come in 3' widths, so space the wall studs on 3' centers. For door frames, place two studs on each side of the door opening. One will be used for attaching the screen and the other will be used for the door hinges.

Step 4: Install the Top Rail and Balusters

Use a level and a chalk line to mark a line on the wall studs 32" from the floor. Cut 2" x 4" boards to length and install them horizontally between the studs to create the top rail. Cut balusters from 2" x 2" boards to fit between the top rail and the sill plate. Position the balusters so they're evenly spaced and flush with the outside wall. Secure them with finish nails.

top rail made with horizontal boards between studs

Courtesy of Cary Wiedman

Step 5: Frame the Door

Frame out the door area and install a doorstop around the top and sides (Image 1). The rounded edge of the doorstop should face inside the porch.

install doorstop around door area

Courtesy of Cary Wiedman

Step 6: Prime and Paint

Prime and paint the porch frame and screen door. When priming the screen door, use masking tape to prevent primer from getting on the screen.

Step 7: Attach the Screen

Cut the screening to length and staple one side of the screen to the wall studs (Image 1). Stretch the material taut and staple it to the other stud. To cover the seams, cut lath to length, prime and paint the pieces and nail into place. Follow this order: top horizontal pieces first, followed by the bottom and balusters, then the vertical pieces (Image 2).

Step 8: Hang the Screen Door

Place a scrap piece of lath under the door so there is a 1/4" gap between the slab and the bottom of the door. Attach the door to the wall stud with hinges. Install a rubber sweep on the bottom of the door to prevent insects from entering the porch (Image 1). Install any remaining hooks, latches, springs and hardware.

Learn how converting a porch into a sunroom can add value to your home at HGTV's FrontDoor.com.

hanging the screen doors is one of the last steps

Courtesy of Cary Wiedman

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