Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Weekend Warriors: Screening in Our Back Porch

This post is better late than never – we wrapped up the porch project almost two months ago! 
*Pictures from project in second half of post.

Daniel was going through a bunch of old papers in our office this weekend {he was finding things like credit card statements from over 10-years ago!} and he came across our notes from when we were house hunting three years ago. We thought it was interesting that after viewing our current house for the first time, I made a note that we should screen in the back porch.
If you have known us for more than three years, chances are you have seen evidence of our endless house projects. That is what happens when you do a complete remodel of a house over the course of five years. Anyways, one of the charms of our new house {and part of the reason we bought it} was that no changes HAD to be made. We didn't even paint when we moved in. It was a load off of our shoulders to take a break from the endless renovations and try to reclaim our lives outside of projects.

That is not to say that there haven't been projects. For one, Daniel spent a good portion of the last year improving the attic insulation, air sealing, HVAC, and wiring in our house. Newer construction doesn't guarantee that everything is done properly... especially in a rural area where permits are not required for anything except septic systems.

About this time last year, I started dreaming up a new project. We love our back porch. It is huge and we spend a good portion of our time out there when the weather is nice. We especially love it on the weekends when we can savor our coffee in the mornings or lounge after lunch. Evening dinners on that porch have been a real treat as well. 

The problem is that when mosquito season is at its peak, we are driven indoors. And at the height of summer, we were discovering that carpenter bees, wasps and yellow jackets loved our porch as much as we did. They were making nests in the light fixtures and under the furniture. They didn't bother us too much and we always had a can of wasp spray handy so that Daniel could ward them off, but with Jack in the picture we have had more reason to be concerned. 

So I had the bright idea that we could screen in the half of the porch where we spend the most time. I knew that it would be a pretty large undertaking and I kind of thought Daniel would buck at the thought of the project – both at the cost and time involved. Surprisingly, it didn't take much to persuade him.

As usual, this project took way longer than we anticipated. The tv show, Weekend Warriors –is it still on anymore?– is a lie. Nothing gets done in a weekend. Not in real life anyway. Especially not when you have a perfectionistic engineer of a husband who has to make sure the work is done properly {for which I am thankful!}.

Step 1: Research
Daniel looked into what our options were; what made the most sense; what materials we would need; that kind of thing. He was going to have to build a wall to enclose one end of the porch, which would include a door. We also wanted to incorporate a doggy door that would make it easier for Sophie to come and go.

First we found a prefabbed door at Home Depot that Daniel could easily alter to match the rest of our deck. Then we decided on the Screen Tight System for attaching our screen and the Phifer BetterVue brand of screen material because it is easy to see through and prevents mold growth. On the note about being easy to see through: 1) When attaching the screen, Daniel tried to put his arm and face through a section that he didn't realize he had already finished; 2) Daniel's Grandmother tried to throw a cup of ice off the porch through the screen after it was finished; and 3) I saw a bird fly into the side of it the other day. In conclusion, we are very happy with our choice of screen! 

Step 2: Purchase Materials
We continue to discover that if you can find materials online, they are typically cheaper and in better shape than if purchased {in person} at a big box store. The screen and screentight system were bought on homedepot.com with coupon codes, and shipped to our door for free.

Step 3: Pressure Washing
The concrete floor and existing wood framing had to be pressure washed. 

Step 4: Staining and Resealing Existing Porch Frame
After pressure washing the existing porch frame, we stained and resealed the wood. At six years old, we needed to do this as a part of the regular maintenance of the porch.

Step 5: Staining and Sealing Wood for New Structure
After that, we stained and sealed all of the new wood to match the existing wood. At this time Daniel also built a hand rail for our rear steps – which meant more wood to stain and seal. The new rail means no more 10' fall to the ground if you miss a step – which is pretty important with a toddler around.

Step 6: Wall Enclosure
Daniel framed the new wall with an opening for the new door. He also added pressure treated 2x4s along the floor {between the posts} to serve as a backer for the screen system.

Step 7: Set Up Scaffolding
Daniel set up 12' scaffolding on a trailer that was attached to our four-wheeler. This allowed him to work safely at the height of our porch. One of my tasks was to move the four-wheeler every time Daniel was ready to move to the next section of porch. Daniel sat on the scaffolding while I moved the four-wheeler and trailer that held the scaffolding. Thankfully it was strapped securely to the trailer, but this was my least favorite task.

Step 8: Attach Track
Before attaching the screen, Daniel had to attach track to the outside of the porch. The track is used for stretching the screen taut across each 10' opening on our porch. The top and bottom sections each hold a separate screen. There were a total of 8 large openings and 5 small openings where we had to attach the screen system.

Step 9: Attach Screen

Daniel did most of the work...

but I helped to stretch and hold the screen taut as he fastened it to the frame.

To do this, he used a tool that looked like a mini pizza cutter to roll the spline into the track. The spline is what holds the screen in place {it looks like a long, black rope}.

Step 10: Attach Basecap
Finally, the last step for each screen was to cover the track and spline with a basecap. We chose white to match the white trim that is on our windows.

Step 11: Modify Door
Daniel modified a store-bought door to include a doggy door for Sophie

The door was the very last thing to get hung. Once it was in place, Daniel added hardware including a handle on the outside and a latch on the inside. Then trim was attached to create a stop for the door.

Step 12: Enjoy Our Porch
We actually purchased some close-out furniture online back in October. 

Over the years we have managed to get some pretty sweet deals on outdoor furniture at the end of the season.

We are looking forward to many hours spent on our newly screened-in porch. 

Hopefully this will solve our pest problem! So far, mosquitoes have not been a problem, but a few wood bores are still finding their way inside the porch. We are working on a solution for this.

1 comment:

  1. Cleaning the porch before putting the screen is, indeed, a requirement. Glad to know that you didn't skip that part. It is very ideal to use pressure washer when you are cleaning wood. It can save you time and effort while guaranteeing a properly cleaned floor and other wood materials.

    German Zollinger @Total Clean Equipment


Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...