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Ann Architect, Renovation Design GroupAnnie Architect, Renovation Design Group

Renovation Solutions is weekly column on architectural home design by Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer, Principal Architects of Renovation Design Group, a Utah architectural firm focusing on home renovation design.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Screens make porches usable

By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon

This article no longer exists. See before and after photos of Remodeled Porches

In fact, the enclosed porch can be finished to be much like an interior space since it is partially protected by screens. Adding rugs, plants, lighting, and a ceiling fan bring all the comforts of the inside to a casual outside setting.

A fireplace can be added to extend the use of the space and provide a fun spot to roast hot dogs or make s'mores. A screened porch can become truly three seasonal with baseboard or radiant heating and screens that can be removed and replaced by glass or acrylic panels.

There are several options for screening. The least expensive fabric is fiberglass screening, which costs about 15 cents per square foot. This will not rust, but is not strong enough to weather abuse from children or pets. Aluminum mesh is the most commonly used material. For 25 cents per square foot, you get a stronger, longer-lasting material. It can produce a glare in bright sunshine, but a new black version is available for 5 cents more per square foot.

Fancier screening made of bronze or copper is available for 90 cents per square foot. Bronze is the stronger of the two, and copper will oxidize and change color over time. The strongest material to stand up against pets and kids is a new vinyl-coated polyester fabric that costs about 50 cents per square foot.

If constructing a whole new porch is a bit more than you want to tackle at this time, another option is to add curtains made of mosquito netting to your porch. This obviously does not work on an open deck, but it can be added to any permanently roofed porch area. The netting comes in white or black and can be attached with hooks or Velcro strips or hung on curtain rods.

So while there are any number of reasons our back yards are all but abandoned these days, with some effort and creativity, a screened porch can turn a problem into a design opportunity and add value and interest to your home. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at

© 2006 Renovation Design Group. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Renovation Design Group.

If you are considering a remodel project, please Request a Free Consultation with Ann or Annie.

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