Pier installation details (C) Daniel Friedman Porch Construction & Porch Screening Installation Details

  • PORCH CONSTRUCTION & SCREENING - CONTENTS: How to build or screen-in a porch. Best Construction Practices for porches & porch screens. Porch construction details & procedures. Porch Construction Materials Choices. Porch Construction & Structural Fasteners. Porch Safety. Porch Railings, Code Requirements, Safety. Finishes for Exterior porches & porch screens. Poor Construction Details and Improper Connections Can Lead to Dangerous Collapse of Porches
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about porch construction & porch screening choices & installation

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Porch construction & porch screen installation:

This article provides details for porch construction and porch screen installation. This article series discuss best porch & deck construction practices, including choice of framing materials, decking or flooring choices & installation, how to select and use deck and porch structural and flooring fasteners, actual deck & porch framing construction details & connections, deck joist & beam span tables,

How to build leak-proof rooftop decks, construction of covered & screened porches, deck & porch railing construction & materials, choices of finishes and stains for decks & porches, and past & current deck lumber preservative treatments with related health & environmental concerns.

This article series includes excerpts or adaptations from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, by Steven Bliss, courtesy of Wiley & Sons.

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Construction Detailing for Covered & Screened Porches

Rooftop porch, Mexico City (C) Daniel FriedmanThis article includes adaptations or excerpts of material provided by and © Copyright protected by Steve Bliss, Wiley & Sons, used with permission

The detailing for decks and porches is very similar. Code requirements for railings are the same, whether a deck is open or closed in with screening.

If the screening runs to the floor, railings will be required to protect the screening, even if the railing is not required by code.

[Click to enlarge any image]

Porch decking can be spaced (like an open deck) or installed tight with a slope for drainage. Structurally, posts are easier to anchor on a porch, since they are tied in to the roof framing, which keeps them rigid.

Guide to Solid Decking for Porch Floors

Where the decking will be protected by a roof, it can be either spaced like a typical open deck or sealed and painted with a decking enamel for a more formal appearance.

Solid decking is typically tongue-and groove 1x4, 5/4x6, or 2x6 decking. For solid decking, choose kiln-dried stock and install it with tight seams.

Solid decking should be sloped 1/4 inch per foot to drain. Make provisions for drainage on the three exterior sides and, if exposed to significant wetting, on the house side as well.

If the porch has a solid knee wall, leave minimum 1-inch scuppers at floor level to allow water to drain from the porch interior to outside.

More information about the porch floor above is found at Rooftop Deck Construction.

How to Install Enclosed Porch Screening

With a screened enclosure, use either solid decking or spaced decking with insect screening stapled to the underside of the joists. Furring strips tacked over the screening will help keep it from sagging and tearing.

If the screening goes from floor to eaves, a system of rails and balusters will need to be installed to protect the lower half of the screen (Figure 4-18 below).

Figure 4-18: Porch screening details (C) J Wiley, S Bliss

If the porch is 30 inches or more above grade, the railing will need to comply with code for guardrails (see “Railings,” page 147). Another option is to build an enclosed knee wall and start the screening at the top of the knee wall (see Figure 4-19 shown below).

Figure 4-18: Porch screening details (C) J Wiley, S Bliss

Options for Screening-in a Porch

Screened porch (C) Daniel FriedmanThere are several options for screening. Whether you build your own or buy custom screens, aluminum screening is much stronger and more tear-resistant than fiberglass. Removable screens have the advantage of being easy to remove and repair. However, building screens from wooden screen mold is very time-consuming. Simpler options for screening are:

  • Have a window supplier build custom wood or metal screens with vinyl splines to hold the screen in place.
  • Use a manufactured screening system such as Screen Tight™ (One Better Way), a vinyl snap-in-place system for fiberglass screening that screws onto the exterior face of the porch framing.
  • Staple aluminum screening to the exterior of the 4x4 posts and trim with 1x wood trim pieces screwed in place.

Deck & Porch Resources, Products, Manufacturers: Where to Buy

Prefabricated Deck & Porch Railing Systems

  • Avcon Structural Railing Systems www.avconrail.com Thermoplastic and aluminum railings
  • CertainTeed www.certainteed.com EverNew PVC railing system
  • Global Dec-K-Ing Systems www.globaldecking.com DEC-K-ING aluminum railing system
  • DecKorators Inc. www.deckrail.com Decorative aluminum balusters and connectors for wooden railing systems. Also, tempered-glass balusters
  • Duradek www.duradek.com Durarail powder-coated aluminum railing system and walk-on vinyl decking membrane.
  • FSI Home Products Division www.railingworks.com Aluminum railing systems
  • Fypon www.fypon.com Polyurethane railing systems in classic architectural styles
  • HB&G www.hbgcolumns.net PermaPorch cellular-polyvinyl chloride (PVC) railings and posts reinforced with wood or aluminum; cellular-PVC or aluminum balusters Kroy Building Products www.kroybp.com Classic Manor PVC-railing system
  • L.B. Plastics www.lbplastics.com Sheerline PVC-railing systems and PVC- post cladding
  • Royal Crown Limited www.royalcrownltd.com PVC railing system with steel reinforcing
  • Shakespeare Composites Structures www.armor-rail.com Armor-Rail structural fiberglass (FRP) railing system with turned balusters
  • Thermal Industries www.thermalindustries.com Dream Rail PVC-railing system with optional tempered glass balusters
  • U.S. Plastic Lumber Corp. www.carefreexteriors.com Recycled HDPE railing system

Hidden Deck Fastener Suppliers

  • BEN Manufacturing www.premier1.net/~ben69 Dec-Klips fit between deck planks with prongs into edges; nailed into top of joists; electrogalvanized steel
  • Blue Heron Enterprises www.ebty.com Eb-Ty UV-resistant polypropylene biscuit fits into slots in edge of decking, screws into top of joist Grabber Construction Products www.deckmaster.com Deckmaster angle bracket screws to side of joist and up into decking; available in galvanized or stainless steel
  • Simpson Strong-Tie www.strongtie.com DBTC deck ties screw down to top of joist with prongs into edges of decking planks; triple-zinc-coated or stainless steel by special order; disposable plastic driving tool
  • Spotnails www.spotnails.com Tebo stainless-steel fasteners fit between decking boards with prongs into edges of decking; installed with mallet and proprietary tool
  • TY-LAN Enterprises Inc. www.shadoetrack.com Shadoe Track angle bracket nailed along top of joist and screws up into bottom of deck boards; available in galvanized, powder-coated, and stainless steel
  • USP Lumber Connectors www.uspconnectors.com Deck Clip screws into edge of one decking board and locks to next board; requires toenailing one edge of each board
  • Screen Systems for Porches

  • One BetterWay www.screentight.com Screen-Tight vinyl porch screening system screws to exterior of porch framing; snap-on facings conceal screws and screen splines; available in white, beige, gray, and brown
  • Deck & Porch Industry Associations

  • American Wood Preservers Association (AWPI) www.awpa.com
  • California Redwood Association www.calredwood.org
  • Deck Industry Association www.deckindustry.org
  • Forest Stewardship Council www.fscus.org Information on certified tropical hardwoods
  • Rainforest Alliance, Smartwood Program www.rainforest-alliance.org Information on certified tropical hardwoods
  • Southern Forest Products Association www.sfpa.org
  • Southern Pine Council www.southernpine.com
  • Western Wood Products Association www.wwpa.org
  • Western Wood Preservers Institute www.wwpinstitute.org

-- Adapted with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.


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