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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.
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]
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
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.
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.
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
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).
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).
Options for Screening-in a Porch
There 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.
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
Avcon Structural Railing Systems www.avconrail.com
Thermoplastic and aluminum railings
EverNew PVC railing system
Global Dec-K-Ing Systems www.globaldecking.com
DEC-K-ING aluminum railing system
Decorative aluminum balusters and connectors for wooden
railing systems. Also, tempered-glass balusters
Durarail powder-coated aluminum railing system and
walk-on vinyl decking membrane.
FSI Home Products Division www.railingworks.com
Aluminum railing systems
Polyurethane railing systems in classic architectural
PermaPorch cellular-polyvinyl chloride (PVC) railings
and posts reinforced with wood or aluminum; cellular-PVC
or aluminum balusters
Kroy Building Products
Classic Manor PVC-railing system
L.B. Plastics www.lbplastics.com
Sheerline PVC-railing systems and PVC- post
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
Thermal Industries www.thermalindustries.com
Dream Rail PVC-railing system with optional tempered
U.S. Plastic Lumber Corp.
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
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
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
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
Deck & Porch Industry Associations
American Wood Preservers Association (AWPI)
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
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(June 4, 2014) David Lee said:
I have a stucco column back porch that I want to screen in. Something like screen tight isn't sturdy enough to screw into the 1" foam board under the stucco What options do I have.
(Oct 3, 2014) Gail said:
I want to build a screen in porch on my modular home what are the specifications for snow loads in Alamance county
David: you need to find the framing members behind the stucco and connect through the stucco to those. But beware: punching holes in the stucco skin of your building, if they are not sealed, can mean leaks, rot, insect damage or worse.
Gail: we'd need at least the country and state or province of your county to research a reasonable answer. Please let me know.
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Mark Morsching, Everflashing, Tel: 800-550-1667, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Everflashing product comes in G-185 and Stainless Steel and is intended for use with treated lumber with copper in it. Everflashing produces a variety of specialty flashing products including flashings for use with decks at deck ledgers and deck perimeters.
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Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
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The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
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