Screened porch plans or sketches can help you formulate some of your ideas and decide on the best layout for your planned upgrade.
Designing Your Screened Porch Layout
A screened porch can add value to your home and make it easier to enjoy the outdoors. It will let you experience the benefits of spring and fall without the hassle of bugs and burning sunlight, but before you start calling professionals or head out to purchase materials, make sure that you have a plan. Anything more elaborate than stapling screening material on existing posts may involve more work than you realize, so being prepared is the best way to avoid nasty surprises later.
Start With a Plan
Your best first step is to come up with screened porch plans that will help you complete the project yourself or explain your design ideas to others. There are many sites online where you can find preliminary drawings as well as finished plans for a reasonable fee. You can use a preliminary sketch as a starting point for your design, adapting it to your needs. There are also a number of home design software programs that will get you started. If you're computer savvy, freeware computer aided design programs can do the job too.
Check Your Local Building Codes
You will also want to check existing building codes to see if your plan is feasible. Visit your county zoning office to get additional information about building in your area. It's easier and more economical to do this step yourself. If you're on the wrong track with your design, it will save you time and money later.
A simple screened porch isn't an all weather room. Florida rooms, or rooms designed to be used through spring, summer, and fall, are usually wired for electrical service and may be hooked up to a home's HVAC system. These all-weather or most-weather rooms are more elaborate structures that must meet stringent building code standards.
Integrate Your Design
Once you do settle on a plan, any additions or modifications to your home should be in keeping with its overall style and design. This sounds simple, but coordinating building materials, colors, roof styles and trim while staying within code and respecting the scale of the existing structure can be a challenge. This is where a professional can really help you maintain the integrity of your home's exterior while creating a safe and legal porch addition or upgrade.
Screened Porch Planning Tips
Whether you go with a prefabricated addition or hire a contractor or architect to design a custom solution, these tips will help:
- Plan your space. A porch you'll use primarily for keeping plants in will be a very different space from one in which you will be serving meals. Table seating requires more area than a space that will only be used to group a few chairs and an occasional table. Understanding how you plan to use the space will help you avoid disappointments later.
- Consider your exposure. In theory, a screened porch is a romantic idea, but in practice some locations aren't convenient or can be expensive to maintain. Southern exposure porches get very hot on late spring and summer afternoons, making them expensive to cool and uncomfortable to relax in if they aren't air conditioned.
- The building materials you use to complete your porch upgrade will have a big impact on the cost of the project, its appearance, and its effective life. Newer pressure treated and synthetic materials can offer an attractive finished product that will have a long useful life and will weather the elements well.
- Don't forget access. Your porch will be easier to use if you can position it so that it is directly adjacent to a living area, like a family room or kitchen. When preparing your design, don't forget that building in front of your home's exterior windows will have an impact on the lighting in interior rooms. To avoid losing light, incorporate large windows into your porch design, and consider adding skylights.
Take Your Time Planning
Don't rush to choose a plan for your screened porch because you need to make sure the space will have everything you want. Take your time looking at different plans and thinking about how they'll fit with your existing exterior and landscape. This will ensure you wind up with a screened in space you love.