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What is a Screened Porch?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

A screened porch is a covered entrance to a building that features metal mesh screening. The screening is made up of tiny square holes that allow for air flow, yet also keep out insects. Screened porches are popular for sitting, dining and/or even sleeping in some cases.

Attached and free-standing are the two main types of screened porches. The attached type is added directly onto a main building, while the free-standing kind is not attached, but does stand right next to the building. Screened porches may also be known as screened galleries, verandas, patios, balconies or lanais depending on the certain geographical area in the United States.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

A screened porch is also sometimes referred to as a screened room since a room-like effect is created when screened walls are added to the porch base. Screens are used as alternatives to glass windows. Some screened porches have entire walls made of screening. Others have wood, vinyl or aluminum as structural and wall materials with screening as a partial feature of each wall. Being able to see outside when seated is an important consideration when designing the walls of a screened porch.

Wood structures used in screened porches may require special treatment and maintenance. Vinyl and aluminum are known for being easy to care for, but aluminum may be difficult for beginners to work with. Screened porches may be custom built by contractors or created as a do-it-yourself project. Building a screened porch is not a project to take lightly as there are many considerations involved.

For example, whether attached or free-standing, the screened porch should suit the style of the main building. Also, depending on geographical location, permits may be required to add screened porches onto existing structures. The location of the doorway and access to walkways or steps must also be considered when planning a screened porch. The porch must also allow enough room for furniture to be used comfortably. The porch floor could be stone, cement or tile depending on maintenance, appearance and cost requirements.

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