Monday, April 13, 2009
Removing your screened in porch & restoring the architecture of yourhome.
There are places for screened in porches and some of them can look great if done correctly, but unfortunately most modern screens don't add any value architecturally to your old home. When my house was originally build it had wooden framed windows that could be hooked to the ceiling if you wanted to leave the windows open. These porches look great, & there is still one in the neighborhood with working windows, but few have survived the test of time. Somewhere between 1929 and 2004 the porch windows on my home were replaced with the aluminum storm window variety.
They work great at keeping snow and rain out but, over time the over all look had degraded. In spring the screens would actually keep all the dirt and pollen in the screened in area and make it very dirty. It would also get very hot. All these factors lead to tearing off the screened in porch. It's actually very easy to remove the aluminum parts. All you will need is a screw driver. Make sure you take the aluminum to a scrap yard to be recycled. They will take everything but the clear window parts. From my small porch I turned in $70 in aluminum. The tough part of the job is replacing any of the wood that may have rotted below the aluminum. I had rotten railings and one of the large wooden post bases was rotten. To find out in the middle of a job that a 2 x 4 piece of wood in 1929 is a different size than today was very frustrating. Luckily a neighbor let me use his table saw to cut a 4 x 4 into the correct size. I also had to borrow jack stands to lift the porch while I replaced the wooden column base. After that we just had to paint. We also painted the porch floor. Make sure you use porch paint and do at least two coats to prevent moisture getting under the paint and making it peel. Over all it was a fairly easy project. Just be prepared for unexpected rot that may make a project you thought would take a day turn into a week.
Over all I'm my wife talked me into it. It has definitely changed the dynamic of the neighbor hood for us. People will say hi to you when you sit on your porch but generally not if it's screened in. It is much more functional and inviting. The porch also stays a lot cleaner since most of the dirt keeps on blowing. Now we can feel the breeze, it stays cooler ,and is a common refuge in summer even though we have air conditioning. I hope this gives you some ideas and the before and after pictures help you with the decision if this would be a good way to go for your home.