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Screened In Porch Extends Outdoor Enjoyment

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

The décor of a screened in porch can be rustic, contemporary or anything your design style dictates as it brings your indoor living space outdoors in a protected, welcoming space. The addition of a screened in porch expands a family’s enjoyment of its surroundings by extending the indoors out under a protective cover. Whether the addition of a porch includes covering an existing deck or patio or investing in new construction, there’s a porch design for nearly every Madison, WI home. Intense afternoon sun, periodic showers and the seasonal insects all contribute to limiting the use of even the finest backyard. Decks and patios provide positive elements, but there’s nothing like the protection and comfort of a screened in porch. Planning and foresight are the building blocks of an ideal porch design, beginning with a list of “must have” elements:

  • Plenty of room for furniture – seating and dining for friends and family

  • Lighting to extend its use well after dark.

  • Protection from direct sun – blinds, shades

  • Low maintenance – pet-proof, washable screens, weather-resistant flooring

  • Airflow – ceiling fans

  • Electrical outlets for convenience

  • Access to sound system

Carefully Plan Your Screened in Porch People have realized the value of expanding their inside amenities closer to the outdoors and insightful porch design incorporates all the latest products, materials and design trends. Putting pencil to paper before consulting a builder or designer is the first step in the planning process. Consider all the elements your dream porch will feature. Here are a few suggestions to start:

  • Entry and Exit – Where will the doors be? Make sure doors from the house to the porch don’t hinder traffic flow inside or out. Sliding doors eliminate this problem and allow additional light inside. Review where your door to the outside will be located – does it open onto a stoop, deck or directly to the ground? Will it interfere with anything outside? Plan on doors wide enough to make moving furniture in and out easy without damage.

  • All Screen Isn’t the Same – Evaluate the screen that’s best suited for your installation. There are aluminum screens and fiberglass screen materials that are common. Both have pros and cons. Screen materials often come tinted in shades of gray to reduce glare – but some can fade with direct sunlight.

  • Less Light Indoors – When you add a roof over your new screened in porch you will reduce the amount of natural light the comes into the house now. You may have to install additional lighting indoors.

  • Less Light Outdoors – The same roof reduces the natural light that once fell on the deck, patio or yard where the new porch will sit. How will you light the interior of the new screened porch? Recess lighting, ceiling fans with attached lights, a skylight? All of the above?

  • Power To The New Room – Your porch design is adding a new room to your house. As such it will require the same amenities as other rooms – light switches, outlets, wiring for TV, etc.

  • A Matter of Style – Select the materials for your new porch to match or accent current architectural style. Choices include treated lumber, rough cedar, etc. Exteriors can be distinctive or blended into the existing structure. Do you want your porch to be a “cabin in the woods” or just a new room?

  • Place Furniture – Do a floor plan of your proposed screened in porch, placing the furniture you want. Size matters and on paper is the place to find out your furniture choices don’t fit. Measure existing pieces or get dimensions of those you want to add. Working out details on paper saves headaches and changes in the building process.

As with many remodeling plans, size truly matters. It impacts costs, time to completion and, ultimately, value. When it comes to a porch design the rule of thumb is “the bigger the better.” After a few seasons, few people wish their screened in porch was smaller, most wish they’d “gone a little bigger.” Take Your Plan To The Next Level Once you have your personal plan clear in your mind and on paper it’s time to take it to the professionals for analysis and completion. To construct a quality screened in porch you need details for professionals to work with. Final plans include:

  • Detailed floorplan with accurate measurements

  • Elevations and cross section dimensions

  • A complete list of mechanical requirements – electrical outlets, wiring for fans and fixtures, etc.

  • Details on required foundation changes – type of foundation, soil beneath the new structure

The transition from a “good idea” to a working blueprint for a new screened in porch requires the input of an experienced contractor. The multilayered plans are referred to for many reasons, including:

  • The contractor will determine how best to blend the new addition into existing architecture.

  • The builder determines the subcontractors he will have to employ.

  • Subcontractors and suppliers learn what will be expected of them.

  • The builder uses the detailed plans to estimate costs and estimate the materials required.

  • Municipal officials rely upon the plans to provide information relating to building codes and zoning requirements.

  • In some municipalities, environmental agencies review plans to evaluate the impact on nearby water resources, etc.

  • Landscapers work from these plans to develop their own proposals for landscapes and hardscapes to complement the screened in porch addition.

The more details your individual porch design plan includes, the easier it is for a design-build professional to adapt it to these final stages and get your screened in porch project moving toward a successful completion.

A More Elaborate Addition

If you want to go beyond the basic, traditional porch, there are additional options, including a 3-season porch or a sunroom. A 3-season porch design includes windows and doors that completely seal out the elements and extend the structure’s use well into Fall and early in Spring. Additional considerations include potential for heating and cooling – and ceiling fans can play a critical role in both. The installation of windows and weather-proof doors increases the cost significantly but also adds to the overall resale value. There’s a real interior room feel but the rustic appeal is harder to achieve.

A sunroom is a completely different and more complete addition. It is a custom addition to the home that maximizes natural light and takes advantage of local views all year long. There’s a feeling of bringing the outdoors in no matter the weather.

Make Plans, Rely on Experience

After you’ve worked out what you want your screened in porch to look like and include, team up with a professional contractor with the experience to deliver a porch design that exceeds your expectations. Westring Construction LLC has the expertise and experience to review all the options for every remodeling project from screened porches to complete home renovations anywhere in Dane County and surrounding areas including Sun Prairie, Waunakee, Middleton, Verona, Fitchburg, McFarland, Cottage Grove and Stoughton.

Call Westring Construction LLC at 608-441-5435 or email us  to bring your porch design to life with a rewarding screened in porch in Madison WI.

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