Screen Porch Conversion

By: Danny Lipford
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Back porch before the makeover

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Phil and Molly’s porch before the conversion.

Phil and Molly Nix’s home is pretty new, and their back porch was nice a little spot. But, it wasn’t the outside room they wanted, and it didn’t really reflect the couple’s personality or Molly’s beach-inspired vision.

The screen walls we added not only made it more comfortable, but they also define the space, making it feel more like a room. The scored and stained concrete gave the floor more of a finished interior feel, not to mention color and character.

We also installed a ceiling fan and TV, and reconfigured the walkway and grill area. To complete the under-the-sea theme, we added their “crab trap” lights and Molly’s mermaid accent to the screen door.

Danny and Molly brush the stain on the concrete floor.

Danny and Molly brush the stain on the concrete floor.

Scoring and Staining the Concrete Porch

Molly designed a yellow, blue and gray pattern for the stained concrete slab. After laying out the lines with chalk, we scored the concrete using a circular saw fitted with a diamond-tipped masonry blade. The saw was set to cut about an 1/8-inch deep, and we used a long straight board to guide the cuts along our layout lines. Watch How to Score and Acid Stain a Concrete Slab for more info on this noisy and dusty process.

To prepare the concrete surfaces for staining, we pressure washed the porch and patio stones that we used for the reconfigured walkway. We used a straight edge in the grooves we scored to ensure the colors of the stains didn’t run together. Then we used a brush to apply the Quikrete translucent concrete stain in the colors Molly chose. We also stained the recycled patio pavers in alternating colors to give the walkway a cool look that complements the screened-in porch. Finally, we applied a glossy sealer to protect the concrete surfaces.

Watch Staining Concrete Surfaces for details.

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The existing porch was screened in to create an exterior room.

Screening in the Porch

Molly Nix and Allen Lyle get ready to rehab the old screen door.

Molly Nix and Allen Lyle get ready to rehab the old screen door.

We started the project by framing the walls to create surfaces for attaching the screen. The walls were constructed from pressure-treated 2x4s, which we primed and painted ahead of time.

When both walls were complete, we added more horizontal pieces between each stud at about 36 inches off the floor. This stiffened the frame and gave extra support to the screen material over a long span. We used 36-inch wide screen, so we spaced our studs to allow for about an inch of overlap on each side.

Installing the screen was as simple as rolling it out over each open space and stapling it every few inches along all sides. The key was to avoid wrinkles without pulling the screen so tightly that it stretched out of shape. To cover the staples we nailed up treated wooden lattice strips along the edge of each stud. These were also pre-primed and painted like the studs, to minimize painting with the screens in place.

Lastly, we installed the antique screen door, which got a nautical makeover to match the porch decor.

Watch How to Screen In an Existing Porch for step-by-step instructions on this project.

Other Tips from This Episode

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Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
How to Make a Self-Watering Bowl for Pets

Here’s how to convert an ordinary pet bowl into a self-watering bowl using a piece of 1×2, a couple of machine screws, some wire, and a 2-liter water bottle. Watch video.

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Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Ridgid Cordless Palm Impact Screwdriver Kit

This screwdriver kit from Ridgid is small but powerful. It works with the pressure you apply when driving in the screw, so it gives you total control. It is available at The Home Depot. Watch video.

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Screen Porch Conversion