Part III – How to Build a Screen Porch – Roof, Paint, and Electrical Requirements
See Part I "How to Build a Screen Porch - Frame and Square the Floor"
See Part II "How to Build a Screen Porch - From Foundation & Deck, to Walls and Support"
The shape and pitch of your screened porch roof can add much to the overall look. Try to match the pitch or slope of your house roof. If your house has a hip roof, mimic it. A hip roof is very strong and helps to lock the walls together. Make sure that you produce an adequate overhang such as 14 to 16 inches.
Roof framing can indeed be a challenge. Cutting and fitting rafters will probably be the hardest part of the job. There are several books available on the topic:
- Framing Roofs (For Pros by Pros Series). Fine Homebuilding Magazine. 2003.
- Roof Framing. Marshall Gross. Craftsman Book Co. 1989.
- Roof Framer's Bible: The Complete Pocket Reference to Roof Framing. Barry D. Mussell. Craftsman Book Co. 2003.
Be sure that you plan for electric in your porch. You may need outlets for radios, table lamps or TV's. How about an overhead light or paddle fan? You need to design your screen panels or small walls below the panels to accept receptacles and wires. Also, if your porch floor is low to the ground, guess what? You had better run your wires BEFORE you install the porch floor. I told you that you would have to think ahead!
Painting / Staining
This is one of the most important parts of the project. Wooden screened porches can require huge amounts of ongoing maintenance. You need to minimize this work. You can do it by pre-painting every piece of redwood or cedar before it is installed. Remember, these porches will get wet! Water will find its way to unpainted wood, soak in, and then cause the paint finish to peel. Take the time to prime and paint all wood on all edges before it is installed. Remember to paint any cut edges after they are trimmed. Paint the screen panels BEFORE the screens are installed. Heck, you can even paint the roof rafters and underside of the roof plywood before they are installed! I hate when paint drips onto my face!