The screen porch monkey is off my back. Sure there are some minor decor things that need to be addressed, but we finally have a screen porch; something we’ve been waiting for since we were building our last house. In fact we always hoped to have a screen porch so Daphne, our cat, could go outside to enjoy the fresh air without running away. She’s 13 now, and cat’s don’t live forever. It’s really nice to go out there to eat dinner, or just hang out. We have an adjacent open porch area as well, so that serves as a nice spot for the grill and a chair to rest in whilst waiting for burgers to cook.
As you may or may not know, we installed a Screen Tight system to enclose our porch. This is definitely the way to go. The base track went on easy, and eventually the screen and cap pieces went on fairly easily as well. After about 4-5 screen sections we got the hang of it, making the rest fairly easy to install. Tips:
- install on a warm day, in late morning or afternoon. This loosens the track, spline and screen, decreasing the chance of “bubbles” in the finished screen section, as well as making it easier to insert the spline in the track.
- keep track sections slightly away from overhangs and columns if possible, will make it easier to hammer the cap onto the track.
- use tape to hold large screen panels in place until you can insert the first, top, spline into the track. I used the butt end of my spline tool to “hammer” in the spline to start each section. Insert top then sides and finally bottom spline in that order.
- have a helper to help keep screen tight as you insert spline.
- get 10′ lengths of cap material if possible. We had 8′ so we have a lot of unsightly seams. The extruded cap material is cut in line during production so not all the ends are square, especially the double (3.5″) cap material.
- cut cap material with a hacksaw. I tried snips (messy), chop saw (plastic shattered, nearly taking an eye out), and a utility knife (mind numbingly tedious).
With all the screens and caps in place, the last step was to install the door. I installed a pre-made door, from Screen Tight. This was a bit more difficult because my posts / columns were a bit out of whack. I decided to mortise the hinges into a column, but it had such a bow, that only the top and bottom hinges got cut into the column; the middle hinge was just flush mounted so to speak. I checked the door and it showed level horizontally, but the bottom corner still rubbed on the deck boards….oh well, not sure what else to do I decided I could sand down the bottom corner of the door. I then installed door stops on the inside; made by ripping down a leftover pressure treated 2×4 into 1″ strips. I fastened all three strips and checked the fit. My door fit okay but was kind of all over the place…I then installed the door hook on the inside, this tightened up the closure, but only with the hook latched. Finally I installed the spring which was my only complaint. To get the door to close tight I need a lot of tension. Well the inside door hook doesn’t bite into the fiberglass door enough. Under tension it’s already starting to pull out. Poor design if you ask me, even with my sub par installation job. Overall I’d give my door install a D+ or C-. It works but it’s not the best and will probably benefit from a complete redo at a later date, but for now it’s manageable and keeps the bugs out.
As for the Screen Tight system I’d give it a A. It’s the way to go if you want a screen porch at your home.
So that’s one major project done. Tomorrow I’ll install the garden gates and we should get most of the veggie garden planted.
The boys are really enjoying the house and yard. Each day they discover more and more ways to make me smile and laugh. I am very fortunate to be able to spend so much time with them while they are this age. Granted we may starve but I’m glad that we at least have this time together as a family. I realize a vast majority of parents are just trying to make ends meet or busy chasing wants or needs. So in one way we’re very lucky in these times.