A screened porch is a wonderful addition or an alternative to a deck. If you are currently stuck with an old, deteriorating deck that poses a whole lot of safety hazards, instead of building a new one you can replace it with a screened porch. In many ways, a screened porch is more functional than a deck, but only if you build it right, with proper planning and execution. Our Maryland deck and porch experts are happy to give you a few ideas on adding functionality to your screened porch.
Lots of Seating
Ask yourself what you plan on doing on your screened porch. Most people use this space for alfresco dining, afternoon naps, entertainment and even work. These are all very different activities that require different accommodations. For example, for dining you can have a dining table with traditional upright chairs. For lounging, you can have a lounge or a hammock. For entertainment, a couch or a love seat and armchair set works wonders. Plan for these different areas by calculating how much space each one would need. This will also help you determine the overall size of your porch.
If you’ve looked at the pictures of screened porches or went on house tours, you’ve probably noticed that the flooring on these porches is pretty close to that of a deck. This means there are often gaps between the boards where bugs can crawl or fly through. A common solution to this problem is to install a mesh screen underneath the floor similar to what’s on the walls. However, this is not your only option. You can use tongue-and-grove flooring or tile to keep the bugs away, as well as to better tie the screened porch to the rest of the house.
Considering how hot and humid Maryland summers can be, ceiling fans are not just welcome, but necessary to make your screened porch more usable. Depending on the size of your porch, you may add one or two fans to keep the air circulating. Purchase exterior-grade fans and carefully consider the placement to make sure the generated airflow doesn’t interrupt any of the porch activities. Trying to read when the wind is constantly trying to flip a page can be frustrating.
Plenty of Light
This is one of the reasons why a screened porch is better than a deck: even at night, when you turn on the lights, you don’t get bombarded with bugs. Speaking of the lights, make sure you have enough light on your porch to create the right type of ambiance. Some people prefer ceiling lights, while others opt for lamps that provide softer light. You need to decide on the type of lighting before you start building, because you may need to add extra outdoor outlets to plug in your lamps.
Music is a big part of entertaining, and it’s great for relaxation too. Instead of playing it from your phone or using a small boombox, spread the sound to every corner of your screened porch with pre-wired speakers connected to your preferred media player. Again, make sure that the speakers are approved for outdoor use or they could rust and fail due to the drastic temperature and humidity changes.
Need help implementing any of these ideas on your new screened porch? Contact North American Deck and Patio today for a free consultation.