Screen porches are great for enjoying nice weather without being pestered by bugs. However, whenever the temperature is less than ideal, you’ll likely enjoy your screen porch less as well. Here’s what you need to know about how to turn a screen porch into a sunroom that you can enjoy year-round.
1. Strip it Down
The first step is to remove the screen and look at the surrounding support to see what kind of condition it’s in. You may be able to keep most of the existing support beams and frame as it is, or you may decide to remove even load-bearing beams and rebuild the entire space.
The choice depends on your preferences and the condition of your screened porch. Of course, even if your screened porch needs to be mostly removed, you could still rebuild the sunroom to follow the exact lines of the old porch.
Many people prefer to replace the screen with glass but not change much else so as to maintain the look of the old porch.
2. Build the New Frame
You may be building onto the existing frame or creating an entirely new frame with brand new structural supports for the roof. The frame will determine how windows fit into the sunroom.
In many cases, the new windows can replace the old screen exactly. In other cases, the screens were too large or irregularly shaped to be replaced by windows. You may decide that you want windows stretching from floor to ceiling in narrow pandals, large horizontal panels on the bottom and vertical panels above them, or any other arrangement. Make sure you keep in mind whether you want windows to be able to open or not as you are designing the frame.
3. Put in the Windows
Typically, windows compose three walls of a sunroom. However, you can choose to leave another wall without windows to increase privacy or provide storage space if you’d prefer.
You can also choose to put in frosted glass to provide more privacy. Stained glass windows can create a truly stunning space in your sunroom as the sun goes through the colored glass and casts light in the sunroom.
You can also just use stained glass in the door or in a couple of accent windows if you want a little bit of color but not too much. Keep your mind open when it comes to what kind of glass you’d like to use and how you want the effects to look.
4. Add Climate Control
Your sunroom won’t do you any good if you don’t provide temperature control. After all, the whole point of replacing the screen with glass is to control the temperature.
It’s possible to use your home’s central AC for the sunroom, but most people choose PTAC units for sunroom temperature control. A PTAC unit can provide temperature control when you need it and be turned off so that the windows can be open when you don’t.
Enjoy Your New Sunroom
Screened porches aren’t very functional in the midst of a cold winter or a very hot summer. By contrast, sunrooms can be enjoyed in every season. By building a beautiful sunroom with great temperature control, you can enjoy the sun and the view no matter the temperature or weather.