How to Build an Enclosed Porch

Building your own enclosed porch can be an extremely rewarding project, though it is no minor task. Keeping your design simple and built to standard measurements will make the project more manageable. Depending on the materials you use, style and size of your enclosed porch, the costs for building one can vary dramatically. Once completed, an enclosed porch can provide the optimal location for entertaining guests while being protected from minor inclement weather and nagging insects.

Contact the pertinent local authorities to find out what is needed to stay in compliance with building codes before beginning your project. Draw out a plan for your enclosed porch adhering to to local codes. Submit your plans, an application and any other necessary documentation to the building authorities. Once reviewed and approved you will receive a permit for your project.

Mark the wall of your house where you want the ledger board to be. Remove the house siding and attach the ledger board to the house using lag bolts. Check to make sure that the ledger board is perfectly level as you attach it.

Measure and cut three pieces of lumber to act as end and outer floor joists. Using joist hangar nails, attach these end joists to the ledger board. Secure the outer joist to the end joists using joist hangar nails to complete the square that will serve as the frame for the porch. Suspend the square level above the ground by tacking scrap lumber to the outer joist that reaches the ground.

Ensure each corner of the floor joists is 90 degrees. If any boards have been warped or bowed and prevent the floor joists from being square, replace them before moving on.

Drop a plumb bob from the corners of the porch joists to locate the centre of the porch piers. Use a posthole digger from both the inside and outside of the floor joist square to dig out the pier holes. Dig the holes at least 20 inches deep, or to the frost line and fill the first 8 inches with concrete. Let the concrete set for one day; then set in the lumber post and attach the post to the floor joists.

Add another 6 inches of round gravel to the post hole around the lumber post. Pour in another 6 inches of concrete to complete the porch piers.

Measure and cut the remaining inside floor joists and attach them to the ledger board and the side and outer floor joists. Measure and cut your decking boards. Before nailing them to the porch floor joists, apply a sealer to your decking boards. Nail them into place without leaving any space in between.

Measure, cut and install treated wooden posts at the corners and intermediate stages of the porch that stretch from the piers in the ground to support the beams of the roof. Measure, cut and install the roofing beams above the support posts using galvanised post and beam hardware.

Measure and cut another ledger board to support the roof trusses and tack attach it to the house in the same manner as you did with the porch ledger. Measure and cut the roof trusses at a pitch that matches your house's roof or at an angle that you prefer. Attach the trusses to the ledger board and the roof beam.

Install plywood sheets to the roof trusses and let them overhang approximately 14 inches. Apply an ice and water barrier to the plywood sheets and then tack on roofing shingles using a roofing hammer and nails.

Install the screen panels within the posts that support the roof. Depending on the type of panels you choose, the manner of installation will vary. Local lumber companies may be able to help you find contractors who build screen panelling to the dimensions you require.

Stain or paint all exposed wood, and enjoy your enclosed screen porch.

Things You'll Need

  • Building plans
  • Building permit
  • Lumber
  • Plywood
  • Post and beam galvanised hardware
  • Concrete
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Joist hangar nails
  • Hammer
  • Roofing hammer
  • Roofing nails
  • Post-hole digger
  • Screen panels
  • Paint
  • Wood stain/sealant
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About the Author

Bryan Schatz began writing in 2009. His articles appear on eHow and LIVESTRONG.COM, where he specializes in travel, wood and metal craft and fitness topics. Schatz holds a Master of Arts in education and a Bachelor of Arts in community studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.