How To Build A Screen Room

We have always wanted to be able to sit outside in the evenings at the cottage, but sometimes the bugs and flies and yes, even bats make that less than attractive.
So we knew that we needed to create a place where we could be outside but have all the comforts of inside, especially the absence of bugs and bats. We already had a roof over our front deck on the cottage, so it seemed quite logical to turn that into a screen room.

Already Have A Roof

Because we already had the roof, screening it in was actually fairly easy. Work, but very doable. We decided to turn half the deck into a screen room, and leave the other half open. That way we had an unobstructed view of the lake from the living room window, and we really didn’t need the entire deck screened. Sometimes it’s nice to sit on the outside.

We started with what was essentially an open deck with a roof. The first thing we did was remove the old railing and pile it up for a campfire. The floor of the existing deck was made from veranda flooring, boards that were spaced quite far apart. Not much good for keeping bugs from coming up from under the deck. So we got some sheets of 5/8″plywood, screwed it down with deck screws and I painted it with wood preservative. Which I let dry.

Then we began constructing a new railing, made with a 2X6 railing along the top, with a 2X4 underneath and a 2X4 along the bottom. Once that was framed we used pressure treated deck boards to close it in. I debated using the same siding as we had on the camp, but finally decided that the deck boards added a nice contrast.

I might eventually replace them with the siding….

The boards were cut to size and screwed to the face of the 2X4’s, more or less the way wooden fences are often made.

Once we had the railing completed, it was time to figure out the screens for the screen room.

They could be difficult or easy, it was all in how we decided to do it. I decided to do it the easy way, of course, which was to make some frames, paint them and then staple the screens over them. Perhaps not as fancy as they could have been, but easy to make and functional. Of course I could not find my Staple Gun but that’s OK, a guy cannot have enough tools like staple guns.

I was making a rather old fashioned screen room, so why not use an old fashioned mitre box and back saw to cut the corners for the frames. It could have been done much quicker with a chop saw, but I didn’t have a chop saw, I did have a mitre saw. It worked out fine. I used inexpensive 1X3 spruce strapping for the frames. I use that for a lot of things, I find it useful.

As the frames for the screens were being painted, we laid indoor-outdoor carpet down inside the new room, and held it into place with small strips of wood along the edges.

The indoor outdoor carpet will last a little longer than normal carpet in outdoor conditions, especially beside the lake with the damp air. The carpet and the plywood underneath it keep the flies and bugs from coming up from underneath.

Here are some additional pictures of the process of building a screen room on the cottage. These pictures are pretty self explanatory. But if you have any questions, feel free to comment or send me an email.

After I had the screen room finished, I decided that I liked the look of the wood railing and built the same thing on the open end of the veranda deck. However I modified the installation to allow for it to be opened when we want to see the lake through the bottom and closed when we have bad weather.

Update: We’ve had the screen room and veranda updates for one year now, it has survived a hurricane and a couple tropical storms, winter, and has come through great. We did have a screen come apart during the hurricane, but it was simple to fix.
We have found that we get much more use out of the deck now that it has the screen room, particularly in the evenings.

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