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April 02, 3:09 PM [GMT -5]

Hi, everyone
I was wondering if this could be used as a freestanding structure? Or would i have to reinforce it? I would make this open (screened) on two faces only. Can someone give me some advice please.

July 25, 12:31 PM [GMT -5]

We are building a house with a 12'x20' screened porch with 12' cieling. The porch overlooks the water so visibility is important. Here in SC, the pollen makes a HUGE mess of things several times a year. I am interested in getting a fine mesh screen that will block the majority of this mess. Does anyone have any experience with any of these products and do you feel I will be happy with the results?

April 15, 9:14 PM [GMT -5]

It's been fun sharing photos and ideas with builders and potential builders, even as we enter the third season with our porch. One significant tip I would add, that was not really covered in the plans, is to check the roof truss blocking (Figure E in the detail drawing) for gaps above and below. These gaps can't be helped but will admit flies and yellow jacket wasps, especially between the bottom of the blocking and the top of the wall plate. Gaps could be avoided by custom-cutting the blocking of wider material than 2x8, but if it's too late (as in my case), simply seal the gaps. I tried foam weatherstripping, which worked fine along the tops but not so well along the lower edges (where the material shrunk and eventually the insects came back). This spring I pulled that out and cut some blocking from cedar (3/8" x 1-1/2" x 36" to 38" as needed and notched to fit under the truss tops at each end). Pre-painted and fastened them to the bottom of the blocking with 3d galvanized nails. No more bugs!

June 17, 3:22 PM [GMT -5]


Please be careful in your effort to build a porch on top of an existing deck. When I talked to our local inspectors it is one of their top concerns for homeowners. Decks are built for a certain load and the roof adds a significant amount of load and stresses.

You may need to enhance your ledger board, add additional ground posts to support the joists, double up on some joists and more.

Good luck with your porch it is definitely a fun project (one that doesn't seem to end with enhancements... electrical, etc...)

June 02, 9:38 PM [GMT -5]

TMP, Doug, and all,
Happy to report my porch did not collapse under the weight of a couple dozen family visitors this past weekend! Lots of nice compliments and I agree, the designers have done a great job keeping this project simple, light and airy. Everyone loves the natural wood ceiling and open trusses.
A few lessons learned from my experience:
- Aluminum screening seemed ideal when I started, but it has been sensitive to dents and punctures. I even have a half-dozen "bullet holes" left by the beaks of birds who didn't know there was a barrier there and tried to fly through! If i had to do it over, I'd use 2x6 walls with a commercial fiberglass screen holder strip, such as you can buy from Lowes. Can't use this material for metal screen, but repairs would be much easier.
- Prior to painting I filled all the knotholes, cracks and defects in my cedar wall studs and crosspieces with Elmer's waterproof wood filler. But they are starting to weather (discolor) and I think maybe a two-part product like Bondo might have been better.
- If you care to see pictures write me at bruesch@mchsi.com

May 02, 1:20 PM [GMT -5]

This will be my project just as soon as the weather breaks in N.W. Indiana.
My existing deck is 14x14 so it's a perfect start.
I have aquired about 98% of the necessary materials and biting at the bit to get started.
I'll start by sanding my stained deck and applying FLOOD UV CFL. From there the railing will be recycled to the front porch.
I'm using pine/fur Car Siding for the ceiling to save a bit of cash but it will look great.

Raring to go.
Doug Wainwright

April 12, 11:31 PM [GMT -5]


Consult your local code. Also do your own loads, the math is pretty simple once you get familiar with it. Two things to consider in this design which I really liked:

1) overall load and how it transfers to the footings - Note that this design has double top members on the trusses. So in essence this is much stronger than just one and is roughly equivalent to having singles twice as often.

2) The roofing material. They use 2x6 T&G. This allows for much larger spans. I think by our local code it may even suport up to 5'. As long as the roof material can transfer your loads to the trusses it will do the job. There are nailing schedules for T&G so make sure you do it right.

But together, you are using 2x6 T&G to transfer load to a double member. Also note that the trusses sit right on top of the wall posts which transfer the force straight to your joists. This allows you to keep nice wide bays for screens without additional header beams at the top of the wall. The design here was really great and saved me a lot of headaches.

I modified my whole design to accomodate for my larger porch. I used 2x8 truss members, spaced 40" apart. (20' span) Each truss is in line with a 4x6 wall post. The wall posts sit directly over the triple 2x12 deck joists which sith on 8x8 posts and a triple beam which all transfers load to pretty massive footings 4' below ground. Our code here is VERY strict but we are not in the snowy north so our loads are bit smaller. However we had a nice pair of 30" snows a week apart last year and it held up well. Can't see us getting much more.

So adjust as you feel comfortable. Your local building inspectors should help.

February 18, 3:16 PM [GMT -5]

I am looking to do this project starting early spring... im wondering about the snow loads for this... seems the rafters being around 3' apart is gonna create problems where I am at. any input on this?

August 10, 5:12 PM [GMT -5]

HI All,
I noticed the plans do not make a recommendation for finishing the cedar floorboards. I would like to have them shine (and be protected against foot traffic) like an interior wood floor, but they need to be weatherproof and I'd like to avoid the long-term hassle of annual re-coating, stripping, etc. Also need lots of UV protection. Would spar varnish be the best overall approach?

August 02, 3:58 PM [GMT -5]

THanks for your comments - your project will be majestic when finished, if I understand the scale you are describing!
I solved the hanger problem by asking my inspector if I could use two single hangers side-by-site and kerf (or space) the two rim joists. That worked pretty good, though I get your commetn about the ledger weakness.
As for the joists, I just added one more - a $15 solution...
Let's stay in touch and compare photos when finished!

July 07, 10:58 AM [GMT -5]


I had to rewrite my own plans to adjust for local code and also make it much bigger. (16x20) Also, I made a 12" deck overhang wrapping all the way around just for looks. All of the 2x4's are 4x6 etc...

Joist spacing: I started at the center and spaced them myself. if the last few spacings were less than 16" OC that was ok by me. Makes for tough nailing if you put in bridging but it is never perfect spacing.

3" extra: In addition to the comment above I would say that I added extra spacing to my ledger anyway. I don't like putting hangers right at the end of a lumber. This is the first place it splits. In my design, due to the overhang my triple joists were inset 12" so no worries. But I don't like putting a major structural pair of joists right on the edge of a ledger anyway. Can you let it overhang 1.5" on each side and decorate it later?

inverted joist hangers: I know what you mean!! HD and the like are not good for this. I found a local lumber yard that services contractors more and they have better stuff. I needed the inset hangers for my triple joists and by code they needed to be taller than the stock stuff that is made for 2x8 thru 2x12. Some I ordered via amazon and some I got at the lumberyard. I would recommend taking the delay and get something good if you cannot find it local.

July 05, 11:22 AM [GMT -5]

I making progress with the screen porch project, and presently bolting the ledger into place. While marking off the 16" centers of the joists, I see I have 3-1/2" extra along the 14' length of the ledger. Has anyone else noticed this, and how do we manage? There are 13 joists including the doubled rim joists, which add up to 19-1/2" of wood thickness. Add to that the ten 14-1/2" spaces between the center joints, and you get 145 + 19.5 = 164.5, which is 3.5" short of 14 ft!

Also, does anyone know of a retailer that carries the double inverted joist hanger? Simpson makes one but it looks like I will have to order on-line (delaying my project), since home Depot, Lowes, Menards, etc. do not carry it...

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