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Old 04-28-2022, 03:57 PM   #1
Susie Cougar
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Default suggestions for a screened porch

My daughter is in the process of buying a home in Maryland. I would like to give her a screened porch as a housewarming present. Iím not looking to start until at least a year from now, so Iím just beginning to get ideas.
I know I want it to be approximately 8 feet wide by 18 feet long.
Iíve always loved screened porches, but would like to find a way to keep it a little bit warmer in the fall and spring to extend the time we could use it. I am just looking for simple ideas that could make it feel a little bit better.

I was wondering if you could put some type of glass on the bottom part instead of screen so as not to obscure the view, but maybe to block the wind a little bit?

Another idea I had was to put some type of radiant heat. I was thinking something like slate or a stone for the flooring. I donít know if this is possible unless itís really well insulated, it seems to me that it might freeze, because you have to run water pipes in the slab somehow.
I know I could buy some type of space heater, but with everything being open, would it do any good?
Is there anyone out there who loves a screened porch as much as I do? Have you found ways to enjoy it for a longer period of time?

Any ideas or suggestions, no matter how crazy they seem, are welcome.

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Old 04-28-2022, 04:23 PM   #2
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If you can attend a few home shows near her new location you will likely become well informed.

If that is not convenient you could get some ideas by doing the same here but the climate is, um, "different" here which may mean different construction approaches and materials.
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Old 04-28-2022, 04:24 PM   #3
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At our lake house, we have a screened in-porch that was relatively inexpensively done. Actually, it is only two of the four walls which are screened but the principle would work. The two open walls have screens which are about screen door size.These are easily removable and replaced by screen door sized glassed windows. We have a gas fireplace on one wall, but any space heater would work. Basically it is a 3 1/2 season room. In Maryland, probably a 4 season room. And it only takes a few minutes to change the panels.

I’m sure there are other solutions but it certainly can be done.
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Old 04-28-2022, 04:32 PM   #4
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We had these made from Image awnings in Wolfeboro and love them.
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Old 04-28-2022, 04:43 PM   #5
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Default Jalousie windows

Perhaps Jalousie windows. We used them on my grandfathers camp on Lake Wentworth back in the 50's. No so common today, particularly in NH, (All the rage in Hawaii!). They do provide a quick change from closed against the wind, rain, weather, and open for all screens. Might be difficult to find a dealer/installer, but maybe in Maryland?

Check out:
https://retrorenovation.com/2014/05/...ntage-catalog/
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Old 04-28-2022, 04:53 PM   #6
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Great gift, Susie! I also love screen porches. On the radiant heat--yes that would require serious construction/insulation. At that point, you might also be think of large Pella glass sliders as the walls, so you end up with half glass, half screen when they are open.

Alternatively, a good contractor should be able to figure out fully removable glass for colder months.

We had my first suggestion in Mass years ago, it was wonderful. We basically lived in the room. Today we have just screens, no heat or insulation. This is even more wonderful when it's warm enough, but obviously not as usable.

You can't go wrong with either--greatest gift ever
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Old 04-28-2022, 04:57 PM   #7
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We had these made from Image awnings in Wolfeboro and love them.
So, itís the bottom panels that you are talking about? They are some type of material?

Have you always had them or are they a new addition? If they are new, what changes have you noticed in the comfort level of the porch?
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Old 04-28-2022, 04:59 PM   #8
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At our lake house, we have a screened in-porch that was relatively inexpensively done. Actually, it is only two of the four walls which are screened but the principle would work. The two open walls have screens which are about screen door size.These are easily removable and replaced by screen door sized glassed windows. We have a gas fireplace on one wall, but any space heater would work. Basically it is a 3 1/2 season room. In Maryland, probably a 4 season room. And it only takes a few minutes to change the panels.

Iím sure there are other solutions but it certainly can be done.
This sounds very cool! Do you happen to have any pictures? Do you miss having a view on the side? I guess that would depend on who your neighbors are 😂?
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Old 04-28-2022, 05:10 PM   #9
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Great gift, Susie! I also love screen porches. On the radiant heat--yes that would require serious construction/insulation. At that point, you might also be think of large Pella glass sliders as the walls, so you end up with half glass, half screen when they are open.

Alternatively, a good contractor should be able to figure out fully removable glass for colder months.

We had my first suggestion in Mass years ago, it was wonderful. We basically lived in the room. Today we have just screens, no heat or insulation. This is even more wonderful when it's warm enough, but obviously not as usable.

You can't go wrong with either--greatest gift ever
FlyingScot, your porch sounds wonderful! When you got to the double Pella sliding doors,it sounded beautiful, but it is more than I was looking to spend. Just regular, cheap screens on the top.
You say now you just have screens. Do you think itís worth the extra cost to try to just close in the bottom? Do you think it would make any difference for your room now?
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Old 04-28-2022, 05:16 PM   #10
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Default Closed in?

We stared with a deck that we threw away and added a 14 x 16 screened porch. BUT, we put it on a full foundation with crawl space under and the ceiling had 2 x 10 joists. That brought it up so the floor is the same level as the family room, rather than the step down that is common. The added heft in the ceiling brought that up to a level where we could remove a window and add a room to the master bedroom suite. Never did, but flexibility is a selling point) So it was screened from about 36" up and we had removable plastic wrapped frames to put in the screened areas and used a 4000 watt, 220v space heater. We lived with that for several years, and eventually replaced the screens with duopane sliding windows, added tile floor and an extra heating zone. Point is, we planned some flexibility into the original concept. We've been here for over 45 years and the house is nothing like what we started with. Last thought, I would do things differently depending on which direction things face, shade, sun, view, prevailing winds, etc.
You're very generous and this should be a fun project and result for everybody. Bravo
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Old 04-28-2022, 05:36 PM   #11
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Thanks, Descant,

I like your idea of using 2 x 10 floor joists so that you step out onto the porch at the same level as the rest of the house.

To respond to those of you who say I am being generous, I can truly tell you that when you almost die, it changes your perspective on everything. I am in a position now where I can help my kids a little bit with things that they would not be able to afford on their own.

My daughter is a pediatric physical therapist and her husband is a principal in inner-city Baltimore. Both work incredibly hard at helping others and have been living in a tiny little row house in Baltimore city for 17 years now with 2 children now becoming teenagers.
Although, they have owned their home since 2005, the year they were married, it has only appreciated in value approximately $70,000. They made the decision to be close to their jobs in the City, knowing how much time would be involved and thinking that they could move up later on, but the houses in the county were always just out of their reach.
They were trying to find a house last summer when I was rushed to the hospital. My daughter came down and took care of me for 11 weeks and was able to do her job virtually at the same time.
Being able to help her out, means more to me than anything. She has always been such a wonderful daughter.
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Old 04-28-2022, 05:40 PM   #12
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For radiant, you would need to run glycol.
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Old 04-28-2022, 06:20 PM   #13
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So, itís the bottom panels that you are talking about? They are some type of material?

Have you always had them or are they a new addition? If they are new, what changes have you noticed in the comfort level of the porch?
We got them as soon as the porch went on but the black portion can either come off completely or be lifted up like curtains. They are great as no snow gets in, keeps it warmer later and also helps immensely with the pollen. Here is a picture without them so you can see.
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Old 04-28-2022, 07:00 PM   #14
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We got them as soon as the porch went on but the black portion can either come off completely or be lifted up like curtains. They are great as no snow gets in, keeps it warmer later and also helps immensely with the pollen. Here is a picture without them so you can see.
This looks like what I had in mind. You say you had them specially made, what are they actually called? An awning company would do this type of work?

Your roofline itís also similar to what I think would work at my daughters house. Thanks again.
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Old 04-28-2022, 07:03 PM   #15
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Decide how big you want it to be, then double it.
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Old 04-28-2022, 07:06 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Susie Cougar View Post
FlyingScot, your porch sounds wonderful! When you got to the double Pella sliding doors,it sounded beautiful, but it is more than I was looking to spend. Just regular, cheap screens on the top.
You say now you just have screens. Do you think itís worth the extra cost to try to just close in the bottom? Do you think it would make any difference for your room now?
I don't think a solid bottom with open screens on top will have a significantly longer season than all screens. In either case, the porch will match the outside temperature.

I would not hesitate to go screens only--it's a wonderful gift that they'll enjoy every day for 5-6 months/year. Also, you may conclude that what you gain in extending the season will be paid for by the porch feeling less outside and more inside during the warmer months.

Whatever you decide, send pictures!
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Old 04-28-2022, 07:15 PM   #17
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I don't think a solid bottom with open screens on top will have a significantly longer season than all screens. In either case, the porch will match the outside temperature.

I would not hesitate to go screens only--it's a wonderful gift that they'll enjoy every day for 5-6 months/year. Also, you may conclude that what you gain in extending the season will be paid for by the porch feeling less outside and more inside during the warmer months.

Whatever you decide, send pictures!
I would not want it feeling more like inside than outside. Thanks for that tip.

I am still in the very early thinking stages. It would probably be about a year from now.
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Old 04-28-2022, 08:06 PM   #18
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We can manufacture gliding windows that will open in both direction. Customers that choose those generally have the intent of having either the full screen, so the view is always comparable through each pane... or they have the intent of removing each of the panels for the warmer months.

You can also match step without oversizing a joist. Joist sizing is most often determined using the live and static load specifications.

The largest factors that we come across are architectural.
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Old 04-28-2022, 08:10 PM   #19
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I don't think it's possible to have a "3-season screen porch" unless you live in a more moderate climate.

When we built our 14x16 porch, we realized early on that it was either all screens and outdoorsy or sliding windows and indoorsy. We went with all screen and, though it might be nice to extend the season, feeling like we're totally outside but covered and bug-free is pretty awesome.

The plastic covers shown above, however, matched with a decent space heater and insulated-from-below floor, would certainly provide extra time. It would just be a question of being able to put them on and take them off/store them easily.

I also agree with the comment about making it bigger than you think. Our 14x16 is pretty great, but 16x18 would've been pretty greater.

One note: if going the total screen way, make sure to throw screen under the deck! We've got a couple friends who didn't think of this and get bugs like crazy from below!

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Old 04-28-2022, 08:31 PM   #20
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I don't think it's possible to have a "3-season screen porch" unless you live in a more moderate climate.

The plastic covers shown above, however, matched with a decent space heater and insulated-from-below floor, would certainly provide extra time. It would just be a question of being able to put them on and take them off/store them easily.

I also agree with the comment about making it bigger than you think. Our 14x16 is pretty great, but 16x18 would've been pretty greater.

One note: if going the total screen way, make sure to throw screen under the deck! We've got a couple friends who didn't think of this and get bugs like crazy from below!

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The plastic covers that you are referring to are confusing to me. It would be very important to be able to take them off and put them on very easily.
I like this idea a lot, but I did not want to lose the view and wonder if they come in a clear version. With some type of heater, I think you could easily extend the season by about a month.
Also, think, I was picturing a poured concrete floor of some type that had Flagstone, or tile or something similar. I would consider a wood floor also but I would not want it to be open underneath. This way it could be insulated, I think.
The porch will face to the north, so I donít think I can get any type of solar heat.
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Old 04-28-2022, 10:09 PM   #21
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So more like a covered patio?
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Old 04-29-2022, 05:05 AM   #22
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This looks like what I had in mind. You say you had them specially made, what are they actually called? An awning company would do this type of work?

Your roofline itís also similar to what I think would work at my daughters house. Thanks again.
Yes, image awnings came out and measured each window and then they installed them. I remove them completely every season after pollen and put them back on in November. I believe they are called winter curtains. If you need any more info please let me know. Good luck in your search.
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Old 04-29-2022, 07:51 AM   #23
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So more like a covered patio?
Not really.

My parents home on the lake, which is now my sisterís home, has a screened porch that I have always loved. It is long and narrow, about 8Ď x 18Ď long. You enter the screen porch through two sliders from the house which is level with the house, no step down. The floor is Flagstone and Iím assuming itís on top of concrete. I am not looking for a wooden floor with slats that are open to below. Iím looking for a more finished look while keeping it just basically a screened porch.
I would love to build this room exactly the way it is with my only question being if I could fill in the bottom screens is some type of material that would block the wind.

I will check into the window curtains. Do you have any personal knowledge about these? I know you are in the business and anything that you could help me with would be very much appreciated.
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Old 04-29-2022, 09:15 AM   #24
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You might want to think about an infrared heating panel. Iíve experienced these in use at various venues and they can really put out some heat into outdoor spaces. We also want to add a screened in porch and Iím leaning toward using one of these. I found this brand online but I donít know anything about itÖjust posting it as an example. https://www.innovaheaters.com/lighti...4aAnWkEALw_wcB


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Old 04-29-2022, 02:26 PM   #25
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Thanks,Jdarby

And thanks to everyone for all of your great suggestions!
Susan
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Old 04-29-2022, 09:22 PM   #26
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Not really.

My parents home on the lake, which is now my sisterís home, has a screened porch that I have always loved. It is long and narrow, about 8Ď x 18Ď long. You enter the screen porch through two sliders from the house which is level with the house, no step down. The floor is Flagstone and Iím assuming itís on top of concrete. I am not looking for a wooden floor with slats that are open to below. Iím looking for a more finished look while keeping it just basically a screened porch.
I would love to build this room exactly the way it is with my only question being if I could fill in the bottom screens is some type of material that would block the wind.

I will check into the window curtains. Do you have any personal knowledge about these? I know you are in the business and anything that you could help me with would be very much appreciated.
The window curtains are smaller businesses that custom options for several things. You may be able to find a business in Maryland that does custom soft top covers for boats or convertibles that would do the same thing.

It really falls into the two categories that the industry offers, optical vinyl or glass. Optical vinyl is a thin clear film that can be rolled up for storage, though most often we see it framed. It is lighter than a glass panel.

For the ceiling to floor effect, for glass you would be in door systems... so lots of options - but could be very expensive. Sometimes glass is worth it simply for architectural reasons.

A covered patio (cement or other stone floor base) would most likely - but not always - be a floor to ceiling opening; like you may see at the front of one of our stores or some mini-malls.

The radiant heaters would be less expensive than a radiant floor, and heat objects/people in their path rather than the air around them - so they are more efficient. They come in various formats - but are either electric or gas; so which ever is available at the house would be the easiest... and I am sure that you could find one that is aesthetically pleasing with just a basic google search.
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Old 04-30-2022, 07:20 AM   #27
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https://www.porchwindowsdirect.com/ezvue-vinyl-windows/
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Old 04-30-2022, 07:46 AM   #28
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Thank you so much, John!
My parents had put glass panels over their screens through many winters, but it was such a hassle putting them up and taking them down and having to store them somewhere, that they stopped doing it after a while.
The prices are not that bad either. Is it because itís not real glass?
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Old 05-01-2022, 12:05 AM   #29
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I think it is less expensive because it is a newer product looking to expand into a niche market.

The original engineering for it was to act as a panel between dual pane windows to create a four layer window - basically three air spaces. The current max is two air spaces... and three would mean a very heavy window if made from glass.

No one ever got it to work with any durability in that format... but marketing came up with this concept... and lots of people have access to it in rolled form at this time.
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Old 05-01-2022, 05:08 AM   #30
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Thank you so much, John!

My parents had put glass panels over their screens through many winters, but it was such a hassle putting them up and taking them down and having to store them somewhere, that they stopped doing it after a while.

The prices are not that bad either. Is it because itís not real glass?
A lot of camps in our association have those in their porches and love them. If you're only doing an 8x16 or something, the price would certainly be reasonable. For decent size openings on our 10x30 screen porches, it's ~$4k for just the windows vs. under $1k for manufactured screens.

It's certainly nice to be able to shut them down in weather/the off-season without having to cover the whole of the porch with a series of separate windows or whole tarp, etc.

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Old 05-01-2022, 09:07 AM   #31
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A lot of camps in our association have those in their porches and love them. If you're only doing an 8x16 or something, the price would certainly be reasonable. For decent size openings on our 10x30 screen porches, it's ~$4k for just the windows vs. under $1k for manufactured screens.

It's certainly nice to be able to shut them down in weather/the off-season without having to cover the whole of the porch with a series of separate windows or whole tarp, etc.

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think,
You have screens on your porch. Many of your neighbors have the new vinyl glass. How do you think itís different? I donít want a closed in feeling, like I am indoors. I definitely want to feel like I am outdoors. You chose not to do this on your porch and I know how much you research everything. Why did you make the choice that you did?
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Old 05-01-2022, 09:52 AM   #32
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think,

You have screens on your porch. Many of your neighbors have the new vinyl glass. How do you think itís different? I donít want a closed in feeling, like I am indoors. I definitely want to feel like I am outdoors. You chose not to do this on your porch and I know how much you research everything. Why did you make the choice that you did?
I think a lot would have to be about design. My father had the windows put in to his camp, and I thought he gave up a lot in terms of outdoorsy feeling. The average window size for our porches here is 36" wide by 48" high, so when 1/4-1/3 of it is taken up by the vinyl when "down," it appears more closed off (the windows are 4 sections). If we had floor-to-ceiling windows like in some of the ad pictures, where the vinyl pieces are pushed down almost to the floor, it might be less noticeable.

We have decided not to go that way because camp opens May 1st and closes October 28, so it's only a few weeks of "3-season" weather and it's easy enough to throw full coverage tarps up for the winter.

Were money not an issue, were it my year-round home, and were I able to design it from scratch, I gotta think I would go with the windows because I could design it to minimize the "drawbacks" of the windows while having the benefits: cleanliness (pollen is BRUTAL on a screen porch) and cold and rainy weather.

At camp, though, it's supposed to be totally outside, so I do (for now) prefer full screens.

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Old 05-01-2022, 10:57 AM   #33
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Default What we had in our last house...

....This is what we had in our last house. It was essentially a pressure-treated deck with white aluminum walls and a roof. It was hexagonal in shape so the ceiling was a conical cathedral ceiling. All of the window panels were removable for screens...we typically only did a few of them in the summer, which allowed for plenty of breeze. When we bought the house, we upgraded the floor from just a PT deck to ceramic tile that looked like wood, and also added a ceiling fan.
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Old 05-01-2022, 03:15 PM   #34
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I think a lot would have to be about design. My father had the windows put in to his camp, and I thought he gave up a lot in terms of outdoorsy feeling. The average window size for our porches here is 36" wide by 48" high, so when 1/4-1/3 of it is taken up by the vinyl when "down," it appears more closed off (the windows are 4 sections). If we had floor-to-ceiling windows like in some of the ad pictures, where the vinyl pieces are pushed down almost to the floor, it might be less noticeable.

We have decided not to go that way because camp opens May 1st and closes October 28, so it's only a few weeks of "3-season" weather and it's easy enough to throw full coverage tarps up for the winter.

Were money not an issue, were it my year-round home, and were I able to design it from scratch, I gotta think I would go with the windows because I could design it to minimize the "drawbacks" of the windows while having the benefits: cleanliness (pollen is BRUTAL on a screen porch) and cold and rainy weather.

At camp, though, it's supposed to be totally outside, so I do (for now) prefer full screens.

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In some cases they get designed that way to deal with the fall protection codes.


An added benefit was that the screens got protected from ''walk through''. For a window of only 36x48... probably best to use a tilt-wash double hung or gliding window; and just remove the sashes during the season.
It cost more, but can really extend a season even into four season should the need arise.
Problem has always been the storage of the sashes.

Some have wanted to use the large double hung or gliding window that we have in the Meredith Marvin showcase... but removing those sashes is at minimum a two person job... very heavy.

We did have one customer that has done the folding door with the retractable screen... but that was to open their entire walkout basement to the outside.
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Old 05-01-2022, 03:18 PM   #35
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....This is what we had in our last house. It was essentially a pressure-treated deck with white aluminum walls and a roof. It was hexagonal in shape so the ceiling was a conical cathedral ceiling. All of the window panels were removable for screens...we typically only did a few of them in the summer, which allowed for plenty of breeze. When we bought the house, we upgraded the floor from just a PT deck to ceramic tile that looked like wood, and also added a ceiling fan.
You can replace the glass with optical vinyl if the weight of the glass panels becomes too much.
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Old 05-01-2022, 03:21 PM   #36
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This is our home porchóit's as close to being outside as possible. Looking at it now, if I could get those windows to fit behind the railings, it certainly wouldn't mess up the view while also giving us extra time.

So, my response from camp earlier appliesómoney no object and my initial design, I'd probs go that direction and not have anything to store.

I also posted a photo of our entrance. I highly suggest putting French doors in if possibleóhaving the whole opening is wayyyy nicer and more welcoming than a slider.

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Old 05-01-2022, 03:50 PM   #37
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The windows - either glass or optical vinyl - would need to be a version like exterior storm windows. They do exist.

Because the top opening is much larger than the floor-to-rail distance... the problem with the stay-in-place version would be that the need for it to be a multi-sash... that would place an extra ''bar'' across your sight line.

But a store-away version could work.
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Old 06-13-2022, 04:48 PM   #38
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Default suggestions for a screened porch

our company in Mass suggests EZE Breeze windows they have a full screen fixed with plastic curtain panels that slid up and down you get 3/4 ventilation in each opening we bought from a wholesale distributor in Conn there are also authorized installers look on line and at you tube custom size screw either inside or outside of porch
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