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The Role of Experience in Screened Porch Contracting

James Moylan

Monday, May 11, 2015

PVC_Porch_MD_4

The Importance of Choosing a Contractor with Experience Building Screened-In Porches

Though there are similarities between screened-in porches and exterior decks, there many more differences.

Both screened-in porches and exterior decks provide exposure to fresh air and nature. Both are excellent venues for hosting parties and gatherings, or relaxing on a warm summer’s day with a book or a beer. However, screened-in porches offer additional protection from the sun, rain, and other elements with roofs and sophisticated screening systems.

Because screened-in porches are typically more complex in design and features than your average deck, it’s important to choose a contractor with experience in screened-in porches when taking on this kind of project. A contractor who only has experience building traditional decks is unlikely to have the expertise needed to build a quality screened-in porch that is comfortable, long-lasting, and complies with local building ordinances.

If you are interested in building a screened-in porch for your home, here are some things to look for when choosing the right contractor for the job.

Knowledge of local ordinances regarding home additions and screened-in porches. Under most jurisdictions, screened-in porches are zoned and permitted in almost the same way as home additions. Though home additions may have different insulation, plumbing, and electrical requirements than screened-in porches, their roof and framing processes are nearly identical. You can count on a contractor with experience in both screened-in porches and additions to be familiar with all the local ordinances and processes your project will need to follow.

You should review your prospective contractor’s portfolio to learn about their previous projects. If your contractor only has experience building exterior decks, they may not have the necessary knowledge and familiarity with local ordinances. If your contractor’s portfolio demonstrates experience with both home additions and screened-in porches, however, he or she might be the right person for the job.

Experience working with different styles of roofing. A screened-in porch’s roof is one of the key differences that distinguishes it from a traditional deck. Your screened-in porch’s roof needs to be durable, and should blend harmoniously with the roof of your existing house. That’s why it’s essential to choose a contractor with experience with roofing and working with many different styles. Your contractor should be able to build a roof that matches or complements the roof of the structure it is being added to. If he or she is an experienced roofer, your contractor should know how to add shingles, build gutters, and direct water away from the home.

Remember that framing a deck is very different from framing a roof, so just because a contractor has experience framing a deck, this doesn’t necessarily mean they will be able to properly frame a roof. Talk to your prospective contractor about their roofing projects, and inquire into their experience with your home’s unique style of roofing. 

Experience with different styles of ceilings. Ceilings are another important feature of screened-in porches, so your screened-in porch contractor should have experience in a variety of styles.

Think about what kind of ceiling you envision for your screened-in porch. Would you like a more conventional ceiling, or are you interested in dramatic cathedral or rustic bead board ceilings? Your contractor should be able to help you determine the ideal ceiling style for your porch, and be able to install it with proficiency and skill. 

Experience with different screening systems. Your porch’s screening system is essential to letting in fresh air while keeping out bugs and unwanted pests. Today, screening systems are sophisticated, resistant to sagging and easy to repair. Your screened-in porch contractor should know how to install a modern screening system such as ScreenEze and Screen Tight, and be able to handle unique features such as adjustable windows and retractable screen doors.

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