Shorter days and cooler temperatures are approaching in Virginia. If you’ve got a screened porch, there are ways you can adapt it to make it more livable in the winter — or at least keep it dry and reduce the amount of cold air circulating through it. There are a number of options to choose from, depending on your preferences, your style and how much spare time and money you have to complete the job.
Read on to discover the reasons you should winterize your porch and our top four methods for keeping the heat inside your porch.
Why Adapt Your Porch for the Winter Months?
A screened porch is an awesome structure that lets you use your outdoor space and patio while enjoying protection from the weather. This type of porch is best from early spring through summer but doesn’t usually stand up to year-long use. However, there are solutions to protect your porch from the wind and cold. If cost isn’t an issue, you can completely secure your porch by upgrading to a sunroom or four-season room and enjoy warmth and comfort throughout the year.
Whether you attach screens, curtains, panels or sheets or simply clean and seal the porch, the result isn’t just a cozier space. Winterizing your porch will help you preserve it and make sure you get the most out of your investment.
When Should You Prepare for Colder Months?
We’d recommend you start thinking about preparing your porch for winter in September or October. Get the materials you need, take measurements of everything, give the patio, walls, floors, doors and furniture a thorough clean and plan the installation for early November.
Options for Winterizing Your Screened Porch
A screened porch is great for any family as it protects you from the elements while you enjoy the view of outdoors and the comfort of indoors. Keeping it dry and protecting it against the cold during winter is an essential maintenance task to preserve your investment, but you might also be able to make your porch livable for those warmer winter days. Below are the most popular methods on how to winterize a screened-in porch.
1. Try Out Heavy-Duty Vinyl Curtains
The easiest way to winterize your porch is to add heavy-duty clear vinyl curtains to the screened section of your porch. The aesthetic is reminiscent of a beach diner, so it might not suit everyone’s style, but it’s an affordable and simple solution. The curtains still let plenty of light in while keeping the wind and leaves out, and on a warmer day, you can open them up and enjoy the fresh air. Just keep in mind that this method won’t help much when it comes to keeping the cold out.
2. Use Vinyl Sheeting
Clear vinyl sheets are an even better way to winterize your porch because you completely seal off the screens with plastic sheeting. You’ll need to measure each screen and use a razor knife to cut the sheets to size. We’d also recommend using Velcro tape to fix them to the wall to avoid damaging your porch. Because it seals the structure, sheeting keeps cold air, pollen, wind and other undesirables out. However, if you don’t use sheets that are thick and durable, wind and debris could damage them.
3. Install Vinyl or Acrylic Panels
The most effective DIY method is to install acrylic or vinyl screens — although it’s also the most time-consuming option. Panels are also the most attractive option and pretty much make your porch into a three-season room. You can reuse the panels for many years, and they almost completely protect your porch and patio from the winter elements. Most people opt to build their own storm windows and store the panels there throughout the rest of the year.
4. Transform Your Screened-In Porch
Panels can be expensive and take a significant portion of time, so it might be worth getting a contractor in to convert your screened porch to a three- or four-season room. There might be a way to simply swap out the windows for more durable, weatherproof ones — or you could go all out and start again from scratch.
Which Option Is Best for Your Budget?
You can easily and affordably test out the first two options if cost is an issue. They might not allow you to use your porch throughout the year, but they’ll keep some debris, dust and leaves out. If you’ve put some money aside for this project, we’d recommend getting panels installed or converting the porch to a sunroom.
Additional Ways to Winterize Your Screened Porch
Whichever weatherization method you choose, there are a few simple ways to protect your porch from cold weather and potentially make it more comfortable outside of the summer months.
- Thoroughly clean your porch: We’d recommend giving your porch a good clean before and after your weatherization efforts. The cleaner it is, the less likely it is to attract mold, mildew and rust.
- Winterize furniture, fixtures and fittings: Be sure to remove any furniture that’s made from untreated wood or delicate fabric to preserve it. Look for cracks and gaps in the walls, and be sure to periodically weatherize your door. Add a layer of waterproof sealant to fight humidity and keep the area fresh. Finally, make sure your electrical outlets are safe and rated for outdoor use, and add outlet covers.
- Add a fireplace: There are tons of options for fireplace installation. You could go all out and install a beautiful built-in fireplace or opt for a simple tabletop or stand-alone heater.
Upgrade Your Screen Porch Today
If you’re interested in installing a screened porch or upgrading your current model so you can use it year-round, get in touch with PWHI today. We’re an independently owned contractor located in Woodbridge, Virginia, and our team is passionate about delivering an exceptional job every time. Call us today at 703-492-1294 for additional information.