While winterizing your house during the fall, it is best to consider doing the same for the porch. Winter proofing your screened porch utilizes the space during the cold season. It provides more play space for kids and pets and helps some of your plants survive the winter. All you need is a helping hand, some spare time, depending on the size of your porch, and some handyman skills.
There are several ways you can winterize the porch without compromising your beautiful view. You can enclose your porch using transparent vinyl sheets or acrylic panels. Installing a portable heater and sealing cracks and door sweeps preserves the warmth inside the patio. You can also get winter insulation kits that come in predetermined sizes. So how do you seal a screened porch for the winter?
What You Need
- Thick and transparent vinyl sheets( 30 or 40 gauge)
- Velcro tape
- Measuring tape
- Heavy-duty cutters
Using Vinyl sheets
Vinyl sheets are budget-friendly and best for places that don’t get too cold but still need winter-proofing. The 30 or 40 gauge vinyl sheets are heavy enough not to rattle in the wind. They can also be attached using vinyl adhesives, screws, staples, or grommets.
You have to make sure your vinyl sheets are also UV treated. Also, check the vinyl’s cold crack rating, which shows the extreme temperatures the sheets can withstand before cracking.
- Clean the windows and the framing to remove debris and allow the Velcro tape to adhere properly.
- Use a measuring tape to measure the dimensions of your screens. These measurements will help you know how much vinyl sheets to purchase. It is best to use the 30 or 40 gauge vinyl for winter. You can also get the 60 or 80 gauge vinyl, as they are much thicker and durable.
- Add about 2 inches on every side of the vinyl to attach to the wood framing. So if the dimensions are 30 by 40 inches, you require your vinyl sheet to be 32 by 42 inches. Cut the sheets using a heavy-duty scissor.
- Peel and stick the Velcro tape along the sides of the screen. Reinforce the Velcro tape on the wood frames using a staple gun and staples or screws.
- For more security, you can install some marine snaps or grommets along the top edge. Install these 2 feet apart. The closer you place the grommets, the tighter the seal you will have around your screens.
- Cut equal lengths of the Velcro on the screens. Attach the cut Velcro to the edges of the vinyl.
- Hang your vinyl and stick the Velcro tape together to cover your porch screens. Make sure there are no gaps or spaces where cold air may enter the porch.
Using Acrylic Panels
Covering a screened-in porch with Plexiglass panels keeps the porch much warmer than vinyl sheets. They are also much more effective and durable for places with cold storms. Also, keep in mind that some acrylics discolor with time, which may look unattractive and less clear. Plexiglass panels also have the advantage of being noiseless.
TIPS: Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully as some kits do not come with spare parts. You can also get a recommended technician to fix the panels for you.
Know the tricks of the trade before installing on your own because the method of attachment also varies with your home’s exterior( brick, wood, clad).
- Measure the dimensions of your screens and select from the standard sizes. Make sure to measure within the frame of the opening and not over the space. You can also send your manufacturer the dimensions for a usually expensive custom fit.
- Pre-fit your U-channel first and trim if necessary. Then screw the U-channels to the wooden frame.
- Remove the protective film from both sides of the acrylic panel.
- Line the acrylic panel frame first with the porch opening frame and make sure they line up correctly.
- Screw-in the pre-drilled holes with a 1/4 inch drill bit starting with the top edge. When using a power drill, always set the tool at the lowest setting to prevent over-tightening.
Screen Mobile has a variety of acrylic and vinyl winter porch panels. They are durable, reusable, and much simpler to install.
How much does it cost to winterize a screened porch?
It costs about $5 to $8 per square foot to cover your screened porch for winter. Also, the cost of labor runs about $2 per square foot. Adding extra features to insulate your porch will add to the total cost. For example, installing a porch fireplace costs about $ 3,000, which comes with additional ventilation.
The amount and type of screening materials, size of your porch, and labor determine winterizing costs. Vinyl sheets are much more affordable compared to Plexiglass panels. Winterizing a front porch only is more affordable compared to the back and wrap-around porches.
How do I keep my porch screen warm in winter?
Covering your porch screens for the winter may not be enough to make it cozy. It may require a few more additional changes to make it warm through the winter. The changes may vary depending on the purpose of the porch. Below are some of the options:
- Portable Heater- For your porch, a portable heater will warm a small space for a particular amount of time. There are several models available depending on your budget, needs, and size of your porch. If you decide to build a 4-season room, most portable heaters have the permanent installation option. We recommend infrared heaters that work by heating objects around them, such as chairs, carpets, people, and not the air. However, whatever heater you choose to use, practice fire safety and never leave it on when not in use.
- Insulate door and ceiling – Insulating cracks, edges, and door sweeps will keep the heat inside the room. Apply some spray foam or caulking to fill up any gaps and spaces around window frames and on the ceiling. Use some rubber weatherstripping under the door sweeps.
- Ceiling fan- Choose one with a reversible direction to help spread the heat or warm air around the room. It also prevents cold air pockets from forming by circulating air in the room.
- Outdoor fireplace – The best fireplace for the front porch should be ventless gas or an electric fireplace.
Whether you’re considering using some affordable vinyl sheet or going for a sophisticated outdoor fireplace, your screened porch is winter-ready. With all these options, you can do as much as you want to winter-proof your screened-in patio and add functionality to your home.