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Answers to Your Questions About Screen Porch Repair and Installation

If you have a screened porch, you know how nice it can be to have a shady place to sit outside and enjoy fresh breezes without having to worry about a visit from nature's worst insect, the mosquito. But, when your outdoor living space is desperately in need of porch repair services, it's less comfortable and less protected—possibly to the point where you might as well just sit outside and let the mosquitoes drink their fill.

Or, maybe you don't have a screened-in porch and you're curious about whether it would be a good addition to your home. A porch screen adds a transitional area to your home that is neither inside nor outside, but offers some benefits of both. But what needs to be done to restore your porch so it looks and functions at its best?

Mr. Handyman has answers to some frequently asked questions about screen porch repair and installation that will help you make an informed decision about the next steps to porch perfection. When you're ready to get started on your project, rely on Mr. Handyman of Upper Fairfield County to create the ideal outdoor sanctuary for your home.

Should I Repair or Replace My Porch?

This is a very common question that we are asked, and it really comes down to the extent of the damage. If the cost of repairs would exceed the cost of replacement, obviously replacement is the best course of action. But, unless your entire structure is affected, chances are good that it's not going to be a total tear-down and rebuild from the ground up. Instead, we can just replace specific elements and patch up any minor bits of trouble here and there.

One example of this is that railing repair is usually actually a matter of railing replacement. Railings usually become wobbly because the timber has begun to rot and is crumbling away where the railing meets the wall or other sections of railing. Since rotted wood is structurally unsound and can't hold a nail, there's no point in trying to re-secure a rotten railing; so, it should get replaced.

Here are a few more problems that call for either repair or partial replacement:

  • Damaged, dry, or paint-resistant wood that has become weathered, gray, & splintery

  • Damaged stairs that dip down or make a creaking noise when stepped on

  • Decorative elements like corbels & spindles that are missing or broken

  • Rotting deck boards

  • Holes & rips in screen mesh

  • Bent, warped, or broken screen frames

Why Is My Porch Sagging?

If you've noticed a distinct dip in your wooden porch that is giving the whole structure a rather lazy appearance, there are two potential causes: rotting wood posts, or posts that are sinking into the ground.

Wood rot is a form of decay caused by wood-eating fungi that thrive when there's excessive moisture in timber, so porches are vulnerable because they're outside and exposed to the elements. Rotten wood softens and breaks apart, causing serious structural integrity problems when it affects structural elements such as the posts that are holding the entire thing up.

The other problem of sinking posts is related to drainage issues or faulty foundations. The posts may have been installed incorrectly, or if the porch is older, it could just be the result of soil shifting over time. It could also be that landscaping changes or poor grading have caused water to pool around the posts, washing away the soil and encouraging our old friend, wood rot. This all sounds pretty bad, but there are repair solutions that don't necessarily involve tearing down the entire deck—though the posts themselves will definitely need to be replaced with new, pressure-treated lumber and reinforced with concrete deck footings.

Can Rotted Wood Be Saved?

In a word: no. Once timber has rotted, there's no way to get it back to its former condition. That's why the treatment for wood rot is usually to remove the affected timber entirely and replace it with new, pressure-treated lumber that can then be painted and sealed to prevent future moisture incursion. However, if the patches of rot are very small or removing the timber would be prohibitively difficult, it may be possible to scrape out the rotted parts and fill them in with epoxy wood filler. That only works if the timber is not load-bearing, though.

Can I Replace Just the Screen on My Porch?

Yes, if your screen frames are in good condition with no warping, but you have some holes or rips in the mesh, your handyman can remove the damaged mesh and insert a new panel into the existing frame that will keep those pesky mosquitoes where they belong—far away from you.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Screened-In Porch?

It's understandable that you want to know right now how much you should expect to spend, but because there's such a wide range of potential issues, we can't give an accurate estimate without inspecting your porch first. Once we take a look, we'll be able to offer a reasonable cost estimate to accomplish what needs to be done.

Do Screened Porches Add Property Value?

Screened porches are not usually included in the appraised square footage of your home, but even so, they do increase the property value and offer a good return on investment. Of course, that doesn't apply if the structure of it is in bad condition, so keep watch for signs you need deck repair. Most prospective buyers will see it as a positive that makes them feel like they're getting a more complete home that is ready-made for them. This will be especially true if many homes in your town or neighborhood have porch screens, because potential buyers will be expecting and wanting it to be part of the package.

What Size Screen Keeps Mosquitoes Out?

Adult mosquitoes range in size from about a tenth of an inch to a quarter inch for big, juicy ones. Standard mesh size is 18 x 16, which means there are 18 strands per inch in one direction and 16 in the other. That's far too small for even the most determined mosquito to squeeze through, so there's no need to worry. However, if you're concerned about their obnoxious little cousins, no-see-ums (also called biting midges or gnats), 20 x 20 mesh is a better choice.

How Do You Winterize a Screened-In Porch?

If you're worried that you won't be able to enjoy an outdoor living space in colder months, you can protect yourself from winter winds and still keep the natural light by covering the mesh with clear sheets of vinyl that will help keep the porch inviting even during the winter. As an added bonus, it can even help you save money on your energy costs by trapping warm air in the porch area so the interior of your house has more protection against drafts.

Trust Mr. Handyman for Expert Porch Repair Service in Fairfield County, CT

Whether you're in Fairfield or another part of Fairfield County such as Stamford, Westport, or New Canaan, you can rely on Mr. Handyman of Upper Fairfield County for quality workmanship and excellent customer service.

Give us a call today at 866-550-1710 to chat with our friendly customer service representatives and let us know what we can do to improve your porch and make your life easier!