Answers to Your Questions About Screen Porch Repair and Installation

The exposed structure of a front porch before its top boards are replaced during an appointment for porch repair.
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 Fairfield 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?

Your local Fairfield handyman has answers to some frequently asked questions about Fairfield 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 deck railing repair is typically actually a matter of railing replacement. Railings usually become wobbly because the timber has begun to rot and is crumbling away where your railing meets your wall or other sections of the 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—in that type of situation, it should get replaced.

Signs You Need Fairfield Porch Repair or Partial Replacement

There's no doubt that keeping your outdoor space in good condition is critical if you want to soak up all that summer fun and relaxation without worrying about injury or worsening damage to your property. But Fairfield porch repair problems tend to start out small and worsen over time, so homeowners often don't realize how bad it's getting until it's past the point of no return. If you're aware of some potential signs of trouble that indicate you need porch repair in Fairfield, Connecticut, you can get the help you need from our team of experts before your entire structure is falling apart and requires a total replacement.

Weathered, Splintery Wood

If you're scared to step out onto your porch in bare feet because you don't want your foot to get stabbed by a big, nasty splinter, there's definitely a problem that requires Fairfield porch repair service from a qualified handyman. Damaged, dry, or paint-resistant wood that has turned gray and is splintering apart is a major sign of water damage.

When water from rain, snow melt, overflowing gutters or other possible sources seeps into the wood, the timber swells up and puts pressure on the paint layer from underneath. That causes the paint to bubble and lift, then crack and peel away in strips or flake off in big chunks. Peeling paint is obviously unattractive, but it also leaves your porch unprotected against further damage such as wood rot that can worsen and spread. Your Fairfield handyman will strip off the old paint with professional power washing and then refinish your porch and add a thick layer of sealant to help prevent moisture incursion in the future.

Creaking or Sagging Steps

As porch steps get older, they deteriorate and suffer from the same types of issues that affect the rest of your structure, such as wood rot. Stairs also take a lot of abuse and normal wear and tear over time. It's already easy enough to trip and take a tumble down the steps—you don't need the added hazard of stairs that are falling apart to make the situation even more hazardous. It's important that steps be in a solid, safe condition to avoid injury. Whether your steps need Fairfield porch repair services or an entire replacement, you can rely on your local handyman to get them back in safe, attractive shape so you don't need to worry.

Missing Spindles or Balusters

Spindles and balusters are very similar—they're both vertical pieces in a railing that help to support the top rail. The only difference is that spindles are attached to a bottom horizontal rail as well, while balusters sit on their own base and don't have a bottom rail. They sometimes come loose because the connection point has deteriorated due to wood rot on an old deck or porch, or they can suffer impact damage—especially from children or dogs that are playing too rough. If the entire railing is decayed and falling apart, it will naturally need to be replaced. But if it's in good shape and missing a couple of spindles or balusters, we can likely handle Fairfield porch repair by replacing just the missing components.

Rotting Deck Boards

If your wood deck, porch, or patio hasn't been maintained diligently and refinished regularly, you'll soon find yourself dealing with wood rot, the homeowners' natural enemy. Wood rot is a form of decay caused by wood-eating fungi that thrive when there's excessive moisture in the timber, so wooden decks and porches are vulnerable because they're outside and exposed to the elements. They're frequently drenched with rain or snow melt in Fairfield and may not have much of an opportunity to dry out between soakings. Paint or solid stain and a layer of sealant will help keep the moisture out, but eventually, the protective layer wears off and needs to be replaced with Fairfield porch repair services.

Wood rot can weaken the structural supports of your structure and cause the entire thing to collapse if the decay process is not stopped. The earlier you can catch it, the easier it will be to complete repairs. Here are some key signs of wood rot trouble to be aware of:

  • Patches of discolored wood appear lighter or darker than the surrounding material or have a white, yellow, or purplish hue
  • Wood with a stringy or spongy-looking texture, or webbed with cracks
  • Timber that's crumbling into "sawdust" or breaking apart into cube-shaped pieces (called cubical fracture)
  • When you touch a suspicious patch with a tool, it sinks right in with little or no resistance

Torn Screen Mesh

One of the very best things—or maybe THE very best thing—about a screened-in porch is that you can enjoy the fresh air and the peace of your outdoor living space without worrying about being driven back inside by an ominous, buzzing cloud of mosquitoes. But they're on a mission to make your life miserable, and they won't give up—even a tiny hole or tear in your screen mesh represents an opportunity to needle you. Sometimes Fairfield porch repair is possible by patching the screen, but it's usually more effective to just remove the mesh and replace it with a new panel that will keep those little bloodsuckers at bay.

Bent or Warped Screen Frames

Sometimes the mesh is just fine, but the frame that holds it taught has been bent, crushed or otherwise warped and it doesn't sit tightly in place anymore. That creates gaps that are like flashing neon signs welcoming mosquitoes into your space, so this situation definitely calls for expert Fairfield porch repair. Replacing the entire frame is likely going to be the only viable solution, especially if they are made with rotten wood or aluminum that is badly dented or crushed.

Insect Infestation

If you've ever had the unfortunate experience of dealing with destructive insect species such as termites or carpenter ants, you know just how much damage they are capable of inflicting on timber in a very short amount of time. If you've currently got an infestation, the best course of action is to treat the area with pesticide. Once the invaders are gone, call our team of Fairfield porch repair professionals to remove the damaged timber and replace it with new, strong material.

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. Either way, you’ll need repairs from a professional.

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 the 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 in Fairfield, CT?

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 in Fairfield?

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. The 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 a homeowner or business owner in Fairfield or another part of the surrounding area in Fairfield County such as Stamford, Westport, or New Canaan, you can rely on Mr. Handyman of Upper Fairfield County to provide quality workmanship and excellent customer service for all kinds of home improvement and repair projects. We can fix your porch, replace your siding, help with gutter cleaning, and complete many of the other jobs waiting on your to-do list.

Give us a call today to take advantage of our handyman services and let us know what we can do to improve your porch and make your life easier!