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How to get your screened porch ready for summer

By Angie Hicks
PORCH_3
T.ORTEGA GAINES - CHARLOTTE OBSERVER
A screened porch can offer the best of inside and outside living, with no downside except the need for occasional cleaning and maintenance.

What area of the home offers the best of inside and outside living, with no downside except the need for occasional cleaning and maintenance?

The answer: a screened-in porch. No matter how small it may be, a porch lets you live large. Few home experiences approach paradise quite like an afternoon curled up in a wicker rocker, reading a good book, or an evening of entertaining with your favorite folks.

But if you think of a screened-in porch as just a home add-on, you might not be thinking big enough. Top-rated contractors who provide outdoor living solutions say porches increasingly are becoming a focal point in many homes.

They tell our consumer services research team that porches are trending larger and more luxurious, with well-appointed outdoor kitchens and massive stone fireplaces. Other trends include eye-catching ceilings and floors. Flooring options range from tile to tongue-in-groove hardwood. Ceilings may be finished in an open-rafter style or with wood planking.

If you’re porchless but crave the experience of listening to the patter of a summer shower from the cozy comfort of an Adirondack chair, be aware that adding a porch will cost from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the size and style.

Meanwhile, if you have a porch but haven’t yet prepared it for the season, you may need to expend a little sweat to be sure it remains a no-swat zone. Take time to inspect the structure and screens. Consider hiring a well-reviewed handyman to restain the wood or repair screening. Our team found that a handyman is likely to charge $50 to $100 to replace damaged screens.

More ideas to consider:

• Hire a reputable electrician to add a ceiling fan and lighting so you can use the porch at night and during the hotter times of year.

• Furnish it with comfortable seating and a place to dine. You can spend as much or as little as you like, with options ranging from matched outdoor furniture sets to paint-your-own garage sale finds.

• Add plants and flowers that complement your furnishings and house color.

• Consider a plug-in water fountain, wind chimes and other features that add to a porch’s sensory delights.

angieslist.com

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