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My back porch a catastrophe – really, it’s a CAT-astrophe. And after some recent storms, it’s become a high priority to reclaim the space and get the disaster under control.

  1. Cleaned up and out
  2. Replacing the Screens
  3. Screening Tips
  4. Updating the Door
  5. Cat Walk
  6. Dress It Up!

1.Cleaned Up and Out

I want to make this screened in porch an oasis for my family to relax and enjoy the fresh air. But before I even get started, we have to get this space cleaned up and out. The potting bench is getting moved to the side of the house, all of the kids toys are getting shifted to a whole other area, and the cats litter box has to find a new home. I pressure washed the whole space so that it would be ready for a full refresh.

2.Replacing the Screens

The main problem I have out in the porch is that the screens are from the 1980’s – they’re old and worn down and really need to be completely redone. I took down all the 40 year old rotten wood and ripped down the cat-shredded screens. Using a simple system from a general hardware store, I was able to completely redo all the screens. You use a piece of screen track that you screw directly onto the 2×4, then you overlay the screen, push it down into the slot with a spline and a screen rolling tool. Once that’s on, there’s a PVC cover that snaps right into place. This was much simpler than I expected it to be originally. 

When creating the screens, I realized I needed to add something at the bottom for there to be a ledge to attach the last section of the track to. I added a pressure treated 1×2 and a 2×4 decking board to mount that track to. It will also come in handy to set things on in the porch. 

3.Screening Tips

There’s definitely a few tips when it comes to installing screens. 1: Use a screen rolling tool the RIGHT way. They usually come two sided; one side will be rounded and you use that to roll the screen down into the track. The second side has a scoop in the disc and that’s the side you’ll use to push the spine down over the screen and into the track. 2: The spline is a stretchy rubber and when rolling it down over the screen into the track, my best tip is to pull it tight as you roll it. It will help to get it down into that track much easier. 3: With the PVC cover snapping on over the track, the screen doesn’t have to be trimmed perfectly because that raw edge will be covered by that PVC.

4.Updating the Door

With all the screens completed, I added a new screen door as well. The door I purchased was slightly shorter and wider than the original door. I needed to make the frame fit that door by lowering the 2×4 header and widening the opening both by an inch. The new door also has updated self closing hinges that are made of a heavier plastic that won’t rust over time. 

5.Cat Walk

Inside the porch I needed to build something that would serve a few purposes. I created a floor to (almost) ceiling shelf that doubles as a side table and triples as a cat tree and cat walk to keep the cats from climbing on the new screens. Using 8 ft 2×2’s as the 3 corners and a short 2×2 as a 4th leg, I added decking for a top to make it a small side table. I also added small shelves up the side for the cats to hop up on. Once the side table shelving unit was on the porch, I added a super long decking piece across the top of the wall as a literal cat walk for the cats. I added a 2×2 underneath of it to keep it from sagging over time and to add hanging plants across from it, too.

6.Dress it Up

I hung outdoor cafe lights around the inner perimeter of the porch for some added ambiance. Locally, we found an outdoor table and chairs for an incredible sale, we added an outdoor rug under the table. We filled the porch swing with outdoor pillows and sprinkled a few plants outside for some fresh air. The space has become exactly the oasis we wanted.