My wife and I (living in Texas) visited family in Florida last week,
and being my first time to Florida in many years I noticed many homes
had Aluminum framed screened-in porches and patios. I also saw many
homes had screens on their garage door as well. I've never seen this
type of construction in my area, but we would like to add such a patio
to our home.
The patios we saw weren't made of wood, but instead used an Aluminum
frame. I want to build the patio myself, but I've yet to find any
place local who carries these aluminum frames. Can someone suggest an
online resource or any ideas on where to locate the parts or a kit to
build such a patio? I've worked with a wood screened-in patio before
where the screen was just stapled down, but the aluminum framed patios
look so much nicer.
Thanks for any ideas -- and if anyone has installed such a patio or
porch, any caviets or suggestions for the DIY'er who's about to take on
such a project?
Where in TX? does it ever snow? Those patios in FL will never see a snow
load on the roof and may explain why you don't see so many near your home.
You should be able to find a suitable construction though, have tried
yahoogling "aluminum patio cover" there are plenty to look at.
You can purchase the materials from a glass shop, a pool enclosure shop
etc., but I wouldn't call this a DIY project.
Unless of course you have some kind of experience with fabricating
The way it works is, the installers come to your house, you tell them
what you want, they take some measurements and then go back to the shop
and fabricate it. Then they come back out and install the sections,
screen it and caulk it.
You need jigs and other uncommon tools to fabricate it correctly.
If you want to make your own, have you considered simple screen doors
mounted side by side with H channels between and U channel top and bottom.
The problem would be finding doors without holes for handles predrilled. In
Arizona senior citizen parks, I've seen old sliding patio doors mounted this
way to make solid glass walls. Cheap if you can find a bunch of surplus
doors. Which reminds me that you can buy aluminum screens for sliding patio
doors...might work in place of screen doors although they are pretty flimsy.
Alex, I live in Florida and have a screened in patio just as you explained.
I built it my self, was a piece of cake. Lowes has the material 1X2s 2X2s
roof panels and corner brackets. And a big box of self drilling screws. All
the aluminum components are cut with skill saw or better yet a chop saw. BE
SURE TO WEAR EYE PROTECTION!!!
Lowes catalog or go to store and have the wood trim guy help you to order.
Oh yea the screen is held in place with a rubber spline. My patio is about
12X12 feet was an easy DIY>
Not flimsey at all. Infact at my last house (I sold it 4 yrs ago) It had a
big 30000 gal pool with a big screened in incloseur that was all 2X2 with 5"
beems on top was built many years ago and was not flimsey at all
Screen cages are pretty rare where it snows, unless you have a load
bearing roof, made of other material.
The big issue in other (tropical) places is wind load. These things
are more like a biplane than a bridge when you look at the
engineering. Most of the structural strength comes from the cables
that make the structure dimentionally stable. You are taking a bunch
of rectangles that are strong in compression and adding diagonal
cables that makes the structure triangles, strong in tension. Every
time we have a storm they fine tune the engineering for the "next"
thing that failed.
Don't underestimate the cables though. Every cage failure I
investigated here in the last 4 or 5 storms started with a cable
failing, usually the anchor in a top outside corner failed first and
then the structure started shaking itself apart. Once you lose a
section, the rest is close behind.
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