Screened porches can be finished with as much panache and flair as any other living area. Just because the screened porch is considered an outdoor structure as opposed to an interior structure doesn’t mean you have to skimp on style. You have to take into consideration the livable space an outdoor room such as a screened porch can add to your home, as well as your lifestyle. Last week we published a piece on the choices in interior screen porch ceilings http://columbus-decks.com/2011/09/14/interior-designs-on-screen-porches-so-many-choices/ this week we are taking it down the wall and to the ground by turning the spotlight on screen porch interior floors, from finish options to styles and everything in-between.
Interior flooring finish choices
- Wood, Tile or Synthetic? Most of the time we put a decking material down like pressure-treated (PT) pine, cedar or synthetic flooring. Considerations that come into play when choosing your flooring material may include plans to use the area for perimeter seating or dining. Most often the flooring material that is chosen by the homeowner reflects what is used on the interior ceiling or on the posts. Wood is a favorite plus, since it is under the cover of a roof you don’t have to worry about damage caused by rain, or sun exposure, as you would if the wood was used in an “open” porch setting. Some customers like to use area rugs to define seating or dining areas. The use of rugs is purely a cosmetic element used for aesthetics to convey the intimacy, unity and warmth of the structure.
- Synthetic or composite flooring may be overkill on your screen porch floors because the area is already protected from the elements. Synthetic and composites do offer a tongue and
- groove type of flooring, but these materials are more expensive when compared to other choices in flooring available.
- Tile floors– Homeowners always ask about using tile floors inside their screened porch. Tile can be beautiful and we are more than happy to put in a tile floor. Keep in mind that tile expands and contracts with the weather and temperature, and over time the grout will undoubtedly crack . Pavers are a good choice for people seeking that “old world” stone look without using tile. Pavers can be installed with less risk of cracking because we use a sand bedding as opposed to grout for installation.
- Keeping it real– When it comes to patterns, and which way to run your flooring it is a good idea to replicate the same pattern on your new screen porch that is used in the adjacent structures. Whether you use the same color or one that contrasts your existing structure, remember you want to make your porch look as though it was built when the house was constructed.
Kneewall vs. rail vs. divider rail
- Building codes– In most jurisdictions, any structure or floor that is 30″ above grade or more requires a barrier, which can be a rail or divider rail at 36″ tall. The view from your screened porch is important and at 36″ the rail will block your view somewhat when in a sitting position. Rails can either be mounted on the inside or outside of your screen porch. If kids and pets are part of your scenario then it is usually best to mount the rails on the inside.
- Kneewalls– Kneewall height is commonly set at 24″, in order to be completely accurate check with your screen porch builder or your particular jurisdiction for the proper code requirements regarding approved height. Both the inside and the outside of the kneewall can be trimmed to match your house. Another plus to using kneewalls is that it allows space
for electrical outlets. Putting outlets in a rail is much more difficult and is not attractive. Kneewalls can also be finished in plybead and with a wainscoating design to add style to the kneewall itself. Some homeowners take advantage of the kneewall in regards to it’s shelf effect and display small decorative items as well.
- Divider rails– Divider rails allow for maximum visibility and also allows for an area to “break” the screen adding more strength. This added strength is especially helpful for families with small children and pets to protect the screen from damage.
Open posts vs. exposed posts
- To wrap or not to wrap– Choosing to wrap your posts gives a beautiful finished effect. Posts can be wrapped in a wide variety of materials including PT which can be painted in a color of your choice vinyl, cedar, pine and other rustic woods to allow continuity of design within the structure itself. Leaving the post exposed can lend to a more rustic and natural effect as well. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and your posts can be finished in the medium that best suits your individual tastes.
Choosing the most appropriate interior flooring finish for your screened porch doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By using an experienced porch builder your journey of watching your screened porch reach fruition can be a magical experience, alive with design elements and textures to tantalize your senses.
Contact Archadeck of Columbus to learn more about our screened porches and the many ways you can customize your structure to truly make it one of a kind. (740) 879 – 3730
To see more gorgeous images of screened porches, and the wide selection of mediums used to create an unforgettable space visit our screened porch gallery at http://columbus.archadeck.com/pickYourProject/ScreenedPorches.html