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32 SEPTEMBER 1998 THE FAMILY HANDYMAN
wWhen I was a kid, my mom and dad wouldpack us into the station wagon and headup to the North Woods for a whole week tobeat the city heat. We always stayed incabin No. 10, tucked between two mam-moth white pines. The cabin wasnt much:a little kitchen, a tiny bedroom and a modest sitting room. The screened-in frontporch was bigger than all the other roomsput together.
Although we did a lot of fishing androck skipping outdoors, we spent the bulk of the week on that porch, playingcheckers, hearts and old maid; readingcomic books; and of course, sleeping.Even though the porch had see-throughscreened walls from floor to ceiling, it felt cozy.
That porch was the inspiration for thisCraftsman-style screen house. Its bigenough for two families to while away thebest of days in. The warm glow, and thefresh scent of cedar, plus the detaileddoors and a gorgeous 1x6 cedar boardceiling, make the inside of this screenhouse as inviting as its outside.
by David Radtke
THE FAMILY HANDYMAN SEPTEMBER 1998 33
34 SEPTEMBER 1998 THE FAMILY HANDYMAN
PLANNINGThis is not a small-scale project. At itslongest points (the roof overhang) itmeasures just over 18 ft. long and 15-1/2 ft. wide. Keep these numbersin mind as you look for a place to nes-tle your structure. We shoehornedour screen house into the back yard ofan average-size city lot and crowdingthe existing fence and surroundingtrees. This nestling effect made it lookas if the screen house grew into its surroundings.
Before you do any digging, calllocal utilities (gas, electrical, phone,cable) to locate any buried lines. Alsomake some plans to get rid of theextra dirt and sod youll dig up. Weended up with about 1-1/2 cu. yds.to haul away.
TIME, TOOLSAND COSTA project like this requires a fairamount of carpentry experience. Ifyouve built a wooden yard shed, acomplex deck or an intricate fence,youll have the confidence to tacklethis project. Itll also take a hugechunk of time, so plan to take a coupleof weeks off work along with a fewdedicated weekends (now is the timeto call in all those favors from friendsyouve helped over the years).
Youll need basic carpentry toolsfor this job, with additional help froma table saw and router. Youll need acouple of stepladders for this projectas well; I recommend a 6-ft. and a 12-ft. I also rented a section of 6-ft.scaffolding for about $30 a day to helpwith the roofing. Figure on spendingabout $3,500 for materials (see Cut-ting List, p. 50) and get as much deliv-ered to your home as possible.
Our porch is built over a heftyfoundation of 6x6 preservative-treated pine timbers sunk in acrushed-rock base. Upright timberposts at each corner are notchedand lag-bolted to the buried tim-bers. Each post is also lag-screwedto 2x6 treated joists. The joists holdthe posts firmly in place and pro-vide a decay-resistant frameworkto elevate the cedar decking aboveground level. The spectacular openrafter roof is supported by cedarheaders bolted to the posts and by
C r a f t s m a n - S t y l e S c r e e n H o u s e
stationary doors fastened to the cor-ners. The curved corner brackets notonly provide elegant detailing toeach corner, but act as reinforcedstructural bracing (whatever you do,dont eliminate them).
Making the finely detailed doorsis simplified by building a jig to holdthe door parts square for accurateand foolproof assembly. The same jigalso holds the door securely forstretching the screen, stapling it tothe frame and then applying the dec-orative door moldings.
THE FAMILY HANDYMAN SEPTEMBER 1998 35
SEE FIG. C FORFOUNDATION PLAN
SEE FIG. D FORROOF FRAMING
SEE FIG. E FORRAFTER DETAILS
SEE FIG. F FOREAVE DETAILS
SEE FIG. H FORCORNER DETAILS
SEE FIG. G FORDOOR ASSEMBLY
INSTALL THROW-BOLTSAT TOP AND BOTTOMOF DOORSTOP P7
NOTE: Building codes in some regions require additional seismic and high-wind anchors. Ask your building inspector about local requirements.
Story Number1428Story Name Screenhouse (Perspectives) IssueSeptember 1998EditorDave RadtkeArt DirectorBob UngerTech Art Version2F 6/24/98
Fig. A Overall Details
Fig. B Completed View
.60 TREATEDTIMBERS FORBEAMS (A)
2-3/4" x 5-1/2"NOTCH
1/2" x 5"LAG SCREWS
3/4" SPACEBETWEEN3/4" SPACEBETWEEN
1/2" x 3-1/2"LAG SCREWS1/2" x 3-1/2"LAG SCREWS
LEVEL the 6x6treated beams (A)over a trough ofgravel. The gravelhelps drain excesswater and provides astable bed for thefoundation. Spreadgravel along eachbeam, leaving onlyabout 1 in. of thebeam exposed.
FASTEN thenotched uprightposts (B) to theouter foundationbeams (A) with1/2-in. x 5-in. galvanized lagscrews and wash-ers. Be sure toplumb and bracethe posts as youdrill a 3/8-in. pilothole for each lagscrew.
INSTALL the joists ateach end first, thenstring a line betweenthem. Align the endsof the other joists 3/4 in. from the string(use a spacer block oneach end joist asshown; see For MoreInformation, p. 50).Then tack them inplace, mark them andjoin them with blocks.The joists that buttagainst the postsmust be lag-screwedto the sides of theposts to keep themfrom racking out ofalignment.
THEFOUNDATIONOnce youve staked out your perimeteron well-drained level ground (see Fig. C for the foundation dimensions),youll need to dig trenches for the 6x6treated beams (A). (Be sure theyre .60treated, rated for underground protec-tion. Special-order them if necessary.)Follow the foundation plan in Fig. C forthe correct placement. Dig each trenchabout 10 in. deep and 12 in. wide. Filleach trench with about 5 in. of crushedrock (we used crushed limestonebecause it packs well).
Now cut the beams to length and laythem in the trench (Photo 1). Levelthem with each other and make surethe diagonal measurements from theends of the two outer beams are equal.This ensures that the foundation willhave square corners. The beams shouldsit proud of the surrounding gradeabout an inch so the joists that lie overthem can clear the soil. Once the beamsare in place, pour crushed rock aroundthem to lock them into position.
The next phase involves setting theposts (B) onto the beams. First, cutthem to length and notch the bottom asshown in Photo 2. Measure in from theends of the outer beams (A) as shownin Fig. C. Get a helper to hold thenotched end of the post perfectly verti-cal (plumb) on the beam and alignedwith the mark. Drill two 3/8-in. pilotholes through the post and into thebeam. Now insert your lag screws (1/2 x 5 in.) and washers and tightenthem (Photo 2). Repeat this for eachpost. TIP: If youre working alone, youcan tack each post into position withnails and 2x4 braces.
Now you can lay in the joists asshown in Photo 3 and Fig. C. The joiststhat connect to the posts must be cutand blocked as shown in Fig. C. Youcan cut and block each pair of remain-ing joists, or you can overlap 10-ft.joists on the center beam. Just be surethe joists that butt against the posts are
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36 SEPTEMBER 1998
THE FAMILY HANDYMAN SEPTEMBER 1998 37
160" (OUTSIDE OF BEAMS)165-1/2" (OUTSIDE OF POSTS)
214" OVERALL (211" JOIST SPAN)
HEADERSThe upper headers (E1, E2, E3 and E4) fas-tened from post to post (Fig. D) are themain support for the roof. The stationarydoors that fit later under the lower headers(M1 and M2) help support the roof as well.
When you install the inner headers (E1and E2), be sure your posts are plumb andthat the distance from post to post is identi-cal at the top and bottom of the posts. Lag-screw (1/2 x 3-1/2 in.) the inner headers tothe posts as shown in Photo 5, then nail theouter headers over the inner headers with apair of 10d galvanized nails every 16 in.
5/4 x 6"CEDARDECKING
NAIL the 5/4 x 5-1/2 in. decking (D)to the tops of the joists with 10d fin-ish nails. If your decking feels moistwhen youre nailing it, butt the sidestight. If the decking feels dry, leave a1/16-in. space between the boards forexpansion during wet weather.
16"16" 16" 16"