Enclosing an existing porch with double-paned windows is not a difficult project and it allows you to use the area throughout the year. In addition, it makes the porch more private and increases the value of the home. Within a day, you can convert the porch from open or screened to enclosed.
You will need:
• 2×4 foot studs, cut to length
• Double-paned windows
• CO2 nail gun and nails or a screw gun
• 3 1/8-inch galvanized penny nails or 3-inch deck screws
• Frame hammer
• Corner square
• 2 and 4-foot levels
• Power hammer or concrete gun (if porch is concrete)
• Circular or miter saw
• Tape measure
• Wood shims
• Liquid nail (contractor’s grade)
Step 1: Measure the location being enclosed, using the tape measure. Determine how much wood is needed and the number and size of the windows. If screens are present, remove them.
Step 2: Measure and then cut the bottom wood plate, using the saw. Run a liquid nail bead on the center of each plate. Anchor or screw the plate into the floor of the porch. A concrete nail gun or power hammer will be needed if the plates will be set on concrete. For added stability, use blocks between each upright stud to double the plate.
Step 3: Measure and then cut the top wood plate. Attach the plate to the porch ceiling.
Step 4: Measure the distance between the top of the bottom plate to the bottom of the top plate. This will provide you with the proper length for the upright end post, or stud. Cut this stud to the correct length, using the saw. Nail it in place on the plates, maintaining an angle of 45 degrees. Verify that the stud is aligned from bottom to top, using the level. Attach the stud in the same manner the plates were attached.
Step 5: Measure and the cut the upright stud to be used at the other end and secure it in place.
Step 6: Measure the top and bottom plates, starting at one end and going to the other. Use the pencil to mark the center on each plate.
Step 7: Measure the first frame, based on window size. Using the center mark as the halfway point, add one-half of the measurement on each side. The first window frame upright stud will sit here. Add ¼-inch to the measurement so the window can fit in place without the frame being too tight.
Step 8: Measure the distance between the upright window studs for the window. Cut the each cross section to this length. These will secure the window into place.
Step 9: Measure the window itself to calculate where it will rest within the frame. You can center the window or provide additional space on the bottom or top of the frame. Once you have determined the placement, measure from the topmost area of your bottom plate to the location the window will be sitting. Use the pencil to put a mark in this location on the upright stud on each side.
Step 10: Insert the cross section between the upright boards and screw or nail it into place. Insert one nail into each side, then use the level to ensure the cross section is level. Finishing securing the cross section with the nails. Follow this process for the cross section at the top.
Step 11: Insert the window into the frame opening, ensuring it fights tightly but that a small gap exists on both sides. Secure the window into the frame with wood shims before screwing it in place.
Step 12: Inspect the frame to make sure the window fits properly. Cut and insert short studs and place them in the center of the upper and lower frame to add stability. This also provides more studs for use when attaching plywood exterior sheeting.