Log home owners love porches and one way to get the most out of porches is to convert a portion of your porch space to a three-season screen and storm-paneled retreat. The trick is to install a system that makes the area function in most any weather, even providing passive solar heat to an entryway in the middle of winter.
Custom carpentry is certainly one option, but a nifty way to go is to size your three-season porch area with dimensions that fit a standard storm or screen door panel. These units have lock-in tabs to make swapping out screens for storm windows an easy task. You’ll also be able to mix and match to create airflow and protect against rainy season wetness.
The local lumberyard or home improvement center offers a wealth of styles and grades of both screen/storm doors and screen/storm panels. Andersen Windows, which are the standard option in Katahdin Cedar Log Homes packages, offer hinged screen doors that you may opt to use in combination with screen panels from the local supplier. Another great source of several styles of screened doors and panels with storm window fittings is Vintage Doors, which offers custom made-to-measure doors, and porch panels with the option of tempered glass or Plexiglas storm windows.
When planning for a screened/sun porch using stock panels and doors, it’s important to keep the measurements between the support posts from roof to deck to multiples of the 36-40 inches. Additional framing between two panels will also be needed to fill in the gaps and make the structure tight for colder months.
If you’re interested in a more changeable approach to porch configuration, consider a motorized screen system. These are much more popular in southern and warmer climates, where a storm window is not needed or desired. Motorized screens come in several configurations, including roller cassette, End Side retention or open screen. These units can be equipped with screens that filter UV rays, and sunlight, as well as annoying insects. The ease of motorized lowering and lifting make these systems a perfect option for entertaining, or family activities. One New Jersey-based company, Somfy, offers specialized motor controlled systems for outdoor screens as well as awnings, shutters and projection screens.