Converting a Deck into a Screened-In Porch

This house belongs to nurse and single mother Emily Cottingham. She shares the place with her son, Max, and their dog, Dolly.

Emily and Max enjoy spending time on their back porch, but Emily would love to have a screened-in porch to keep the bugs away.

She’d also like a ceiling fan to make the hot, Southern nights more bearable.

And she’d like to repair the stairs, which have become hazardous and even led to her taking a tumble.

Plus, the handrails are loose and need to be fixed.

That’s where we come in!

The Projects

Danny Lipford cuts a 2-by-4 with Emily Cottingham
Need to replace lattice boards? No problem if you have a table saw and a 2-by-4!

Repair Stairs and Lattice

Emily’s newel post had some newer screws in it, but they just weren’t long enough to reach the stairs, which led to a wobbly post.

We replaced those screws with some longer ones that can go through the post and riser, then into the actual stringer.

Some of the lattice boards were out of place, so we’re nailing them back where they belong.

Before we can convert this deck into a screened-in porch, we also need to replace some of the boards, and that requires us to use our go-to trick: matching any existing boards with a 2-by-4 and a table saw!

So, all we have to do now is nail in the new boards!  

Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf remove handrails on screen porch
These loose handrails have to go!

We use pressure-treated lumber to frame what will become a screened-in porch. We prime it on the front end to save some time.

Replace Handrails

The outside handrails are loose, not in great shape, and the balusters are too far apart, so we’ll just grab our baby sledgehammer and remove them altogether to add new ones.

Once we wrap the porch’s opening in 2-by-4s, we add a vertical one at the midpoint, followed by horizontal boards at handrail height.

We use pressure-treated lumber to frame what will become a screened-in porch. We prime it on the front end to save some time.


  1. looks great now i have a question 2 yrs ago i painted my deck[16×16] with a product that began to peel up and flap in the wind at times blew off any how i have tried power washing withe poor results had a contractor and he says he would pull up the deck and replace is this is not unusal he says is this right what else should i try Thans in advance for any info Mary Yurkovich

    • Hi, Mary,
      Great question! We have forwarded it to the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show’s producer.
      He will contact you soon to discuss featuring it during an upcoming show.
      Take care!


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