Pool screen enclosures add privacy, security, and sun protection to your backyard. Deciding what type of enclosure and screening to use are just two of the many decisions to make. Learn what to know before building a screen enclosure.
Zoning and Permits
Each county and municipality may have its own zoning requirements and building codes applicable to pool screen enclosures. There will likely be set rules about how far the structure can be from property lines. There could also be height restrictions and standards for how well the structure can withstand high winds.
A permit will almost always be required. Permitting helps your city and county keep track of compliance with building codes and protect residents with inspections as construction proceeds. If you proceed without a permit, you might face a fine, or—in extreme situations—you might have to tear everything down and start over.
Homeowner’s Association Rules
If you live in an area subject to the rules of a homeowner’s association, you’ll need to know what’s allowed and what isn’t when you’re building a pool enclosure. There may be rules about styles, height, colors, and materials. You should also find out about noise regulations, rules governing construction equipment, and where workers can park while they’re completing the project. You may have to submit a detailed plan to your HOA in addition to local zoning and permitting bodies.
Determine how much you can afford to pay for a pool enclosure. The size, design, and materials of your pool enclosure will affect costs. However, it’s unwise to opt for the cheapest options based only on costs. A pool enclosure is a major home improvement project that can add value to your home. Building it to last with quality materials will save you money in the long run.
Size and Design
Think about the environment around your pool. You’ll spend a lot of time out there. Your pool enclosure can cover just the pool to protect it when you’re not swimming, while a larger enclosure could cover the pool and the entire pool deck area to create a resort-like retreat. Think about space for dining and relaxing when you’re not swimming.
Florida pool screen enclosures usually attach to the house. For a two-story house, they can be one or two stories high, depending on zoning restrictions. There’s a variety of roof styles to choose from—some pool enclosures attach to the house at the roof above the second floor and angle downward until their far wall is even with the wall of the first floor. There are also enclosure designs with mansard, gable, or dome-shaped roofs. The size and architectural style of your home will influence your choice.
Most Florida pool screen enclosures are framed in aluminum, using stainless steel or other rust-resistant screws as fasteners. Some enclosures are wood-framed. Each materials has its benefits and drawbacks, and some zoning laws may define permissible materials. Aluminum is economical, lighter-weight, and fairly easy to maintain. Wood is beautiful, but it’s also heavy, so it may present more maintenance issues with constant exposure to moisture.
Equally as important as the framing and fasteners is the type of screening you select. Standard screening has 18/14 mesh, meaning 18 open squares horizontally and 14 vertically per square inch. Tighter weaves to keep out insects may have a 20/20 mesh. Some screens are designed to be pet-resistant so that your dog or cat can’t claw through them. Other screens emphasize providing a clearer view so that you can see out to enjoy your landscaping. And some screens are for privacy, to keep other people from looking in at you.
Some screens are tinted. Others provide protection from UV light or reduce the buildup of heat and glare from the sun inside the enclosure. Screening may be treated with biocides or antimicrobial substances to resist buildup of mildew and algae or germs from pets gnawing on the screening. One screen product, Super Screen, is made with a polyester yarn core using an extrusion process; it boasts UV protection, pet and insect resistance, and exceptional durability.
If you use your pool just to swim laps, you won’t need a big, tall pool enclosure. On the other hand, if you regard your pool deck as an entertainment and relaxation space, you’ll want to enclose more than just your pool. Some homeowners even use their pool enclosures as sites for outdoor kitchens. Your budget and your primary use of the pool will help you decide what kind of enclosure will be best for you.
Pool Deck Condition
Before you enclose your pool, it’s wise to consider you pool deck’s condition. If your deck is cracked, stained, or dingy or looks outdated, get that fixed before you enclose the area. You may want to consider resurfacing the pool deck; adding decorative, nonslip tile; or updating with nonslip pavers made especially for pool decks.
Choosing a Contractor
Do your research about contractors who install pool screen enclosures. Look for a company with experience working in your area and knowledge about your local zoning and permitting regulations. Familiarity with the terrain in you local neighborhood is a plus. A contractor can help you select the right type of enclosure for your pool and talk with you about the appropriate size and materials for your site.
As with any contractor, ask for documentation that they’re licensed and that they carry liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Be aware that some companies specialize in constructing the frame for a pool enclosure, while others focus on installing screening or pool enclosure screen repair.
Take the time to think about all the things you should know before building a pool enclosure. With careful planning, a pool screen enclosure can enhance your enjoyment of your pool area and add value to your home. Screen enclosures provide added security and keep out debris and animal intruders. Select durable materials and experienced, licensed, and insured contractors to install them, and your pool enclosure should provide years of poolside relaxation for your home.