Suggestions for flooring for LARGE screened in porch

oakrunfarmJanuary 14, 2007


We are building a new home, and one of the main features will be a large 21' x 28' screened in porch.

Our current porch is 34' x 28,' and the house was built in 1850, so it is a true Southern sleeping porch with beadboard ceiling, white columns, and tongue and groove painted wooden floor.

The wooden floor has been very difficult to keep looking good. When it rains, the water comes in and sits, and has caused us to have to replace two of the columns and some of the flooring. It shows pet hair and dirt, and has gouges and roughness and color variation.

While all of these things are to be expected due to age, we'd like a much less labor-intensive material for our new porch.

We live in North Carolina and don't have many days of hard freezes, no snow and very little ice or freezing rain.

Could I get recommendations for a natural product other than wood that would be a good choice? Looking at natural stone of some kind. Slate, marble, stone tile?

Want easy clean-up and low-maintenance, as well as an attractive surface. We spend a huge amount of time outside on the porch, so want something both pretty and functional.

Thanks so much!

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Unless you rectify the water issues in construction aspects of the porch itself, the sustainability, longevity, and maintenance of any flooring flooring system and associated area construction will be in question (just like your wood floor and columns)unless you choose a system specifically made for an exterior application.

With your porch in its current state, what comes to mind is a ceramic/stone solution made for an exterior application with membrane over mud-bed over menbrane construction and a drainage/gutter/flashing system (like at least Schluter Ditra/Kerdi or even better Troba/TrobaPlus with a BARA/BARIN drainage/gutter systems for porch/terrace/deck systems).

as for tile product choices, a high quality porcelain is an excellent choice for decorative exterior applications.

a high grade masonry sealer for the joints is advisable as well.

The important thing here is to either: (1) fix the water coming in, or (2) use a system where water penetration is irrelevent.

Please dont make the mistake of simply installing cement board and tile over the wood substrate to save costs. While it may last longer than the wood, you will still most likely get water penetration into the wood subfloor/framing system, which in time, will still deteriorate the underlying wood, eventually causing tile/backer board system failure.

Nothing will last over a wood subfloor system over wood framing if you dont take the proper precautions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Schluter Systems

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 9:22AM
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Hi, thanks for the info. I must have focused too much on my existing situation in my post. That will be the new owner's problem to fix! :)

We are actually building a new house, and plan to address incoming water issues, so this is really for the new construct.

Does that change your recommendations?


    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 10:18AM
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Our screened-in porch (which is on the 2nd floor with a veranda/open porch below) has flooring made of 2x4's, treating wood, which are spaced 1/2" apart so no water will sit on the planks. We laid some indoor/outdoor carpeting on top 18 yrs ago and it works perfectly. The carpet keeps the dirt daubers, etc out and any rain that does get in dries quickly. It's only held down by quarter-round arond the edge of the porch but that's enough to keep it down tight. I frequently run the vacuum over it to keep it clean. Make sure you get carpeting that is made for decking/boating or is specifically made for "indoor/outdoor" use. I did replace the carpeting once in the last 18 yrs but only becuase I was getting tired of it and wanted a different color. The wood still looks as good today as the day it was installed.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 5:28PM
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Let me make sure I've got this right-- you just want to make it look good to sell and leave the new owner to fix the problem?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 5:57PM
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"Let me make sure I've got this right-- you just want to make it look good to sell and leave the new owner to fix the problem?"

No. That's not correct. We have already repaired/replaced the columns and wood that were bad. The problems arose due to sun shining in on the wood and rain blowing in over many many years. If the new owner would like to put in awnings, etc., to keep that from happening again, that will be their option.

We are building a new home. My question is about the screened in porch flooring in the new home.

I want to avoid the problems we had with this place in the new place, so I want to know what type of flooring is best for low-maintenance and easy cleaning, while utilizing preferably stone or stone tile.

I must not have done a very good job of explaining that. :)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 7:39PM
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I have done that before using a good grade porcelain tile. This screened porch had long roof overhangs so not much water ever gets in. You do need to address that though, maybe a center drain if its not to late. The best way is to use large casement windows so you can enclose the porch in driving rainstorms.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 5:02AM
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