Bug Free Forever: Turning My Patio Into a Screened Porch Was a Screenfest

KJ Custom Screens & Designs added 360 bug-free square feet to our house. We have another whole room, with solid floors and a hose.

“I think this is the smartest thing you have ever done,” he said to me.

This from my husband of 37 years. I have had two babies, raised them, helped him open countless medical offices, started a successful company, and run for Dallas City Council. Yet my husband swears that my idea to turn our porch into a screened-in paradise is the most brilliant idea I have ever had!

He is right. It is a screened-in paradise now, and a bug free paradise as well, all thanks to KJ Custom Screens & Designs. We built our house in 2000, and screened in porches were on my mind, but the technology was not there yet. We did build an expansive, covered porch off the breakfast room, complete with a real fireplace and grill. That porch has been the most used and probably most loved room in this house. It has held countless parties, and many late nights of memories for our kids as they conversed with friends, enjoyed the fireplace, and hung out. With a slate floor, I didn’t care about messes because they could be hosed down the next day. Research now shows that outdoor living is the highest priority on a home-owner’s list when they build a custom home. 

It’s just that nobody thinks about the mosquitoes.

Last summer, we almost could not walk outside because of the mosquitos. They have always bitten the you-know-what out of me, but last year they were like ISIS. Even worse than the pyramid-sized bumps from regular mosquitoes, there was West Nile, there was Zika. We had a pregnant daughter-in-law. We sprayed and sprayed. I investigated mosquito misting systems, but we have an acre of property, and would basically have to nuke all the mosquitos in Hillcrest Estates. 

I have a complicating factor, too, a bird. Yellow Naped Amazon parrot. Was a deposit on a hysterectomy, don’t ask. She lives on the porch during summer months, really any time it’s over 60 degrees out, because she LOVES to throw food. You cannot put her out when you spray insecticide, and you cannot put her out when West Nile is reported. I was stuck with her in the house, where she tends to pick up my bad language.

Then I met Teresa and learned all about motorized screens. 

Teresa owns KJ Custom Screens & Designs, the premier North Texas distributor and installer of the world’s top exterior motorized screens. KJ contracts with all the luxury builders in North Texas, who know a house’s interior space doesn’t have to be its only livable space. Our homebuilders say the demand for outdoor living areas that are comfortable year-round is strong. Amenities to make that possible include fans to cool off, fireplaces and heaters to warm up, and auto rolling screens to keep the bugs away. The screens will also help keep the patio warmed come winter:

 “We are doing most homes now with roll-down screens to help with the summer mosquitoes and also allow a sense of enclosure on those cool winter nights,” Danuser said (Mark Danuser, Tatum Brown Custom Homes) “Many of our clients are also choosing to install porch ceiling heaters, which allow that large porch to used as another living area in the winter. We find this especially true when clients spend the money on large sliding and stacking door units that open to their outdoor living areas.”

I went home and looked at my porch: it was as if I had built it with custom screens in mind: we have three brick pillars, stone exterior walls, deep alcoves and straight lines.

Teresa came over and said yes, your porch is made for custom screens! All I had to do was have my contractor box-out the ceilings near the roof edge to hide the motors. Took about a week.

(We even had electrical outlets!)

Installation of the screens took one day. Basically, the motorized units are installed in the boxes, completely hidden from site, the runners are attached to the stone and brick wall surfaces with silicon adhesive, and the screens are in. They are controlled by a wall-mount panel in the kitchen, and we have one remote to keep outside or near the door. I’m buying another to keep near the pool.

It’s like we added 360 bug-free square feet to our house. We have another whole room, with solid floors and a hose. I noticed immediately, of course, that I could go outside without coating myself in insect repellant. My grand daughter can play on the porch without getting one bite. It’s also possible now to eat outside with a toddler! My furniture stays much cleaner — I can tell by the shine on the glass-top table. During the spring’s usual yellow pollen deluge, my patio was spared.

For the first time ever, I am leaving cushions out on the sofa and chairs. The screens protect the porch from large crittters, as well as mosquitos.

“Take your bug spray, and periodically squirt the base of the screens,” Teresa told me, referring to the brushy base of the screens that makes a soft landing on the floor at the screen base. “That will keep crawlies out.”

It does, beautifully.

The screens are transparent enough to still take in our deep, wooded yard and pool. Yet they offer sun protection to the porch and even to my family room: wish I would have had them five years ago, maybe my sofas would not have faded.

Not only is my family thrilled, I have a happy bird who will escape the claws of West Nile. Because with all the rain we have had this spring, this summer is going to be a real bugfest.

Call Teresa NOW!