What Is a Screen House?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 23 December 2014
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A screen house is a structure with walls made from screens and a shade canopy as a roof. These structures are designed to keep out insects and to provide shade, creating a shelter which allows people to enjoy the outside world without exposing themselves to insect bites or strong sun. Screen houses are designed for summer use in many climates, or year round use in the tropics, and they can be utilized in a wide variety of settings.

One of the classic uses of the screen house is in camping, where a portable screen house can be used as a tent in warm climates which stay warm at night. The screen house allows lots of air circulation, which can be useful in hot climates, and it keeps people sleeping in the screen house sheltered from bugs, in addition to protecting food supplies. Screen houses can also feature fold out awnings which will extend the shade provided by the structure for additional shelter.

People also use screen houses for outdoor entertaining and recreation in the summer months, in which case the screen house may be large so that it can comfortably accommodate a crowd. These structures may also be more heavy and permanent, with features like canvas instead of nylon roofing, and heavy construction materials which will help the screen house resist wind.


Many outdoor supply and camping stores carry screen houses which have been designed for camping, along with accessories such as clip on awnings and ground covers. For a screen house which will be used for entertaining, home supply and hardware stores can be a good source. It is also possible to build a structure to custom specifications, with a gazebo being an excellent framework for screening to create a shelter for outdoor entertaining.

Some things to think about when purchasing a screen house include how it is going to be used, where it will be used, and how easy it will be to take apart and store. If a screen house is being used for camping, it should be lightweight and easy to assemble, and ideally waterproof to protect from unexpected downpours. Screen houses which will be installed in fixed locations like a yard over the summer don't need to be as portable, but they should be designed in a way which will allow people to break them down and store them through the winter months, when the structure could be damaged if it is left outside. Residents of the tropics may opt for a more solid structure which can easily be reconfigured or repaired so that it will last through years of use.



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