Things You'll Need
PVC pipe sections in 2-inch diameter
PVC elbow and T sections
PVC saw or hacksaw
3/4-inch self-tapping screws
Cordless screw gun or screwdriver
Optional: PVC glue
Heavy Duty self stick Velcro strips
2-foot pieces of rebar
Drill with 1/2-inch bit
Optional: PVC screen house kit
A PVC screen house is an economical way to build your own custom-sized and -shaped outdoor space. PVC pipe is easy to work with and makes the structure strong enough to stand through normal weather conditions but also able to be taken down and stored in winter months. A PVC screen house can be a small structure you pack in your RV to take on camping trips or one you set up in your back yard for summer-long use. Whatever the use for your PVC screen house, the design is simple and easy to construct.
Determine the use and space requirements for your screen house. Scan the area you want to locate the structure and consider the weather conditions, space and use. If you are building a portable screen house for camping, consider the storage area as well as what will be housed inside the structure, such as a picnic table for eating, and plan the size accordingly. Compare plans online at websites like Pvcplans.com and decide which shape and type of structure is right for you. Sketch out your plan or print a plan you find online, and make a list of the parts needed.
Purchase the needed lengths of PVC pipes, fittings and screening according to the plan and dimensions you chose, or, purchase a kit that has all the components ready to build.
Lay out the pieces of your structure and check them for both the correct number of pieces and fit. If you are doing your PVC screen house from scratch, now is the time to measure your pipe lengths and cut them to fit. You will need posts, wall supports, and cross pieces for the roof. The number of them depends on the size of your structure. They should be spaced no more than 8 feet apart for good support without the PVC bowing in the center. These should be measured and cut in pairs, so that each side matches exactly for a uniform structure.
Piece the pipes and fittings together. Begin with the outer frame, putting together the posts with the bottom and top wall supports. You can make a simple square frame with T joints for a small box-shaped structure, or add a center post and supports for a longer structure. Slip the T joint onto one post, and then add the bottom supports at 90 degree angles. Add a T joint, or elbow if there is no extension, to the end of one of the bottom supports. Slip the post into that T joint, then add the top support between the two posts you have set, using T joints if you plan a gabled roof, or elbows for a flat roof. Continue on until all the pieces are together and you have constructed the frame of your structure.
Screw on 3/4-inch self-tapping screw into each joint where a piece of PVC meets a fitting. For a T joint this means three screws, one in each leg of the joint with the PVC pipe connected. These screws are easily removed for tear down and storage. For a permanent structure, if you are choosing to glue your PVC together, before adding your screws, brush on a layer of glue at the end of each pipe and place it back in the fitting, then screw together.
Measure your screen pieces, allowing 3 to 4 extra inches on each end for overlap of every section to ensure a good fit and bug-free environment. The roof can be done in one section if possible. Attach the Velcro strips to the corners and middle of each section. Place the wall pieces on first, wrapping the Velcro strips around the PVC and meshing them together. Add the roof last, sliding the Velcro down around the PVC rail between the already installed screen and the PVC and wrapping it in a loop to fasten it. Attach the walls at the sides, bottom and top. Create a door by cutting away a center section of screen and making Velcro fasteners.
Pound four pieces of rebar into the ground at the spot your outer posts will rest for more stability. Drill a 1/2-inch hole into the bottom of the joint at each corner post so that the rebar will slide directly up into the post. Leave about 10 inches of the rebar sticking out of the ground, and set the structure down on top of them. This step is not necessary, however for long-term use it will make the structure more wind stable.
Caprice Castano recently left the field of construction management to operate her own contracting business and spend time developing her writing career. Current projects include freelance writing for Internet publications and working on novel-length fiction.