The Lanai Repair
In 2018, it was decided to strengthen the lanai structure. The original aluminum posts, which showed signs of corrosion at the base, had been the standard .045" thick 1x2, 2x2 and 3x2 aluminum extrusions installed when the house was built and are still in common use today. This configuration required a horizontal 2x2 extrusion at roughly 36" from the floor for stability. The roof was raised an inch or so with jack posts and all the old aluminum was replaced with heavy wall .007" thick 1x3 and 3x3 members. The posts (double 3x3s at the corner) are screwed into heavy aluminum fittings which, in turn, are screwed into the slab with heavy rust resistant Tapcon screws and into the 4 1/2" beams at top using large stainless steel wood screws, thus providing that the posts cannot be kicked out nor can the lanai roof lift up in the event of hurricane force winds. Between the posts at the bottom, 3x3 beams are fastened to the slab with stainless screws through 1/2" thick PVC spacers. The purpose of this method is to allow water to flow off the tile and out under the half inch gap below the beams when pressure washing or using a hose to clean the lanai. When not cleaning, 3/4" thick foam backer rod fits tightly in the gap to prevent any insects from entering. At the top, heavy wall 1x3 is fastened to the beam. This method also eliminates the need for the typical horizontal member at 36" from the floor, allowing for large, unobstructed views of the back yard and the river. To complete the open look, a custom made 36" wide door with no horizontal mid piece brace was constructed and welded by Fusion Metalworks in Fort Myers. As all the structural members are exceedingly ridgid, the huge panels, screened with Superscreen, were possible. As an added benefit, by simply removing the spline from the bottom and sides of one panel and rolling up the screen temporarily, very large pieces of furniture can be moved in or out of the house through the 12' wide sliding doors and out the open panel. When the move is complete, the screen panel is reinstalled by rolling the rubber spline back into its groove in the aluminum member. Finally, there are hooks installed in interior side of the beam upon which a tarp (furnished) can be hung when pressure washing the screen from the outside.