The Foundation: What Goes on Beneath the Surface of Your Screen Enclosure

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The Gulf Coast Aluminum Team strives to engineer all new construction with impeccable design and fortification. What makes my job great as a project manager is continuously finding new ways to design structures that add structural and aesthetic value to all unique site locations. When it comes to construction, a strong foundation will determine the overall quality of the new construction. There are generally 3 types of foundation types that I typically use when designing a new construction starting from most common to least common.

Concrete Slab – most commonly a 4” monolithic slab is poured and used as the structural foundation for a screen enclosure. This is very common for smaller lanai screen rooms and cage extensions. All of our concrete slabs utilize 3,000 Pump-mix fiber mesh that forms a bond that can withstand all county weight pressure standards.

Concrete slabs serve a two-fold purpose of functionality and aesthetics. Gulf Coast Aluminum has a wide array of aesthetic options such as paint and texture that can add significant appeal to the home.

Footers – We utilize footers for a multitude of foundational options when doing new constructions. 1st, footers are used when a larger cage is built and requires more foundational sturdiness, sometimes with or without a concrete pad. Sometimes there are higher wind and hurricane zone requirements with larger structural beams that need footers to help alleviate the appropriate zoning requirements.

Secondly, The process is designed with form boards typically creating an 8” x 8” footer spacing. The centers are reinforced with raised rebar keeping the footers as one cohesive unit. The 3,000-PSI pump mix is poured over the floating rebar forming to the concrete and steel as on cohesive unit. The fiber mesh concrete acts as a catalyst to form around the reinforced steel.


Lastly, footers not only serve a functional purpose but an aesthetic purpose as well. The footers are poured to withhold the structure while the center is compacted with sand and then pavers or tile will be laid on top.

Stem Wall – Stem walls are used when the job site requires extra fortification and/or when the job site is on a gradient slope. They are always used as assistance to a concrete pads and footers.









The stem wall is built with stacked concrete cell blocks with vertical reinforced rebar and horizontal reinforced rebar that ties into the footers above. Concrete is then poured deep into the cellblocks to fortify the wall and connect to the footers.

If a stem wall is not used the structure would be placed on compacted loose soil. This is extremely unsafe and the stem wall acts as a barrier to keep the compacted fill dirt in place. By lifting the wall off of the slope ground the risk of earth erosion and corrosion on the carrier wall is minimized.

Corey Philip Administrator
Corey began working on screen enclosures as a teenager in 2004 after hurricane Charley devastated his home town of Punta Gorda. 7 years later, after holding positions from foreman, to sales, to project manager, while attending college at Florida Gulf Coast University, Corey and childhood friend Thomas Davis founded Gulf Coast Aluminum in 2011. With a focus on delivering an unparrelled level of service, the company has grown by leaps and bounds under their leadership. Today you’ll find Corey answering the phones In his free time Corey likes training for triathlons, running the trails at Ding Darling park on Sanibel Island, and of course, working on growing Gulf Coast Aluminum.
5 replies
  1. Gary
    Gary says:

    Hi Anthony,

    A quick question..I am thinking of adding concrete deck extension to my pool deck that is already screened. Original deck does not have a footer under screen members. Do I need to pour a footer for the extension which will also be screened?



    • Anthony Jensen
      Anthony Jensen says:

      Great question Gary. You probably have a 4″ nominal concrete slab. If the extension is smaller, a 4″ nominal pad with no footers will suffice. #5 rebar will be drilled into the existing concrete than poured over with the new concrete to make the lanai one cohesive piece.

      If the extension is relatively large you may need footers included. Ultimately, it is an engineering decision that is made based on the specifics of your project.

  2. joseph amato
    joseph amato says:

    Hi, we are building a house in tampa, fl. My builder forgot that we bought covered lanai option, so for 10×10 covered lanai, there is no footer on posts to hold weight of the concrete colums and roof. All tat weight is sitting on a 4″ foundation they drilled and added rebars later directly on foundation. Is it safe and durable in long run?

    • Corey Windsor
      Corey Windsor says:

      Hello Joseph, building an entire house is a very complex project and footers on a lanai would be an easy detail for a general contractor to miss. Fortunately, as a general rule of thumb a 4″ nominal slab w rebar is usually adequate for a 10×10 lanai. Nearly all of our lanai’s about that size are done on a 4″ nominal slab w rebar and all of our plans are signed by a licensed engineer and approved & inspected by a local building official. There are a few exceptions to this the general rule, so for a definitive answer, you would need to hire a licensed engineer to review the site, structure, and plans.


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