When choosing a design for your porch or patio, you have a couple of options in hand, that is, either a screened-in porch or a sunroom.
The two options are pretty similar in terms of their utility. They both allow you to enjoy the outdoors from within your home. However, a screened-in porch will prove to be heavier and more expensive on your wallet.
When built using a material such as copper mesh, the cost of installing a screened-in porch is going to be pretty expensive. Even with cheaper materials, regular cleaning and maintenance will lead to a hefty cumulative cost.
I'm going to share with you the various advantages and disadvantages to having a screened-in patio or deck and explore the other alternatives so you can choose the design that best fits your home and budget.
All About Patio Enclosure Types
A back patio is an area of your home that is open to the outdoors, but usually paved and protected. This area is generally an area that most go on to relax, look out, sit down, and read a book or have a nice beverage.
This spot is where you want to unwind and enjoy the scenic beauty around while protecting yourself from the wind, dirt, and insects. How you choose to design this part of your house is important to ensure you get the ambiance perfect for this space.
Choosing the patio enclosure is key to making sure that you make the most of this space. The most common patio enclosure types oare screened-in porches or sunrooms.
A screened-in porch is an outward extension of your house, with a roof overhead. It has an enclosure of screens on all the other sides. The screens are made of materials that allow air to circulate.
It is essentially an outdoor space that is connected to your house and allows you to experience the feeling of being in the open while enjoying the accessibility to the indoors.
The roof protects you from rain and shine, while the screens keep away bugs and pests.
A sunroom is an extension of your house that allows light to enter from all directions since it has windows or screens on all sides and a roof that is mostly made of glass. It gives you complete protection from cold winds, rain, etc. while allowing a stream of natural light to enter.
It is also arguably another room in your house that has a lot of windows and panels to allow natural light and warmth to enter. The design and purpose of a sunroom are quite apparent in its name.
Screened-in Porch Disadvantages
Screened-in porches have disadvantages that you need to be aware of. When we purchased our home, it appeared that the previous owners may have built the screened-in porch as an after thought. The problem was that they did not consider the longevity of the material.
I wanted to share with you my thoughts and considerations before you build your own based on the experiences that I've had.
When you ask people, they will often tell you that getting a screened-in porch is much cheaper than a sunroom. However, that is not the whole picture.
The installation of a screened-in porch might very well be inexpensive when compared to a sunroom, but there are reasons for that. A screened-in porch is just an outward extension of your house while a sunroom is an entire additional room.
Considering the architectural differences, the cost of building each is bound to vary. However, when it comes to repairs and maintenance, the investment on a screened-in porch is almost always higher.
A screened-in porch will also require far more repair and maintenance than a sunroom because it is an area exposed to the elements of nature. Thus, the cumulative cost keeps adding up.
Your screened-in porch will require a lot of cleaning and maintenance. The porch is essentially placed outside and exposed to all the changing weather conditions. It will also gather dirt and dust much faster.
If your panels are not cleaned, the screened-in porch serves no purpose at all. You want that space for relaxation and for enjoying the outdoors and thus the panels must be clean and the scenery outside must be visible.
As you can see from the images, the screened-in porch collects a lot of dust. This means that you'll need to get a hose to clean the screens themselves, which potentially means needing to move furniture around.
Not just the panels, but the porch itself will gather a lot of dirt, carried by the wind from outside. Therefore, you will have to invest frequent time, attention, and money in the cleaning of your screened-in porch.
I have found that dirt, dust, and leaves accumulate much faster with a screened-in patio.
Blocking Nature View
Due to the design of most screened-in porches, they often do not let you enjoy the full outdoor view of a place. The roofs and railings often come in the way of the scenery. This is often a downside.
As for a sunroom, it is essentially a room made of glass, fitted in like window panes. Therefore a sunroom allows you a more vibrant and unhindered view.
With a screened-in porch, you might often require to get the screens replaced due to damage. And although it is possible to replace the screens yourself, it is always better to get some help.
This factor will also add to your expenses and is therefore worth considering.
Benefits to Screened In Porch
Screened-in porches have their own set of plus points. Here are the pros of a screened-in porch, explained in detail.
The most significant advantage of a screened-in porch is the easy installation. There are videos available on the internet that you can follow and opt to DIY your porch.
If handled well, your porch won’t require heavy maintenance. More than the cost, the labor required for maintaining a screened-in porch is pretty reasonable.
Bugs and Mosquito Repellant
The screened-in porch is an outdoor area of your house that is protected from bugs and mosquitos. Here you can enjoy the outdoor air and sunlight but cancel out the nuisance of mosquito bites and pests.
Considerations for Screened in Porch
Here are certain options that you can consider if you opt to go for a screened-in porch.
Cost Depending on Material Type
The overall cost of installation and maintenance will depend on the material with which you build your screened-in porch. The materials you can use for your porch in order of their descending costs are copper mesh, brass, stainless steel, bronze, vinyl-coated polyester, aluminum mesh, and fiberglass mesh.
Retractable vs Scrolling
Retractable screens will cost you way more than the traditional sliding panes used in your screened-in porch. Although the retractable screens are easier to use, they might not be worth the investment.
The cost of building your screened-in porch depends on every square foot of area required. Therefore, if you keep the size within limits, you can cut down on the overall expenditure considerably.
Installing electrical outlets on your porch to facilitate the use of heaters and other gadgets will add to the cost of building. You should calculate your net expenditure before you choose to opt for these additional features.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whether or not you want to install a screened-in porch depends a lot on your needs. If you are a person who enjoys the outdoor air and ambiance, then you might want to go for an open patio option. However, if you are looking to install one just for aesthetics, then it may not be a smart option.
A screened-in porch can make your patio look dark depending on the material used to make the screen. It can also make the adjacent room comparatively darker because the interior lighting does not match up with the large amounts of natural light streaming in through the porch.
Both of these structures have their pros and cons and whether one is better or not completely depends on the user’s needs. However, a sunroom will give you well-furnished, additional living space with a beautiful view that you can use all year round. On the other hand, a screened-in porch comes with easier installation and it is a temporary structure that is easier to take down if need be.
Summary of Screened in Porch
I hope this blog aimed to give you a detailed idea of the pros and cons of a screened-in porch, as this design feature is in the trends nowadays. A screened-in porch is going to require good amounts of cleaning and it might not come into use all year round. With all of this information, you will hopefully be able to make a better decision!
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