Screened in Porch Ideas & Cost Guide
If you are looking for screened in porch ideas and cost to build one, you’re in the right place. Our guide includes all the information as well as free contractor quotes.
Outdoor spaces are welcoming, inviting and a good spot to enjoy the weather and a break from the indoors. This is the reason why people put up porches, decks, and pergolas, to maximize and make the most out of the warm seasons. However, some elements such as insects, debris and other unwanted objects can make you outdoors stay in an open porch undesirable and uncomfortable.
A screened in porch came as a solution to this unfavorable conditions that you might be subjected to when you sit on an unscreened porch. This amazing idea of screening your porch ensures that you get to enjoy your outdoor space without interference from unwelcomed external elements. A screened in porch is an external structure similar to a porch, attached to the exterior of your house and covered with window screens for added protection and privacy.
Screened in porch allows you to enjoy your time outdoors and enhances your stay in the outdoor space. Having this kind of structure is like getting an opportunity to have an indoor experience while outside. It is simply an extension of your indoor living space only that it allows you to connect to nature and take in a breath of fresh air.
Spending your time in a screened in porch allows to enjoy the outdoor breeze and still hear the beautiful sounds of nature. However, you will be protected from uncomfortable external elements such as rain, insects like the annoying mosquitoes and direct sunlight which can damage your skin.
Why You Should Have a Screened In Porch
After the long period of winter, the only thought that comes to your mind is warmth and outdoors. A screened in porch gives you an opportunity to enjoy your stay in the outdoors on those lazy afternoons when you are at home. It is a great spot to entertain your guests, or sit and relax with your loved ones.
If you are wondering whether it’s a good idea to put up a screened in porch or screen in an existing one, you should read through the points below. The guide will highlight the reasons why you should have a screened in porch. Most homeowners are choosing to have a screened in porch and all for good reasons which include:
Keep Bugs Away
When you sit in your outdoor space, you want to have a pleasant and peaceful experience. However, in some areas, this might not be the case. You might find yourself constantly battling with mosquito bites, dealing with bees, wasps or even the annoying houseflies. If you have a screened in porch, you will be protected from such nuisances.
It forms protection from the outside bugs, and this allows you and loved ones to enjoy the outdoor atmosphere. You can nap, read, dine and even sit on the floor without the fear of being bitten by crawling insects. Everyone wants to enjoy the cool breeze that comes with the warm weather, and the only way to maximize on this is to relax on your outdoor space. A screened in porch will allow you sit comfortably as you enjoy the refreshing smell and feel of nature.
Even though the screening material is transparent, it will still give you some exclusion from the outside world. A mesh screen creates some barrier, and it would take anyone passing by sometime before they get to know what is going on inside the screened in porch. If you have a front facing porch that faces directly to a street, a screened in porch will be a good idea to create some barrier.
Additional Living Space
A screened in porch comes as a welcome extra space that gives you an indoor feeling while on your outdoor space. You can still spend quality time with your loved ones, entertain your guests, dine together and play games while having an outdoor feel.
It acts as an extension of your living space only that the structure is in the outdoors, well screened in to allow you enjoy the indoor feeling as you take in the fresh and cool breeze from the outside. A screened in porch allows you to have a sense of openness and an outdoor experience while in the comfort of indoor living space.
Can Be Used All Through the Year
A screened in porch allows you to spend your time outdoors regardless of the weather season. Not only does a screened in porch protect you from external elements, but it will also protect your furniture and other items inside from direct sun rays, rain, and snow.
You can enjoy your outdoor space during winter by simply adding a wood stove to provide you with warmth. This way you will have a cozy outdoor spot to sit and relax as you sip a hot drink or play outdoor games with your loved ones. And, on those hot afternoons, you can still enjoy a cool breeze from the outdoors by adding a ceiling fan in your screened in porch to make your space cooler and comfortable. If it’s raining outside, you can still have an outdoor experience and stay dry and warm inside your screened in porch.
Increases Your Home’s Value
Having a screened in porch extending from your home’s exterior to your outdoor space looks good. A screened in porch not only looks aesthetically appealing, but this addition adds value to your home by a significant percentage.
If you have a home that has a beautiful screened in porch, a potential buyer is more likely to be drawn to such a house. They can already picture warm afternoons with their families on the porch enjoying the outdoor space. Going an extra mile to screen in your porch will bear fruits in the future when you put your home on the market. It can be the special addition to your home that attracts potential homebuyers and seals in a great deal.
Creates a Great Aesthetic Appeal
The beauty of having a screened porch is that you can get creative and design it to fit into any theme you envision. You can create it to a design that makes a timeless statement for your home and makes your outdoor landscaping stand out. Additionally, you can add your desired décor and furnishings inside and make the space interesting, classy, cozy and inviting. A screened in porch is a beautiful addition that can change a dull looking home to a dazzling, magnificent one. It’s a simple feature that can have a lot going on and can further allow you to experiment with decorative ideas for your outdoor space.
A Great Spot to Enjoy the Outdoors
A screened in porch is great spot to spend time with your loved ones in those lazy afternoons. It is also a great outdoor space that allows you to entertain your guests when having house parties. You do not have to limit your experience indoors when you have a screened in porch. It’s an additional space that allows you to maximize the outdoors as you celebrate with your family and friends.
It also gives you a place to escape to when you need a quiet environment. You can be able to close it from the interior of your indoor living space. This way, a screened in porch gives you a separate and private spot just for you to relax or nap or even read a book as you enjoy the outdoor experience. You will be able to get peace and quietness that comes with a serene outdoor environment.
Safe for Children to Play
If you have young children, you do not have to worry about them when they are playing on a screened in porch. Not only does it provide an additional outdoor space for your children to play, but it also provides a safe and protected area to set up play space.
As a parent or guardian, you do not have to worry about the dangers associated with the outdoor space when your children go out to play. A screened in porch still gives them an outdoor experience with plenty of room for them to play safely. The fresh and the outdoor kind of an environment comes as an added advantage.
Easy To Maintain
Screened in porch are covered with screened windows which are relatively easy to clean. All you need to make them clean is water and a moist broom. Besides, you can install storm windows to increase insulation during the cold season. Cleaning the floor can equally be easy especially if you install synthetic or ceramic floors.
Factors to Consider Before Adding a Screened In Porch
Your outdoor living space is important just like your indoor living space. So, before you decide to a screened in a porch, you need to take some factors into consideration. Even though you do not spend long hours on the porch; you still need to make as comfortable as possible since it’s also an integral part your living space.
The good thing about a porch is that you can actually modify or add one without changing the structural aspect of your home. Therefore, before you change your existing porch to a screened in one or build a new one, you need to consider following points.
The Purpose of the Screened In Porch
You have to figure out the reason why you want to have a screen in porch. The purpose of the porch will greatly determine the size and functionality of the porch. Will you be hosting guests and parties in there? Or, do you want a spot where you can spend a quiet time without external interference?
If you expect to be entertaining more often, you need to install a porch that will be enough to allow free movement and still give the occupants a sense of being outside. A small screened in porch might feel restricting and crowded which will beat the initial idea of creating an outdoor experience while indoors.
More so, if you have children and you want them to play in the screened in outdoor space, you have to make the porch large enough to create a sense of freedom and an outside feeling that allows them to run and play.
Additionally, you may also want to utilize your porch by having outdoor activities while inside. For example, you may be planning to be having outdoor games in the screened porch, which in this case, the size comes into the picture when enclosing your porch. So, before screening your porch, consider its purpose and size.
Once again, the purpose of your porch will determine its location. Are you looking for privacy? A screened porch can give some sense of privacy, but its location can help a lot more with the privacy issue. It would make sense if you located it away from the public space just for your own alone time.
Another factor that can determine location is whether you plan to use it for dining and hosting parties. If this the case then you might consider having near the kitchen. Installing the porch at the same floor level as that of your interior will be like extending your indoor space to the outdoor and you more likely to use it more often. If you want your screened porch to be useful most of the time, make it feel like an integral part of your home and it will become a part of your lifestyle.
Consider Water Drainage
When installing the screened porch, you have to think about how the water drains off especially during the rainy season. Remember a porch is an exterior addition to your home, and so you have to know the direction where the water comes from and where it goes. If you are hiring someone to install the screened porch for you, this is a critical question to ask them.
When installing the porch, you need to figure out where the water will land, and how it will get off from your porch. Therefore, you need to think about having lots of gutters, big overhangs and other practical factors such as avoiding roof gable spacing. The idea of having a screened in porch is to allow you to enjoy the outdoor space without the inconveniences caused by external elements such as rainwater. Therefore, make sure rainwater does not get in your way due to bad drainage.
When planning to install or build a screened porch, you need to figure out what kind of amenities you should add. You should make your stay on the porch comfortable. Most homeowners prefer having a fireplace in their screened in porches. A gas ventless fireplace is a popular choice for most homeowners because it doesn’t require an installation of a chimney. It is also functional, doesn’t require a long process to light it as fire comes on immediately you press the remote control.
However, if you are planning to have a grill or cooking sessions on your porch, this might not be possible with a screened in porch. This because, in a screened porch, getting rid of smoke becomes a challenge unless you install a commercial exhaust vent which can be very expensive and sometimes not as effective. If you want to hold barbecues near your porch, you can build the porch near your kitchen for convenience.
The Weight of the Screened in Porch
This is another important factor that you have to consider before you start building a screened in porch or adding a screen on an existing porch or deck. Before you plan on the installation or adding a screen, you need to research and consult a professional porch builder to determine if it’s possible to add the extra weight of the screen.
Generally, porches can accommodate more weight compared to decks. The weight of your porch will be affected by the additional screen and roof. Therefore, the foundation of the porch has to be strong enough to be able to hold the extra weight. If you are building a new porch, this will be addressed from the start of the construction.
However, if you already have an existing porch that you want to screen in, it’s critical to ascertain that it can be able to hold the screen and the weight. If the porch cannot accommodate the extra weight, you might have to consider doing the following to make it firm and ready for the additional weight.
- Consider adding more posts on the foundation of the porch to make it stronger and stable.
- Increase its support by adding more to the existing support beams
- To make the porch stable and firm, consider adding screens below the existing porch. This makes the porch sturdy enough to handle the surrounding screens and the roof
It’s advisable to call a professional porch builder to come over and inspect your porch before you screen and add a roof. They will be able to determine its weight capacity and advise you if any elements need to be updated to meet the codes.
The professional will then advise on the way forward. In some cases, they might suggest ways to fix the porch to make it strong enough to hold the screen and the roof. In other circumstances, they will recommend that you replace the porch altogether. Whichever the case, a professional input is necessary before you begin the project. You need you to have a porch that is safe for occupation and meets the required codes.
Cost of Installing Screened In Porch
The cost of putting a screened in porch will depend on various factors which include the size of the porch, the location of your home, materials to be used, contractor charges and the amenities to be added such as fireplace, seats, etc. Also, the cost will depend on whether there is an existing porch or deck or any other feature that has to be removed to accommodate the installation of the screened in porch.
The square footage of the porch will determine the cost of installation. For a 200 square foot screened in porch, the cost of materials needed for an existing porch will range will from $450 to $690. If you hire a professional porch builder, expect to spend $290 to $350.
Therefore, the overall cost to screen a 200square foot porch (existing porch or deck) comes at an average cost of $1057. The lowest cost you should expect to spend to screen an existing porch is about $4.19 per square foot. The average cost per square foot comes to around $5.29 while the maximum you can spend is approximately $6.32 per square foot. As mentioned, these costs are for an existing porch that needs to be screened in.
If you are building a new screened in porch altogether, the cost will definitely be higher than that of screening in an existing porch. To build a screened in porch with screens, doors, windows and a roof, expect to spend in a range of $5000 to $30000.
The average cost of new construction of a screened porch comes to about $70 per square foot. If you are building a standard porch of about 8×10 feet, that has a roof, and a screen cover of about 80 square feet expect to spend a minimum of $5700. The design of the porch will add to the cost in a range of about $2000 to $3000. Expect the price to increase significantly if you plan to add other features and amenities such as a fireplace, lighting, ceiling fans tiling, etc.
Cost Considerations to Keep In Mind
As you budget for installation of screened in porch, the installation cost may not have a big price range, but some factors such as materials, labor, square footage and accessories can make the overall cost to go higher than indicated.
Cost of Porch Screen
The type of materials you use to screen in your porch will affect the overall cost of the whole project. Different types of screens can be used to cover your porch, and each of these materials comes at a different cost.
Porch screen materials are available in many options, and the choice will depend on your requirements, preferences and your budget. Below are the pros and cons of some of the some of the porch screens and their estimated costs per square foot.
Fiberglass porch screen
This is the most commonly used porch screen material. In addition, fiberglass screen is affordable, and it’s available in an array of colors. Not only is this material easy to install, but it is also rust-free which makes it ideal for areas with frequent rainfall. However, fiberglass screens are quite delicate and sensitive; thus they have to be handled with care as they can tear easily. If you are planning to use fiberglass material to screen your porch, expect to spend about $0.015 to 0.020 per square foot.
Aluminum porch screen
This is also another screen option popular among homeowners. Aluminum screens are light in weight which makes them easy to handle and install. Just like fiberglass screen, aluminum screens are sensitive, and they can easily dent if not well handled. However, they are long lasting as compared to fiberglass screen, a quality that makes them costly to install. Expect to spend about $0.25-0.30 per square foot on aluminum porch screen.
Stainless steel porch screen
This is perhaps one the strongest porch screen material as compared to others. They are durable and require low maintenance. They can withstand even the harshest weather conditions. Stainless steel porch screen cost about $1.00 -$1.80 per square foot.
Solar porch screen
They are ideal for areas that have plenty of sunlight. Not only does the solar porch screen block sunrays (almost up to 90 %) they also absorb heat as well thus making the porch cooler compared to the high temperatures in the outside. They are a bit different from other porch screen materials as they need a different special mesh. This makes them more costly than a most of the other porch screen materials. Solar porch screen cost about $1.20-$1.30 per square foot.
Noseeum Porch Screen
These are the most reliable options when it comes to keeping creatures away even the tiniest crawling insects. They are specially designed to block bugs and other critters from gaining access to the porch. Noseeum porch screen cost about $025-$0.30 per square foot.
Pet Porch Screen
Just as the name suggests, pet porch screen materials are ideal for homeowners with pets such as cats and dogs. They are designed in such a way that they can take in scratches without getting damaged or dents. However, pet screen materials have less visibility, and they are more costly to install. Due to the cost and lack of proper visibility, most people incorporate this option with other types of screens. They install pet screen at the lower part of the patio and cover the other parts with different screen material. Pet screen come at the cost of $1.27-$1.30 per square foot.
Vinyl-Coated Polyester Porch Screen
If you live in areas that have hot climates, then this screen option is ideal for your porch. It is a tough material and stronger than most of the porch screen materials, a quality that makes it durable. They absorb heat and keep your porch cooler when the temperatures are hot outside. Expect to spend a cost range of $0.46-$0.52 per square foot.
Bronze, Copper and Brass Porch Screen
Bronze and brass porch screen materials have some similarities; they are strong and durable. The bronze screen is a bit stiff, but during installation, it can be curved or bent. Bronze features a dark brown color which fades off or discolors with aging.
Bronze patio screens are not affected by salt water as it is the case with brass. Also, just like bronze, brass, which features a yellow color gets discolored as it ages due to exposure to rainwater and snow.
Copper porch screen is considered to be an easier material to handle during installation because it is easy to cut and bend. It features a yellow color which gradually turns to black as it ages.
For bronze screens, expect to spend about $0.92-$1.00 per square foot. Brass screens will approximately cost you $6.50 per square foot while copper screens go an average cost of $7.50 per square foot.
|Type of patio screen material||Average costs|
|Fiberglass||$0.015-0.020 per square foot|
|Aluminum||$0.25-0.30 per square foot|
|Stainless steel||$1.00 -$1.80 per square foot|
|Solar||$1.20-$1.30 per square foot|
|Noseeum||$025-$0.30 per square foot|
|Pet screen||$1.27-$1.30 per square foot|
|Vinyl coated polyester||$0.46-$0.52 per square foot|
|Bronze||$0.92-$1.00 per square foot|
|Copper||$7.50 per square foot|
|Brass||$6.50 per square foot|
Another cost factor to consider when planning to screen your patio is the cost of hiring a professional porch contractor. If you feel you are not up for DIY or you do not have the necessary skills to screen your porch, you will have to budget for labor costs. Most professional porch contractors charge a cost range of $1 to $3 per square foot to screen a porch. For a basic screened porch installation, expect to spend an additional cost of around $255 to $450 on top of the initial cost.
Screened in Porch Roof options
When planning to screen or cover your porch, you have to think about your roof options. Remember, we mentioned earlier that the roof has to be installed in such a way that it allows water to drain properly so that rainwater doesn’t end up on your porch. The design of roof you choose for your screened in porch will influence the overall cost of the project. Similarly, the square footage of the porch will determine the number of roofing materials to be used.
When screening in in your porch you have three roof design options, they include:
- Shed roof
- Gable roof
- Hip roof
A shed roof – this design of roofing features a gentle slope with a roof connection. The design of this roof is flat but made in such a way that it slopes downwards to one direction to allow water to drain away from your home. The ceiling can also be made with the same design of the roof such that it slopes to one side. This creates a spacious feel for the screened in patio and makes the patio feel bigger and spacious.
However, shed roofs tend to block some amount of sunlight from reaching your house, and consequently, this can make some rooms in your home to feel darker or smaller. Shed roofs are cheaper to install compared to gable roofs.
Gable roof – this is the most common roofing option for most screened in porches you see around you. They have a triangular shape with different levels of a pitch from subtle to steep. It slopes down on both sides with one point at the top. Gable roof design creates a traditional look for screened in porch.
Screened in porches with gable roofing design tend to have high and flat ceilings which create a sense of big space making the porch feel bigger and spacious. This roofing design also requires several gutters, downspouts and a central ridge beam for extra support and strength. This way, water is properly drained, and the roof does not accumulate leaves, debris and other obstructions that can result in improper drainage of rainwater.
Hip roof – this design of roof resembles a pyramid. It usually has three or more roof sides with a downward slope but joined at a common point. This design of roof allows for proper drainage of water as it has perfect overhangs on each side. It tends to offer more shelter against external elements such as rain and snow since it slopes in multiple directions.
Accessories, Amenities and other add-ons
Once you have screened your porch, it’s time to consider accessorizing it and adding other functional amenities. Your choice of amenities and what to add will depend on the purpose of the porch and the kind of space you want it to be.
Do you want the porch to be an entertaining spot for your guests and family? Or do you plan to play outdoor games as you enjoy the protection of the screened in porch? Do you want a place where your children can play safely? Do you plan to use it all the times of the year thus it becomes an integral part of your living space?
Here are some of the extra amenities and add-ons that you can have in a screened in porch to make it more comfortable and functional.
- Ceiling fans
- An entertainment system for outdoors, e.g., television, speakers, home theatres, stereo system, etc.
- Seating – this includes comfortable chairs, pillows, tables and rugs
- Porch heaters especially during the cold season
- Add electrical outlets to accommodate electrical appliances
- Potted plants and flowers to make your porch blend in with your landscaping
All these accessories and add-on features come at an extra cost. The cost will depend on the type of accessories you plan to add to the porch and your budget. If you want your porch to be functional, you have to make this space interesting, comfortable and an integral part of your home. This includes making the space livable by ensuring proper ventilation, so make sure you install ceiling fans. Get creative and transform this space to suit your needs and those of your family members.
DIY Screened in Porch Construction Tips
A screened in porch can be a DIY project but please note that it’s a significant home improvement that can take a lot of your time. You can slash the installation cost by half by eliminating labor charges if you opt to screen your porch. Screening porch is a large project but one that requires simple, straightforward construction process.
If you are handy enough and you have the necessary basic tools with enough time in your hands, then you can screen in a porch for your home. You need to plan and gather the required materials, tools and permits.
- Tape measure
- Carpenters square
- Miter saw
- Masonry drill
- Marker – chalk line
- Porch screen
- Lath material
- Screen door kit
- Joists boards (2×2, 2×4)
Step One: Assemble the joists and install the bottom plate
Assemble the 2×4 board around the perimeter of your porch. Use frame square to ensure that the perimeter plate is in a square. Using lag bolts, fasten the perimeter plate to the concrete floor and also to the anchors and make sure the plate is firm and tightly bolted. After this, attach a level of boards to provide a solid surface base to enable internal trim job. Using a hand saw, cut the plate at the door opening to create room for the door to open and close without a barrier.
Step Two: Assemble and install the porch top plate
Mark up the exact location by using a 2×4 stud and a level to be used for the top plates. Mark on the ceiling directly above the bottom plates. Lay the board for the top plate flat against the ceiling and then use the straight stud to provide support to one end and another stud to support the other end. Using a hammer, nail the top plate firmly to the ceiling. Repeat these steps till you cover the perimeter of the porch.
Step Three: Fix the wall studs
Once you have installed the top plate, proceed to cut the studs to the right length and check the width before you install them. The studs are usually in 3’widths, therefore when installing, space them at 3′ midpoints. Make sure you have installed two studs for the door opening on each side of the door. One side of the stud is for the screen attachment while the other one is to attach the door hinges.
Step Four: Fix the top rail and supports (balusters)
At this stage, you need to mark the line on the wall studs of about 32inches. Use a chalk line and a level for marking. Once you have marked the wall studs, cut the board to a size of 2×4 in length and then fix them in a horizontal position to fit in between the studs. This way, you will have created a top rail. Now for support (balusters) cut the boards to 2×2 and fix them to fit in between the bottom plate and the top rail. Make sure balusters are spaced evenly and in line with the exterior wall. Once you have fitted them the boards, nail them to make sure they are secure and firm.
Step Five: Work on the door frame
Start by cutting out the door area for framing and then fix a doorstop on a top side and also on the side. Frame the hinge location deep enough to fit the hinge plate and then fix the hinge plate. After this, fix the door hardware. You can use a spring, a closer or even a door pull.
Step Six: Paint the porch fame
Start by priming the frame and then apply the paint all-round the porch frame and also the screen door. When applying the primer on the screen door, use masking tape to protect the screen from the primer.
Step Seven: Attaching the screen to the porch frame
Start by cutting the screening. Using a staple, attach the one side of the screen to the wall studs. Proceed to attach and staple the other side of the screen to the other stud. Make sure you stretch out the screen firmly.
To make sure that the seams are covered, cut the boards to the right length. Prime and paint the cut pieces. Place each of the cut pieces and nail them over the seams to secure them in the screening. Start by attaching the horizontal pieces, then attach the bottom ones and lastly the balusters. If there are any vertical pieces, attach them after attaching the baluster’s pieces and make sure you have covered all the seams.
Step Eight: Fix and hang the screen door
Take a small piece of the board and place it below the door to allow a small gap of about ¼ “. This is the space between the lowest end of the door and the slab. Pick the screen door and attach it to the wall stud using the door hinges. To prevent insects and other little bugs from entering the porch, you can install a rubber below the door.
Your porch is now screened, and you can add other accessories and amenities to your liking.
A screened porch is an ideal way to extend your living space and enjoy your outdoor space without the worry of being exposed to the outside nuisances such bugs. A screened in porch offers practical protection against rain and sun exposure but still allows you to relax in the outdoors as you take in the fresh feeling of open air.
Screened in porch is an integral part of your home that not only increases the value of your home but also can also be designed to effortless blend in with the rest of your home. It’s a functional space that can be furnished with seating and dining area thus it makes a great spot for entertaining, relaxing or playing outdoor games.
While screened in porch come with a host of benefits, they also come at a cost. You have to factor in the cost of materials, labor charges and the type of screen to use. Screen options include fiberglass, aluminum, solar, etc. The choice will depend on your requirements, budget, and preferences.
Design a screened porch for your home in such a way that it becomes a functional and an interesting place to relax and enjoy. Incorporate accessories and amenities such as a fireplace, entertainment systems, ceiling fans, etc. If possible, make it as tranquil as possible to amplify your outdoor experience.