If you love to spend your idle time relaxing outdoors reading, socializing, or simply dozing off in the hammock, you’ve probably considered creating a sunroom or a screened-in porch off your home. We all know that a bit of sunshine is good for us—those much-needed rays boost serotonin and, in turn, boost your mood—so this is a great way to help you get the most out of your home year-round. But is an enclosed porch the best option for you? Let’s take a closer look.
Enclosed porches, otherwise known as screened-in porches, are typically just regular porches that feature screen walls or enclosures that let the air pass through. On the other hand, sunrooms are regular rooms that feature permanent walls with lots of windows that make them feel like they’re outside but are actually climate controlled. Another option, perhaps the middle-ground, is the three-season room, which offers floor-to-ceiling windows and doors but is not meant to be heated or cooled year-round. The climate where you live, your personal aesthetic preferences, and your budget will all be major factors in determining which type of respite is most appropriate for you. Today, we’re discussing the pros and cons of going the enclosed porch route.
The pros of an enclosed porch
When you add any kind of relaxed living space to your home, you’re increasing the home’s value and giving your family more ways to enjoy their downtime. Here are a few more of the most substantial benefits to adding an enclosed porch:
- You’ll Enjoy Relaxing Outside – Out of all the aforementioned options, the enclosed porch is the one that’s the most affected by the climate. In other words, if it’s cool and breezy out, the room will feel cool and breezy, too. This is ideal for those of us who love fresh air and feel a boost of revitalization after spending some time outside after a long day at work. Like sun, a little bit of fresh air can be good for the mood!
- Your Furniture and Décor is Semi-Protected – Compared with a typical exposed porch, an enclosed porch will offer more protection from the elements. Particularly intense weather—especially wind and rain—may make the porch uncomfortable to enjoy, but the side enclosures will help keep furniture and other items protected during summer storms. However, for complete protection, a sunroom or three-season room is best.
- It May Be More Affordable – As far as exterior lounge spaces go, screened-in porches are among the most affordable. That is, of course, assuming that you already have an existing porch structure and don’t have to build it from scratch. According to HomeAdvisor, you’ll pay 30 percent more if you want to convert your porch into a sunroom instead of an enclosed porch.
- You’ll Be Protected from Bugs – If you live somewhere that offers a comfortable, mild temperature but is plagued by pesky bugs, the enclosed porch is an awesome option for you. Screens and temporary wall enclosures can completely seal out any flying pests, including mosquitoes and flies, so you can enjoy your fresh air time in complete peace without biters.
The cons of an enclosed porch
Because of its vulnerability to climate fluctuations, the enclosed porch certainly has a few obvious problems for those who live in seasonal climates. Here are some of the specific ways this takes the screened-in porch down a few notches:
- You Won’t Have Complete Climate Control – The biggest issue with enclosed porches is that they’re controlled by the temperature outside. On the other hand, with a sunroom, you can adjust the temperature through the heating and cooling mechanism in your home or, if it’s an addition, by adding an economical mini-split system. Complete climate control makes any space much more enjoyable and there will be less cleanup of mildew on your furniture needed.
- You’ll Only Be Able to Use it a Portion of the Year – Because of the fact that you can’t control the heating and cooling of the space, you’ll be limited to using it only when the temperatures are mild enough to sit outside in the open air. If the ultimate goal is to provide a year-round respite for reading, relaxing and enjoying friends and family—even when it’s snowing—then you’ll want to go for a less breezy option.
- Year-Round Storage May Be an Issue – As we’ve already covered, you’ll only get partial protection from a screened-in porch. This means that you’ll most likely either have to cover your outdoor furniture and décor or bring it inside during the winter months. This means that there will be a bit more maintenance and work to be done at the beginning and end of the warm seasons.
- They May Not Be as Attractive – Of course, the aesthetics of any home addition depends largely on what you select and how you or your contractor designs it. Affordable enclosing options aren’t always the best-looking (though this is subjective, of course) and creating an addition or converting your porch to a sunroom will probably leave you with a more attractive result.
- You May Get a Better ROI Elsewhere – As we’ve already mentioned, upgrading to an enclosed exterior living area should boost the value of your home. While a screened-in porch is more affordable up-front, a sunroom or three-season room will likely bring you higher returns in the long-term because it can be used throughout the year regardless of the temp.
It may come down to climate
At the end of the day, anything you do for your home is a good investment if it gets a lot of use or if it adds value to your home. Sunrooms, screened-in porches, and three-season rooms are all likely to do just that, but the climate where you live may limit one type or another. If you want to be able to enjoy this space year-round but live somewhere with varying temperatures, you’re probably better off creating a temperature-controlled space, such as a permanent sunroom or three-season room. Ultimately, you should choose the option that meets all of your needs and expectations.