What's the Difference Between a Sunroom and a Screened Porch?What Is the Difference Between a Sunroom and a Screened Porch?

There are several different types of enclosures that can create a bright and spacious addition for your home, all of which provide some level of protection from the elements. While screened porches and sunrooms serve a similar function, they differ in several ways.

As their name suggests, screen porches are usually preexisting structures that are retrofitted with screens to create a space that is sheltered from insects and rain. They can also offer a level of privacy as well as protection from wind and glare, especially if the screens are fitted with blinds or shades. What screened porches don’t provide, however, is comprehensive climate control. Although it’s common for screened-in porches to have ceiling fans to mitigate excessive heat during warmer months, they are usually too cold to use during frigid weather without at least a space heater. Screened porches also allow inside humidity levels to fluctuate with outside conditions, something to keep in mind if you have furnishings or other items in the room that are sensitive to moisture. The advantages of screen porches are their affordability and their ease of installation. Screens can be added to a porch in as little as a day or two without the cutter and disruption required for a major construction project. Homeowners living in mild climates and working within a fixed budget would do well to consider a screened porch as a way to expand their living space.

If a porch is enclosed with windows instead of screens, or if an entirely new addition is built that features a predominance of windows, it’s called a sunroom. In addition to providing protection from sun, wind, rain, and insects, sunrooms also allow for a greater degree of climate control. Opting for high-efficiency windows will minimize heat transfer and reduce temperature fluctuations. They can also filter out harmful ultraviolet light, preventing skin damage and color fading in sun-exposed fabrics. If the room is heated and cool by the same system used in the rest of the house, it’s known as a four-season sunroom. These enclosures are fully incorporated extensions of the main building and are not usually separated from the rest of the building by an exterior wall. A four-season sunroom offers the highest level of comfort and usability, especially for homeowners in harsher climates, but they are also the most expensive. A third option is a three-season sunroom. This type of enclosure has windows, but is not climate controlled by a home’s HVAC unit. While more expensive than a screened-in porch, it is more affordable than a four-season sunroom and so offers a middle ground between the two.

At Pacific Patio, we are the sunroom specialists in Southern California. If you live in San Diego, CA, or a surrounding community and would like to learn more about our products and services, contact us today to schedule a no-obligation consultation.