Are Screened-in Porches Worth the Cost?
For many homeowners, the advantages of having a screened-in porch are obvious. These enclosures provide ample ventilation and great views while protecting against insects, glare, wind, and rain. They also increase privacy and can help mitigate temperature extremes. If you’re considering adding a screened-in porch to your home, you’re probably also wondering if the project is worth the cost. Of course, “worth” is a very subjective term. For those who like to spend a lot of time enjoying their outdoor living area, the benefits of a screen enclosure far outweigh the initial investment. But from a strictly financial perspective, several factors need to be considered before determining whether the expenditure is worth the return.
Every home improvement is unique, and screened-in porches are no exception. There are serval factors that can dramatically affect the cost of the project, some more obvious than others. DIY options, for instance, may initially be cheaper than hiring a professional, but unless you’re an experienced do-it-yourselfer with the tools and skillsets needed to complete the job correctly, it may cost more in the long run if fixes need to be made at a later point. Here are some of the primary considerations to take into account when evaluating the value of a screened-in porch.
Retrofitting or Building From Scratch?
The single biggest factor when it comes to the cost of a screen room is whether you plan to convert an existing porch or build an entirely new structure. For a 200-square-foot porch, retrofitting should typically cost between $500 and $700 for basic materials. Premium screen room materials usually range from $900 to $1,100. The average cost of installation is about $300.
Building a new screened-in porch will, of course, be more expensive. The average construction cost for adding an enclosure on a pre-existing foundation (more on that below), is about $70 a square foot for a typical porch, with permits costing an additional $200 to $300.
If a foundation has to be laid or a deck floor built or replaced, it can add at least $1,000 to the cost of the project. Demolition of an old structure may or may not add to the overall price, depending on the contractor you hire and the extent of the work needed. The size of the foundation or deck will most certainly affect the price, with wraparound structures doubling or sometimes tripling the cost.
Flooring types also play a significant role in the overall price. Cedar floors are the least expensive, but they are also susceptible to rot, mold, and insect infiltration. Mahogany and Brazilian hardwoods such as Ipe are far more durable, but they are also twice as expensive. Plastic-wood composites are also popular choices because of their scratch and stain resistance, but again, they’re more expensive than cedar-based options.
The Type of Screen Enclosure
Screen rooms come in a plethora of sizes, styles, and configurations. If you’re building from scratch, the options are nearly endless, from cozy to colossal. A large, wraparound screen room with vaulted ceilings and top-of-the-line flooring can cost $30,000 or more. As discussed above, the price of a more modest room such as an 8-by-10 enclosure can easily be kept below $6,000. Amenities like ceiling fans, custom lighting, outdoor heaters, and electrical outlets will all add to the cost of your project, and for more elaborate features such as fireplaces and hot tubs, the increase can be significant.
So, Is it Worth the Investment?
Two major contributors make screened-in porches a worthwhile investment. First, they are a popular upgrade with potential homebuyers and provide an excellent ROI. If you plan on putting your home on the market soon, you should be able to recoup all of the cost of your screen room, if not more, thanks to the increased value of your property. Secondly, even the most elaborate screened-in porches are far less expensive than a full room addition or a fully enclosed porch. For those who live in a mild climate, screen enclosures are an affordable alternative to a four-season room.
At Pacific Patio, we’re the premier outdoor renovation contractor serving homeowners throughout San Diego County. We’ve installed thousands of TEMO screen enclosures and offer both retrofit and from-scratch options. If you’re thinking about an upgrade for your outdoor living area, contact us today and schedule a no-obligation meeting with one of our design consultants.