There’s nothing like basking in the sun and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible. However, staying cool during this time can be quite difficult, especially during the hot summer months when it can get sweltering.
For many people, having a space where they can enjoy the outdoors while still getting some protection from the sun is a must. This comes particularly helpful for keeping pests and other creatures at bay, making gatherings with friends and loved ones even more inviting than ever.
With outdoor living spaces the hottest addition to your property, it comes as no surprise that many individuals are undertaking home improvement measures for their space. The only challenge is that there are screened porches and sunrooms to choose from.
If you are on the market for expanding your living space and getting the most of your property, adding a screened porch or sunroom may just be your best bet. Take a look at the difference between the two and learn how to pick what’s right for your needs.
What is a Screened Porch?
A screened porch is a type of porch or exterior part of the home that has simply been enclosed by window screens. The main idea behind this is to prevent insects, pests, creatures, and other unwanted debris from entering this particular part of the home. This type of structure also lends protection against sudden showers and even snow.
Screened porches usually require the use of mesh screens as their main walls and this is supported with and anchored upon walls and roofs within the porch area. As such, this makes the idea of indoor-outdoor living possible and gives homeowners a chance to get fresh air without pests.
What is a Sunroom?
A sunroom, on the other hand, is a type of lounging room that is meant to be an extension of the home. This is particularly dedicated to letting light in, as its name implies, while also giving homeowners access to their outdoor areas.
Depending on the season within the target area or the desired purpose of the structure, these are often called three-season rooms or four-season rooms.
These are made with glass windows and roofs to usher in more natural light into the space. Apart from lounging, this space can also be used in a variety of ways, from hosting friends and family, as an extension of the home and a dining area, as well as a hobby room and more.
The Difference Between the Two
Both screened porches and sunrooms offer protection against insects, pests, and other unwanted visitors. Both also offer access to indoor-outdoor living and give homeowners the means to enjoy an extension of their living spaces.
Despite these similarities, screened porches and sunrooms also have a lot of differences. One of the major differences you might notice is the structure itself and the foundation it stands on.
Screened porches are usually anchored on existing porches and builders or contractors add screens to the space to enclose this. Sunrooms, on the other hand, are considered an extension of the home, with the option of being built on already existing patios.
While both of these structures give access to indoor-outdoor living spaces, one of the differences is that screened porches allow you to feel the cool breeze of the wind and hear sounds of nature coming from the outside. This does not ring true for sunrooms as these are made primarily with glass enclosures.
Another difference is that you may want to pay extra attention to its use. Screened porches can be used on days that aren’t too hot or too cold. Because it makes use of a mesh screen, it does not protect you from the heat or the cold, meaning you can feel the outdoor elements. What’s more, this may not be ideal to be used in harsher weather conditions, such as during the winter.
Meanwhile, sunrooms offer superior protection from the elements, especially with thicker and fortified structures to take place. These can be throughout all of the seasons since these come with frames ideal for cooling and heating. This means that you can enjoy your space and the outdoors all year round.
How to Choose Which One’s Right for You
Now that you know the difference between screened porches and sunrooms, we know that it can still be quite difficult to choose what structure to go for. Below are some aspects you might want to consider.
Consider Your Purpose for the Space
Before building your new structure, you should think of the space you have and what you wish to get out of it. If you want to use this throughout the year comfortably and for varying reasons, building a sunroom might be better for your needs. This way, you can still enjoy the sun and the space even through the wintertime.
On the other hand, if you just want a space you can occasionally enjoy during the summer, fall, and spring, you might be interested in getting a screened porch instead. This lets you enjoy fresh air passing through without the bugs. This is also great for hosting parties.
Looking to hit two birds with one stone? You can definitely achieve this with the addition of a sunroom as an extension of your living space, maximizing your home’s property value. This is possible since sunrooms boost the square footage of your home.
However, if you are not interested in adding property value and are happy with your current set-up, enclosed porches may be enough. This is particularly inviting for people who want to make use of their existing setup.
Factor in the Location and Climate
Another aspect you should factor in when choosing between screened porches or sunrooms is the location of the property, and by extension, the kind of climate you have in the area. Apart from the weather and or the climate, you can also factor in where you live and whether you like living in the space as these can determine what option you’ll go for.
If you have mild winters in your area, chances are screened porches are a great idea for all four seasons, especially when you won’t be staying out as much in these areas during the cold months. You can make the most of these structures during summer, spring, and fall, where you can enjoy the cool air while drinking tea or lounging around.
Sunrooms may be the sensible choice for many people, particularly with their temperature controls, but these vary based on your preference as well. The advantage of this structure is that you can enjoy your home addition even when it is cold outside.
The Costs of Adding These In
Of course, you can’t choose between screened porches or sunrooms without learning about the costs that come with them. Enclosed porches are much more affordable and that’s because it tends to simply enclose your porch area with screens rather than building a whole new unit altogether.
Sunrooms, meanwhile, tend to rack up the bill since this essentially means you’re adding another room on your house or property as an extension of your living space. Factor in all the other furnishings in the space, this can add more to your expenses.
In line with the costs of these structures, we urge you to think of the investment you’ll be putting in this space as well. Think about how often you’ll use the space, how long you intend to use it, if you plan on selling it in the future, and if its value is something you’ll get returns from.
Speaking on return on investments, sunrooms will most likely be more on demand on the market, especially when it has temperature control compared to that of a screened porch, since this banks on adding square footage to your property.
Building and installing screened porches are generally easy and fast, especially if the porch and roof are already in place.
This is not the case with sunrooms. Apart from building a whole other section on the house, this may require property owners and contractors to get permits from their respective homeowner’s associations and municipalities since this would not just add to an existing structure.
Weighing the Pros and Cons Between Screened Porches and Sunrooms
With what screened porches and sunrooms have to offer, it can be challenging to choose between the two. Here’s a round-up of the advantages and disadvantages that come with these two.
- More affordable option
- Easy to install
- Access to outdoor space and fresh air
- Natural light
- Porch maintenance is a breeze
- Shields furniture from the elements
- No temperature control
- Can be used only when the weather and climate permit
- Natural lighting
- Good to use all-year-round
- Access to the structure throughout the seasons
- More controlled temperatures
- Versatile and can be used for an array of activities
- Superior protection of furniture
- Errs on the more expensive side
- Takes time to build and install
The Bottom Line
A screened porch makes entertaining and enjoying outdoors a hassle-free experience, while you get to enjoy additional living space with a sunroom you can use all year-round. There isn’t a right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing between screened porches or sunrooms.
With these key similarities and differences, it will boil down not only to your preferences and budget, but also to how you’re planning to use the space.
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