If you are looking for some additional living space for your home, a screened in porch or a sunroom are a great place to look to expand. The two rooms are very different so you will need to really think through a few things before coming to a decision. For instance, what will you use it for? When will you use it? And how much do you want to spend? Let’s take a closer look at some of these questions you will need to ask your self.
What Will You Use It For?
As mentioned above either room will give you the additional living space you are looking for. The big difference between a screened in porch and a sunroom is how the walls are finished. A screened in porch is a roofed structure that uses mesh screen for walls. The difference is that a screened in porch will let air pass through the room, giving you the feeling of being outdoors while keeping out the bugs.
A sunroom is a roofed structure that is glass enclosed. A sunroom is more like your living room with a better view. Because it is enclosed, this will most likely lead to adding some kind of air conditioning for the summer months and some form of heating for the winter months. At this point you might start asking yourself why you stopped using your living room in the first place? That leads to the next question you’ll want to ask your self.
When Will You Use It?
If the idea is to create extra living space and spend time outdoors, a screened in porch is what you are looking for. Here in coastal Carolina you will be able to take advantage of a screened in porch from mid March to mid November. Of course the beginning of spring and the end of fall will have chilly days and most nights will be too cold to stay outdoors comfortably but that is a pretty extended period of time to make use of your porch.
When people add a sunroom to their home it most likely is with the thought of using it year round. As mentioned before, to make that realistic you will have to add air conditioning and heat to stay comfortable. You can try to achieve the best of both worlds by making the glass interchangeable with screens and swap them in and out at different times of the year. Or you could have a four-track system installed when building the sunroom. This allows you to slide the windows up or down in different position depending on how much air you want to let in. This is a very nice feature but it comes with a price. Which leads us to our next question.
How Much Do You Want To Spend?
As to which option is less expensive, by virtue of labor and materials alone a sunroom will be the more expensive way to go. Because it’s more like a finished room you may want tile floors, the four-track system for the walls that I mentioned earlier and some kind of air conditioning/heat will most likely be needed. If it does become a heated space, depending on where you live it could be added to the square footage of your house and increase your taxes. For an example of cost a 16′ x 20′ sun room with three outlets and a ceiling fan could run you $30,000 or more depending on how it’s finished (floors, ceiling, walls).
A 16′ x 20′ wood or aluminum screened in porch with a wood or concrete floor, three outlets and a ceiling fan might cost as little as $8,000 – $12,000. You will not have to worry about heating or cooling because it is what it’s name says it is: a screened in porch. To be used only when the weather permits. Let your living room be your living room and let your porch be your porch. Enjoying time outdoors within the comfort of your own home shouldn’t have to cost a fortune.
Will It Add Value To Your Home?
From a real estate point of view the answer is yes, a sunroom or screened in porch will make your house more valuable than if you didn’t have one. Does that make it a financial slam-dunk? Not necessarily. If you spend $40,ooo on a sunroom it doesn’t mean you can add $40,000 to the price of your home when you sell. 50% or $20,000 is probably more realistic. Using the same formula for a screened in porch, a $10,000 porch might add $5,000 more to the selling price of your house. That might not seem like a good deal to you when your selling but when you consider what you would spend to build each of the two rooms the screened in porch becomes the better value.
Which Is Right For You?
As you can tell I’m partial to the screened in porch compared to the sunroom. But that’s me, I like the fact that the living room is inside the house and the porch is outside the house. It makes it a little more special when you can entertain friends outside on a warm summer night. Or not have to stay inside to watch football on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in October. Although sunrooms are beautiful and serve a great purpose, a screened in porch is a better bargain from a financial standpoint and brings just as much enjoyment. It simply comes down to your preference and your needs. Think about the questions I listed above, the answers will point you in the direction that suits your needs.
If we can help in any way don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.
Backyard Vision – Wilmington, NC