With Spring just around the corner, it is the perfect time to start building your screen porch!
By Hiranmayi Srinivasan
January 18, 2022
Most of us have spent a lot of time in our homes over the past two years and our living spaces filled multiple roles—school, work, gym, and a place to entertain. And whether it was a backyard party or summer bonfires, many of us have started hosting events more frequently at our homes, too.
According to a recent report on 2021 outdoor living trends by home improvement site Fixr, 85% of experts believe homeowners were more willing to invest in outdoor living spaces last year. The report also noted that the most popular uses for these outdoor spaces are gathering with friends and family, and relaxation.
One way to create a space for relaxation and gatherings is with a screened porch. “With advances in technology and outdoor furniture to rival the nicest indoor stuff you’ll see, screened-in porches can be pretty amazing these days. TVs, cushy seating areas, fire features…it’s the best way we can think of to add living space to a home without major construction issues,” says Gian Moore, interior designer and home improvement expert.
Plus, it’s a nice way to enjoy the outdoors without having to deal with some of the drawbacks. “It allows you to enjoy the outdoors without being totally exposed to the elements and bugs,” says Andra DelMonico, lead interior designer at home design site Trendey.
So how much will it cost to add this relaxing, functional space to your home? According to home improvement site Angi, the average cost of a screen porch ranges between $2,000 and $2,800. However, depending on the size, design, and other features (like expensive flooring), it can cost $10,000 or more.
But don’t worry: you can definitely add a screen porch to your home on a budget. Here are ways to plan and build a screen porch without breaking the bank.
- Use an existing patio or porch.
If you already have a patio or porch, see if you can build a screen around it instead of building a room from scratch. The cost of an entirely new screen porch is around $25 to $120 per square foot, according to Angi. You can bring this down by building off of an existing porch.
“This can save money on the flooring and structural base to the porch,” says Bailey Carson, home care expert at Angi.
- Build in the fall or winter.
It might not be the ideal time for an outdoor project, but if the weather allows, build the porch in the fall or winter. Building in the off-season can mean lower labor and material costs because it’s generally slower during this time as opposed to the spring or summer.
In general, having a more flexible timeline can allow you to take advantage of lower prices. “As with any project, trying to work in a tight timeline can lead to higher delivery fees or premium labor charges,” says Carson. “It can also limit what materials are available so you don’t have as much of a choice when it comes to more budget-friendly options.”
Depending on your local regulations, you might also need a permit—especially if the porch needs framing. Having a flexible schedule for your project allows for any delays that might come with getting a permit as a result of any pandemic-related staffing shortages and backlogs.
- Choose affordable materials.
With lumber prices going up and down, your project might become more expensive. Plan ahead and budget for materials—and choose the ones that are the most affordable. “A new aluminum or fiberglass screened-in porch with concrete flooring can cost under $3,000, even if it’s a completely new build,” says Carson. The cost of materials will be a lot higher if you go with hardwood floors, stained tile, or an asphalt roof.
- Downsize and keep it simple.
More square footage equals more money, so try to keep your screen porch small—whether you’re building one from scratch or using a patio you already have—for a more budget-friendly project.
It might be tempting to add a bunch of cool features to your new screen porch, but keeping it simple will keep the price down. “While retractable or solar screens, patios or walkways, or temperature control can all be great additions to a porch, they will all add to the cost,” says Carson.
You can always personalize your porch with furniture and decor, which can be purchased secondhand for less. Moore suggests adding a full-size sofa and a bar cart to your new screen porch to make it cozy and perfect for relaxing or entertaining.
- If you can, DIY.
Building a screen porch yourself can definitely lower your bottom line since labor will cost about $2 per square foot. But you should only attempt the project if you are confident in your skills. “It will likely take longer, and you should only take on the project if you have the time, tools, and talent to do it right the first time,” says Carson.
“After all, the screens won’t do much to keep the bugs out if they’re not installed properly, and creaky or uneven floors can make it both more challenging and less safe to enjoy the space,” she adds. Plus, you could end up paying more if you have to then hire sometime to fix it.
DIY if you can, and if not, it’s best to leave it to the pros. If you budget in other areas (such as materials and size), you can hire someone to build the screen porch for you—so it’s built right the first time.
Matney Construction, located in Mount Airy, Maryland, specializes in building new homes and residential remodeling. We know that the decision to build or remodel a home is no easy thing. As a family owned and operated business, we work closely with our clients to create their dream home, from custom floor plans and options, to bath and kitchen remodels. Whether it’s a single room or an entire home, we pride ourselves on meeting your quality standards, timeline and budget. Contact us today to have our professional design experts help you make your home unique, stylish, and in-tune with your personality. (410) 635-2500 firstname.lastname@example.org