A screened in front porch can be a wonderful addition to any home. With the ability to enjoy the outdoors without dealing with pesky insects, these versatile spaces expand your living area and give you a comfortable place to relax and entertain. But what exactly should you consider when planning and constructing a screened porch?
We’ll start by looking at the basics of screened porches and their benefits. Then we’ll explore important design factors like placement, size, layout, and style. You’ll get an overview of the building process and what’s involved in construction. We’ll also provide tips on decorating your new screened in space and keeping it properly maintained. By the end, you’ll have the information you need to create the ideal screened porch for your home.
What is a Screened in Porch?
A screened in porch is an outdoor living space that is enclosed with screening material. This allows air to flow through freely while keeping out mosquitoes, flies, and other insects. Screened porches are typically attached to the front, back, or side of a home, but can also be freestanding structures. They often have a roof, foundation, and flooring to make them more usable.
Screened porches differ from regular open porches because of the protective screening barriers. They also contrast with other fully enclosed spaces like sunrooms or three season rooms that have complete glass windows. The open-air feel of a screened porch offers many of the benefits of being outdoors with fewer of the drawbacks.
Pros of a Screened vs Open Porch
There are several advantages to having a screened in front porch rather than a completely open one:
- Protection from insects – Screens keep mosquitos, flies, wasps, and bees from bothering you
- Protection from weather – Screens provide shade from sun and shelter from rain and wind
- More usable space – The lack of bugs makes a screened porch more comfortable for sitting, dining, etc.
- Safety for kids and pets – Screens keep little ones and animals safely contained
- Lower maintenance – Screens prevent leaves, debris, and dirt from blowing in
Benefits of a Screened in Front Porch
Screened in front porches offer many advantages over an open front porch. Here are some of the top benefits to consider:
Increased Curb Appeal
Adding a screened porch to your home can instantly increase its curb appeal. A handsome screened porch serves as an attractive focal point from the street, drawing the eye to your front entryway. The right design and materials can complement your home’s existing architecture. A screened porch also indicates that a home has enhanced outdoor living space.
Increased Living Space
Converting your open front porch into a screened in space essentially adds usable square footage to your home. A screened porch provides a buffer between the indoors and outdoors that can be furnished and decorated to serve as an additional room. Having this extra living area allows you to get more enjoyment and functionality from your home.
A screened in front porch allows you to be outside while still providing protection from flying pests, harsh weather, and strong sunlight. Since it’s shielded from bugs, you can comfortably sit, dine, read, or nap without being bothered. The shade and airflow makes screened porches much cooler than non-covered patios or decks.
The versatile nature of a screened in front porch means it can be used in many different ways. During nice weather, it may serve as an outdoor dining area for meals. Add some comfy furniture and it becomes a secluded retreat for reading or just relaxing. You can also decorate it for entertaining guests or as a play area for kids. A screened porch expands how you use your home’s outdoor space.
Screened Porch Design Considerations
Properly designing your screened porch is key to getting the most enjoyment from the space. Some important factors to consider include:
One of the first decisions will be where to place your screened porch. Key considerations include:
- Attached vs Freestanding – An attached porch blends right into your home while a freestanding version is a separate structure requiring foundations and footings.
- Orientation – Consider the sun path, views, and relationship to interior rooms. An east-facing porch gets morning sun.
- Shade – Adding roof overhangs helps block summer sun while allowing lower winter sun to warm the space.
Size and Layout
When planning your screened porch footprint, keep the following in mind:
- Standard dimensions range from 10 x 12 feet up to 20 x 20 feet.
- Make sure to allow room for furnishings like seating, tables, and plants.
- Think about traffic flow from entry doors and openings.
- Include adequate space to comfortably move around.
Style and Features
Screened porches allow flexibility when it comes to appearance and functionality:
- Match the aesthetic to your home’s architecture, or go for something completely different.
- Get creative with screening frames, roofing, windows, and accessories.
- Add electricity for lighting, ceiling fans, speakers, and outlets.
- Choose flooring like tile, stone, or treated lumber.
Screened Porch Construction and Building Process
Constructing a new screened porch involves careful planning and skilled work. Here are the typical steps:
Planning and Permits
Have a qualified contractor draw up plans for your screened porch, making sure to adhere to local building codes. Acquire the proper permits before starting work.
Foundation and Framing
The foundation must be solid and reinforced to support the weight of the structure. Pressure-treated wood is commonly used for framing the walls, roof, and screening.
Rooftop options include asphalt shingles in different styles, metal, and translucent panels. Proper overhangs will help with weather protection and shade.
Durable and tightly woven screening material is secured into framing built around the porch perimeter. Doors and windows can be integrated as needed.
This includes lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, flooring materials, and electrical wiring for outlets. Consider how you want to decorate the space.
Costs and Timeline
Depending on the size and materials, screened porches can range from $6,000 to $25,000 or more. Typical construction takes 2-4 weeks, longer for more complex projects.
Maintaining and Caring for a Screened Porch
While screened porches require less maintenance than open patios, they still need regular care and inspection. Here are some top tips:
- Check screening for tears or gaps and repair as needed.
- Keep roof and gutters clear of debris to prevent water damage.
- Look for signs the foundation is settling like cracks or sloping.
- Sweep and hose down porch floors to remove dirt and leaves.
- Remove furnishings during severe storms to prevent damage.
- Re-coat wood floors every 1-2 years to protect from weathering.
Inspiring Screened Porch Design Ideas
Screened porches can take on many different looks depending on your vision. Here are a few gorgeous styles and concepts:
Coastal Screened Porch
The breezy feel of waterfront living translates beautifully to a coastal screened porch. Whitewashed wood, airy ceilings, and navy accents evoke lazy days at the shore.
Modern Screened Porch
Clean lines, dramatic black framing, and sleek furniture give this screened porch a hip, contemporary vibe. It seamlessly extends the interior modern design.
Rustic Screened Porch
Rough-sawn cedar logs support the rustic screened porch’s wood-shake roof. Twig furniture, woven rugs, and antler chandeliers complete the earthy look.
Farmhouse Screened Porch
Vintage-inspired wicker furniture, faded rugs, and distressed painted ceilings make this screened porch feel cozy and timeworn. Perfect for a farmhouse style home.
Adding a screened in front porch can provide wonderful extra living space and appeal for your home. With the right planning, placement, and design, it can become a highly used and loved part of your home. The construction process requires professional skills, but the finished result is well worth the investment. Pay attention to regular maintenance so you can enjoy your screened porch for years to come. We hope this guide gives you a great starting point for envisioning the ideal screened porch for your needs.