The Pros and Cons of a Screened-In Porch

Screened porch

Whenever a decision has to be made, you weigh the pros and cons–– to screen or not to screen? A screened-in porch offers the allure of the best of both worlds, with fresh air and no bugs. But on the flip side, the drawback of a screened-in porch is the cost and an obstructed view of the surrounding nature. This article will walk you through both the pros and cons so you can make the best decision for your outdoor space.

What is a screened-in porch?

A screened-in porch is a fairly low-maintenance porch with screens and posts for walls and a roof. A screened-porch can prevent bugs and debris from disturbing you outdoors and increase time spent in the fresh air. You can screen an existing porch, but consult a construction professional before beginning your project.

Benefits of a screened porch

Keep bugs out

Enjoying your porch is difficult if mosquitoes, wasps, or flies hang around. One of the main pros of a screened-in porch is that it can eliminate those pests and other critters from being bothersome–– this will automatically make your porch that much more pleasant.

Give four legged-friends a new space

A screened-in porch can give your inside-only pets a new space to enjoy. They can enjoy the new sights, sounds, and smells of being outside all while still staying safe.

As a bonus for those pet owners whose pets like to dart out the door as soon as it’s open, a screened-in porch can reduce the chances of your four-legged friend escaping.

Note: Pet claws could rip the screens on your screened-in porch. Keep an eye on your pets while they’re on your screened-in porch to ensure the integrity of your screens.

Keep debris out

Screened porch
LakeMartinVoice | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 2.0

Grass clippings, leaves, and pine needles continuously get tracked into the house with a traditional porch. With a screened-in porch, the screens will act as a line of defense to keep the debris off your porch. Less time clearing the porch of debris means more time relaxing, too.

Weather protection

The weather can really damper your desire to spend time on your porch. A screened-in porch offers weather protection from various climates like the blistering, hot summer sun or cold, wintery snow.

To increase the weather protection of your screened-in porch one step further, you can add additional accessories, like blinds, curtains, or shades.

Note: Screened-in porches don’t eliminate all pollen from entering the porch. Consider a pollen-rated screen or enclosure if your goal is to eliminate all the pollen from reaching your porch.

Can add more features

You’ll probably spend quite a bit of time on your screened-in porch, and since you’ve got some protection from the outside elements, you can add more features compared to a traditional porch. Some options for added features include: 

  • Exterior-rated ceiling fans
  • Additional lighting
  • Patio heater: Always check the manufacturer’s guidance and recommendations for using a patio heater on a screened-in porch.
  • Pre-wired speaker system
  • Wall-mounted TV
  • Wet bar

Year-round enjoyment

How cozy would it be sitting cuddled in a blanket on your screened-in patio, sipping hot chocolate with your patio heater blasting during a chilly fall day? Or maybe you love watching the rain but don’t love getting soaking wet. A screened-in porch gives you the flexibility for year-round enjoyment while staying warm and dry, and only just right outside your house.

In some climates with extreme summers or winters, you might only get three-season enjoyment of your screened-in porch. Those with a mild climate will likely enjoy a screened-in porch all four seasons.

More fresh air

Fresh air porch
Lillisphotography | Canva Pro | License

Chances are, because of the additional features you can add to a screened-in porch combined with year-round enjoyment and fewer bugs, you’ll have the added benefit of more fresh air with a screened-in porch.

Moving one activity a day, like your morning reading or mid-day snack break, to your screened-in porch helps you enjoy your screened-in porch more and get that vital daily fresh air.

Extension of living space

With a screened-in porch, you give yourself an extension of living space. This additional outdoor living space can hold more guests (or guests more comfortably) for parties, special events, or a relaxing place to hang out while the kids play yard games.

Increase resale value

Although a screened-in porch may not count towards any additional square footage of your home in an appraisal, the additional living space can increase the resale value of your home. The curb appeal of a screened-in porch can set your home apart from others for potential buyers.

Downsides of a screened-in porch

Upfront cost

A screened-in porch requires an upfront investment of materials and time. If your screened-in porch isn’t a DIY project, you’ll have to account for the upfront cost of a construction crew handling the building process and material cost.

The average national cost to screen a 200-square-foot porch is about $2,085, with the typical price ranging from $1,680 to $2,490. Don’t have a porch? Most homeowners pay $14,400 to install a new 200-square-foot porch.

Upkeep

screened porch
Irina88w | Canva Pro | License

In addition to the initial upfront cost of a screened-in porch, there are possible upkeep costs to a screened-in porch. For example, if a screen rips for any number of reasons, it will need to be fixed or replaced. You wouldn’t want to leave a rip in a screen as it would defeat the purpose of keeping the bugs out.

And since the screens act as a filter for dirt and debris, they’re bound to get dirty. You’ll need to clean them occasionally by rinsing them or vacuuming them.

Blocked view

Let’s face it–– even though a screened-in porch provides incredible benefits, the reality is that it will block some outdoor views around your porch. You can still see well through the sides where the screens would be located, but the roof will obstruct the starry night sky. 

FAQ about screened-in porches

How long do screens last on a screened-in porch?

The lifespan of the screens depends on the quality of the materials of your porch screens and your upkeep and cleaning. Some screens may last six years, whereas others could last ten years.

Are plants protected on a screened-in porch?

Your screened-in porch can help protect your plants against light frost. But moving those plants inside the house or garage is a better option if there’s a prolonged cold snap.

Does a screened-in porch make a house darker?

You’ll likely notice the room(s) closest to a screened-in porch are darker because the natural light is blocked from the roof of the screened-in porch.

When to call a professional

A screened-in porch can be a DIY home improvement project. But if it’s not a project you want to attempt, a local construction pro can help with your porch project.

Since you’re spending more time in the fresh air on your screened-in porch, you probably don’t want to be looking at an overgrown lawn. Contact a lawn care professional to aid in lawn mowing, trimming, and edging.

Main Image Credit: Pxhere

Janae Soules

Janae Soules has a newly discovered love of gardening with her kids. She enjoys spending time in nature hiking, biking, or playing sports.