Budget-Friendly Ways to Add a Screen Porch to Your Home
While a screened-in porch makes a perfect spot for relaxing or hosting friends and family, the rising costs of building supplies may put a damper on adding one to your home. Here are five affordable options to help you get that extra space you need.
It’s true, screened-in porches can be quite fabulous these days. With advances in technology, outdoor furniture options, televisions, and fire features, a screen porch is an ideal way to add living space without undertaking serious construction. It also allows you to appreciate the outdoors without some of the disadvantages, like being completely vulnerable to the elements and bugs.
The average cost to build a screen porch? Between $2,000 and $2,800, according to the home improvement website Angi. Costs can hit $10,000 or more, however, depending on the size, features and design chosen. Is it possible to plan and build a screened-in porch on a budget? Absolutely.
1. Transform an Existing Porch or Patio
One easy way to bring costs down is if you already have a porch or patio to construct a screen around, rather than building a room from the ground up. Building from scratch typically runs between $25 to $120 per square foot, but this range can be brought down significantly by working with an existing patio or porch. In particular, it’ll save you on the structural base as well as the flooring.
2. Build in the Off-Season
While fall or winter may not be the perfect time of the year for an outdoor project, consider doing so if the weather allows. Pushing your building project back until the off-season can result in substantial savings on labor and materials since contractors are typically slower during this time than the spring and summer months.
Keeping your timeline flexible generally allows you to act on lower pricing opportunities. Like most projects, trying to force a rigid timeline with little wiggle room can subject you to premium labor rates and delivery fees. It can also limit your choice of budget-friendly materials, as some may not be available.
Also be aware that you may need a permit for a screen porch, depending on your local regulations. Having a flexible schedule can also remove the stress from any delays that may come up while trying to acquire a permit.
3. Pick the Most Affordable Materials
With the price of lumber teeter-tottering, it’s possible for your screen porch project to get more expensive. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and consider budgeting for the most affordable materials. For example, a new screen porch built from fiberglass or aluminum with concrete floors can come in under $3,000, even if it’s built from scratch. Alternatively, costs will be much higher with the addition of stained tiles, hardwood flooring or an asphalt roof.
4. Small & Simple Wins the Day
Whether you’re building a completely new structure or adding onto an existing patio, the more square footage your screen porch has, the more it will cost, so consider keeping it small.
Similarly, you may be tempted to incorporate lots of fun features into your new screen porch, like retractable screens, walkways or climate controls. But again, they will all increase the cost. Simplicity will keep your costs down.
Personalizing the space can always be done with furnishings — either new or secondhand. If relaxation and entertaining guests are a priority for the screen porch, consider adding a cozy full-size couch and a bar cart.
5. If Possible, Build It Yourself
Labor costs typically run about $2 per square foot, so building a screen porch yourself will most certainly lower the overall price. That being said, you should only consider working on the project if your skills are strong. Not only will turning your screen porch build into a DIY project likely take longer, you’ll need the tools, free time and ability to do it right.
Screens must be installed properly to keep out bugs, and nobody enjoys uneven or unsafe floors. In addition, if you mess up the project, it could cost you more in the long run having to hire someone to fix your mistakes. So do it yourself if you can, but if not, just let the pros handle it. Creative budgeting in other areas (size and materials, for instance) can allow you to hire someone to build it for you so that it’s done right the first time.