Porch enclosures, patio enclosures, sunrooms and solariums…what’s the difference and which one would you prefer for your home? If you’re searching these terms online, you’re likely interested in converting your existing patio or porch space into a permanent, enclosed part of the house.
It is a renovation upgrade often overlooked by homeowners, but one that makes a world of difference in increasing the usability, aesthetic and value of your home. According to fixr.com, a four season enclosed porch or patio will yield an approximate 72% return on the resale value of your home.
If you are considering converting some outdoor space to permanent indoor space, the first few things you may be considering are the costs and differences between constructing a porch enclosure and sunroom.
We can start with the basic definitions of each:
Patio and Porch Enclosures
At its core, patio and porch enclosures are the same in terms of its construction, using glass or screens combined with solid panels to create an enclosed room over an existing space. Porches generally already have a roof that is built in and attached to the house, while a patio space may be open and require a roof structure to be built as part of the enclosed space.
Sunrooms and Solariums
A sunroom is what we would considered an enclosed porch that could be used year-round. It is a room with large windows and is built to be used throughout the winter and summer months. Solariums are generally not for long-term sitting and are not insulated for extreme weather conditions, it is considered a three-season room with its main purpose as providing sun exposure without dealing with the elements during fair temperatures. The typical solarium is used as a greenhouse or for commercial uses in a restaurant or hotel.
Purpose and Use of the Room
If you wish to use and enjoy your porch enclosure throughout all four seasons versus three seasons, you may consider installing a central HVAC system to stay cool throughout the summer and warm in the winter. This is particularly important to consider as your sunroom/solarium will be formed mostly of glass and will not have the same insulation walls have, even if you are using energy-efficient glass windows and doors.
For use year-round as a den, workout room, office, etc. you may have to obtain a building permit from your city prior to beginning construction. In addition, the foundation would also need to be inspected and approved for construction. It is important to note that water from rain or snow should be steered away from the porch enclosure, as it is formed mostly of windows. Other items you may wish to add to make the space feel more comfortable would be to add lighting and/or plumbing work, which would require some permits.
Whatever term you use to call your new room addition, you must first decide if you wish the space to be used through all four seasons or three seasons only. A large part of that would be dependent on your budget of course. Due to possible permit requirements, electrical or plumbing work, we do not recommend making a porch enclosure or solarium a do-it-yourself project, so do ensure the contractor you hire is experienced and worth the money spent. Most of your budget will be spent on the windows as you will want to invest in high quality energy-efficient windows to ensure the comfort and longevity of your room.
For a four-season room with post and beam construction, you can estimate approximately $360 per square foot, which would include the following required services:
|Architectural/Structural Design Services||10-17% of the total budget|
|Windows||Average $500-$2000 per opening|
|Carpentry Work||Average $70 per hour|
|Electrical Work||Average $25-$35 per hour|
*All figures provided are sourced from fixr.com. Costs will vary depending on special additions such as the door(s) chosen and plumbing and electrical work desired.
For more information on expanding the usability of your home and converting some of your outdoor space into a porch enclosure or sunroom, leave me a comment below or send us a message about your project and we’ll be in touch soon!