When Emma from North Carolina decided it was time to upgrade the porch on her beach house, she discovered it would be a tremendous job. Not only would the porch floor need to be raised so she could extend the roof, but she also wanted to keep all her gorgeous views and insulate her porch with screen windows that could roll back in summer. Contractor after contractor gave her prohibitive estimates, and Emma had to develop new ideas for her beach house screened porch.
Screened porches are a good investment, creating an outdoor entertainment and living space that can adapt to the weather. Added living space is achieved at a lower cost than an extension. Reasonably budgeted beach house screened porches add value to a property with a return of approximately 75%.
Screened porches are a beautiful touch to a beach house, and they turn a porch from a neglected outdoor space into an area that can be used for entertainment, an extra living room, and just a great place to laze about. Emma discovered that they could come at something of a cost, so we’ve looked at why a screened porch is a good investment and how to keep your budget down. We’ve found some fantastic ideas for your new beach house screened porch.
Beach House Screened Porches
You’ve likely seen many stunning examples of screen porches on a beach house, and maybe you’ve been considering converting your current porch by adding a screen or building a new porch as an addition to your entrance. Many questions arise over the value of a screened porch and if it’s worth the investment.
There are different ways to screen a porch and many reasons why they’re worth adding to your house. We’ll examine some of your concerns, the pros and cons, the uses of a screened porch over the seasons.
Cost is a significant concern for many of us, and it’s good to know why your investment will be worth it, how it can add value to your property if you want to sell, and ways to keep the costs down for screening a porch.
Let’s begin with the ways a screened porch can benefit you at your beach house.
Reasons to get a Beach House Screened Porch
The pros of screening your existing porch or building a new screened porch can be obvious, but some may surprise you.
- Improving the aesthetic appearance of your beach house. There are many marvelous options to choose from to suit the architectural style of your house, and a screen entrance porch makes for a beautiful and imposing improvement to your home, like this Maine coastal property with its traditional style.
- Creating an outdoor space with the benefits of indoors. By screening your porch, you create a space with the appeal of the outdoors while still having some control against weather, wind, beach sand, or bugs.
- Enjoy extra entertainment and living space. Turn your porch into a place where you can host summer dinner parties, relax on a lounger and take in a beach read, have breakfast at sunrise, or enjoy sunset drinks with your stunning uninterrupted view.
- Stop annoying pests and sand. When you close off your screens, you can stop annoying insects and bugs from buzzing around you. Open your screens on hot days when you need a breeze, or close them to stop the wind from blowing sand inside.
- Increase the value of your beach house. Almost every coastal property will improve in value by adding an outdoor area like a screened porch. You’ll add impact to your property and improve the curb appeal.
- Ecologically sound. You can reduce your electricity use by adding a window-screened porch. Natural light and fresh air on a porch mean you won’t use as much lighting or air conditioning on your porch in summer.
The Downside of a Beach House Screened Porch
That sounds great, but we must be honest about the cons of a beach house screened porch because there are one or two, depending on your house and the type of screened porch you’re planning to get.
- Can block your view, depending on the materials used. Screened-in porches need support for the windows or screens. Depending on your design, these pillars or posts can block some of your views. Consider your options when designing your porch; some designs, such as the one from this East Bay house, will provide minimal obstruction.
- Costs can mount up. Costs will depend on what you need. An architecturally-designed porch with significant construction work will cost more than a DIY job screening an existing porch with lower-cost materials. The average cost for screening an existing porch is about $7 per square foot.
- Heating in winter. If your beach house is in a colder climate, you may have to heat your screened porch in winter, as, unlike a sunroom, a screened porch is not insulated like the rest of the house.
Do Screened Porches Count as Footage?
Technically, to count as square footage, an extension to a house, the additional area must be treated as interior rooms and insulated. A screened porch isn’t heated or cooled in the same way as the rest of your house, so it does not count as square footage in architectural terms.
For an additional extension to count as square footage and be added to the investment potential of a house, it needs to be an entire room, such as an added bedroom.
What is a 3 Season Screened Porch?
A screened porch is a space fully connected to your house, including the cover of a roof that extends over the porch. The porch is sealed on all sides with screens that can be raised or lowered with the changing weather.
When standard decks screens are replaced by windows – made of either glass or vinyl – the screened porch is often called a 3 season screened porch. The extra protection and durability of windows over the screens create a room that can be used across the seasons.
While a simple screened porch is great for additional shade and protection from bugs and beach sand, it’s easier to control the temperature on a 3 season screened porch. Windows can be opened to let in a cooling breeze or closed if you want to run a space heater during colder months.
How to Cool a Beach House Screened Porch in Summer
While one of the benefits of a screened porch is that it extends the use of your porch through the seasons, if you have glass or vinyl windows installed, you may find the porch gets a little too warm for your liking.
- Make sure that the screened porch is fully insulated and sealed. This includes sealing beneath the porch to prevent humid, hot air from rising and entering your porch space.
- Add blinds or curtains to help cut down on glare. You can shade your porch and lower the trapped heat by lowering blinds when the sun is at its hottest.
- With the same idea, you can add shady plants and trees to the grounds surrounding your porch. An established garden makes your property look better and can help reduce the impact of coastal winds by creating a natural break.
- A ceiling fan can help cool a screened porch down by creating air movement. A hot, stagnant room will feel even more sweltering.
- Have a mini AC unit installed. Look into mini-split heating and cooling systems to blow cool air into your screened porch.
What To Do With a Beach House Screened Porch in Winter
If your screened porch has been insulated as above, you will find that this also makes your screened porch easier to use in winter. If your coastal area deals with icy winters, there are ways you can extend your use.
- Heavy vinyl curtains will help trap heat in a screened porch and provide additional insulation. Similarly, install vinyl sheets before winter. These sheets will seal each screen area without blocking your view, like double-glazing.
- Even better than vinyl sheets are acrylic or vinyl panels, which are sturdier and more permanent than sheeting stapled up for winter. Installing acrylic panels is a much larger job, but the results are worth it.
- Use a space heater, or consider installing a fireplace. A stand-alone heater is a better option if you only need additional heating rarely, but if you’re constantly dragging the heater out, it’s a good idea to look at installing a fireplace.
Can You Add a Fire Pit to a Screened Porch?
If you want to have extra heating, you might be looking at a firepit. While they look lovely, installing a firepit on a screened porch is inadvisable unless your porch is open air. Firepits are usually propane or natural gas-fueled, and the CSA guidelines state these are not for indoor use.
Since a screened porch can restrict the amount of air, and the wall clearance space and height of the ceiling may not meet the required guidelines, you will need to be very sure your screened porch is suitable before using a fire pit.
If the floor of your beach house screened porch is made from wood, then you want to avoid a fire pit as it is recommended they are not placed on combustible surfaces.
What Does It Cost to get a Beach House Screened Porch?
The cost of building a screened porch will depend on the size, the design, the cost of the materials used, and the cost of labor. It will be more expensive to build a new screened porch than to add screens to an existing porch.
The standard average that Americans pay to add a screen to their porch is about $2,000-$2,800 versus the cost of an entirely new screened porch, which can start from $6,600 and head into the region of $30,000.
These figures are for a 200-square-foot porch. A small porch of 20 square feet will start at $1,000, but the more complex your design and the more specialized labor you need for installation will increase these figures.
Obtain a better estimate of your average costs for your area by going to Home Advisor for pricing based on size, complexity, materials, and labor.
Another factor to consider before beginning your porch renovation is how it will affect your property tax. Since the laws here vary depending on your state, you’ll need to check the building restrictions and regional codes before you begin your project.
How to Keep Down Cost on Beach House Screened Porch
You can keep costs down on your screen porch project like Emma did by looking at the factors that add the most to the price and finding alternatives. This may mean scaling down on over-ambitious plans or simply choosing cheaper furniture for your porch décor.
If you’ve checked your building regulations and extending your property isn’t a financial issue, you’ll need to consider the size first. The larger your porch is, the more it will cost. Use a simple calculator such as the above Home Advisor link to work out the square footage that will be most cost-effective for you.
- The materials you choose will also have an impact. While wooden decking flooring is the most popular look, you can bring down the cost with your choice of wood or a wood composite. The most affordable flooring is concrete, while brick is also budget-friendly.
- Use pre-cut screens to keep the costs down, and the type of screen will have different prices and benefits. The cheapest will not always be the most cost-effective in the long run, so you’ll need to look at the durability of your materials, especially if your beach house is in a very windy area!
- Depending on your DIY skills, you can cut down on some of the cost of manual labor. While a new porch built from scratch might be beyond the capability of most, it might be an option to add screen kits to an existing porch with little trouble if you have decent DIY skills.
Many companies offer easy-to-install porch screen kits, and you can see if they would suit your budget and abilities.
Beach houses benefit greatly from screened porches, as the screen helps to cut down on wind, sand, and bugs, allowing you to enjoy your porch for longer throughout the year. A screened porch can add value to your property and increase the visual impact of your house entrance. You can keep costs down by using screening kits to upgrade your existing porch, but be aware that coastal properties may need more durable material to withstand high winds, rust, salt, and humidity.