The best screened porch designs incorporate the following five design elements into the overall structure. Most people; however, often fail to realize how important each element impacts the overall comfort and enjoyment of their screened porch. Before you start planning your screen porch addition, be sure to understand how each of these will affect your overall design. Doing so will ensure years of enjoyment.
Size – Avoid saying: “I should have built it larger”. Most people love their porch but many regret not making it larger. A few extra square feet can make a huge difference. You will use your screened porch a lot and will quickly realize a few extra feet would accommodate built-ins, additional entertainment space, or a nook for intimate dining. Additional space can make room for an outdoor fireplace or even a wet bar.
Your goal should be to build the largest porch you can afford based on how you will use it through the years. If your children are small consider how much space will be needed as they grow. If they are about to leave home a smaller porch might be ideal.
Location – Avoid saying: “It is too hot to use in the afternoon” or “we cannot get any privacy from our neighbors”. Before you build consider the location of the sun during the day to determine how it will affect your new addition. If you want to use it during the hottest times of the day, consider locating it on the shaded side of your home or under shade trees if possible. If that is not feasible, include shutters, shades, or blinds in your design to block the sun.
If you have noisy neighbors or unsightly outbuildings, locate your screen porch to avoid them as much as possible. What annoys you now will surely annoy you more when you are trying to enjoy the outdoors.
Traffic Patterns – Avoid saying: “I wish I would have located the porch off the dining room rather than the kitchen”. Before you build consider how you will access the screened porch from inside your home. Do you want guests going through your kitchen to the screened room or would you rather them access it through a family or dining room? Consider how often and who will be using the room addition.
If entertaining is your goal perhaps access through a family room would be ideal. Include a pass-through (or additional access) to the kitchen so drinks and snacks can be acquired easily.
Amenities – Avoid saying: “I wish I had included an outdoor fireplace”. Today, enclosed porch designs incorporate amenities for all types of entertaining. Many have flat screens, fireplaces, wet bars, built-ins, outdoor fans, special lighting, and more. All of these are much easier to install during the construction phase. Determine what amenities you would like to have in the planning process to avoid additional costs later.
Maintenance – Avoid saying: “I never realized how much maintenance my screen porch requires”. Incorporate products and materials that require minimum to no maintenance. In addition, be sure to build properly to avoid water damage – a screen porch’s nemesis. Things like venting the trim, pitching the floor slightly, flashing ledgers, and protecting posts are all extremely important and will help make your screen porch addition last a long time.
The extra time you take to properly design your screened porch investment will pay big dividends later in years of enjoyment and added value to your home. Carefully consider all aspects of screened porch designs before you build or talk to a contractor. Contractors specializing in enclosed porches can also help you determine the best value for your dollar. Take the time to explore all of your options – then build knowing you will have the best of screened porch designs.