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So you want to add a screened-in porch to your property to have a light-filled, breezy, bug-free place to relax? Join the club! But before you launch into construction, you’ll probably want to consider what the renovation actually costs. According to 2023 research by Angi, a wraparound porch with windows and screens can run you up to $40,000—if you’re starting completely from scratch, without an existing porch. The good news: There are a few designer tricks of the trade you can use to help keep your screened in porch cost down (or up, if you’re looking to make it large and luxe), and the price tag can be well worth it as an investment.
Below, learn about the three factors that impact screened in porch cost, from the labor involved for the installation to design elements and property taxes.
Location and Taxes
Adding a screened porch can absolutely increase your property taxes. In fact, that’s the biggest long-term expense to consider before calling your contractor. “It depends on which state you live in,” clarifies design and renovation consultant Meredith Still, “and if a screened-in porch does increase your property taxes, it would be based on square footage.” Since taxes vary so much from state to state—and even county to county—it’s best to do your homework on regional codes and restrictions first. (Yes, even if you’re just adding a screen to an existing porch.) The bright side? “I do know that it offers a return on your investment if you ever intend on selling your home,” says Still.
The smaller the porch, the more affordable the project will be because the cost of materials will be lower. Sizing down is one way to minimize costs. If you’re just screening in a porch as it already stands, Home Advisor reports that the installation can cost around $2,000. “The total costs $3 to $5 per square foot for materials, and $2 per square foot for labor” for an add-on like this, according to Home Advisor. On the other hand, “if you want to build a completely new porch with screen, you’ll pay $25 to $120 per square foot for the entire project.”
Materials and Decor
If you’re dead set on a certain square footage and comfortable with the potential rise in taxes that a screened-in porch addition will incur, swapping in affordable materials is one more way to stay on budget.
According to Still, the best decking hands-down is element-resistant ipe wood, which is ultra hard and insect resistant, but it’s going to be a bit more expensive. Tile is also great, but it can get pricey too. Given that there’s such a wide range of both materials and prices, you can expect common tile or wood to cost $4 to $32 per square foot on average, while exotic hardwood and luxury stone run $11 to $20 per square foot. If you’re budget conscious but love the look of wood flooring, composite can be a great alternative. Concrete is the most affordable option at around $4 to $8 per square foot (if it’s too cool for your liking, it’s easy to hide under a warm area rug). Brick may be a good budget-friendly option if you really want to avoid concrete.
Pre-cut screens are the most affordable option, so mention using them to your contractor and architect before they even start designing plans. If you want any kind of specialty screens (like wind-resistant ones if you live in a super-windy region or allergy-proof ones if you’re sneezy), they’ll be a bit more expensive.
The screen material will also affect the cost. “There are several different screen types: fiberglass, aluminum, premium metals, and sun-blocking screens. Fiberglass is the cheapest option but not the best,” says Still. “To ensure the longevity of the interior of your porch, it’s best to invest in a screen that will prevent bugs, dust, pollen, and UV light from invading the space.” She recommends shopping from a brand such as Porch Enclosure System, PollenTEC, and Eze-Breeze to see what options exist.
According to Angi, aluminum screens cost $5 to $7 per square foot, while fiberglass costs $4 to $5.50. You’ll also need to rescreen your porch every six to eight years on average (if you maintain it well). You should factor this into the budget for your project, since ripped or damaged screens (caused by storms, accidents, or even sharp pet claws) can defeat the purpose of an enclosed outdoor living space.
To keep your budget down, opt for affordable outdoor furniture instead of custom upholstered performance fabrics and high-end pieces. (But if you can splurge on those at the outset, however, they are a good investment and will last longer!) You could also go antiquing or rummaging through a flea market to find oldies but goodies to decorate your porch; estate sales are another sneaky way to get a bargain on designer pieces.
You should also take steps to protect any furniture from the weather. After all, screens won’t keep out all the rain and humidity. “It’s recommended that you use waterproofing fabric spray to prevent the cushions from retaining water,” suggests Build.com project expert Maverick Watson. That will help ensure your outdoor furniture lasts as long as possible.
A DIY installation can help you save money and can be a great idea if you’re handy—especially if you’re starting with an existing porch. As always, what you save on your budget you’ll be investing in your time.
If you already have an existing porch you’d like to screen in and want to do it yourself, you’ll save a lot on labor and only need to budget for the cost of materials. As far as supplies, you’ll need a stapler, pre-cut screens, a level, and a steady hand. Learn more about screening in a porch yourself in our guide to screening in a porch yourself.
Of course, construction rates will differ from region to region and team to team. But if you’re doing anything more than a simple screen install, you’ll definitely want to bring on a licensed contractor and possibly even an architect. If you’re watching costs, try to keep the project size manageable—the smaller the porch, the less time it’ll take to build, so the lower labor costs will be—and consult with them on creative ways to cut costs. A good construction team will know how to get crafty without compromising on quality.
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Hadley Mendelsohn is the co-host and executive producer of the podcast Dark House. When she’s not busy writing about interiors, you can find her scouring vintage stores, reading, researching ghost stories, or stumbling about because she probably lost her glasses again. Along with interior design, she writes about everything from travel to entertainment, beauty, social issues, relationships, fashion, food, and on very special occasions, witches, ghosts, and other Halloween haunts. Her work has also been published in MyDomaine, Who What Wear, Man Repeller, Matches Fashion, Byrdie, and more.
Kate McGregor is House Beautiful’s SEO Editor. She has covered everything from curated decor round-ups and shopping guides, to glimpses into the home lives of inspiring creatives, for publications such as ELLE Decor, Domino, and Architectural Digest’s Clever.