A porch is a great home feature as it is, but once you understand the cost to enclose a porch, you’ll realize how easy it can be to take that feature up a notch by using it to extend your home’s “indoor” square footage.
Disclaimer: The information included in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal, financial, or DIY advice. We highly suggest consulting a professional before attempting any DIY home improvements or repairs.
Learning how to estimate the cost to enclose a porch is about factoring in all of the components that impact the price, from labor and materials to the size and type of the enclosure itself.
Below, we’re sharing the exact steps you can take to estimate your costs to enclose a porch and get one step closer to your new favorite room in the house.
Cost to Enclose a Porch: A Summary
Essentially, you’ll estimate each of the different components that go into creating a porch enclosure. Then, you’ll add up these various costs and factor in a bit of flexibility for surprises to get a solid estimated cost to enclose your porch.
How to Estimate the Cost to Enclose a Porch in 6 Steps
You should get started with a bit of strategic planning to nail down the kind of porch you want and its specifications. Then you can begin making decisions about things like materials and labor.
Step 1: Determine the Type of Enclosure You Want
First, figure out the type of enclosure you want to build for your house. You have several options to choose from:
- Screened porch: A screened-in porch encloses the space with screens on three sides and either a solid or screened-in roof. Screening-in the porch will keep insects out and keep the view unobstructed, but it doesn’t provide any climate control, letting in moisture, cold, heat, and wind. A screened-in porch is typically the most affordable option.
- Three-season sunroom: This kind of room uses panes of glass on three sides of the enclosure with a solid roof but does not include any climate control. The name for this type of enclosure refers to its use most often in Spring, Summer, and Fall, but not in Winter, as it’s usually too cold.
- Four-season sunroom: You can enjoy a four-season room year-round, thanks to climate-controlling features. Similar to the three-season room, it is enclosed with glass on three sides with a solid roof. However, it also includes insulation, heating, or cooling.
- Solarium – If you want to maximize your views and feel closer to the surrounding natural environment, a solarium is a great option. A solarium uses glass walls and a glass roof, great for a sunny porch spot.
Start by choosing one of these four options based on your budget and goals for the space.
Step 2: Determine the Size of the Enclosure
Next, determine how big your enclosure will be. This aspect is one of the most significant determining factors of cost. A larger porch will naturally be more expensive, requiring more materials and more labor to finish the job.
According to data collected on real home projects, you can expect to pay anywhere from $4.50 to $7 per square foot of screening for your patio enclosure.
That’s is a wide range of other costs to consider, but the cost of materials is a considerate amount of the project’s total cost.
Step 3: Estimate Cost of Documentation
A step you don’t want to forget about is the cost of proper documentation to ensure the work you’re doing follows all regulatory laws. Before you begin any work, you will need to apply for the correct permits.
If you work with a contractor, they may be able to handle these tasks for you. It’s a good idea to roughly understand the documentation process so you can handle it if you need to. Usually, you’ll start at your city’s website for their department of planning.
You’ll find information about what structures require permits to build and what process to follow to apply for these permits if you need any. Building permits usually cost a small but notable fee, so this is a cost you’ll need to factor into the overall expenses.
Step 4: Estimate Materials Cost
Next, it’s time to estimate how much the materials will cost you for the job. The most affordable materials will obviously save you money, but there’s always a trade-off.
In aiming for the lowest project cost, you may end up choosing materials that won’t last as long. It’s essential to find a good balance of quality vs. value here.
Here are some helpful averages that can help you estimate your materials costs:
- Fiberglass averages about $5 foot per square inch
- Aluminum mesh (screening) averages about $6 per square foot
- Solar screens average about $7 per square foot
Essential materials will be the actual enclosure material, but then you also need to consider materials like tools, equipment, support beams, and any special features like windows or doors.
Step 5: Factor in Labor Costs
Unless you plan to do the work yourself, you will also need to estimate labor costs to hire a contractor to do the work. Performing the work yourself is only a good idea if you already have some construction experience or if you feel confident that you know what you’re doing.
Perhaps you have a friend who is a contractor and is willing to help for free, so you get the expertise without the cost.
If you’re very new to handyman and construction jobs, you’ll be much better off if you find a reliable contractor to hire to perform the work.
There are other ways to save on costs, such as purchasing some of the materials yourself or adjusting materials, size, or type of enclosure. Costs will vary drastically from place to place.
So start by contacting local contractors to request estimates and get a better idea of what’s available near you.
Step 6: Account for Extras
There may be some additional features that you forget about when estimating the cost to enclose your porch. These can drastically impact your final expenses, so don’t forget to consider things you may want to add, such as:
- Heating/Cooling system
- Motorized screens
Forgetting something as significant as the furniture you’ll need to turn your porch into a livable space or the doors you’ll need to include to connect it to the exterior and interior can make it hard to stick to your predetermined budget.
Be sure to cover all of these aspects in your initial budget, so you’re not surprised by any additional costs as you go.
Things to Consider
Beyond these cost factors, you should also consider the value the enclosed space will bring you, the value it would bring later buyers of your home, and choosing the right contractor.
- For an enclosure project to be worth it, it should serve the needs of whoever will be spending the most time in the house.
- If you only plan to be in your home for a few years before selling it, you may want to consider what kind of enclosure would add the most value to the house from a buyer’s perspective rather than what would best serve you specifically.
- If you plan to spend the rest of your time in the home, you want to choose whatever makes you happiest and adds the most value to you, not necessarily what contributes the most to the overall home value.
- Ensure you’re hiring a contractor who has experience doing the specific kind of enclosure you want.
- Look for contractors with excellent online reviews, a reasonable rate, and a good reputation. Good contractors cost more, but they will contribute significantly to the quality of the finished product.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions on enclosed porches and the cost involved:
What’s the cheapest way to enclose a porch?
The cheapest way to enclose a porch is to screen it using aluminum mesh or create glass walls with fiberglass panels.
How much does it cost to enclose a porch?
You should expect to spend an average of about $70 per square foot of enclosed area.
Does an enclosed porch add value?
Yes, enclosed porches add value to the home by creating an outdoor living space and adding to the total square footage.
How much does it cost to turn a porch into a sunroom?
You should expect to spend anywhere from $8k-50k for a three-season sunroom and anywhere from $20k-80k for a four-season sunroom.
How much does it cost to turn a porch into a screened-in porch?
If you’re not changing the porch itself, only screening it in will cost you about $3-5 per square foot for just materials, and then it’s an extra $2 per square foot when factoring in labor.
So, How Do You Estimate the Cost to Enclose a Porch?
Estimating the total cost to enclose a porch comes down to calculating the significant materials and labor factors and any special features you want to add. You’ll need to consider whether you’ll do the work yourself or hire a contractor.
Ensure that you don’t forget about the more minor details that make a big difference, like permit costs and your total square footage. Once you add it all together, you’ll have a good idea of the costs you’ll face to enclose your porch.