What Are The Best Porch Enclosure Systems?

Porch enclosures are a fantastic way to elevate your outdoor space. They can provide added functionality and the opportunity to enjoy your porch through any season or weather event. They also offer added versatility. Do you need a place for plants and gardening? A home office? Just some added lounge space? The addition gives you more flexibility in your home and can even increase its value, according to Archadeck.

If you're a lover of the outdoors and decide that you want to enclose your patio for maximum usage, there are a few options to choose from. From a full-build sunroom to simple, breezy curtains, these options vary greatly in style, protection, and construction. Below, we'll run you through the most popular options and help you decide which is best for you based off of your needs, style preferences, and budget. We'll also tell you how to get started on your porch project.

1. Sunroom

Sunrooms are one of the most popular types of porch or patio enclosures. It involves a total extension of your home, including a roofed structure enclosed with glass. This provides complete protection from the elements like heat and bugs so that you can enjoy your outdoor space year round. Sunroom enclosures also allow for more natural light in the home.

They also protect your property and whatever you have on your porch from damage and ruin. You don't have to worry about moving furniture every season because they can stay there throughout the year. You can even include electricity, heat, air conditioning, and plumbing! 

To get started on your sunroom enclosure, know that there are a few options when it comes to materials. Pacific Patio says the most popular materials used today are vinyl, aluminum, and wood. Aluminum is popular due to its lightness and structural strength, vinyl for its lightness and durability, and wood for its beauty and natural look. Whatever you choose, professional construction is the best route due to the magnitude of this build. Construction, permits, and utility bills make sunrooms a more expensive enclosure system option; however, they will allow you to enjoy the outdoors without leaving the comfort of your home.

2. Screened Porch

Screened porches are also common enclosure systems due to their affordability and relatively simple installation. They allow fresh air to pass through the room without exposing you to bugs and the elements. They create a perfect balance between the indoors and outdoors. Some even come with windows or removable panels along with screens. Screened porches work well in seasons like fall and spring but aren't the best option during harsh winters, according to Family Handyman.

Your reason for creating an enclosure will tell you if this system is for you, says Family Handyman. Are you thinking of keeping plants here during the winter? This might not be your best option. Do you want to spend time outside in the warmer seasons? Then great! Consider how often you will be using this space. If you plan to use it occasionally or only in the warmer months, screened porches are a great choice because they are less expensive and easier to set up. You won't have to break the bank to create this lovely space for your home.

Screens can be fitted directly onto the porch structure with professional help or as a DIY project. Some people simply staple the screens to the top of the roof, but there are framing systems and screen kits that can produce much neater results.

3. Open-wall systems

Welcome to open-air living! The open-wall style enclosure features a roofed outdoor space with full access to the outdoors. This classy, modern enclosure can be a great addition to your home.

These open-wall options have great aesthetic possibilities that can keep you feeling connected with the outside, whether you step out or not. The different material options will produce different results and require different costs, so it's important to know what exactly you need. You need to take note of features like sound insulation and thermal efficiency. What measures are you going to take to prevent breakage and damage? This is also one of the more challenging DIY projects, which means you will need professional construction if you aren't a DIY pro. Sandia Sunrooms & Windows suggests that only those with adequate DIY experience should attempt this project.

For an open-wall system, much of the aesthetic will revolve around your door. As outlined by Pella, the traditional door option, known as hinged patio doors or French doors, can come in single or double styles. Sliding doors are great for saving space since they blend with your wall and allow fast access to the outdoors. Sliding panels look more like windows and provide full access to fresh air and natural light.

4. Drapes

From outdoor curtains to mosquito nets, draping your porch can be a simple and beautiful option, and it's probably the cheapest out there!

Curtains are great for breezy evenings and can be drawn open or closed, depending on your needs at the moment. They're also a great way to add your own creative flair to the space since there are so many styles and fabrics to choose from. If you live in a place where the weather is excellent and bugs are hardly a problem, this is a great option. If you live in a harsher environment, this may not be the best choice because curtains won't offer solid protection from the elements. 

To make this setup possible, you will need curtain rods and curtains (of course). Coverstore says it's essential to pick more durable rods made for the outdoors. Classic rods will work if you have columns or posts that you can drill holes into. If not, you will need to first install the beams.

If you live in a climate where insects are a big problem, mosquito netting curtains are a practical choice. You can enjoy your porch without worrying about insects at a reasonable cost. According to Front Porch Ideas and More, the long-lasting netting is made from heat-cured polyester. The nets can be cleaned easily and come in various neutral colors. They are also simple to install — you just need Velcro tape.