Mosquitoes hate them -- and homeowners love them. A screened porch in the back of the house allows you to enjoy three-season comfort without having to swat bugs every few seconds or worry much about the rain. Screens range from simple to complex, and the costs to install one changes accordingly.
A screened room is normally considered a permanent addition to a dwelling, and the construction falls under municipal codes. A permit needs to be requested from the correct authority, and often plans also must be submitted for approval. Any work done prior to approval or not up to code may result in fines or a demand that the structure be removed. A screen room that is not attached to the home generally has more leeway in requiring permits, depending upon the community.
A low-end, basic 12-by-12-foot screen room built by a professional company cost about $5,000 in 2011. A high-end, similar-sized screen room can run to $25,000 and up. According to Kirk Kusmir of Four Seasons Sunrooms in Merrillville, Indiana, the difference is in the material used for construction, the bells and whistles added, and the degree of customization. Other factors include whether or not a concrete base or footings have to be installed by code and how much of an existing deck or porch can be used.
Inexpensive Screen Rooms
A basic screen room is often constructed from a kit. The material is already assembled, the design is provided, and there are only a few minor aspects that have to be customized, mostly dealing with connecting it with the home. The wood used is inexpensive pine, and the roof is foam panel. There is no insulation in the walls and no way to close the windows. The room provides protection against the sun, light rain and insects but is little else than a place to gather.
Expensive Screen Rooms
Expensive screen rooms are constructed little differently from a custom home addition. The roof is of the same material and blends in seamlessly with the prior work. A higher-grade wall is used, which is often drywalled and painted inside, and layered outside with the same material used on the rest of the home. The windows are often a combination that can be closed or replaced with glass ones. A gas and water line may be run to the porch to provide for an outside kitchen.
Jack Burton started writing professionally in 1980 with articles in "Word from Jerusalem," "ICEJ Daily News" and Tagalong Garden News. He has managed radio stations, TV studios and newspapers, and was the chief fundraiser for Taltree Arboretum. Burton holds a B.S. in broadcasting from John Brown University. He is a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Navy/Navy Reserves and the Navy Seabees.