Benefits of Adding a Screened Deck to Your Home

screened deckIs a screened deck right for your home? If you’re looking for a new indoor/outdoor living space, a screened porch or deck is just one of your options. Here at Structurally Speaking, we can create a custom design just for you. Our goal is to construct the perfect additional living space, based on your family’s specific needs and your home’s design.

Screened Deck Advantages

Adding a screened in porch or deck gives you an additional living space for entertaining and relaxing. You get some additional benefits as well:

  • A screened living space allows you to bring the outdoors in, so you can enjoy your backyard with some protection from the elements.
  • Unlike open decks, a screened in deck is a safer option for young children and pets, since you can keep the door locked.
  • You don’t need to build a new room onto your home. We can add screens to your current deck or porch.
  • With the screens, you are protected from bugs, which is especially helpful on summer evenings when mosquitos can make enjoying your yard unbearable.

Additionally, adding an outdoor space can be a great home improvement investment. According to Remodeling Magazine, you can recoup over 70% of your costs if you add a deck, for example. In other words, the value of your home will increase, so that someday when you sell, you’ll be able to ask a higher price. You will also typically be able to sell your home faster, since buyers often look for an indoor/outdoor space when searching for a home.

Beyond Decks: Other Indoor/Outdoor Space Options

Instead of a screened deck, you may wish to consider a different type of living space that brings the outdoors inside. Each has its own advantages.

First, many homeowners love the versatility of adding a sunroom. A sunroom typically has large windows, but also has heating, cooling, and electricity. You can use this space all year long, even during the coldest parts of winter and hottest parts of summer.

You can also consider a three-season room. Unlike screened porches and decks, these rooms are completely enclosed with glass windows for added protection from the elements. However, these typically don’t have heating and cooling like a true sunroom.

Some homeowners may also want to consider a traditional porch, patio, or deck instead of a screened-in option. You can add on to an existing porch or deck, or we can build one from scratch. These spaces are less versatile than a room with windows or screens, but they are a budget-friendly option.

The Budget for Your New Deck

Speaking of your budget, you might be wondering how much to set aside for your new indoor/outdoor living space. The short answer is: it depends.

At Structurally Speaking, we create a custom design for every homeowner. You’ll start the process with a no-obligation meeting where we discuss your design preferences, along with budget. We think it’s extremely important to start on the same page. We’ll never design a space you can’t afford.

To keep the price in your budget, we can look at the size and complexity of design for your new deck, as well as the materials. We don’t sacrifice quality, but some materials are just naturally less expensive than others. For example, composite decking typically costs more than wood. We’ll also ensure the screen material, roof material, and other materials fit into your budget.

How We Create the Perfect Deck Design

The budget isn’t the only thing we discuss during your initial consultation. This is a meeting you’ll have with Jim, the owner of Structurally Speaking. Jim oversees every deck, porch, and sunroom project from start to finish.

If you have clear deck or porch ideas, Jim can bring life to the picture in your head. However, if you aren’t sure what you want, he can help. He’ll look at your existing deck or porch if you have one, as well as the overall space and design of your home. He will also go over features you can add, such as a hot tub deck, pergola, fire pit, built-in planters, and more. By the end of this meeting, Jim will have a good idea of what will work best for your home and family.

Next, we’ll schedule a design presentation. During this second meeting, Jim will show you drawings of his designs for your space. You can make changes to the deck or porch design at this point, so the final result is exactly what you want.

Once you are completely happy with the design, we’ll start the building process. Jim oversees the team to ensure that his drawings are translated from paper to real life. You don’t have to worry about the deck or porch cost inflating at this point; the price we quoted at the design presentation is the price you get. We don’t give you a surprise bill at the end of the project.

FAQs about Screened Decks

Every screened-in porch or deck is different, but here are a few frequently asked questions about this kind of outdoor living space:

  • Is a screened-in deck heated or cooled?

Typically, no, though it is common to have a ceiling fan. If you want a climate-controlled space, we recommend a sunroom.

  • Can screened decks have a fire pit?

We don’t recommend most fire pits under a roof. However, you can still have a fire feature! There are fire features that are safe under a roof, such as outdoor fireplaces.

  • Does a screened porch or deck add to the square footage of your home?

This area is usually not calculated as square footage if you sell the home, but it is a bonus space that buyers love to see.

Do you have more questions about screened decks or other outdoor living areas? Contact us today! Give us a call at 919-786-4825. We’re happy to answer any of your questions and set up an initial meeting so you can speak to Jim about your deck project.

Advantages of A Screened In Porch Raleigh NC Contractor

Screened In Porch Raleigh NCCOVID restrictions have put everyone at home making for cramped quarters. Trying to meet everyone’s needs can be a real challenge. One way to expand your living space is with a screened porch. Porch enclosures protect against weather elements. Plus, our mild southern winters allow for longer use. When searching for a screened in porch Raleigh NC contractor, choose Structurally Speaking.

Our owner, Jim Brennan, started out working for one of those large national porch and deck builders. Dissatisfied with the lack of personalization and customization, he left and began his own company. Today, we’re one of Raleigh’s premier custom designing and building companies for outdoor structures.

Benefits Of A Patio Enclosure

A screen room can serve many functions. You can use the extra space as a family room, playroom, dining area, home office, or entertainment area. The enclosure offers shade on the sunniest days and protection for the rain on wet days. In addition to extra living space, you’ll appreciate some other additional benefits:

  • Increased home value
  • Extra entertainment area
  • Freedom from bugs
  • Privacy
  • Visual interest

While open porches and decks are great for adding outdoor living space, they can’t protect you from pesky bugs. With a porch enclosure, the screens prevent bees, mosquitoes, flies, and all manner of annoying insects away from you. Plus, you’ll enjoy some added privacy from your neighbors.

A bonus is the visual interest a screened room adds. An enclosure adds dimension and depth. For many buyers, a screened porch is a must-have option.

Is A Screened Patio Expensive?

Having additional outdoor living space is invaluable. Sometimes, you just can’t put a price on having an extra room for entertaining, working, or relaxing. However, as a homeowner, you do have a certain budget to work within. Thus, many people want to know how much enclosing a porch will cost.

Your porch enclosure is entirely customizable so pricing widely varies. With this in mind, certain choices do affect your cost:

  • Size
  • Materials
  • Roofing options
  • Flooring
  • Amenities

When considering the size of your enclosure, be sure you have enough space to use it comfortably. Start by deciding on the main function of your enclosure. Think about the type of furniture that will occupy the space.

Additionally, you have many choices when it comes to choosing your materials. Screens, roofing, and flooring options are varied and plentiful. Plus, you can add many different types of amenities:

  • Lighting
  • Ceiling fan
  • Electrical outlets
  • Fireplace
  • Speakers

It’s best to sit down with a general contractor, like Structurally Speaking, and discuss your ideas and budget. Your contractor can help you choose the best options for your needs and enjoyment of your outdoor space.

How Can I Winterize My Enclosed Porch?

During the warmer months, you can enjoy the fresh air wafting through your enclosure while you remain protected from insects. Yet, when the days turn chilly, your screen porch becomes a neglected room. However, if you winterize your enclosure, you can enjoy your room all year round.

One easy way to winterize your enclosure is with clear vinyl curtains. Curtains are an inexpensive way to keep the chill out of your enclosure and heat in. Plus, vinyl curtains can block snow from accumulating on your porch floor without obstructing your view.

Adding vinyl curtains creates an environment similar to a greenhouse. Light energy enters your enclosure, converting to heat energy once inside. However, the heat energy cannot escape, warming your enclosure. Often, your porch can be 30° F warmer than the outside air.

Moreover, you can add a space heater or fireplace for more warmth. Moreover, a fireplace adds ambiance and makes your space feel more like your interior.

Some FAQs Regarding Screened Enclosures

Many homeowners have the same questions as you do regarding enclosing a porch. We’ve answered the most commonly asked ones below. If you have any other questions, give us a call at 919-786-4825 and we’ll be happy to help.

Can I Enclose An Existing Porch, Deck, Or Patio?

The general answer to this question is yes with certain considerations. First, the existing structure must be sound and in good shape. Next, the existing structure needs to be strong to support the additional weight of the enclosure.

Finally, you must comply with local ordinances and zoning laws. Hiring a local contractor knowledgeable in this area saves you a lot of trouble. Structurally Speaking is a local Raleigh based company with over 20 years of experience in designing and constructing outdoor enclosures.

Are Screened Porches Customizable?

Yes! We start with our free no-obligation consultation discussing your needs and wants. During our initial meeting, we’ll also review your budget to ensure our design is within your means. The price we quote is the price you’ll pay.

Plus, we individualize our designs so that your project is unique. Likewise, if you change your mind during the designing stage, we can easily adapt to those changes. As we discuss your usage needs, you may decide on a 3-season room or sunroom. We’re flexible and want you to be completely happy.

How long does the installation take?

All home remodeling projects are unique. Size, scope, and weather all impact the finish date. Similarly, if you’re not familiar with the rules and regulations in construction, you may face more delays.

However, when you hire Structurally Speaking, you won’t have to worry about any local legislative hurdles interfering with your timeline. We’re a local company. Thus, we know how to cut through the bureaucratic red tape so that our project finishes on time.

The Screened In Porch Raleigh NC Contractor Trusted By Many

Extra space in a home is always a welcome addition. Enclosing a porch is a great way to extend your living space. When searching for a screened in porch Raleigh NC company homeowners love, choose Structurally Speaking.

We offer personalized custom design, competitive pricing, and professional project management. Better yet, we can also build you a new deck, pergola, hot tub deck, 3-season room, or sunroom. Combined with our experience and excellent customer service, we guarantee your complete satisfaction.

Why wait? Call us at 919-786-4825 for your free consultation. Spring will soon be here. Let’s have your project completed to enjoy those pleasant, warm days.

Enclosed Patios – Designs for a New Indoor/Outdoor Space

enclosed patios designedWhen it comes to enclosed patios designs are sometimes extremely simple or fairly complex. It’s most important that the design fits your family. Here at Structurally Speaking, we don’t have cookie cutter solutions. Instead, we design custom indoor/outdoor living spaces to meet your specific needs.

Benefits to having an enclosed patio include the following:

  • More space to entertain
  • A safe area for kids and pets to play, even if your backyard isn’t fenced
  • You can enjoy the outdoors without the bugs
  • The roof gives you plenty of shade, even on the hottest summer days
  • Your family gains an extra living space

This isn’t a complete list of benefits, but suffice it to say enclosing your patio is a great option! Here’s what you need to know about enclosed patios, screened porches, and other indoor/outdoor living space options.

Is Enclosing Your Patio Possible?

If you have an existing patio that you’re thinking of enclosing, the first question you may have is if it is even possible. From a structural standpoint, the answer is probably yes! However, it depends on your specific situation. The good news is that we can give you the space you want through our personalized design approach, even if enclosing your current patio isn’t the best plan.

First, we’ll look at the foundation for the existing patio. On the ground floor, many patios sit directly on the ground using concrete, but this may not be the case with your patio. We need to make sure that your patio can support the weight of walls and a roof, and that this would be legal based on the city/county building codes in your area. The same is true of a second or third floor patio or balcony. It has to be able to bear the weight of the enclosure. Before we start, we’ll do a full assessment to ensure that enclosing the patio would be safe.

Next, we need to check any rules set forth by your homeowner’s association (if you have one). Most of the time, enclosing a patio is not a problem. However, you may need to submit paperwork for approval. You don’t want to get halfway through the first day of construction only to have an angry HOA president knocking on your door because you didn’t get approval!

Depending on your existing patio and your exact location, you may need a construction permit. Like with HOA approval, this is usually not an issue, just a step we need to take. We’ll handle this for you based on the patio design and your local requirements.

If we determine that we cannot safely enclose your patio, don’t worry! We’ll sit down with you to determine what we can do that will give you the same affect. For example, maybe your patio was built without a strong foundation. In this case, we can remove the old tiles or pavers and build an enclosed patio from scratch. We take pride in finding creative solutions to make our clients happy.

Enclosed Porches and Enclosed Patios – Designs You’ll Love

With our unique consultation and design process, we can create the porch or patio enclosure you really want. Here’s how it works:

Step One: Your Free Initial Consultation

Building a new piece to your home can be stressful if you work with a company that isn’t a good fit. Before we commit to your project, we sit down for a full consultation with you. We’ll discuss your ideas for your enclosed patio, porch, or other outdoor living space. Additionally, we’ll give you some of our own ideas about how you can make your space truly shine.

This consultation is completely free and there are no strings attached. We want to make sure we are the right design team for you. You need to feel confident that we can bring your patio or porch ideas to life. Not sure what you want? We can help in this case as well! During your consultation, we’ll ask questions about how you plan to use the space, as well as look at the existing architecture. We can help you form the best patio or porch design plan for your home.

Additionally, during this consultation, we’ll talk about your budget. We don’t give you a surprise bill at the end of your project. When you work with Structurally Speaking, you’ll know upfront how much your enclosed porch or patio will cost. We don’t think it’s fair to quote a low price and then suddenly run over budget before the project is even halfway done. So, we talk about money upfront and make sure that our designs fit your budget.

Step Two: Your Design Presentation

After the initial consultation, we get to work designing your new covered patio. Depending on your design consultation, we can also create plans for a sunroom, three season room, screened porch, hot tub deck, or other indoor/outdoor space. Some of our clients start off thinking they want one thing, but quickly realize they want something else. We’re flexible and will design the perfect space to meet your needs.

Our owner, Jim, designs every single project himself. We don’t use the same design for every client or outsource the work to someone who’s never seen your home. He uses everything you discuss in your initial consultation to design options for your new space.

During your design presentation, you can speak with Jim about any changes you’d like to make to the design. Before we start to build, we want to get your new patio, porch, or sunroom exactly right.

Step Three: Time to Build!

Once you are completely happy with your patio design, we’ll start the building process. At this point, you might think you’ll never see Jim again. Wrong! Jim oversees the building process as well to ensure that your patio design translates perfectly to real life.

In other words, we’re part of the entire process from start to finish. We don’t hire subcontractors to finish the job, and we don’t do a sub-par job and then disappear with your money. The design you see on paper is exactly what you get in real life. We’ll make sure of it!

Enclosed Patio Ideas – Common Features Our Clients Love

If you’re not totally sure what you want for your enclosed patio, we can show you pictures of our past projects. While no two clients/homes are the same, you might see some common features that many clients love. This can help springboard your own ideas about what you want in a new patio.

First and foremost, many of our clients decide that they want a combination indoor/outdoor space. This could be a sunroom that leads to a porch, a three-season room that leads to a patio, a screened porch that leads to a deck, etc. In short, your new space will include areas that are enclosed and areas that are open if you choose this option.

If you have an existing deck or patio, we’ll take this into consideration as we design your new space. Sometimes, it makes more sense to add on a sunroom or enclosed porch that leads to your current patio or deck. Other times, it makes sense to enclose the patio you already have and add on a deck. We’ll work with you to figure out what is best for the space in terms of both design and budget.

Another common element among our clients is some kind of fire feature. With enclosed patios designs we can consider including outdoor fireplaces and other features that we can safely add under a roof. You have more flexibility with a deck or patio without a roof. In this case, you can consider adding a fire pit, fire column, fire table, chimera, fireplace, or other type of fire feature. We can even design a space with room for heaters if you want to add warmth without a traditional fire feature.

We also build a lot of spaces that include a place for a hot tub. Hot tub decks and patios are the perfect place to relax after a long day of work. Imagine enjoying a frosty beverage as you sink into the bubbles while watching a movie on your outdoor television. We can make it happen! Just check out this design inspiration from HGTV for beautiful hot tub decks and patios.

Even More Patio Ideas – Decor Tips to Make Your Space Beautiful

Our primary job is to build good bones within your new enclosed patio design. But, we also love to hear details about how you intend to decorate. Decor pieces can give us a sense of your style. We might also have some ideas for built-in features that will complement your decor. So please, show us pictures of the outdoor furniture, curtains, accent pieces, and more during your initial consultation.

One of our biggest recommendations is to pay close attention to how the sun will affect the space. With an enclosed porch or patio, you won’t get as much sun as you have in the past. However, we’ll build the space to let in the natural light. Choose curtains to match how you’ll use the patio. Sheer options will let in a lot of light, but do not give you as much privacy, for example. On the other hand, thicker curtains, shutters, and blinds allow you to block the sun (and the neighbor’s view), but may not give you the breezy, open feeling you want.

You will likely want furniture for your patio. We recommend outdoor furniture, which is easier to clean and resists weather damage. If you have a specific set or piece you plan to purchase, we can build your patio with the dimensions in mind. For example, maybe you want a perfect nook for a little breakfast table and set of chairs. Maybe you want to create a game room complete with a large poker table. Or, maybe you want an area for a porch swing. The sky is the limit!

If you know how you want to decorate in advance, we can also make sure to show you colors that will match the overall vibe. We have options for flooring, and of course many paint colors for your walls. Additionally, we can help you choose stain or paint colors for any built-in features like planters or benches. Neutrals are of course popular, but if you prefer bolder colors, we’ve got that covered too.

How Much Will Your New Patio Space Cost?

As mentioned, we discuss patio costs during your initial consultation so there are no surprises along the way. We can work with most budgets. Since our patios are completely custom, we can’t give you a flat price here on our website, but these are a few things that will affect the cost:

  • The patio size along with any additional spaces we’ll be building, such as adding a deck
  • If you have an existing patio or are starting from scratch
  • Special features, such as adding a hot tub
  • The exact building materials and finishes you choose
  • If you need electrical or plumbing in this space
  • The materials you choose for the windows (screens versus glass)

Remember, one of the biggest benefits of adding any kind of indoor/outdoor living space is that it will increase the value of your home. So, this is a great investment for your family.

We provide a breakdown of the costs and can work with you to find solutions in your budget. Remember, there are no strings attached to start. We recommend booking your initial consultation to get a full picture of the costs.

If you’re ready to get started, click here to contact us. We’d love to add your project to our schedule.

Top Covered Back Porch Ideas for Homeowners in the Triad

covered back porch ideasAt Structurally Speaking, we love helping homeowners turn their outdoor living space dreams into reality. We can help you refine your sunroom, enclosed porch, deck, or covered back porch ideas to create the perfect design for your family. When you work with our team, you can rest assured that you will absolutely love the new addition to your home.

The Benefits of an Outdoor Living Space

Here in North Carolina, you can enjoy an outdoor living space during most months of the year. Even in the dead of winter, we tend to have some mild days. So, if you live here in the Triad, you’re going to get a lot of use out of your porch, deck, or sunroom. Here are a few other benefits you may not have considered:

This is a Great Investment

Studies show that building an outdoor space is one of the best ways to invest your money if you’re looking to make home improvements. Someday, when you sell your home, you’ll be able to sell it faster and get a higher sale price. Here is a list of some of the top outdoor improvements to make if you want to see a return on investment.

Your Party Will Have More Space

An outdoor space is perfect for entertaining, even if you need to be cautious. Social distancing is easier and a small gathering is safer when you are outside. Even after we no longer need to social distance for health reasons, no one likes a crowded party. If you love to host, having an outdoor space like a covered porch or enclosed porch gives you room to invite more people.

Adding a Porch or Sunroom Gives You Flexibility

This space can act as a second living room, office, breakfast nook, etc. The possibilities are endless. Your family will love having space to spread out and use the porch in the way that makes the most sense for them. Our porch design options offer flexibility.

Porches Offer Protection

A back porch can help you enjoy your yard in ways a deck does not. Even when it is raining or even snowing, you can enjoy time on your porch. It also provides shade when the sun gets too hot. If you enclose your porch or opt for a sunroom instead, you also have a protection from mosquitos.

A Porch Offers Options for Plants

If you have a green thumb (or an aspiring green thumb), a porch or sunroom is the perfect place for potted plants. You can more easily control the sun/shade and water your plants receive with a covered porch.

Your Kids and Pets Have a Safe Place to Play

Porches offer a playroom option for kids and pets that is a bit safer than most backyards. Even if your yard is fenced, you may not feel comfortable with your kids playing outside alone. A porch is a great stepping stone so they can enjoy time outside without fully leaving the house.

These are just a few of the benefits of adding a porch or sunroom to your home. Different families find various benefits depending on individual needs. For example, maybe you have a teen who really wants to enjoy a sleeping porch in the summer. Or, maybe you and your spouse love to sit on the porch to watch the sunset after a long day at work. The sky is really the limit.

The Structurally Speaking Process

If you feel confused about your outdoor living space options, don’t worry. You are not alone! Most homeowners feel overwhelmed trying to choose the best option for their budget. That’s why we guide you through the process from start to finish.

We’ll create a custom design for your covered back porch or other outdoor space. This process starts with an initial consultation. During the consultation, you’ll sit down with Structurally Speaking’s owner, Jim Brennan, to discuss your specific covered back porch ideas and needs. Yes, Jim oversees every design consultation and the entire process. You get individualized attention and a custom design, not a cookie cutter outdoor space.

We meet some clients who know exactly what they want and others who have no idea. Most people fall somewhere in the middle. Regardless, Jim will show you multiple examples and ask all the right questions to understand what you want and need in your new porch.

From there, Jim will design options and schedule a design presentation. At the design presentation, you’ll get to review what Jim believes will be the best options for your home and lifestyle. At this point, you can still change your mind. There is no obligation, and we can make tweaks to your porch design. If you aren’t happy, we aren’t happy.

Once we nail down the design together, we’ll start the building process. Once again, Jim oversees the construction part of the project. We don’t subcontract the work to a team that doesn’t understand the design or cuts corners to get done more quickly. Jim ensures that the design pops from the paper to real life so you can enjoy your beautiful backyard complete with new porch.

Are Sunrooms and Three-Season Rooms Better than Porches?

As we walk you through the design options, you might be wondering if a porch is really the best choice. Along with porches, we also build sunrooms and three-season rooms (also sometimes called three-season sunrooms or three-season porches). The truth is that it just depends on your goal for this new outdoor living space.

Adding a sunroom is like adding a room to your home. They might have a wall of windows, but they also have heating and cooling. It’s the most functional option, even during the coldest days of winter and hottest days of summer. That said, a sunroom feels least like an outdoor space and is also typically the most expensive option.

A three-season room is like a sunroom, but typically does not have built-in heating and cooling, beyond a ceiling fan in some cases. They do provide a lot of protection from the elements, but you may not be able to enjoy these rooms year-round. Unlike an enclosed porch, these spaces are typically larger and have floor-to-ceiling windows or screens. However, many people use these terms interchangeably, which can be confusing. That’s why we’re so heavily involved with the design and construction process. We want to make sure you get exactly what you want, regardless of the terms you use to describe your vision.

Both traditional sunrooms and three-season rooms offer more benefits than a simply covered porch. However, these options are a bigger undertaking as well, requiring a bigger budget, more planning, and more space. Jim can talk to you more about all your outdoor room options during your consultation.

Enclosing Your Back Porch

If you already have a back porch, we can help you enclose it using windows or screens. In both cases, enclosing your porch can make it more functional. We can also add other features such as blinds, a ceiling fan, or even an outdoor fireplace.

But is enclosing your back porch the best option for your family?

First, consider how you currently use your porch. Enclosing your porch, especially if you choose screens instead of glass, can obstruct your view slightly. Some people also like the more open feel for a normal back porch.

However, it’s also important to think about how you could use the porch in different ways once it is enclosed. An enclosed space has more options. You can use a space heater or fans to control the temperature slightly. The windows/screens also prevent bugs from crashing the party. Most homeowners find that an enclosed porch is more functional.

If you’re not sure which option is right for you, Jim can walk you through the pros and cons during your consultation. Additionally, we can show you porch design examples so you can envision how a screened porch might look on your home.

Keep in mind that you don’t need an existing porch or to add an enclosed porch to your home. We can upgrade your back porch or wraparound porch, but we also have experience with porch construction. Our team can build your porch from scratch. We can also build a traditional non-enlcosed porch that could be upgraded to an enclosed porch later.

Covering a Deck

Instead of a traditional porch, you may instead wish to build a covered deck or cover you existing deck. A covered deck may or may not have railing like a porch. You can cover just part of your deck or cover the entire deck.

The first option is an awning, which attaches to your house. Awnings are typically made from fabric. They are low-cost while still looking great. Some awnings can be raised and lowered to meet the needs of the day while others are permanently raised.

Another option is to install a pergola. With a pergola, you get protection from the sun without blocking out the sun completely. Pergolas are a great choice if you like to garden, since you can easy train climbing plants to grow on the pergola. This provides even more shade over time.

We can also build a full pavilion over your existing deck. Pavilions provide a roof with full protection from the sun and rain. We don’t recommend this option if you enjoy using a fire pit on your deck. However, we can incorporate an outdoor fireplace instead if you want a fire feature that is safe to use under a roof.

Indoor/Outdoor Combination Spaces

If your head is spinning with the options and you don’t know which to choose, don’t worry. You also have the option to incorporate multiple ideas into a design for a true indoor/outdoor space. For example, maybe you want to enclose part of your porch, but have it lead to a traditional open porch. Or maybe you want a sunroom that leads out to a deck.

Because we design each porch to perfectly suit your needs, you don’t have to choose from a handful of pre-fabricated solutions. Your indoor/outdoor space will be fully customized to meet your needs.

We’ll also help you determine what porch size works best for your home. We look at how you intend to use the space, the size of your house, and the size of your backyard. Even a small porch can add a lot of pizazz to your home.

Top Decorating Tips – Covered Back Porch Ideas to Maximize Your New Space

Before you decorate your new back porch, we have to build it. However, to get a head start, here are a few ideas to keep in mind:

  • Remember to use outdoor fabrics for pillows, seat cushions, curtains, etc. This type of fabric won’t fade as quickly in the sun and may be resistant to mold and mildew.
  • An outdoor rug can make the space look cozy . It also helps to prevent your family from tracking mud and dirt into the house.
  • Think about storage for some basic outdoor items, such as outdoor toys and smaller gardening supplies.
  • Provide lighting in areas that will need it most. An enclosed porch will get a lot of sunlight. However, you’ll still need task lighting during the day.
  • Add plants to help bring the outdoors into your home. Many plants do well in pots, especially if they’ll be getting a lot of sun, as is the case with a porch. You can even successfully grow some species of trees in pots.

If you have decor ideas that you want us to incorporate into your design, just let us know. We are happy to include an outdoor kitchen, built-in outdoor furniture, water features, fire features, special pavers, built-in planters, and more. Our goal is to create a beautiful backyard oasis that you use every day.

Book your free consultation now by filling out the form above.

How to Enclose a Porch for Winter: What You Need to Know

how to enclose a porch for winterAs fall turns into winter, you might be wondering if you can get more use out of your outdoor living space. A porch seems like a great feature until the temperature dips and you’re stuck in the house. If you’re interested in how to enclose a porch for winter, we can assist! The Structurally Speaking team has a few ideas to help you enjoy your porch all year round, including both permanent and seasonal solutions.

Enclosing Your Porch: Easy Screened Porch Solutions for Homeowners

First, let us start by mentioning that some homeowners get a lot of value by simply enclosing their porch with screens. Screens won’t create a warm environment, but they will help keep wet leaves and snow from blowing into your porch area.

Enclosing your porch with screens also has a number of other year-round benefits:

  • You’ll be able to enjoy your porch with fewer insects in the spring, summer, and fall.
  • Screens are relatively inexpensive and work with most porches.
  • Your porch will be more secure with added screens. If you have problems with theft of outdoor furniture or decor, this might be the right solution for you.
  • A screened porch is a more secure option for pets and young children.

With a screened porch, you can still heat it during the winter with the use of outdoor heaters. Electric wall-mounted heaters, outdoor table heaters, and lamp-style patio heaters all work well with a screen porch. You’ll want to stay away from a traditional propane patio heater or fire pits, as these are not meant for use in a covered area like a porch.

Click here to learn more about our screened porch options.

Weatherproofing Your Enclosed Porch

A step up from screens, you can also install a storm door and windows instead of screens to create a barrier between you and the elements. This will create an enclosed porch that stays dry and protects you from the cold wind we get here in North Carolina from late fall to early spring.

Some people call this kind of enclosed porch a “three season room” or “three season porch.” Typically, this is because the temperature remains comfortable for three seasons – spring, summer, and fall. If you want the room to be functional in the winter as well, you can use a space heater as needed. This is a great option if you use the room from time to time during the winter, but not every day.

A three season room can also be comfortable in the winter if it is positioned on the side of your house that gets the most sun during the time of day you use the porch. For example, if you love to use your enclosed porch as a breakfast spot, you’ll want it to face the east so it gets a lot of passive solar energy in the morning as the sun rises. Still, you will likely need a space heater to comfortably use your three season porch during the coldest weeks of winter.

Keep in mind, space heaters use a lot of electricity and can be dangerously hot if you have small children. Thus, this is not an option we recommend if you want a fully functional living space you can use every day of the year. This article has some great information about the pros and cons of space heaters, as well as the different types.

Tips and Tricks for Keeping Your Three Season Porch Warm

While we can also turn your existing porch into a sunroom with built-in heating (keep reading to find out more), we also have a few tips and tricks for keeping your existing porch warm. Even if you don’t have an HVAC system for your porch, you can keep this outdoor living space warm enough to use during most of the year.

First, when the temperature starts to drop, you can install plastic sheeting over all the storm windows to provide a layer of insulation. Sheeting is extremely inexpensive and easy to install. This is especially helpful if you have older windows that are drafty.

Next, we recommend some curtains. Guided PVC curtains can be helpful if you want an unobstructed view at all times. Like plastic sheeting, they give you an extra insulating layer without blocking the windows.

However, curtains made from a heavy cloth might serve you better. Open them as the sun hits your porch to warm the room as much as possible. Then, close them when the sun is no longer hitting your porch to add a layer of insulation.

If you have outdoor furniture on your porch, you can also bring the cushions inside when you aren’t using them. Then, simply take them outside only when you’re using them. Subsequently, they’re more room temperature when you need them. This will give you a warmer place to sit when you do want to enjoy your porch. Choose wicker or wood furniture instead of metal when possible to avoid a super cold seat during the winter.

Last but not least, if you currently have an old enclosed porch that is extremely drafty, we can help! We can renovate your porch so it is in better condition to use all year long.

How to Enclose a Porch for Winter (with Climate Control!)

If you want a truly functional enclosed porch, we recommend turning your porch into a sunroom. A sunroom is like a three season room, but it has heat and air conditioning, just like the rest of your house. Essentially, this is an indoor/outdoor living space for people who love outdoor living and want to feel like they are outside even if the temperature is below freezing.

We can even add a deck addition if you worry about losing too much of that “outdoor” element. We’ll design a custom deck/sunroom option that makes sense for your family.

HVAC Options

You have a few different options for heating your sunroom. There is no right or wrong method. It depends on your specific heating needs, your current HVAC system, and your budget.

If your current HVAC system is large enough to accommodate the extra square footage, you might be able to heat your sunroom simply by keeping the door open. If there is a nearby vent, this could be the right solution for you. You may also be able to easily add a vent to this new room in your home. Sometimes, the process of adding a piece of ductwork and new vent is very simple. Other times, it is a more labor-intensive and expensive project. If you have baseboards or radiators, rather than a forced air system, this may also be easy to add to your sunroom, or it may be more difficult. It depends on your current set-up.

For more difficult cases, a mini split (ductless) system specifically for your sunroom might be the best choice. A mini split HVAC system provides both heat and cooling, but does not use ducts. It is more cost-effective than using a space heater. To install, you’ll need to mount the unit on an exterior wall. So, if your sunroom is floor-to-ceiling glass, this type of unit might not be an option for you.

No matter your sunroom heating challenges, we can help. Our team of professionals takes everything into consideration when designing your indoor/outdoor living space, including your heating and cooling needs. Even if you think it might be very difficult to heat this space how you want, we’ll come up with solutions for you.

Why an Enclosed Porch or Sunroom Makes Financial Sense

Enclosing your porch or turning your porch into a sunroom can be a great investment. Whether you are planning to move soon, want to upgrade within the next 10-20 years, or plan to spend the rest of you life in your home, a porch enclosure just makes sense.

If you plan to move or upgrade to a new home in then next 5 or so years, a screen enclosure, storm windows, or a complete sunroom with heat can help you sell your home for more money. In general, you can expect to recoup 70-80% of the cost in the sale price. This puts it on par with creating a master bedroom, in terms of an investment. So, you’ll get a beautiful new space to enjoy, and then you’ll recoup some of the costs when you sell.

Additionally, an indoor/outdoor living space can help you sell your home faster. In a seller’s market, homes sell very quickly. However, in a buyer’s market, your home could take several months or even years to sell. Many buyers are specifically looking for a space such as an enclosed porch, sunroom, or deck. It can help your home stand out from the others on the market.

If you don’t plan to move anytime soon, a porch enclosure or sunroom can still help you financially. These features increase the value of your home. In the future, if you ever want to take out a home equity loan or line of credit, you’ll qualify for more money if your home is worth more. Home equity loans or lines of credit can be very beneficial if you ever want to take on a large home renovation project or need money for an unexpected large expense.

The Structurally Speaking Experience

If you’re looking for how to enclose a porch for winter, you’ll see multiple contractor options. So why should you choose Structurally Speaking for your indoor/outdoor space?

To start, our team treats every customer as an individual. Many porch, sunroom, and deck builders have pre-set designs with very little room for deviation. The result? You will probably never be 100% happy with your new porch or sunroom.

Instead, we sit down for an initial consultation with you, in order to figure out exactly what you want in your new outdoor space. Our owner, Jim, has decades of experience designing custom porches, sunrooms, and decks. He specialized in this process for a large company before starting Structurally Speaking as a way to provide even better customer support.

Once Jim gets to know you and your home, he’ll create a few design options based on your budget and preferences. During the design presentation, you can make tweaks so the final project is exactly what you want. We don’t start building until you are completely happy with the design.

Our in-house build team completes your project exactly to the design specifications. We don’t pass the project off to unqualified subcontractors. Jim is fully invested in leading every project. We’ll bring your vision to life.

What People are Saying About Structurally Speaking

We think we’re the best contractors for your enclosed porch project. You don’t have to take our word for it, though! Here are some real reviews from our clients:

“Deck looks great. Thanks for your work and design. I think we will enjoy this set up for years to come, it really preserves the view from the dining room window and opens up to the back yard on the upper end.” – Brian Fork

“Jim and the crew of Structurally Speaking were fantastic. Jim’s ideas for the design worked much better than the ones we had in mind. The work was done quickly and professionally. Our porch looks amazing and our family (especially our kids) spend most of their time there.” – Ofri Leitner

“We could not be more pleased. Jim Brennan has a gift for design, and Structurally Speaking’s crew did an excellent job of turning our vision into a reality. Their attention to detail and their overall workmanship was wonderful.” – Mike Rosenthal

Are you ready to get started with your free consultation? Fill out the form above for a no-obligation quote on enclosing your porch or turning your porch into a sunroom.