Screened in or Sunroom?

When we toured the house for the first time and hopped over on the screened-in porch, we thought, ahhh isn’t this the nicest little room! Come spring, and dust and pollen and rain, the screened in porch has lost some of it’s luster. The first few days we sat out there this spring, we were surprised at how dirty it had become over the winter season. It felt gross to just sit out there. Not as relaxing as first envisioned. As you can see below – this room was gross!

How to keep screened in porch clean
Screened In Porch

The window sills collected a lot of dirt as well, and in general, the room just felt in dire need of a scrub.

How to clean screened in porch
Window Sills

When Jay was home for the day waiting on the appliances he did give the room a complete scrub down and after sudsing up the floors, he just took the hose to the whole joint and sprayed everything down. 🙂 Looking much better, huh?! For the window sills we just used a rag and simple green and the whole room did clean up quite nicely.

How to clean a screened in porch
Cleaning the Porch

But, all the spring grossness got me to thinking that I might want to add some windows out here at some point, and look into the feasibility of converting this space to a sunroom. We’ve had a few contractors swinging through the house the last few days for little kitchen projects and quotes on future attic conversion plans, so while they were around we were sure to ask them about the pros and cons of converting this space to a more permanent room in to house, versus the glorified deck that it is today. Although the space is great as is, I think it could be absolutely epic if it felt more like an extension of the house, and less like a camping bunk room, i.e. the photo below.

Cleaning Screened in Porch
Screened in Porch

Overall, the general consensus from the contractors was – sure – you can convert that purty darn easy! That … was very surprising to me, since the inspector had eluded to the room needing a foundation (it only has lattice right now), which he estimated to be in the $30,000 ball park range. Wha, wha, whhhaattt??? Nope, ain’t happening. Basically, the advice we got was to insulate the be-jesus out of the space, and then add an external heating source and we would be happy as clams in the sea. Since the room has sufficient footings already in place, it can hold the weight associated with a normal, interior room, thus giving us the go ahead to convert it, if desired.

So, naturally, I started hunting for auxiliary heating sources for the room, which is where mission covert screened-in porch hit another bump in the road. After lots of searching and chatting with knowledgeable dudes and dudettes, we were directed toward electric baseboard heating as the best option for the space. One – electric baseboards (in my opinion) are not the prettiest things. It kinda makes the room look unintentional to me, like a throw on that wasn’t quite thought through. And, the biggest cincher for me was that these guys are not efficient, at all. We would easily be looking at an extra $40-$50 per month in the winter just to heat the extra room! That ain’t happening!

Baseboard Heater
Baseboard Heater

So, what I’m kind of leaning toward right now is adding windows, insulation, and legit floors and doors to the space, but using it as a 3-season room, vs. 4-season. I think that weatherizing the space will add to it’s function, and I think that we will enjoy it more sans screens. Since this is a project we can totally bite off by ourselves (framing and installing windows, doors and insulation), the other nice part of this plan is that we can control the costs and timeline more through taking the DIY route. If it seems kind of crazy and haphazard that we are thinking about this room right now – while we are in the middle of our kitchen renovation – it is! But only sorta kinda. The dining room is directly connected to the screened in porch, so as we continued to rip stuff out of the kitchen/dining area, and think about what we wanted the space to look like long term – this room came into the mix as well.

Still ironing out the final details for the room, but right now the game plan is to add some nice french doors off the dining room, and make this room look like a legit, real deal, genuine McCoy part of the house, without breaking the bank, and without adding a heat source. Beauty of this, if we wanted to add a heat source further down the line, we can still do that, but for now we are still able to move forward with the integration into the rest of the home.

And this, this is my O-fficial inspiration pictures. Aint it a beauty? Let the wild rumpus, begin! That is code for – let’s get a renovatin’!

French Doors Dining Room
French Doors

6 thoughts on “Screened in or Sunroom?

  1. Ah! I love the plans! It will be a gorgeous lounging space!

    My parents have what they call a ‘Florida room’, which is essentially the exact same thing as what you want to turn the porch into. It’s a sunroom that’s been built off the outside of their house, with no foundation and insulation, but only in the walls, not the floor. When they first bought it, it was too cold in the winter, and too hot in the summer to be a comfortable space. They added a wood stove for heat in the winter and skylights to help regulate the heat in the summer. Now, they use it all the time, all year round.

    So, go for it!

    1. Good to hear others have been successful at converting the space. Now my wheels are turning on the skylight and wood stove idea! Thanks for the heads up, Jeanette! 🙂

  2. We have something similar. Since the full renovation won’t be in our budget this year, I am thinking about painting the wood planks white and just getting an outdoor sofa set and a cool cieling fan. So much to do…oy. I love your inspiration room. Good luck with the renovation.

  3. So it’s been a year and a half later…what did you end up doing? How did it work out for you? We want to do this as well (Landlord paying materials, we’re doing the work). Baby on the way and need extra living space at the house. I’m really looking to see how yours turned out!

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