The average cost to add a screened-in porch in the United States is $2,400, or around $3 to $5 per square foot for materials and $2 per square foot for labor if you’re screening an existing porch. However, if you’re going to build a screened-in porch from scratch, it will have a heftier price tag. For example, building a basic 16′ x 16′ screened porch with pressure-treated wood can cost $45,000.
That is quite a large sum of money, to be sure, but for homeowners who enjoy being outside but hate being eaten alive by bugs, a screened-in porch is a must. Plus, once the project is completed, homeowners can expect a 75% return on their investment in terms of home value, on average.
Now, you can sit outside without becoming a buffet for mosquitos and have an additional living space that can serve many purposes. It can be a nice place to entertain guests or have a romantic dinner with your sweetheart. You can use it as a home office when you need a change of scenery or turn it into a space where you can exercise and get invigorated by the fresh air.
Perhaps the best part of adding a screened-in porch to your home is that it becomes a big selling point when you want to sell your home, especially if you live in a hot and humid climate, according to a HomeLight survey of top real estate agents.
If you’re intrigued by the thought of bug-free lunches outside, we’ve put together this pricing guide to help you figure out the cost of adding a screened-in porch of your very own.
Screened-in porch overview
When you begin budgeting for your screened-in porch, keep in mind that the actual size of the porch, the materials you use, location, and any upgrades will affect the overall cost. With that said, here are a few broad estimates from popular home improvement websites:
Average cost to add a screened-in porch totally new: $4,600 to $22,000 plus $2,000 to $2,800 for screen installation
Average cost to screen-in existing porch: $2,000 to $2,800
Average cost per square foot: $3 to $5 per square foot for materials and $2 per square foot for labor to add screening; $25 to $120 per square foot to build new
The average cost to convert a deck to a screened porch: $19 to $37 per square foot; Asphalt roof extension – $16 to $30 per square foot, Aluminum patio covers – $14 – $22 per square foot
Methodology: HomeAdvisor bases its estimates on the reported costs from more than 2 million users on more than 400 projects.
Average cost to add a screened-in porch totally new: $8,000 to $19,000 plus $600 to $3,500 for screen installation
The average cost to screen-in existing porch or covered patio: $600 to $3,500
Average cost per square foot: $4.50 per square foot for the existing porch; $70 per square foot for new
The average cost to convert a deck to a screened porch: $600 to $3,500
Methodology: HomeGuide tracks millions of project cost estimates nationwide from its network of 30,000 local professionals.
The average cost to add a screened-in porch totally new: $15,000 to $35,000
The average cost to screen-in existing porch or covered patio: $5 to $7 per square foot
Average cost per square foot: $2.50 to $30 per square foot for screening, depending on materials, plus $72 to $82 per square foot for labor on an existing porch; $30 to $47 per square foot for materials to build new
The average cost to convert a deck to a screened porch: About $8,000 to $10,000 for roofing, plus $2.50 to $30 per square foot for screening
Methodology: Fixr gathers data from the latest cost studies, U.S. government websites, specialty associations, vendor sites, and a 90,000+ local contractor network.
Key factors that affect the cost
Whether you’re building a brand new screened-in porch or screening an existing one, these factors will affect your budget.
Depending on where you live and the type of living space you want to create, you could spend more. For example, Archadeck of Kansas City, which builds outdoor living spaces throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area, including Jackson County, Missouri, says the average cost to build a screened porch in their area starts at $25,000.
In comparison, James Moylan of Design Builders, Inc., a licensed, bonded, and insured contractor in Bethesda, Maryland, estimates most projects run between $60,000 to $100,000. “What we build is essentially an addition that doesn’t have walls,” he says.
The type of materials will have a considerable impact on your budget. Here’s a breakdown of some of the materials commonly used to build a screened-in porch.
Posts, beams, and railings
Note: These options vary in cost by material and architectural style (such as Colonial, Farmhouse, Decorative, or Craftsman).
Moylan’s company uses Screeneze, a warrantied system available to professional contractors and installers that uses an aluminum base, vinyl caps, and no staples or splining. Beyond such an integrated system, prices vary for the type of screen mesh, as well as other features:
- Aluminum mesh: About $2.50 to $4 per square foot.
- Fiberglass: About $4 to $5 per square foot.
- Sun-blocking: About $4 to $5 per square foot.
- Retractable: About $20 to $30 per square foot.
You can also find DIY screened-in porch kits that include everything you need to build your own outdoor sanctuary. In addition, companies like Screen House, Eze Breeze Direct, and Screen Tight can help you create the perfect screened-in porch when you call for a free quote.
If you plan to have a screen door leading from the porch to the yard, expect to pay an average of $300, depending on the door’s style and how secure it is. You also might want to install or revamp a door leading from the house to the porch for about $300 to $600.
You can save big bucks by building your own porch. Home Depot estimates that if you’re just adding screening to an existing porch, it can be done between 2 to 4 hours — the perfect weekend job, and accessible for DIY beginners.
However, if you’re hiring a professional, you can expect to pay $2 per square foot for the pro to do the screening on an existing porch. So if it’s going to be built from scratch, you’re looking at $72 to $82 per square foot.
If you entertain a lot, Moylan recommends building a space that’s either 15′ x 20′ or 16′ x 16′, which will give you plenty of space for outdoor dining furniture. However, the porch you design can be as large or small as you’d like. Just remember that the size will impact the cost of materials and labor.
Note: Some homeowner associations and municipalities have specific rules regarding building a screened-in porch, so before you do anything, check with them first and get any necessary permits.
Additional costs to consider
Building permits and land surveying
In most areas, a screened-in porch is considered an addition, and that will require a building permit. These permits can cost anywhere between $447 to $2,313 — the national average is $1,380. Small communities may only charge $150, while some cities can charge as much as $7,500.
If your municipality doesn’t include land surveying when you apply for a permit, another $200 to $1,000 (the average is about $500).
Since the range is so broad, we recommend looking into the cost of applying for a building permit before starting anything.
Your screened-in porch doesn’t just have to have an outdoor dining table. You can add all sorts of features to make your space truly enjoyable. Some popular additional features include:
- Outdoor fireplace: $1,500 to $20,000
- Hot tub: $3,000 to $10,000 for above ground, $8,000 to $25,000 for in-ground
- Outdoor kitchen: $4,500 to $50,000
- Outdoor ceiling fan: $50 to $10,000 (for tropical designer fans)
You need to have money set aside for surprise repairs whenever you’re budgeting for any project. These could be as small as cutting materials to the wrong dimensions or as big as a damaged foundation or wood damage (if you’re converting an existing deck or patio).
We recommend putting at least 10% to 25% of your overall budget aside just in case. It’s a lot of money, to be sure, but you don’t want your entire project to be thrown off because you ran out of money due to those surprise repairs.
The cost to add a screened-in porch is worth the investment
The cost to add a screened-in porch to your home (especially if it’s built from scratch) can feel like you need a second mortgage to get the job done. But when you look at the bigger picture, you’re expanding the square footage of living space that can serve many purposes. And when you’re going to sell, the newly built space can add up to 75% of its cost to your home’s value. So at the end of the day, it really is worth the investment!
Header Image Source: (Stuart Monk / Shutterstock)