One of the most commonly “Googled” phrases or topics bringing readers to the Between Naps on the Porch blog is, “How much does it cost to build a screened in porch.” Lately I’ve been getting a few e-mails asking for this information, too. You know what that means…spring is not far off! Almost porch time again!
Today I thought I’d share the nitty gritty facts and figures of just how much it cost to build my screened-in porch in hopes it will help answer some of the questions I know many folks have about adding a porch. Having a screened-in porch had always been a dream of mine. We had a small screened porch at our very first house when we were stationed at Ft. McClellan in Alabama many, many years ago. We loved it and our cats loved it, too.
The old deck on my current home was not even usable. It was on the south side of the house and starting around noon, the sun beat down on it every day until late evening. It was so blazing hot during the summer, you couldn’t walk on it barefoot. Plus, boards were popping up in various places. It was a mess. I knew something would have to be done before much longer since the old deck really wasn’t safe to walk on. Rather than add back another deck that would also be scorching hot, I decided to spend a little more and add on a porch.
When I started getting estimates for a porch, I was surprised by the dramatic range in the estimates I was receiving. Some of the estimates were triple what others were! I ultimately went with a wonderful contractor I had met on a job site 10+ years before. He was honest, forthright and came highly recommended by those for whom he had worked. He drew up all the plans but unfortunately due to serious health issues he was having, he wasn’t able to oversee the building of the porch. His partner handled most of the work but he is no longer building now since the building industry took a nose dive here in the Metro Atlanta area.
As I share today what I paid to have my porch built in 2008, please keep in mind costs varies a good bit depending on where you live, the materials you choose, the features you include and other choices you make during the process. If you are considering adding on a porch, I encourage you to get at least three estimates, four-five is even better. Yes, that takes a lot of time, meeting with all those contractors, but each time you get an estimate, the person giving you the estimate will most likely suggest or point out something new, something you hadn’t thought about doing or something important you need to know about the process. You really learn a lot during the “estimate” process. I also spent a lot of time
drooling over reading “porch” books before adding on my porch. I highly recommend that, too.
Before adding on the porch, my old deck had to be demolished. So my costs included tearing off and hauling away the old deck. If you don’t have an old deck to remove, you’ll save that expense.
Whenever you start a renovation/addition, there will always be “surprises.” One of the surprises we had pop up was needing to replace all the siding on the portion of the house below the deck. Apparently, back in the day when my home was built, builders didn’t always use flashing between the deck and the house. This can cause damage to the siding, and it did. This was the perfect time to correct that so I replaced all the siding on the lower portion of the house underneath the deck.
Subtracting the cost of replacing the damaged siding and subtracting the cost to demolish and haul off the old deck, the cost to add on a 14′ x 18′ screened-in porch with two adjacent decks measuring approximately 12′ x 12′ and 8′ x 26′ was around $23,000-24,000.
NOTE: If you don’t have an old deck to remove, don’t include some of the features I included (more on that in a sec) and you aren’t adding on two decks, you could probably keep your cost down around $18,000-$20,000, probably even a little less. Every situation is different and a lot will depend on the size porch you’re adding.
Let’s take a look at some of the features I included that increased the cost of building the porch.
Gable Roof Instead of a Shed Roof: $340
A gable roof instead of a shed roof added $340 to the estimate for the porch. Google “shed roof” and you can see what those look like. Nothing wrong with that style, I just preferred the gable roof design.
Arched Windows: $725
Arched windows was another added expense, increasing the cost by $725. The screened windows aren’t really arched, instead panels were cut and installed on either side to give the appearance they are arched. The screens are actually square and are designed for easy removal if one becomes damaged and needs to be replaced. Not really sure why that increased the cost so much, but that’s what the contractor charged.
Tongue and groove, pressure-treated pine flooring: $685
Another feature I requested that added an additional expense was tongue and groove, pressure-treated, pine flooring instead of regular decking like you see on a lot of screened-in porches. I didn’t want to worry about mosquitoes or bugs coming up between the decking of the floors. You can screen underneath a porch floor to avoid that, but I really wanted the porch to feel like another room that just happened to be screened. The T & G (KDAT) flooring added an additional $685 to the cost of the porch. That also included the special AdvanTech subflooring my builder used underneath and hiring a professional flooring company to install it. If you decide to use KDAT wood for your porch floor, be sure to use a professional installer who installs it per the recommendations of the manufacturer.
Pre-Wiring Porch (and Installation later) for Outdoor Speakers: $250
The cost to prewire the porch for outdoor speakers was $250. That included the media guys coming back out and installing the speakers once the porch was complete.
The cost for the outdoor speakers were $165 (for two). It’s important to use speakers meant for outdoor use because regular speakers will not hold up. These still sound great after 5 years so they have worked out well.
I had one placed over the door leading to the deck with the pergola…
…and one over the door leading to the deck with the grill. You can hear them out on the decks, too so they were a good investment.
Gas Line for Grill: $275
Speaking of the grill, I was badly in need of a new grill. I decided to go with a grill that could be connected to the gas line. I was tired of hauling tanks back to the hardware store for a refill and didn’t like worrying about running out in the middle of a cookout. The gas connection enters my home just a few feet away from where the grill sits on the deck, so I had a gas line run to the grill and purchased a 4 burner gas grill. The cost to have the line run to the grill was $275. (You can see the grill out on the deck in this Spring Tablescape post.) I really enjoy it and don’t miss those refill runs to the hardware store one bit.
At the last minute I decided I wanted one of the decks to have a different look and feel so I added a pergola over the deck just outside the bay window off the kitchen. It was easy to add since one end could attach to the house.
The pergola also provided a place for hanging a Smith & Hawken candle-lier (candelier?). To add a pergola probably cost more normally but since the men were already here working on the deck, I think that helped keep the cost down.
Funny story: The men my builder hired to build the deck, just built decks for a living. They didn’t know what a pergola was when I told them I wanted one. I got out some of my gardening books and showed them a few pictures. They still seemed confused. I was worried. Then one day they arrived all excited to get going on the pergola. They had seen one somewhere on the way to my home and once they saw it, they knew just what to do. They had it built in no time. I love a pergola…it’s all about ambiance.
Items Not Included in the Estimate Above :
Even though I planned to use lots of lamps on the porch, code required I have a light by one of the doors leading out to the porch. Of course the wiring for the light was included in the estimate I gave above, but I bought all my lighting separately. I remember the day my builder told me I had to have a porch light by the door. I was envisioning some ugly old porch light like the one I had removed when they built the porch. You can just imagine that discussion with my builder. You don’t get between a woman and her porch dreams!
I was very happy when I found this Hinkley lantern at Home Depot Expo on sale for $118. It’s still available…just found one at Lighting Universe. One of the things I really liked about this lantern is the design keeps the light from hurting your eyes…you’re never staring straight into a bare bulb when you look toward it or walk by it. I know…picky, picky, picky. I admit it.
You can see it there beside the door leading into the breakfast/kitchen area. The porch light used to be where the hutch is located but I had it moved when the porch was added so I would have space for a hutch.
Ceiling Fans: $159 each
The ceiling fans were not included in the estimate I gave earlier in the post. Just the wiring and installation for the fans was included. Extra info: The ceiling boards came with a wide bead-board look on one side and a narrow bead-board on the other side. I used the wider beadboard for the screened-in porch and the narrow beadboard side for the ceiling of the front porch I had added at the same time.
I chose white outdoor fans so they would just sort of blend into the ceiling. I wasn’t having any luck finding ones I liked in the local stores so I went online and found the Hunter Bayview, 54 inch, 5-blade outdoor fans at Lowes. The Bayview fan has a wicker-look design that’s perfect for a porch with wicker furniture.
Lowe’s didn’t stock them so they had to be ordered. I love them and they are super quiet. I just noticed they are available on Amazon for around the same as what I paid back in 2008. See that GIANT Christmas tree off to the left in the above picture? Don’t ask…just don’t ask. ;)
Additional Electrical Outlets:
I added a lot of outlets on the porch and decks since I planned to use a lot of lamps on the porch and some lights out on the decks. Plus, the grill has a light inside. The additional outlets added about $400 to the cost of building the porch.
I have four outlets on the porch, three on the deck that holds the grill and one on the deck under the pergola.
I use them for string lights along the pergola and underneath the handrail until something chewed through those in a gazillion places. I repaired the ones that ran under the pergola (see the repair in this post: Repairing String Lights on Pergola). I also use the outlets on the decks for my electric blower in the fall.
Outlets come in handy for froggy fountains…
…and the occasional romantic dinner by lamplight. You can never have too many outlets.
The builder included the cost for gutters but he ended up taking that back out because I wanted the same Leaf Guard gutters I have on the rest of the house. I don’t remember now how much that added to the cost but I’m sure it was a few hundered dollars since the Leaf Guard gutters are a good bit more expensive. Totally worth it, though. I love not having to worry about having my gutters cleaned out several times a year.
Hope this answers some of the questions concerning what it cost to build a porch similar to the one I have. Keep in mind my cost included removal of the old deck and the addition of two new decks, as well as the screened in porch. If you’re just adding on a porch and go with regular deck flooring, normal height porch ceiling, non-arched windows, not so many outlets, etc… you can save a good bit.
Still have questions about adding on a porch? Check out these past posts: