There are many reasons to add a screened-in porch to your home. It adds to the usable space that you have. It allows you to enjoy the outdoors without having to be at the mercy of insects or weather. It provides a dedicated area for people to gather for parties and big family events.
But one of the questions people always have when they contact us about building a screen room has more to do with the future than their present-day enjoyment: what kind of return on investment does a screened-in porch offer?
Know what you’ll get back before starting the project
While most people aren’t solely looking at their screened-in porch as a financial investment, being able to put a dollar amount on your likely return is smart and helpful. Knowing what you’re going to get back can make you feel better about the money you’re investing and help you to make informed choices about the porch features you want.
So what is the ROI on a screened-in porch? In most cases, I’ve found that people see a return of about 75% of what they originally spend. Hanley Wood’s “Remodeling” magazine actually puts this figure higher, at 84%.
Not bad, right? Why is there such a relatively high return?
Cost is relatively low. Unlike paying for an extra walled-in interior room, the cost of a screened-in porch is much lower. For a typical screened-in porch, you’re looking at somewhere between $21,000 and $22,000. In contrast, Redbeacon says you’ll likely pay over $32,000 for a regular first floor addition, and almost $46,000 for a second story addition. The more something costs you, the harder it is to make that money back.
Using an 84% return as a guideline, that means that you should see a return of around $18,000 in real numbers.
The space’s feel is “different.” People always appreciate extra space in a house, but adding on an extra room can often cause indifference – sure, they’re happy to have that extra den, sitting room, or office, but there’s little to set it apart from every other room in the house. Build a screened-in porch though, and you’re providing something new and unique to a home. For many buyers, this has a lot of value.
Enjoyment and protection. Just like in many other areas of the country, Maryland and Virginia are sometimes beset by unfriendly weather – be it blazing sun in the summer months or rain and snow at other times of the year – and even less friendly insects. As mentioned above, a screened-in porch provides you with the best of both worlds because you can enjoy the outdoors while simultaneously getting some protection from them. That’s something you don’t get with a regular room addition or with a simple deck. Don’t despair if you’ve already added a deck though. You’ll have to pay a little extra to turn it into a screened-in porch, but the cost will be less than a full install. And you’ll still get a higher ROI!
Don’t forget about the law of diminishing returns
The key to getting a high ROI for your screened-in porch is in keeping it simple. The things that people find truly valuable about these kinds of spaces are already outlined above:
- Different from regular rooms
- Connected to the outdoors
- Protected from weather and bugs
If you have a screened-in porch built, it automatically comes with these things. The only thing you’ll do if you try to “trick out” the room and add all kinds of bells and whistles is drive up your own cost. This is true of pretty much any kind of renovation or remodeling project, but it’s especially impactful for something like a screened-in porch because the space itself is meant to be simple.
Obviously, this shouldn’t stop you if you have an amazing vision for what you want your screened-in porch to be, but don’t expect to get as much of the money back if you attempt to make it feel like a lush rainforest or a drive-in movie theatre. Keep it simple and you’ll have a better ROI.