How do I build a screened patio vs sun room?


We’re in a 2-story home with a large deck on the main level. Below the deck is an exterior entrance to the terrace/basement. We’re thinking of finishing the under deck area as a screened patio or sun room. Looking for low cost suggestions. The patio area is currently a 2’x2’ concrete step out, with recycled tire fill under the rest of the deck.

q screened patio vs sun room
q screened patio vs sun room
  15 answers
  • on Feb 22, 2019

    What a fabulous space! The screened porch would be the cheapest and easiest.

  • Tinyshoes Tinyshoes on Feb 22, 2019

    Sounds great to me. Looks like you have a lovely place..Good luck!

  • Margaret Margaret on Feb 23, 2019

    I think a screen porch would be nice, the easiest and least costly. I don't know what your winters are like; if they are snowy it would cost a lot to keep warm if you made it into a sun room closed in by large windows.

  • 2dogal 2dogal on Feb 23, 2019

    Build a sun room using sliding doors. You will have year round use then.

  • R_swan R_swan on Feb 23, 2019

    Enclose with " Awning" type windows which open out with a Full- entire section screen- which can be removed for whatever on the inside. It can be used for any purpose with this type of enclosure. If you have " No-seeum" (like Knats but smaller), you may get finer mesh screening. Best to get One screen porch contractor's estimate first goingover all your requirements. You can then use that Estimate and plan to contact more contractors elsewhere and every estimate will have been "Reading off the same sheet of music",so to speak.

  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Feb 23, 2019

    If it gets freezing where you live, yes it will cost a fortune to heat and you'll be unlikely to use it. If it gets hot in the summer, a sunroom will end up too hot to use w/o air conditioning also. Bottom line - do a screened porch!

  • Mlle LaFleur Mlle LaFleur on Feb 23, 2019

    Without know where you live, telling us the state would be sufficient, it is hard to suggest screening or enclosing this space. Also how do you want to use this space, such as: casual family evenings or as an extra place for kids recreation or a grownup space for quiet etc. Happy to add my opinion when you can provide a bit more info.

    • See 1 previous
    • Paula Cox Herring Paula Cox Herring on Feb 24, 2019

      Screened in porch for sure. +Mosquitoes will be a problem for sure, in your area. Good luck!!! Hope you have a wonderful summer!!!! GOD BLESS!!!!!

  • Randal Randal on Feb 23, 2019

    Agreed, the state and climate does make it a decision to consider as well. I have friends that have both. The sunroom is nice certain times of the year, but in a state like KY, you have to heat it and cool it, which can add to the cost.

    ( May I say also your wealth status makes a difference as well, because the up keep cost doesn't really matter to some, whom are financially better off than others). On the other side of the coin the screen, is also nice and I personally prefer it, due to it letting the smell of the season and climate in as well, not to mention it is much less expensive to do. However, with saying that, you do have a unique situation with the upper deck as well, so it could be the more natural environment on top, (of course you have the bugs to deal with). Then you could enclose the bottom, for year around entertainment. Honestly it comes down to what your preferences are. Good luck in your project, and keep us posted on what you decide.

  • Deb Deb on Feb 23, 2019

    Not a sunroom! Better to have the natural breeze. Screens don’t have to go floor to ceiling. You could have a wall part of the way up. So much to consider...flat surface deck above will be open to rain. Now rain comes through deck into what will be underneath room? You can screen ceiling (underneath of deck) and the rain from above will still drain, but do you want to be able to use the underneath room during bad weather? If you want it as artist studio you will have to make sure it is water tight from above at least. And then where will water from deck drain? Do you want ceiling fans? Outlets? Easier asked than finally decided!

    • Jane Ketchum Jane Ketchum on Feb 23, 2019

      I’ve been researching & found an under deck ceiling system that [apparently] drains the deck & seals the ceiling. Has anyone had good or bad experience with these type of systems?

  • Charly Charly on Feb 23, 2019

    I would have an all season room installed on the TOP deck. It doesn't look like the bottom gets much sun. You can always use lattice to enclose the bottom and make it a usable space for the kids.

  • Shell Shell on Feb 23, 2019

    Do you have a bug problem in the warm weather? We put a screened porch on and love it. If you don't need extra living space for year round use, go with the screened porch. It's like sitting outside (even in the warm rain). People ask us when we are going to put windows in and I answer: "Then I'll have to add on another screened porch!"

  • Jane Ketchum Jane Ketchum on Feb 23, 2019

    We haven’t been here long enough to encounter bugs. But, with the woods right there, we’re anticipating mosquitoes.

  • Sue Sue on Feb 23, 2019

    I live in Florida and I suggest a screened porch, but make sure you use "no-see-um" screen. Those little guys will drive you crazy in the spring/summer and you get them in Georgia.

  • Pam M. Pam M. on Feb 23, 2019

    We live in New England and have a 3-season sunroom. It is great for storage in winter but is too cold and would be too expensive to heat. In summer it gets very hot, even though the windows slide open 1/2 way. I recommend a screened porch for under the deck but don't know where you live. Also, consider the fact that you might not get as much sun under there. Good luck! Lovely home!

  • Ellis Ellis on Feb 24, 2019

    I think a screened space would be the best. I've been to Georgia, and it can be pretty buggy in the warm weather (including a massive invasion of flying cockroaches I witnessed in September in a woodsy area as well as in Atlanta). What with the water features near your home, mosquitoes could also be around, so it would be nice to have a bug-free place to sit outside, especially in the evening when insects are most active. I have seen advertisements for gutter systems that can be put under a deck to divert rain so the space underneath stays dry.

    The other reason it strikes me as a useful space is the increasing presence of disease-causing insects in our country, such as Zika, etc. I think many of us, even in the north, will be building screened outdoor spaces.

    Your new home is beautiful, I wish you much happiness there.

    • Jane Ketchum Jane Ketchum on Feb 24, 2019

      Thank you. I hear the flying cockroaches have a deceptively pretty name - “Palmettos”. We definitely want to keep those & mosquitoes at bay.