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Getting Year-Round Use from Your Screened-In Porch

Getting Year-Round Use from Your Screened-In Porch

On a summer night, there isn’t anything better than enjoying the breeze while avoiding the mosquitoes from the comfort of a screened-in porch or a three-season room. Unfortunately, these types of rooms often go unused during the cold weather months.  If you live somewhere where cold weather lasts at least 3 months, you may want to consider converting your three-season room or screened-in porch into a fully-functional room that can be used all year long. Here are a few ways you and your family can appreciate that space year-round:

Climate Control

For the hot months, a ceiling fan or two, depending on how big of a room it is, makes a great addition. But for the colder months, there are few options for making the room warm and cozy. No matter which climate control method you employ, you should make sure to insulate the room as much as possible.

First, extend the forced air into the room if it is possible. This may be something that you would hire a professional to do and may cost a bit. It is not a bad idea to consider getting a couple quotes from HVAC companies to see if you can get one that will work for your budget.

Second, an electric radiant heater is another great option. There are many on the market that are very energy efficient and affordable. A few things to remember about installing one of these units:

  • Normally, these units are hardwired into the electric for the house and require their own circuit.
  • You must leave a designated area free of furniture along one of the walls where the unit will fit and not be obstructed.
  • Modern radiant heat units don’t tend to be hot to the touch, but if there are kids present, you may want to consider an alternate way of heating the room for safety purposes.

Third, another way to regulate the temperature is to use space heaters. These are not particularly energy efficient or safe, but in the presence of most adults, should suffice for colder temperatures so you can curl up with a good book and cocoa.

Flooring

If you are converting a front porch into a screened-in porch, then you may want to consider upgrading the flooring. A couple of things to consider when selecting flooring for a space like this:

  • Make sure it is all-weather material, something that can withstand both cold and warm conditions without being damaged.
  • Also, select flooring that cleans easily and can withstand moisture and other unfavorable conditions.

A couple of affordable options are laminate flooring, marmoleum (a more eco-conscious alternative to linoleum), indoor / outdoor carpet, or porcelain tile. All the above flooring options can handle the conditions that they will be subjected to.

Windows

Usually one of the main features of three-season rooms are the windows. In these types of rooms, it is important that the windows do an exceptional job. Most screened-in porches are full of screen windows, sometimes with glass panes that can replace the screens during the colder months. Sometimes these glass panes do a good job of keeping out the cold, especially if you weatherize your windows with plastic. On older houses, it is difficult to switch out the panes due to settling of the house and how it stresses the window frames. If this is the case for you and it is within your budget, it may be a good idea to switch out those windows for vinyl windows. They will add the versatility to the room to allow to celebrate the breeze when the weather is warm, but also, they will efficiently keep out the weather and retain heat in the house in the colder weather.

With a few modifications, you can add more livable square footage to your house which will help with resale value or give you and your family more space to enjoy.

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