If you’re looking for a three- or four-season room to extend your home and offer outdoor living space, an important choice is whether to opt for a screen room or sunroom. Both provide views of your outdoor space, let more light into your property and deliver protection against pesky bugs and the elements. However, they have an array of different benefits for homeowners beyond these factors.

Continue reading for a comparison of screen rooms and rooms to help you decide which structure is the best bet for giving your family enhanced access to the great outdoors.

screenroom vs sunroom

What Is a Sunroom?

A sunroom is usually a full home extension with a glass roof and glass panels, although it can be made with vinyl windows and a vinyl roof. Some people might suggest that a sunroom offers protection from the elements all year, but this type of structure usually requires air conditioning and/or ceiling fans in summer and heating and/or a fireplace in the fall and winter months. In addition to being expensive to install, installing HVAC systems is an additional cost and impacts the energy efficiency of your house.

Although you get beautiful views of the outdoors and sun from a sunroom, you’ll have to open the windows to let fresh air in in spring and summer. If you have air conditioning installed, this can make the sunroom even less cost-effective and less energy-efficient.

Plus, the whole point of getting a sunroom is surely to be able to enjoy the outdoors from inside. In reality, it’s an indoor room with windows and a view of the garden. And while it might be seen as a pro to some people when selling your house, others might see the expense and potential for a hot or cold trap as a negative.

Pros and Cons of Adding a Sunroom

A three- or four-season room or sunroom is a major investment, affording views of your outdoor space and letting the sun in. It’s the equivalent of a full extension, effectively adding a new room to your property

  • When you include insulation (e.g., argon filling) and an HVAC system with heating and cooling, you might be able to use it throughout the year
  • Low E glass can make sunrooms more energy-efficient
  • Might offer better protection for people with severe allergies to pollen or chronic diseases
  • No tiny particles of dust or debris from the outdoors
  • Can’t easily add a sunroom onto your patio or any existing structure
  • Isn’t a true outdoor room with the sights, sounds and smells of nature
  • If you opt for a room made of glass, it might be more of a hazard
  • If something cracks or breaks, repairs are expensive

What Is a Screened Porch?

A screened porch is a structure with a roof and screens, allowing fresh air in all year round while offering protection from bugs and sunlight. One of the best things about an enclosed porch is the proximity it affords to nature and its sights, smells and sounds. Whether you love to spend time watching the sunset, listening to the sound of the rain or basking in the heat under the shade, it’s perfect.

When it comes to cost, a screen room is one of the most affordable ways to add square footage and value to your home. Construction is unobtrusive and quick, but the result is a full transformation of your house. It can offer direct access to your patio as the ideal transition between indoors and outdoors, and its versatility is unparalleled. If you want it to be enjoyed year round, you can swap mesh panels for PVC in the winter or remove the screens entirely in summer.

There are different options available for materials and insulation. You can decide whether two, three or four walls are screened, and the finished room is easy to adapt with regard to decor and structure. It doesn’t trap heat or cold, instead reflecting the outdoors and allowing you to get close to nature at its finest. In the colder months, bring a portable hearing device in to keep your feet warm while breathing in fresh air.

Pros and Cons of Adding a Screened-In Porch

A screen room is the ideal choice if you’re looking for an outdoor room with full exposure to the heat of the sun, the sounds of nature and a cool refreshing breeze. Let’s break down the key pros and cons of installing a screen room:

  • Affordable
  • Attaches to your own home and patio without the requirement for extensive building work
  • Protects against creepy-crawlies
  • Offers space to entertain while protecting against the harshest elements
  • Wide range of options for windows and doors — possibility to switch between solid and mesh screens and doors
  • Transition between indoors and outdoors
  • Mainly inexpensive materials, so maintenance is cheaper
  • Some see it as safer for children due to lack of glass
  • Enjoy the sun, breeze, sound of birds singing and smell of nature
  • Protects outdoor furniture and decking
  • No prospect for climate control beyond portable heaters and fans
  • Isn’t a traditional indoor room
  • Might not add as much property value


Types of Screened Porches

There are three main types of screen room: screened porch with solid roof, screened-roof porch and under-truss screen room. Below is a description of the virtues of each.

Screen Porch With Solid Roof

A screen room with a solid roof is the most highly favored type of screen room for those without an existing porch. It’s usually made mainly from aluminum, making them sturdy and long-lasting. If you get a kickplate installed, less detritus from the outdoors can get in, helping protect your furniture.

Screened-Roof Porch

Screen rooms with roofing that’s also screened can be great as pool covers, and they’re the preferred choice of people who love sun. Screens are usually fashioned from mesh, polyester or fiberglass and are a great way of keeping bugs out while enjoying full access to the outdoors.

Under-Truss Screen Room

This is the other most popular type of screen room, but it’s only available to people who already have a porch installed. It uses your property’s existing footprint and protects against harsh sunlight and heavy rain, allowing you to easily bring a party under cover in case rain starts.

When Is the Best Time To Build Screen Porches or Sunrooms?

The best time to build a screen room is in the winter, when the pollen count is low. It’ll be ready to use in time for spring and won’t interrupt daily life much at all. It’s best to build a sunroom while the kids are at school as it can be a major undertaking. You or a family member might need to take time off to supervise the operation or move out for a while to prevent daily life from slowing down the operation.

Screen Room vs Sunroom: The Verdict

Screen Room. A screen room is an excellent choice for anyone looking to get closer to nature and bring the indoors outdoors without breaking the bank. Sunrooms are more like living rooms or dining rooms made of glass or PVC and cost significantly more, as well as adding to your energy bills. We’d recommend going for the screened porch every time; it’s versatile, offers direct access to nature and can be insulated as much as you like to extend its use throughout the year.

If you’d like to get a screen room installed, get in touch with PWHI today at 703-492-1294 for more information or a free estimate.