How Much Does it Cost to Screen in an Existing Porch?
$4.00 – $8.00 Per Square Foot
The cost to screen in a porch is around $4 per square foot with off-the-shelf screen material and doing it yourself. Using higher quality materials and paying a contractor, costs as much as $10 per square foot.
Average Cost of Porch Screen Installation
Screening in a porch with an overhang often requires adding a few posts to what’s already there, so the screening can be attached every 4-6 feet. You’ll want a door too, of course. The total price will vary due to the size of the porch, the quality of the materials used and whether a contractor is hired to do the job. To add posts, screen and a screen door to a typical 300 square foot porch runs $1,200 to $2,700.
The most affordable approach is to attach screening directly to the posts. And upgrade method is to build frames for each screen section that can be fixed to the posts with brackets during milder seasons and taken down and stored so that winter weather doesn’t damage them.
Overview of Adding Screen to an Existing Porch
Adding screens to an existing porch is a great way to enjoy the space without being bothered by annoying bugs and without the higher cost of enclosing a patio. This popular outdoor home improvement project adds living space too – turn your porch into a fair-weather living room, home office or mancave! It also gives you the ability to use your porch in a variety of different weather situations. Once you have screen installed on your porch, it’s also very easy to put plastic over it in the cold months and get more use out of the space.
Lighting, a ceiling fan (rated for outdoors) or a gas fire pit are additional upgrades to enhance your screened porch that might make it the most desirable hangout spot much of the year. If you’d prefer a three-season porch or patio, consider enclosing it with more weather-resistant materials.
This page of Costimates, or cost estimates, gives pricing details for materials and labor plus a discussion of the different screen types available. You might be surprised at your options and how they affect cost, durability and performance.
Product and Installation Supplies Cost Details
Screen Porch Cost Factors
There are just a few factors that determine where on the price spectrum your cost to add screen an existing porch will fall.
- Who Screens in the Porch – Labor is a significant part of the cost. Depending on your skills, who does the work might affect the quality of the finished job too. You’ll save a couple bucks per square foot with a DIY approach.
- Size of the Porch – The bigger the porch, the more the total cost. That’s obvious. What isn’t as well known is that cost per square foot goes down a little as the size of the porch goes up if you hire the work done. A busy contractor – meaning one with a reputation for quality workmanship – will give a high quote for small porch to make the job worth the time.
- Type of Porch Screening System – If you decide to fasten the screen directly to the wood or use wood strips to attach, the cost is going to be less than using a porch screening system like those found at big-box retailers like Lowes or Home Depot.
- The Amount of Material – A porch that has a low wall around it requires less material than one that is open from overhang to the porch deck.
- What Type of Screen is Used – There are many different types of screen used in a screen porch. Each type of screen is priced differently and has some positives and possible negatives. See Retail Costs below for a discussion of each type, pros and cons plus price.
- Where you Live – Local cost of living affects material costs and the cost of hiring a contractor. If prices are high where you live, or low or average, expect that to be reflected when you get cost to screen a porch estimates.
Retail Screened In Porch Cost – Materials and Supplies
Who knew you had so many options? The most common types of screen material are the following, with their costs plus the price of common supplies and tools needed to screen in a porch.
- $.14 – $.18 per square foot | Fiberglass mesh: The cheapest and easiest to work with, but not very strong and easy to poke holes in or tear.
- $.25 – $.30 per square foot | Aluminum Mesh: More durable and stronger than fiberglass and doesn’t corrode. However, aluminum reflects the sun, so it tends to raise the temperature in the screen porch and cause some glare when the sun shines directly on it.
- $.50 – $.60 cents per square foot | Vinyl-Coated Polyester: This screening is a little thicker than others, so somewhat reduces visibility. The upside is slightly better protection from direct sun and wind.
- $.80 – $.90 cents per square foot | Bronze: This is a very sturdy screen ideal for coastal areas that experience salt spray. The bronze resists corrosion.
- $.95 – $1.15 per square foot | Stainless Steel: This is a very strong and durable screen that is good in all climates. However, over time it will dull and lose some of its luster.
- $6.00 – $7.00 per square foot | Brass and Copper: These high-end screen materials aren’t often used, but they are available. Brass develops a tarnish over time that blackens it. Copper develops a patina that turns it a greenish hue.
- $15 – $35 | Staple Gun
- $6 – $10 per box of 1000 staples | Heavy-duty Galvanized Screen Staples
- $100 – $200 each | Screen Door frame and Screening
- $10 each | 8-foot 4×4 Pressure Treated Post, if needed
- $8 each | 8-foot 2×4 Pressure treated Board, if needed
- $17 – $22 each | 8-foot 2×8 Pressure Treated Board, if needed
Sample Screened Porch Projects
To put the numbers and factors into focus, here are sample cost estimates for common porch sizes. Costs are based on our Average Contractor Cost range of $6 to $10 per square foot.
- 100 square feet (e.g., 10×10 or about 8×12): $600 – $900
- 150 square feet (e.g., 10×15 or about 8×18): $900 – $1,350
- 200 square feet (e.g. 10×20 or 8×25) : $1,200 – $1,800
- 250 square feet (10×25 or about 8×32): $1,500 – $2,250
- 300 square feet (10×30 or about 8×38): $1,800 – $2,700
Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time
Permits and Inspection Cost
- $0-$150 | A permit is generally not required to add screens to an existing porch. However, if you are adding anything structurally to the home then a permit may be needed. Please check local codes to see exactly what permits are needed in order to meet the proper code requirements.
Related Costs and Installation Time
Adding screens to a porch will take a licensed contractor a day or two to do the job, depending on the total amount of square footage. The average rate to hire a contractor or handyman service can cost between $40 to $60 or more per hour, depending on the area. Home Advisor suggests this comes to about $2.00 per square foot, or about $4.50 with materials and labor, according to ImproveNet. Both estimates are pretty accurate.
- Up to 1 Day | Prepare the porch, install any 4×4 posts needed to shorten screen spans.
- Up to 1 Day | Installing the screening and screen door, based on the size of the porch.
As with most projects, if you decide to install screens to your existing porch then it will probably take a couple of days or longer. Another factor will be how much lumber had to be added to make the porch to add screens and a screen door. The distance between existing posts may be too far, so extra posts may need to be to be added. Also, a door should be framed in and a screen door installed. This will cost the homeowner more money in both labor and materials.
DIY or Hire a Pro?
This is a job that many people can do without the need of hiring a contractor, as long as they are good with tools and can pay attention to detail, as this overview from House Beautiful. If posts are not needed, then you can attach the screen by cutting it to size and by using a high quality staple gun. You might want to cover the staple line with a handsome trim piece. If time and skill are an issue, then a contractor should be hired – and the cost won’t break the bank.