The Pros & Cons of Patio Enclosures

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The addition of interior square footage to a home tempts many homeowners to fully enclose a patio. The project's simplicity and relatively low cost add to the temptation; enclosing a patio rarely requires structural additions, only partition walls, windows and a door. However, an enclosed patio isn't for everyone. If you're thinking of enclosing your patio, weigh the pros against the cons, including the suitability of your area's weather, the project's cost and how the enclosed patio will affect your home's design.

Weather Considerations

  • Patio enclosures offer many advantages in cold climates; the enclosure protects inhabitants from exterior temperatures and expands the home's usable space during winter months. However, patio enclosures often make a poor addition in warm climates. Warm climate patio enclosures with multiple windows tend to trap heat and raise the enclosure's interior temperature to uncomfortable levels. Additionally, if a warm-climate home depends on natural air circulation for cooling, building a patio enclosure can significantly reduce airflow through the main home.

Project Cost

  • Basic patio enclosures consist of inexpensive, easy-to-install materials, and most homeowners will consider this a pro. However, it's easy to drive the cost of your project as high as the cost of a new patio. If you must install new roofing, posts, beams or rafters, the cost of your project will probably become a con. Other costly additions to a patio enclosure project include windows, doors, finish-grade flooring, wall coverings and electrical fixtures. For an inexpensive patio enclosure, choose plywood siding, removable screens instead of windows and a simple screen door.

Design Consequences

  • Whether changing an outdoor living space into a interior living space is a pro or a con depends on the particulars of your home. One of the most important considerations is the size of your yard. If an outdoor patio consumes a large portion of a small yard, removing the patio will dramatically reduce the usable, outdoor space of the home. If you have a small yard, consider what will be left over once you remove the patio.

Resale Value

  • If you plan to sell your home, you must consider the effect that an enclosed patio will have on your home's value. In some areas, such as cold climates, an enclosed patio increases a home's value. In tropical and temperate areas, an open patio might add more value than an enclosed patio. Also remember that the quality of the materials and workmanship alter the patio enclosure's impact your home's value. A bare-bones patio enclosure might not affect your home's value at all, whereas a high-end renovation can add thousands of dollars to your home's value.

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  • Photo Credit jaula en patio de un cortijo image by JOSE ANTONIO LAVADO from Fotolia.com
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