An Enclosed Patio Guide: What You Need to Know

On other places on this site, we’ve discussed the merits of installing concrete paver patios, along with using other materials to create a backyard getaway. One of the best patio ideas – an amazing way to continue to add to your backyard paradise – is to create an enclosed patio. Also known as enclosed porches or an enclosed decks, these structures allow you to enjoy your patio paving while being sheltered from the elements.

There are a lot of choices and other things to consider when thinking about adding a new patio enclosure. To help guide you in this decision, we’ve assembled a brief enclosed patio guide that will show you the major aspects of your project to consider. Come back often, as we’re always adding new material and updating this site to continue to bring you valuable information and insight.

Types of Patio Enclosures

There are two major kinds of enclosed patios that you can add to your home. The first is a room that is simply part of your house; these so-called sunrooms simply have lots of windows that allow in lots of light. Thus, you’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful elements, especially the sun, without having to actually be outside and deal with the heat and UV rays and other weather conditions. This kind of project is more of a ‘room addition’ than an enclosed patio, though some may tend more towards a patio than a room given their properties. The main difference that sets them apart from enclosed patios is their expense – because they are added on directly to your house, you’ll end up paying more for the work.

The second is more like a patio in that it is primarily an outdoor structure that has been ‘enclosed’ or ‘covered’ in order to protect the inhabitants from the elements. The degree to which a patio is enclosed varies from design to design. One covered patio may simply be topped off with an awning; thus, bugs and wind and other elements can get inside your covered patio, while the sun and heat will be diminished. Others are more like outdoor rooms, in that they are enclosed with screens or other materials to completely surround the patio and guard against bugs, wind, and even hot and cold temperatures (when the room is climate controlled).

Which one you want depends on how you want to use it and on how you conceive of your enclosed patio. For instance, if you think of your room as simply an extension of your home, and you want it to be climate controlled and comfortable and usable year round, you’ll probably tend more toward the sunroom approach. However, if you see this space more as an enclosed porch, one that is part of your yard as opposed to your home, you’ll want to look into enclosing a patio instead. This patio will only be usable during temperate or hot times of the year and depending on how enclosed it is.

Note that you can also use your enclosed patio for many different purposes. Some simply like to have a covered place where they can entertain guests in the more temperate seasons without having to worry about inclement weather and other worries. Others, however, like to make the space an area to hang out continually; some even turn them into family spaces, exercise rooms, libraries, and dining rooms. Thus, give some thought as to how you want to use your space, as this will largely determine what kinds of materials and designs you’ll use for your project.

If you crave flexibility, you can also buy retractable patio covers that can be deployed when you need them, such as on an especially hot or rainy day. Thus, you’ll have the flexibility to manage how much of the ‘outdoors’ you want to experience.

The Benefits of Enclosed Patios

The first obvious benefit of your enclosed patio is its beauty and aesthetic appeal. Looking outside while inside your patio is one great aspect, but patio rooms look almost as good from the outside looking in. In addition, this beauty and function will add value to your home, both financially and in terms of increased living and working space for you and your family.

Second, you can enjoy the ‘outdoors’ in comfort. How much of the outdoors you feel will depend on if you only have a patio roof or if you opt for the more enclosed structure. Nevertheless, you’ll be blocked out from the sun, deal with cooler and more comfortable temperatures, and not have to deal with mosquitos and other annoying bugs.

You can also enjoy the safety and privacy of your enclosed patio. You won’t have to worry about nosy neighbors watching you at all hours of the day, and you can be sure that you can be safe from the weather or anything that bumps in the night.

Enclosed Patio Designs

The first thing to think about is how enclosed your patio room or sunroom will actually be. At the very least, you’ll have canopies or awnings that will cover the top of your patio and block the sun and rain from reaching the contents of your room.

You’ll then need to decide how best to enclose your patio on the sides, if this is something you want to do. Some opt to have nothing blocking the sides; this makes the room more of a covered patio than an enclosed one. As for enclosing materials, you can opt for many different types, from screened patios to patios with nets covering the side. If you build in walls and windows as part of an extension to your home, it’s more of a sunroof and thus more expensive but also the most beautiful and valuable. You may also opt for glass enclosures to allow the maximum amount of sunlight in, though you will also sacrifice privacy and increase the structure’s vulnerability.

To save money and decrease the time and hassle involved with installing your new patio, some companies sell ‘modular’ systems that are pre-assembled and then assembled on the spot.

Another thing to think about is what the ‘floor’ of your patio will be. If you already have a patio made from concrete or concrete pavers, then you can simply add your patio roof or patio covers, screen porch, etc. and be done with it. Or you can install an entirely new patio surface out of these materials or others; if you want a more ‘indoor’ feel, you can go with tile, carpet, wood, and other options, though keep in mind that some of these materials won’t be viable with particular patio designs.

Your best bet is to get design plans created by a professional architect. They will best know the options available for you and what you can create given your resources. They will also give you an estimate so that you can get an idea of how much this will cost. There are an incredible number of different designs, products, and variations to the sunroom/enclosed patio, so you’ll need to do further research to find what suits your tastes and budget. Look for images of sunrooms that you like and present them to your contractor or sunroom company. They can then use these images as a guide to best create the addition that’s right for you and your family.

Building an Enclosed Patio

While creating these projects may be out of the reach of many homeowners, some may still seek DIY solutions, especially if they are looking to install modest enclosures. For instance, if you already have an outdoor porch or ‘framed’ patio, it’s relatively easy to buy thin mesh screen and put it up around the sides of the patio. This will not be the most elegant solution, but it will serve its primary purpose: keeping out bugs and irritants. You can also buy screen with vinyl attached so that you can easily assemble your enclosed patio to the proper specifications without having to deal with plain mesh.

It is also possible to buy sunroom ‘kits’ that you can assemble yourself. They may not look as great as the professionally installed kind, especially since those will be exactly customized to your taste, but they are great in a pinch. The great thing about these DIY projects, however, is that you can easily take them down and put them up at will, so you’ll have flexibility as seasons and weather changes.

You’ll also want to make sure that you don’t need to get any permits from your local municipality, as some require paperwork to be filed if you’re at all adding on to your ‘home,’ so make sure to check with officials in your area.