Patio enclosures can be very visually appealing and can also make for a great place to relax.
This brings us to the obvious question to an aspiring researcher. What are the different types of patio enclosures, and what are the pros and cons associated with each one?
The sunroom style patio enclosure is visually appealing and great for gardening but lacks privacy. The canopy enclosure is casual and good for social gatherings but is seasonal and weather dependent. The screen room has a lot of privacy and an outdoorsy feel but is susceptible to water damage.
This article will look at the main points that should be considered when constructing a patio enclosure on your home.
Next, we’ll go over the different types of enclosures and the specific pros and cons of each. By the time you have finished reading, you will be ready to get started on your dream patio.
Key Points of Consideration
If you are new to patio enclosures and are not sure where to begin, don’t fret.
By determining your preferences in each one of these categories, you can decide on the best enclosure style for your home.
It must also be noted that another type of porch enclosure exists, which is a little bit different than the ones mentioned in this article. However, this is the total enclosure. Total enclosures tend to feature solid walls and may only have access to the outside through a door and a window(s).
Totally enclosed patios are good for storage, but some may consider them not a patio at all. It becomes hard to differentiate them from the rest of the house. They are similar to a shed in some cases.
Before anything else, the first thing you must determine is the materials you wish to use to construct your patio enclosure.
The materials you ultimately settle on will be determined by a few different factors: The first one is how well it matches with the rest of your home stylistically. The second will be the weather and elements it will be exposed to in your particular region.
When we talk of your patio enclosure’s matching with the rest of your home, it is fairly straightforward and observational. You do not want to construct a patio enclosure that looks out of place in relation to the rest of your home. If, for example, your home is constructed from red brick, you will not likely want to fashion your enclosure from white bricks. Contrast and fluidity are the keys here.
On the topic of weather, this will highly depend on the annual weather of your area. The patio enclosure must be able to resist weather damage and stand the test of time, so preventative design methods will need to be undertaken.
Those who live in snowy, rainy, and humid regions will need to heed extra cautiously to the environmental threats.
When it comes to the roof, there are many personalization options.
Patio enclosure roofs can be shingled, aluminum, glass, solar panel, and many other materials.
The shape and grade of the roof are also very important. Some will be slanted, rounded, or flat.
Some roofs will also require the addition of an eavestrough to manage excessive runoff of rainwater.
One may even want to build a solid, traditional, shingle roof but fit it with a miniature glass sunroof to allow for a little bit of character.
Whatever you choose regarding the roof, it will need to be strong, look good, and be able to deal with nature.
The framework is the most important element of the construction because it is the skeleton on which all else is built and dependent.
Again, there are different directions you could take this in.
Will it be designed from wood, metal, etc.?
Now that we have the frame structure and a roof on top, the last thing we must determine is how we will enclose it.
The patio enclosure’s siding has the most room for personalization of all elements of its building design. The way you decide to wall-off the patio enclosure is also the most important element, stylistically and aesthetically speaking.
Some will use glass, others will have wood with vinyl siding, and some people will even create their enclosure walls primarily from metal screening.
The sky’s the limit here.
You may choose to add a window, a door, a gate, etc.
We recommend you look at some examples online and determine which one most appeals to you, keeping in mind the dimensions of your patio and the layout of the rest of your home as a whole.
The first style of patio enclosure we will be discussing here on this list is the sunroom. While I’ve written on this a lot in the past in relation to sunrooms vs. screened porches, I think more should be said on the topic.
The sunroom is a very popular type of patio enclosure, and it is for a good reason.
A sunroom is somewhat of a blanket term to refer to any patio closure primarily constructed from glass. The majority of the walls are glass, and even the roof itself may be glass.
Sunrooms can almost resemble a greenhouse in many regards.
The framework is typically made to be masked and visually deemphasized. This leaves the focus of the conception its glassy appearance.
While there are many advantages of the sunroom, there are, naturally, some drawbacks as well. We will now discuss both the good and the bad in depth.
Some sunrooms are also sometimes referred to as solar rooms. These are typically fitted with solar panels, which can generate power and self-sustain.
Pros of the Sunroom
Above all else, the greatest pro of the sunrooms is their elegant appearance.
The beauty, appeal, and magnificence of the sunroom are hard, if not impossible, to match with any other stylistic enclosure.
A sunroom can bring to life and accentuate the beauty of the entirety of your home in a way no other can.
Another incredible benefit of the sunroom is that it can be used for vegetation and gardening, which is ideal for greenery affinity.
Some choose to add plants, vines, and flowers to their sunroom to give it even more of a unique feel.
If sealed properly, sunrooms do not let in too much outside cold and are great at sealing out the elements. They are also heavily resistant to environmental degradation because glass can block out water.
Cons of the Sunroom
Now that we have covered why sunrooms can make a great enclosure type for your home, we will go over a few of the negative aspects associated with them.
The first thing you will notice is that sunrooms do not provide much privacy if any at all.
The glass walling allows for just about anyone to see into your sunroom at any time. With the inclusion of light, and at night time, the lack of privacy is even more pronounced.
If you live in a rural area or do not mind a little bit of visibility, this may not be a problem, but considering the sunroom as an option is worth keeping in mind.
The next thing about sunrooms that may cause you to refrain from building one is their relative lack of visual compatibility with many homes. Sunrooms tend to be best suited toward more modern home concepts. For this reason, they are more or less incompatible with much older, as well as cottage type homes.
The last thing we must mention here is that sunrooms can get extremely hot and humid due to the greenhouse effect. Of course, this could be negated by installing temperature control systems or windows, but it creates a problem to be solved.
Open Concept/Canopy Style/Curtain Enclosure
Now onto the open concept, or what we may otherwise refer to as the canopy or curtain enclosure.
Again, “open concept” is a general term that may be taken to mean different things. Still, how we are using it for the purpose of this article is simply in reference to any style of enclosure that is left partially open. For the sake of clarity, it may help to dub this type the “partial enclosure.”
An example of an open concept enclosure would be one wherein the sidewalls are entirely closed in, but along the front, there is a half wall of a few feet above, which is nothing.
Many people with open concept patio enclosures will add curtains to them to act in place of a wall or window.
The canopy style patio has a very inviting and nostalgic feel and makes you want to sit out at night and look out at the landscape. Open concepts can provide a very serene feeling, and for this reason, they are a great option for those who like to enjoy their alone time and get back in touch with nature.
Let us now look at the pros and cons offered by this style.
Pros of the Open Concept
The open concept has a few unique benefits that no other type offers, the first of which being subtlety and simplicity.
Having an open concept patio enclosure—with detachable or even no walls—is a great way to still accomplish the goal of creating an external living space in your home without totally committing to a complete restructuring. In other words, an open concept is less of a commitment.
Another great benefit is that you get a lot of fresh airflows, and it provides a refreshing outdoor feel.
Depending on the degree of openness, it may also be possible to grill and barbecue inside the enclosure (not always! we’ve written on grilling under covered porches before). This is enticing for those who love to cook.
Suppose you have decided to go with a canopy style patio enclosure and look for a curtain to add a little bit of additional privacy and concealment.
In that case, the RYB Home Outdoor Curtain will surely get the job done. The RYB Home curtain stands up to the forces of nature, is durable, and also very reasonably priced. Moreover, the RYB curtain is available in many different sizes and colors to match any home.
The canopy style is, all things considered, the most customizable on this list. Anything can be hung or draped from it, and it can be partially enclosed in many different ways. The only limit is your imagination.
Cons of the Open Concept
Without a doubt, the biggest downside of the open concept canopy style patio enclosure is its seasonal limitation.
If you live in a place where the weather is summer-like all year round, this will not be a problem for you, but if you are not so lucky, your canopy-style enclosure will be useless during the winter months.
The canopy style does not provide the indoor feel that the others on this list do. For that reason, it loses a lot of its appeal.
It is impossible to control the temperature of the open concept as it is entirely susceptible to nature’s elements.
Many different types of furniture will not be able to be left out with an open concept, as doing so runs the risk of damaging them. This could also be extended to include electronics, such as stereos and speakers.
Last on this list, but certainly not the least, is the screen room.
The screen room is somewhat of a healthy medium between the two styles mentioned above.
A screen room is similar to the sunroom in many ways. However, it differs in one key area. Instead of glass, the emphasis is on mesh screens that allow airflow.
Screen rooms are very vintage and old fashioned and look exquisite on a cottage or beach home.
Here we will dive into the pros and cons of the screen room option.
Pros of the Screen Room
As just previously mentioned, screen rooms look incredible in old fashioned homes.
Whereas the sunroom is geared towards newer homes in a general sense, the screen room is contrarily best suited to vintage homes. However, this is not to say that more modern-looking screen rooms are not fashionable for newer homes because they are.
The next great thing about the screen room is that it provides a lot of privacy.
Screen rooms block out a lot of a person’s ability to see in from outside, without sacrificing your ability to see out. This is ideal for when you want to just relax outside and be alone.
A screen room may be fitted with dark, blacked-out screens that create a very high level of privacy.
Screen rooms are also really good for keeping bugs and insects out while allowing the air to flow.
Keeping out pesky insects on those summer nights when you are socializing outdoors is vital to your enjoyment. At the same time, you do not want to do so at the expense of not enjoying the fresh outdoor air. As far as this matter is concerned, the screen room cannot be matched.
The other great benefit that can only be found in the screen room is the unique indoor/outdoor feel. While the canopy style makes the users feel they are distinctly outdoors, and the sunroom has a clear indoor feeling, the screen room combines the best of both worlds.
The screen room is comfortable enough to justify going out and sitting in your socks as you would indoors, but it also provides a bit of the refreshing sense one feels from stepping outside.
The screen room is a perfect medium between the two extremes.
Cons of the Screen Room
Screen rooms, like open concepts, may become too cold during the fall and winter months.
The inability to regulate the temperature of the screen room may limit its use to seasonal only.
Furthermore, screen rooms are more susceptible to wear and tear and damage from overexposure to the elements. They do not seal out moisture and precipitation, accelerating the structure’s rot and erosion, especially wooden and metal components.
Screen rooms may also be difficult to furnish as any furniture that may hold moisture runs the risk of becoming moldy and odorful.
If you do decide to furnish your screen room, try to use furniture crafted from metal, wood, or plastic, and avoid cloth, cushioning, and fabric materials as much as possible.
The sunroom’s pros are that it is suitable for year-round use and can act as a great gardening area. Sunrooms are also modern and fashionable. On the other hand, they provide very little privacy.
Open concept enclosures are good for being simple and sociable. However, they lack concealment and are seasonally restrictive.
Regarding the screen room, they provide a lot of privacy and are a good balance between both. They can be susceptible to weather damage, though, because more moisture can get inside.