You know you want to build an addition to your house that helps you feel closer to the outdoors (while avoiding the bugs and critters). You’ve been thinking about it for a while and are confident you’re ready make the investment. Now you have an important decision to make: should you build a screened porch or a sunroom?

Both options have potential benefits and drawbacks, the right choice depends on your personal priorities. Here’s how a screened porch and sunroom stack up against each other in a few main categories.

Access to Nature

Screen Porch Vs SunroomIf part of the appeal of building an addition to your home is getting some of the benefits of the outdoors, without the nuisances, a screened porch will bring you closer to nature than a sunroom. Both a sunroom and screened porch provide you views of the outdoors, but a screened porch also offers more of the sounds and scents of being outside. For that feeling of being close to nature (minus the bugs), a screened porch is your best bet.  

Winner: Screened Porch


TemperatureOne of the main reasons to consider a sunroom over a screened porch is because you have more control over the temperature in the space. A sunroom will connect to your HVAC system, so you can heat and cool it just like you do the rest of the house, meaning you can enjoy the space comfortably all year long.  

In Charlotte though, you can comfortably enjoy a screened porch for at least three of the four seasons, and often for a good chunk of winter as well when the weather’s on the milder side. And that’s especially true if you build a porch with a fireplace that warms the space in the winter and a fan that cools it off in the summer.

And one option many Charlotte homeowners go for is the Eze-Breeze screen system, which provides more protection from extreme temperatures like sunrooms do, while still allowing you to open the screens enough to enjoy the greater access to the outdoors like a screened porch allows. So it is possible to build a screened porch that’s comfortable in any weather with the right features.

Winner: Sunroom, with a caveat


Do you like the noises outside your house? A sunroom provides views of nature without the noises, which can be preferable if you live close to a street that gets lots of traffic or in a neighborhood with constantly barking dogs. A screened porch lets more noises in, which is better if you want to enjoy the sound of birds singing or find the sounds of wind and rain calming.

So while there’s a clear answer for which option lets more noises in, whether that’s a positive or negative feature depends on where you live and what you like.

Winner: It depends


A basic screened porch with few frills or extras and the most low-cost materials will cost less than a basic sunroom. But most Charlotte homeowners that consider adding a screened porch or sunroom to their home will want something beyond the basics. And your ultimate cost will depend on the details of the project you have in mind.

The pricing of both a screened porch or sunroom project depends on a wide variety of factors such as:

  • What lighting options you choose
  • The types of windows or screens you go with
  • Whether you include features like a fireplace, wet bar, or entertainment center
  • The materials you choose for the ceiling and flooring

To figure out how your vision of a screened porch compares to your vision of a sunroom in terms of cost, a consultation with a local Charlotte contractor is in order. Without that, there’s no good way to know which option wins in this category.

Winner: It Depends

Project Difficulty

As with cost, how big and complicated of a project your home addition will be depends on the specific details of what you want, whether or not you go with a screened porch or a sunroom. But generally speaking, building a sunroom is a little more difficult for a few main reasons. Because the sunroom is essentially a new room in your home, it has to be tied into the rest of the home. You need to knock out a wall and connect the flooring and ceilings of the sunroom to those of the room it touches.

With a screened porch, in contrast, your contractor doesn’t usually need to do anything on the inside of the house other than pull in some wires. That means a little less work, and that the workers will be in your hair a bit less as you go about your lives. Also, adding a sunroom to your home requires additional inspections versus a screened porch, which adds a couple of more steps to the process.

Winner: Screened Porch


The beautiful trees that make the outdoors so appealing in Charlotte also contribute to sniffles and watery eyes during the spring and summer for many residents. The city regularly ranks in the top 50 cities in the U.S. for allergies, meaning that this category is a necessary concern for many homeowners.  If you or someone in your household is an unlucky victim of allergies, then you’ll want to consider which option makes the most sense in terms of allergen exposure.

Since sunrooms are more closed off from the elements, they’ll provide more protection from pollen and other allergens that permeate the air during the warmer seasons.

Winner: Sunroom

Energy Costs

While both types of additions will add some energy consumption to your home, a sunroom will generally add a bit more. With screened porches, the increase will be from using the lighting, running the ceiling fan, and lighting the fireplace. For sunrooms, you’re adding a whole room to your house that will be heated and cooled with your HVAC system. And whereas with a screened porch, you’ll only use more energy during the times you’re actively using it, you’ll be heating or cooling your sunroom as often as you do the rest of your house, whether you’re in there at the moment or not.

While the difference between the two isn’t huge, a sunroom is likely to cost you a bit more than a screened porch in ongoing energy costs.

Winner: Screened Porch

Decide What’s Right for You

In Charlotte, we’ve found that people tend to ultimately lean toward choosing a screened porch. But the choice that’s right for you depends on how you feel about the different categories on this list. If you could use some help making a final decision, meeting with a local contractor who can help you get a clearer picture of your options and what will work best for your particular needs can pay off.

Part of the value we provide at Fineline is using our expertise to help clients plan out a project    that comes as close to their vision as possible, while staying within their budget. We can help you clarify what you want and then turn that vision into reality. Set up a consultation today.