Patio Enclosures by Great Day Improvements
Great Day Improvements Stanek Windows by Great Day Improvements Patio Enclosures by Great Day Improvements
Reps available: Mon-Thur 9am-8pm
Fri 9am-7pm  |  Sat-Sun 9am-1pm EST
Find Your Location
Find Your Location

Sunroom vs. Screened Porch

Image of a screen room interior (left) and sunroom interior (right) with screen room and sunroom printed over the photos.

If you live in a four-season climate, making the most of your outdoor space when weather permits is usually a high priority. However, the elements and pesky insects can often interfere with your outdoor plans. If you want to make better use of your porch, deck or patio, you might want to consider enclosing it, but how do you know what enclosure is the best option for you?

How is a Screened Porch Different from a Sunroom?

Shady interior of a screen room surrounded by trees and bushes, blue couch and wood coffee table in the room, tile floor.

Screened Porch

  • Protection from Insects — Yes
  • Protection from Cold and Heat — No, exposed to outdoor elements
  • Season of Use — When weather permits
  • Heating & Cooling — No, but may have electricity for lighting or ceiling fan
  • General Cost — Lowest

Gable roof sunroom interior with tile floor, comfortable couch and chair, and glass coffee table. View of woods/autumn trees.

Three Season Room

  • Protection from Insects — Yes
  • Protection from Cold and Heat — Somewhat but does not include central heating and cooling; portable units can be used
  • Season of Use — Spring, summer, and fall
  • Heating & Cooling — Electricity for lighting and ceiling fan; not connected to central heat and air
  • General Cost — Midrange

Sunroom interior with ceiling fan, indoor/outdoor furniture with patterned cushions and view of snow-covered landscape.

Four Season Room

  • Protection from Insects — Yes
  • Protection from Cold and Heat — Yes
  • Season of Use — Year-round
  • Heating & Cooling — Yes, a thermally broken frame allows for heating and cooling
  • General Cost — Higher

Interior of a solarium with modern furniture and bright pillows, view of patio with bench and park-like setting with fence.


  • Protection from Insects — Yes
  • Protection from Cold and Heat — Yes
  • Season of Use — Year-round
  • Heating & Cooling — Yes, a thermally broken frame allows for heating and cooling
  • General Cost — Highest

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Type of Sunroom

Protected living spaces that blur the line between outdoor and indoor living are extremely popular because people love that feeling of being outdoors and connected to nature, minus inconveniences like cold winds, mosquitoes, and glaring sun.

Screened patio enclosure on a gray house with neat plantings in front. Red cushion on rocker and two white chairs inside.

Screened Porch or Patio

When you consider enclosures, the first and simplest option is a screened porch or patio: You take an existing porch or patio with a roof and simply add screening around the perimeter. You are still intimately connected with nature and if you choose black aluminum screening, you will hardly notice the barrier between yourself and the great outdoors.

However, a screened porch is only comfortable when the weather is neither too cold nor too hot to enjoy it and blowing rain may prevent usage. If you want to extend the outdoor season, you may want to consider a three-season room, sunroom or solarium.

Glass deck enclosure with brown frame on tan house with dormers. Nice landscaping and bushes surround the room.

Three-Season Room

A three-season room is enclosed with single- or double—-paned glass, but offers no climate control other than a ceiling fan and you can use it spring, summer and fall, depending on outdoor temperatures. Homeowners can employ portable infrared heaters during late fall and early spring.

Large tan sunroom with gable roof and lush plantings of yellow flowers and grasses in front of it, pine trees as backdrop.

Four-Season Room

A four-season room or all-season sunroom is the next step up: Double-pane glass and fully functioning climate control allows you to enjoy the great outdoors year-round, whether it’s freezing or a searing 98 degrees outside. If you add a glass ceiling to a sunroom, you have a solarium which is the ultimate outdoor living space. A solarium lets you feel totally connected to the landscape, the sky, weather and nature but you are protected from the elements year-round.

What to Consider

So, how do you decide what is best for you? Consider your goals and budget, as well as how you plan to use the space. If you simply want an outdoor space that protects you from the bugs during the warm weather months and is still intimately connected to nature, a screened porch is an excellent option. This also is the least expensive option. A three-season room will give you more protection from the elements; it costs a little more but allows you to enjoy the outdoors in all but the coldest months of the year. A sunroom or solarium is a bit pricier because of the added construction, and heating and cooling costs, but they expand your living space year-round. When considering your budget for this project, also consider how each option may increase the resale value of your home. Ready to learn more? Schedule your free in-home design estimate or call 800-230-8301 today!

Learn More About Our Sunrooms