Consider long-term use when planning patio remodel

What things should I keep in mind for my patio or sunroom remodeling project?

Make sure you establish what you want to use the space for and what you want to do with it in the long run.

If you eventually plan to turn a porch into a screened-in four seasons room, let your contractor know upfront so the company can leave openings for the windows. This will save you money down the road.

In addition, I suggest having the contractor insulate the walls and the attic of the space around your addition if you think you may one day use it as a sunroom.

If the contractor is also going to be the designer, discuss sizes and use of space, as well as the kind of privacy you'll need. Work with the contractor to make sure the architectural drawing is what you want and their work is up to code.

A concrete patio takes less maintenance than a deck, because decks have to be sealed, stained and power-washed. I get more calls from homeowners interested in patio work, rather than decks, because they're more costly. Even so, decks usually look nicer.

A concrete patio is the most reasonably priced at around $1,000-$2,000. A standard 200-square-foot deck costs $2,400-$2,800. A sunroom or a screened-in porch with a roof and a foundation could cost between $20,000-$40,000. In higher-end rooms, I've installed wet bars, built-in bookcases and gas fireplaces for anywhere between $30,000-$50,000.

In addition, be particular about your windows or doors. If they're Energy Star compliant, you'll save about 33 percent of the cost through a Federal tax credit. Just be sure if you file for energy efficiency tax credits to get an itemized bill from your contractor listing labor and materials separately, because the credit won't cover the cost of labor.

Start planning this project in the winter when business is slow. It'll put you first on the schedule and streamline the process. It's important to mirror the style of your home, even when working on a sunroom or a patio. Resale is always something to think about!


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Special windows give Jenny Young the ability to enjoy her patio during any season, regardless of the weather. (Photo by Jenny Young)
Special windows give Jenny Young the ability to enjoy her patio during any season, regardless of the weather. (Photo by Jenny Young)

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