How to Estimate the Cost for a Patio Enclosure

Enclosures can range from a cozy retreat to a summer party venue.

Enclosures can range from a cozy retreat to a summer party venue.

A patio enclosure costs an average of $11,000, with the low end at $3,000 and the high end at $20,000, according to HomeAdvisor.com. At the extremes, a basic roof-plus-screening job can cost about $500 while a fully tricked-out sunroom averages $73,000. Considering the range of options available, you'll need some fairly firm ideas of what you want in a patio enclosure to estimate the cost.

Building Basics

Start with the basics: zoning. Your city or county zoning code may require specific guidelines be met, like floor height or ceiling pitch. Find out what the code says you can and can't do. Second, figure out who will build it. If you're handy with a hammer, the cost of a project is the sum of its parts and your best pricing friend is the local home-improvement store. Examining sample building plans can help you estimate materials and several are available on do-it-yourself websites. You can get kits for some outdoor projects and comparing them may help you price specific features.

Square Footage

An essential step to pricing is staking out your perimeter walls and door placements. Once that's done you can calculate the linear footage of each wall, the number and width of the doors and the total square footage. Next, choose a floor. Options include covering asphalt with bricks or using stone set in sand and secured with a rigid perimeter border. If that's not for you, try pouring a concrete slab and adding ceramic tile, linoleum or wood flooring. Prices per square foot for these materials can be found fairly easily, so your estimate can be fairly precise.

Wallet Busters

The biggest cost of a more elaborate enclosure, such as a sunroom, is the windows. A sunroom is typically defined as having at least 40 percent of its walls made of glass. Window prices vary. A lot. For example, a 2-foot-by-3-foot window can cost between $60 to $260 each at a home-improvement store. If price is no object, there is specialty glass that looks like it's frosted until an electric current makes it transparent. Figure $50 and up per square foot if you can't live without it.

Screen Gems

Screens are quite reasonable for enclosure side walls and vinyl mesh can be an excellent alternative to metal. As of this writing, velcro-attached vinyl curtains for three sides of a 15x15 enclosure price out at less than $800, with retractable curtains closer to $1,000. While it's fairly easy to price the screens, the roof is another matter. Unless you build it yourself you'll probably need estimates from contractors. To minimize costs, consider making the footprint of your enclosure a standard size.

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