Home improvement has been on your mind, and you are looking at what options might be the best fit for the coming spring. The colder weather in Michigan provides ample opportunity to dream, plan, and get quotes so you can start the project as soon as the weather breaks. A screen room addition could be just what your home needs for summer.
A common improvement homeowners seek is some form of a covered porch or sunroom. There are lots of options for how to implement these rooms, all with varying styles and costs. However, the popularity comes from the estimated 84 percent return on these kinds of projects.
If you are like most people in Michigan, you love being outside and look forward to the warmer weather. However, the bugs often throw a wet towel on those plans, so a screen room seems like it may be a great option.
Before you sign the contract or lay the plans for building one of these additional rooms, consider the following to be sure it will meet all of your needs.
Using Your Screen Room Addition
Before breaking ground or even drafting blueprints, you want to take some time to dream about the room. What do you envision using it for?
Many people decide to build the room, then think about what they will with it afterward. However, that approach often leads to dissatisfaction with the space because you would change some things if you had thought of the details earlier in the process.
You may have many ideas for the space, but here are some that many people enjoy:
- An outdoor office space
- Dining nook
- Playroom for the kids or grandkids
- Excercise space
- Study or school space
- Art studio
- Video Studio
These are just a few of the many options for a screen room. While you can use the space for multiple purposes, it is important to have an idea of which purposes you want. This will affect many aspects of the layout of the room.
For instance, you may want to think about whether you want floor to ceiling screen walls, or whether you want solid half-walls around the room. You may also want to consider whether you want a full wall on one side of the room, and what the construction of that wall.
Consider Enclosure Options
Before beginning, consider the enclosure options available. Normally, these rooms will either have a screen enclosure or will use glass around the room.
To determine what is best for you, refer back to your purpose for the room. Once you know how you will use the room, consider how many months throughout the year you want to make use of the room. Traditional screen rooms may only be useful for six or seven months in Michigan. Even during those months, the weather may inhibit their use.
Glass enclosed rooms, often called sunrooms or solariums, have solid glass walls instead of the screen. These may be useful for the entire year if you decide to tie your HVAC system into the room to provide heat and cooling options.
However, there is another option not normally considered. You can do a screen room with removable glass panes wherever you have the screen. This option will provide use of the room for all but the coldest months.
If you decide to use a space heater it may be useful year-round. Exercise caution, however, to ensure you do not run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning when using a heater.
Think About Electrical Needs
While thinking about the enclosure style, also consider your electrical needs. This is where understanding the use of your space is so important. If you are using the room as a covered porch, you may not need any electrical connections.
However, for almost any other purpose, you will likely want some lights, not to mention a place to plug in various appliances like computers, lamps, or more. This is especially important if you are planning to use the room throughout the colder months and plan to use a space heater.
Electric space heaters draw a considerable amount of electricity. That means you should plan to make the new room a dedicated circuit to avoid overloading existing circuits. Continually overloaded circuits are a significant safety hazard for your home.
You will also want to consider where you are going to place the electrical connections and how you will run the wire. If you are using a half-wall, it is easy to run the line through that wall. However, if you are using floor to ceiling screen, then how will you run the line?
You should also consider the kind of outlets you install to ensure there are no risks of shock. If your room is susceptible to moisture from storms, you should plan to use outdoor use GFCI outlets. A standard indoor outlet is more likely to cause a short if exposed to a storm.
Finding the Right Contractor
Once you have a good idea of what you are going to use the room for and some of what you may need, it is time to find a contractor to work with. Take your time to find a trustworthy contractor before rushing into a project.
The best way to check references in the current market is through online review platforms. There are always Google, Facebook, and Yelp reviews. However, these are questionable in terms of showing you all the reviews so you have a good sense of whom you are considering.
Rather, check sites like Angie’s List or Home Advisor. These services verify the details of reviews to ensure the reviews you see are from actual clients.
Next, get written quotes from at least two or three different contractors. With the details in hand, compare the specific details. Some of what you are looking for includes:
- Who is ordering the materials?
- Who will apply for appropriate building permits?
- Will the contract remove the construction waste at the end?
These are all areas where some contractors hide additional costs and increase the burden on the homeowner. The cost may look better initially, but these details quickly balloon the costs and work you need to put in on the project.