There are several companies that manufacture pre-engineered Porch Systems. Most can be found online with Google or similar search engines. The type of porch you select will depend on a number of considerations. Do you intend to use the porch year-round and what type of “feeling” and look are you seeking? Many “Florida room” designs consist of aluminum panels with thermal-pane glass and sliding doors. These materials are appropriate for modern architecture. Four-season porches are meant to be air-conditioned and heated while serving as additional living space. Wooden versions are also available with either the greenhouse or conservatory look. These go best with traditional architecture. All 4-season enclosures have building code requirements and property tax impact because they increase the square footage of your living space. When considering these types of porches, don’t forget solar exposure. South facing will dramatically increase solar gain. This is good during winter but much less desirable in summer. Some manufacturers offer specially coated glass to minimize greenhouse effect while filtering rays that fade fabrics.
Another porch type is the 3-Season variety. Modular versions can be purchased for new or existing porches as pre-engineered panels. Older Victorian homes included such porches, usually constructed of wooden screen doors. This gave the ability to switch between insect screens and glass. Such porches usually had high-ceilings and were used throughout the spring, summer and fall. You can still buy wooden screen doors to achieve the same traditional porch feel and look, but there are alternatives.
One company (VixenHill.com) offers free online porch design. Simply enter a few dimensions and select options. The website software does the rest. You get a real-time quote with parts list and 3-D architectural views.
Even if you’re thinking of selling your home, an enclosed porch can add more value than its cost. Enjoy the pleasures of outdoor life without the weather and insects that can make a standard open porch uninhabitable.