How To Insulate A Screened Porch For Winter

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A screened porch gives you a feeling of being outdoors while being protected from the weather elements. It’s a great place to dine, entertain guests, or simply relax quietly, enjoying the sunshine and the view outside. But as the winter approaches, you may be wondering how to insulate your screened porch. We have done the research to provide you with answers.

To keep it warm during the winter without compromising the view outside, you can insulate your screened porch by installing any of these materials:

  • Clear heavy-duty vinyl curtains
  • Clear heavy-duty vinyl sheet
  • Acrylic panels

Continue reading to discover the reasons to insulate your porch. We'll also tackle the insulation options available to keep out the cold and the related costs.

Cozy screened porch winter during Holidays season, snowy roofs and woods in the background - How To Insulate A Screened Porch For Winter

How Do You Insulate Your Screened Porch In Preparation For Winter?

Cozy, warm inviting scene on patio with snow covered furniture on screened porch with view of winter scene outside.

There are various options to insulate your porch by covering it. They largely depend, however, on your preferred style and budget.

Install Clear Heavy Duty Vinyl Curtains

Heavy-duty clear vinyl curtains are great for keeping out the cold and keeping your porch warm. Since they are clear, your view outside is unobstructed. 

Ensure it has the correct mounting, preferably made from galvanized steel to prevent rusting. 

The ultraviolet rays can quicken the wear and tear of these curtains; therefore, remove them when winter is over. 

Install Heavy Duty Clear Vinyl Sheets

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Clear vinyl sheets are a better option to insulate your porch as you have to install them directly on the screen. They can withstand weather elements including snow. These vinyl sheets seal completely, closing gaps that may bring in cold drafts or any other undesirable elements. 

Always keep in mind, nonetheless, that the sheets have to be thick to protect them against damage. A gauge between 30 and 40 is fairly heavy for a cozy room, though you could get one with a higher gauge of between 60 and 80 that is more durable. 

You also have to get a vinyl sheet with a cold-crack rating that can withstand the cold temperatures in the area you live. Harsh temperatures can cause the vinyl sheet to crack.

Below is a guideline on how to install the vinyl sheets on your screens to insulate your porch:

Items Needed

  • Clear and thick vinyl sheets with a gauge of 30, 40, or more
  • Heavy-duty cutters
  • Screws
  • Grommets
  • Measuring tape
  • Velcro tape

Instructions

  1. Clean the windows and frame thoroughly to enable the Velcro tape to stick properly.
  2. With a measuring tape, measure the length and width of the screens to know the size of vinyl sheets you will need. Remember to purchase sheets with a gauge and cold-crack rating suitable for the temperatures in your area.
  3. Add an extra 2 inches to the length and width of the sheet to fit both the screen and framing. 
  4. With a heavy-duty scissor, cut the sheets according to the measurements you have taken.
  5. Peel the Velcro tape and stick it to all the sides of the frame.
  6. Strengthen the adherence of the Velcro to the framing by stapling on it. Alternatively, you could use screws to secure the Velcro tape tightly.
  7. You may still secure further by installing grommets or marine snaps along the top edge, spacing them 2 feet apart. 
  8. Cut the Velcro as per the screen measurements, and attach it to the edges of the vinyl sheet. 
  9. Finally, take your vinyl sheet and attach it to the Velcro tape that is already stuck to the framing, and stick it carefully covering the porch screen. Ensure there are no gaps that could allow in cold air. 

Install Acrylic Panels

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Acrylic panels, also known as Plexiglass panels, that can be used to insulate the screen or window of your porch are more effective than vinyl sheets. They are excellent at keeping your porch warm, keeping the cold out more than vinyl sheets would. They are durable and do not discolor with time like the vinyl sheets.

You may fix these panels at the onset of winter, and remove them in summer when they are not needed.

It is a DIY project, but you can call a technician to install the panels if you are not confident enough to do the job yourself. 

Instructions

  1. Measure your screens and send the dimensions to a manufacturer to custom-make the panels.
  2. The manufacturer will ship the kit with all the parts.  
  3. Fit the U-channels according to the manual sent, and screw them into the wooden frame. 
  4. Detach the protective film from each side of the acrylic panel and pop them into the U-channel. 

Below is a video that demonstrates how to install acrylic panels into your screened porch:

Extra Additions

Insulating your porch may not be enough to keep it warm throughout winter. You may need to add the following  for a warm and comfortable room:

Portable Heater

An isolated gas heater on a freezing cold winter night burning at full capacity, glowing orange and radiating heat.

A portable heater is a good option when you want to add warmth to your porch. With a wide selection available, it is better to purchase infrared heaters.

Unlike the convection heaters that work by heating the air, the infrared heaters work by heating the objects in a room. Thus, they heat a room much faster.

You could install a permanent heater if you convert your porch into an all-season room. 

Outdoor Fireplace

An alternative to a heater is an electric or gas outdoor fireplace, which is basically more of a luxurious add-on.

It’s crucial to note that installing a fireplace can be quite expensive. For example, the firebox can cost up to $2,500 for one that is made from stainless steel, and some cost as low as $500.

Electric fireplaces will do just fine on a chilly winter day, but gas fireplaces may be more favorable as they provide more heat and are more suitable for an area that is not less than 400 square feet.

Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan is an excellent way of warming your porch. It doesn’t necessarily warm up the room but rather spreads the warm air across the room.

When the fan is turned counterclockwise, a breeze is produced. But, when it is turned clockwise, it pushes the warm air from the ceiling downwards.

Door And Ceiling Insulation

Insulating your porch will not adequately keep the heat in if there are gaps that let out warm air. Weather strip the doors and caulk the ceiling to close the cracks and spaces. 

Benefits Of Insulating Your Screened Porch

Cozy screened porch winter during Holidays season, snowy roofs and woods in the background.

There's a lot that goes into making your porch as comfortable as possible. Some of the advantages of insulating your porch include:

Reduced Energy Bills

Whereas installing insulation will improve the warmth in your porch, reduced energy bills will be an added advantage.

Noise Barrier

Other than preventing warm air from escaping, insulation creates a noise barrier to the sound outside your porch. This is a wonderful addition if you live in a noisy neighborhood.

Functional Porch

Your porch can be just as functional in winter as in the summer. You don’t have to wait for winter to pass to use your porch again.

How Much Is It To Insulate Your Porch?

Beautiful snowy winter view of a Northwoods mixed forest (deciduous and coniferous) through a screened-in porch on a rustic cabin

Insulating your porch is a great way to make it functional all year round. But there are costs involved which you have to think about. If you want to save money, a DIY project is more appropriate. Hiring a professional will cost you more.

Acrylic panels cost more than vinyl curtains and sheets because they winterize a porch more effectively than the latter.

The cost of an acrylic sheet generally depends on its size, thickness, and brand. For example, a sheet that is 0.3 to 4 inches thick will cost between $30 and $150 per square foot. Customized sheets will most likely have a higher price.

In Closing

You can use your screened porch all year round by installing effective insulation to block out the cold air and prevent warm air from escaping.

However, you may still need to make a few adjustments to your porch to keep it warm and comfortable. The costs will depend on the type of insulation and additional adjustments done to add warmth to your screened porch.

Before you go, you might want to look into these related posts:

How To Insulate Underneath Porch

Insulating Porch Ceiling

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