Spring is here; and for those of us who’ve just come through another cold winter, a long stretch of comfortable weather awaits. It will be six months (or more) until temperatures drop low and the snow flies again. For many homeowners, this is a great feeling. It inspires many people to think about outdoor projects and even home additions that could enhance the enjoyment of the Spring, Summer and Fall months.

But when you really start to look at the home additions available for outdoor enjoyment, things can get a little foggy. You have screened porches, open porches, outdoor decks, pergolas and gazebos. All of these are fairly common — but what are the practical differences, and which one is right for you?

We’re going to focus here on screened porches, open porches, and outdoor decks.

Screened porches

Screened porches are also known as “three-season” porches, for exactly the reasons described in the beginning of this article. People tend to use them during Spring, Summer and Fall — during the winter, it may be too cold to get much use of them. They provide a breezy, comfortable living space that’s protected from insects and elements — although dust can be an issue. Hard rains can also cause water to enter through the screens. Many three-season porches have proper windows that can be opened or closed, or screens that can be “swapped” for glass as needed. This can provide an extra element of security and comfort, depending on the season.

Open porches

An open porch is usually (but not always) covered; the design concepts are endless. But since they’re “open,” they aren’t screened in. Homeowners will be less likely to use open porches when there are a lot of insects around, or when temperatures are too extreme. Open porches can, however, create a nice connection between your home and the natural surroundings. They’re also generally more affordable to build, since they don’t have walls. Open porches can work well for entertaining and even outdoor cooking.

Outdoor decks

Outdoor decks are similar to outdoor porches, except decks are necessarily raised from the ground, and built either from wood/plastic composites or natural wood. Outdoor decks are generally not covered. As a result, they’re more exposed to the elements. People are getting more bold with outdoor decks, using them as multi-functional living spaces for exercise, entertaining and even cooking. Some outdoor decks have full kitchens and built-in seating.

What’s the best option for you?

Knowing what kind of indoor/outdoor addition you want to go for can be confusing. It really depends on your individual goals, possible effects on property value, what works best with your unique property and landscape, and how much money you want to invest. Screened porches, open porches, and outdoor decks all have pros and cons. Talking to a professional who is experienced (and reputable) in home additions is a good first step. The more knowledge you’re able to acquire, the better your chances of making a choice you’ll be happy with over the long term.

Client Testimonials

J.Widener from Newton, NJ

“Outstanding team. Very impressed with the whole process and the most with my new beautiful deck!”

S.Long from Franklin Township, NJ

“The deck looks FANTASTIC. I still can’t believe that Deck Guardian was able to resurface my old, ugly deck. Our neighbors have stopped by to comment on how great the deck looks. The attention to detail, work ethic and professionalism set this company apart. I highly recommend Deck Guardian!”

M.Lewis from Fleminton, NJ

“We have received numerous compliments from Neighbor’s and friend’s who think that the finished project looks terrific. Not only do I appreciate the “quality job”, but I really appreciate the professional manner Skip handled all the details!”

L.Cohen from West Orange, NJ

“When I came home yesterday, I could not believe how amazing my newly resurfaced deck looked. Crew did an amazing job. It was also a pleasure to work with your salesperson, very professional and knowledgeable!”

S.Smith from Chester Township, NJ

“I’m completely impressed. I have dealt with my share of contractors as I have been updating my home for several years. Deck Guardian gets the gold medal. Deck Guardian restored my 10 year old deck & fence to a brand new condition. I am amazed!”

P.Tang from Westfield, NJ

“Deck Guardian Team did a good and pleasant job to give us a professional service and a beautiful new deck, without replacing it. We love the color and the way it feels like. Highly recommended!”

Kathryn Barchi from Piscataway, NJ

“My husband and I had recently moved into a new home and quite quickly we learned of so many things that both us and the home inspector missed prior to the purchase; the deck being one huge item. We quite desperately wanted to use our deck and know that it was safe for us, our kids, our pups, and our guests, which in the original state, was definitely not the case. Deck Guardian to the rescue! The Deck Guardian team, from the free estimate to the point of project close, were quite wonderful to work with entirely. They even pointed out additional things we had missed with regards to the safety of our deck. Of course, best of all, the Deck Guardian team was able to work within our budget, while giving us back our deck with a new lease on life. Deck Guardian far exceeded our expectations and for that, my husband and I can not thank them enough!!!”

Jessica Ravitz from Skillman, NJ

“Deck Guardian completed an amazing deck replacement project for us in less than 2 weeks after we signed our contract. Not only did they provide an extremely competitive price, we got a beautiful deck that so greatly exceeded our expectations! Everyone at Deck Guardian is wonderful – from the estimator, the crew and the administrative staff – very friendly, professional, meticulous and hard working. We are so pleased and give the highest recommendation!!! Thank you Deck Guardian!”

Paul Cichello from Bridgewater, NJ

“I contacted Deck Guardian and was given an estimate the very next day. The representative was very knowledgeable and fair. The workers were polite and professional. We are satisfied with our new deck and would recommend Deck Guardian to anyone who wants quality work.”