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multitiered deck and patio covered lounge area clarksboro nj

Patio Rooms vs Patio Enclosures: Designing an Outdoor Oasis

Want to escape the hubbub of the house while also keeping a certain distance between yourself and the elements (and those pesky insects)? Join the millions who are bringing the comfort and amenities of the indoors outdoors through the implementation of a patio room (aka outdoor room).

One of the bigger design considerations of a patio room is the degree to which it is enclosed. Let’s take a look at a few different approaches to creating your ideal outdoor oasis.

What’s the difference between patio rooms and patio enclosures?

The term patio room refers to any manner of fully or partially covered outdoor living spaces that are meant to be enjoyed during the warm months. They may be open from one or all sides, employing any vertical built or landscaped element to create walls (or the suggestion thereof).

As the name suggests, a patio enclosure is a type of patio room that is fully enclosed (thus sometimes referred to as an enclosed patio room), with a hinged or sliding entry door. Because patio enclosures possess proper walls and are better insulated, it’s possible to extend their use beyond summer (inspiring another alter-ego, the three-seasons room).

Patio enclosures can be constructed from any number of materials, from simple screens to insulated glass or vinyl. Here at Ayars, we have long been a proponent of the PGT Eze Breeze vinyl enclosure system.

Patio room design considerations

How you design your patio room — including whether or not you enclose it — depends ultimately on your intentions for the space, as well as what’s important to you. For instance, if you want to use it for dining and entertaining, then you’ll want to make sure it adjoins the kitchen for easy access to food and refreshments. Additionally, the space will have to be large enough to accommodate multiple guests. If you have the budget for it, you might consider installing a cooktop or wet bar outside to avoid the back and forth!

Conversely, if you are a more quiet, private person, you might nestle a detached patio room into a garden or more secluded area of your property and relish your surroundings (and perhaps a good book) with more exclusive company. Regardless of how you spend your time (and how much of it) in your covered outdoor living space, bear in mind that the International Residential Code (IRC) proscribes use as a habitable room — which changes it by definition to an addition, subject to different regulations and taxes.

For more food for thought, read up on our do’s and don’ts of outdoor living spaces.

Patio rooms top to bottom

Roofing

An enclosed patio room typically requires a full roof or roof extension, with the requisite framing and shingling. The three most popular types of roofs for patio enclosures are gable (open-faced triangular with two sides sloping out from a centerline), hipped (a closed-face triangular roof that has three or more sides sloping down from a common point), and shed (rectangular, downward sloping). Homeowners can get creative by incorporating glass ceilings or skylights for a more modern or greenhouse flavor.

For an unenclosed patio room, the playbook (like the space itself) is much more open. Cloth canopies, retractable roller shades, pergola structures, or any combination thereof are among the most popular roofing solutions. You might even try a green (living) roof to truly camouflage your space with the backyard, or employ ivy or some other species of creeping vine to fill in the gaps of a partial roof.

Walls and windows

Whatever you choose to play the role of “wall” in your outdoor patio room will have a tremendous influence on the privacy, ventability, and overall seasonality of the space. As we mentioned earlier, a patio room technically only requires the suggestion of walls to define its boundaries. Drapes, curtains, hedges, shrubs, pavers, fences, and/or latticework might all serve this function.

A patio enclosure demands framing (aluminum, fiberglass, wood) to hold screens and/or windows in place. The simplest enclosures will only include window screens, which will filter out the bugs, but not the weather. Glass windows and/or window walls offer the maximum insulation and UV filtration capabilities, but depending on the size of the enclosure, can represent a significant expense.

The Eze Breeze enclosure system’s vinyl-glazed panels represent an excellent compromise, with great flexibility in design. They can be configured either horizontally or vertically to fit any opening size, with a variety of venting options to effectively mimic the function of glass windows. A broad palette of tinting and color options makes it easier to adjust for privacy and aesthetics. The panels also pop out for stress-free cleaning and maintenance.

Flooring

Last but not least, we need to decide what we’re going to set our feet on. As with the other facets of our patio room, there is a wealth of options out there, from concrete, bricks, and pavers to more luxurious flagstone and ceramic tile flooring. Engineered materials (e..g vinyl plank flooring) and wood-look tiles can convincingly emulate other patterns and textures with savings in cost. Wood decking still has its advocates, but it does not weather seasonal changes well without consistent maintenance.

Patio room examples

Exterior home improvements are one of the pillars Ayars is built on, and to this day we take pride in designing and constructing beautiful outdoor living spaces for our clients, whether they be decks, porches, or patio enclosures. Here are a couple of examples from our portfolio to demonstrate how both an open and enclosed patio room can beautifully come to life.

Fully enclosed outdoor living room

This outdoor living room is a prime example of the PGT Eze Breeze vinyl porch enclosure system in practice. Like a classic indoor living room, the central feature is a fully operational fireplace, backed with Evolve Stone lightweight stone veneers and a custom-miter folded mantle fashioned from wire-brushed hemlock.

sewell nj outdoor living room with direplace

Open outdoor living room

This outdoor living room in Clarksboro, NJ comprises just one part of a bona fide outdoor entertaining complex, connecting to a more traditional deck, grilling and fire pit area, and in-ground pool. Attractively furnished and ringed with fairy lights, it also includes a ceiling-mounted television for watching the season’s hottest sporting events or just winding down after dinner with the family.

multitiered deck and patio clarksboro nj

Bring the indoors outdoors with Ayars

Are you itching to bring the indoors outdoors? The Ayars team is booked for Summer 2022, but would love to plan ahead for the seasons to come.

patio room in mickleton new jersey

5 Creative Ways to Use Eze Breeze Enclosure Systems

Forty years after its introduction, the popularity of PGT Eze Breeze has yet to blow over. This incredibly versatile line of products was spawned from the Progressive Glass Technologies division of VinylTech in the 1980s, first offering vinyl porch enclosures. Later that decade, the Florida-based company began manufacturing Eze Breeze windows, opening up even more design possibilities to homeowners. Just as Eze Breeze helped launch a NYSE-traded company (PGT Innovations), it can still help you launch some truly inspiring home remodeling projects

What is Eze Breeze?

The fundamental building block of every Eze Breeze product is the impact-resistant vinyl-glazed panel. Despite its lightweight construction, it’s remarkably resilient and durable. The panels can be configured vertically or horizontally, with various venting options to allow for as much or little airflow as you desire. Both panels and frames are available in various colors and tints to comply with your aesthetic and privacy requirements, and can be customized to fit any opening. As an added bonus, the panels easily pop out for cleaning and maintenance

Whether you’re using them to fully or partially enclose a porch, patio, or sunroom, Eze Breeze panels offer an excellent way to meld indoor and outdoor spaces. 

Retrofitting with Eze Breeze

The real appeal of the Eze Breeze vinyl enclosure system is its ability to transform and extend the utility of an existing deck, screen porch, or patio. By retrofitting these spaces, you can create a room you can enjoy nearly all year-round. It capably keeps the elements (and critters) out while letting air and light in, and screens UV radiation to preserve your furniture from fading. The standard vertical 4-track unit can be mounted into an opening from the outside (no interior trim required) or inside and is sealed for weather-tightness. With a little assistance from a portable heater or air conditioner, your enclosed porch or patio can maintain a comfortable temperature whether it’s snowy or sweltering outside.

Better yet, after installation, the enclosed porch or patio is still considered a porch or patio —  meaning it won’t alter your home’s assessed tax value in the same way an addition would. With an Eze-Breeze retrofit, you get a lot of the functionality of an addition at a fraction of the cost. 

patio room in mickleton new jersey

What can you enclose with an Eze Breeze retrofit?

Your Eze Breeze porch enclosure can be implemented in a bounty of creative ways.

1. Enclosed Gazebo

Plan an escape within your own backyard with an enclosed gazebo. Totally detached from the house, these outdoor sanctuaries offer a full 360-degree view of your surrounding landscaping while providing around-the-clock shade and shelter. Enclosing your gazebo with Eze Breeze vinyl-glazed panels is an upgrade over mesh screens alone, allowing you to adjust airflow and keep windblown precipitation out as you read, practice yoga, meditate, or just unwind after a long day. 

2. Pool House

Tired of wet feet trudging through the kitchen on a hot summer day? Build an enclosed pool house or cabana stocked with dry towels, refreshments, and toiletries — for a truly luxurious feel, you might even add a bar or lounge seating — and drippy kids and houseguests may never have to venture inside again. When the sun goes down and the air gets cooler, Eze Breeze panels can help keep the heat in and bugs out. The pool party is over when you say it is.

3. Greenhouse

Green thumbs will appreciate Eze Breeze in the context of a greenhouse. Bathe fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers in sunlight while regulating UV radiation and precipitation infiltration by simply sliding out or removing vinyl panels. A Eze Breeze greenhouse would make a beautiful home addition, patio feature, or even freestanding structure elsewhere on your property.

4. Sunroom

Wake up and smell the coffee — or the sweet fragrance of spring flowers, fresh-cut grass in the summer, or crisp scent of fallen leaves in the autumn — by incorporating Eze Breeze into a sunroom. And because the panels are UV-resistant, your skin can enjoy all the benefits of sunlight without the sunburn.

5. Garage

Garages aren’t just for cars anymore (or storing your tools/equipment/junk either). With PGT Eze Breeze’s garage side slider, you can aspire for more — a home bar, mancave, game room, gallery, studio, or anything else you can conceive — it’s like pairing the functionality of a finished basement with the breathability of a patio. If you’re content with your car parked outside, you’ll be more than content with exploring the possibilities with Eze Breeze.

At Ayars Complete Home Improvements, we love the Eze Breeze enclosure system and we think you will, too. We’re booked through the current season, but would love to see if your project is a good match for us in the long term. Peruse our project galleries for a glimpse of what we can make happen for you.