Pool Screen Enclosures: Are They Worth the Cost?

Inground pool covered by a screen enclosure

A swimming pool is supposed to be a refuge from the stress and frustrations of everyday life. That’s why pool owners generally don’t take kindly to annoyances like excess debris or bugs in the pool area. In fact, to protect their backyard sanctuaries, many of them take the seemingly extreme measure of having their pools completely screened in.

Pool screen enclosures (aka pool cages or pool lanais) are commonplace in Florida, where they not only protect against mosquitoes but offer refuge from the sun and heat. With growing awareness of the Zika virus, it’s likely that more and more people will be looking to screen off pools and other outdoor areas. But is it the right decision for you?

Pluses and Minuses

Pool screens are effective at blocking off the pool area from all sides. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your perspective and the situation. Let’s start by listing some of the main advantages of this type of pool enclosure:

  • Keeps mosquitoes and other pests away from swimmers
  • Keeps leaves and other debris out of the pool
  • Blocks sight lines to the pool, providing a measure of privacy
  • Blocks some sunlight, so the pool and pool area stay cooler
  • Serves as a safety barrier for your pool
  • Prevents wild animals like frogs and ducks from entering your pool area
Pool lanai enclosure with view of a lake in the distance
A screened in area keeps the pests out.

So, given all those benefits, why aren’t swimming pool screens more popular? Because a screened enclosure also comes with a few disadvantages:

  • Blocks sight lines to the pool, keeping you from enjoying its beauty from other parts of your property
  • Blocks sunlight, potentially leaving the pool and pool area too cool
  • Requires periodic cleaning and repairs
  • Isn’t aesthetically pleasing – in fact, some consider pool screens to be eyesores
A pool lanai like this serves as a wonderful place to relax, no matter the weather
A pool lanai such as this fits seamlessly with the architecture – still, some just don’t like the look of enclosures.

Of course, there’s one other notable downside to pool screen enclosures, and that’s the price tag. Because cost is always a major factor when considering a pool feature, it deserves separate treatment.

How Much Does a Pool Screen Enclosure Cost?

Prices vary, but pool screen enclosures typically cost $6-8 per square foot. Based on that, you can expect to pay several thousand dollars at minimum to screen in an average-sized inground swimming pool. Estimating the bottom-line price for a pool lanai is difficult because of the following variables:

  • Size of the area being screened
  • Height of the enclosure
  • Number of sides to be screened (in other words, does it connect to the house?)
  • Exact materials used

Naturally, you can save a lot by screening the pool yourself. In fact, you can find pool screen enclosure kits that make the job easier. Still, before undertaking such a project, make sure it conforms to the residential pool code in your area – especially if you plan to use the enclosure to meet safety barrier requirements.

Don’t “Cage” Yourself In

If you’re unsure about getting a pool screen enclosure, the best advice is take your time deciding. Unless you have past experience with pool screens, or special concerns that make one particularly attractive, you can afford to take a wait-and-see approach. After you’ve used the pool for a summer or two, you can get it screened in if it turns out to be necessary.

Pool lanai enclosure
Pool screens like this can typically be added later, giving you time to decide whether you really need one.

Even in places that are notorious for mosquitoes, many pool owners get by just fine without a screen enclosure. In these cases, keeping the pool properly chlorinated and in good working condition are enough to keep the pests at bay. Luck of the draw is also important, as even within the same general area, some locations just seem to draw bugs more than others.

Before getting your pool screened, also make sure you look into other types of enclosures that could meet your needs. And, as always when choosing a contractor, get at least a couple of quotes for the job. It’s worth doing the extra legwork – after all, you’re protecting your sanctuary.

8 thoughts on “Pool Screen Enclosures: Are They Worth the Cost?”

  1. Angela Waterford

    It’s good to know that pool enclosures can keep mosquitoes away from me if I have one built on my pool. I think I’ll get a company to finance one for me since it typically costs about $6-8 per square foot to make. Screening the pool by myself is a good idea, but since I don’t know how to do it myself, I will just hire someone to do it.

  2. Steven Joshua Tippins

    I have built pool enclosures my entire life and its fairly easy, the hardest thing is to get the screen rolled tight

  3. its all about the bugs and in florida a reduction in sun helps too, keeps your pool cooler, less sunburn. In california or florida I wouldnt get a screened enclosure as evaporation cools off the pool water in the heat. But in florida humidity, keeping the pool cooler in summer plus bug protection will dramatically change the utility of the pool..

  4. We live in the Charleston SC area. And we have been quoted $31500 for 30 x 46 foot screened in pool enclosure that will come off the house. Does that price sound correct. Or has everything just gone up in price?

    1. I live in Charleston also. I used to live in Fl and have used them. I wondered why there isn’t many here, except for the tree’s

Comments are closed.