Enclosed Decks - Storm Windows on a Three-Season Porch

How to Create a Porch Enclosure Using Fixed Windows or Removable Storm Windows to Extend the Seasons

Love your screened-in porch? You’d probably love it even more if you had a porch enclosure that extended the time you spent enjoying it.

Of course, you could always build a whole new porch, but that can be costly. There are some excellent options to enclose your porch with storm windows and storm panels at a reasonable cost.

Generally, storm windows add 6 to 8 weeks of additional use in the spring and fall. If you get full sun in the springtime, that timeframe may be extended even more. And even in New England, a sunny day in the middle of winter could produce a 30-degree temperature rise on the porch for partial use.

Option 1: Storm Panels (Over Screens)

Not only do storm panels make your porch much more comfortable, but they can also add to the appearance of your home. The sleek look of glass from the street adds beauty and significant value to your home and provides a bright, sunny room to hang out in.

In this case, storm panels were added over the existing screens. There were not any carpentry modifications, and the price was very affordable. The homeowner removes them seasonally.


This relatively inexpensive option adds seasonal living space to your home at minimal cost.

storm windows with screens in place
Existing screening left in place, with storm panels inserted on the inside. Worcester MA

Option 2. Permanent Storm Windows Without Any Screens

A porch enclosure without any screens saves removing and storing panels. It also will create a stronger enclosure as all the components are permanently installed. A major drawback is missing out on the cool nighttime summer breezes. As a general rule, this is only ideal for someone who travels in the summer or for people who suffer from major allergies.


Less cost and a more rigid construction.

Tempered, fixed glass storm panels Southboro MA
Tempered, fixed glass storm panels in Southboro, MA

Option 3: Removable Seasonal Storm Windows & Screens

This is the most common option and generally does not require much, if any, carpentry. The customer removes the screens and inserts the storms in the fall. Then, they swap them back in the spring. This creates a screened porch in the warmer months. It also creates a great view without any screen mesh limiting the view in the cooler months.


This is a little more money but adds a better view in the winter. It also adds quite a bit of seasonal living space for a great value.

Porch setup with seasonal swap of screens and storm panels Ashland MA
Porch setup with a seasonal swapping of the screens and storm panels in Ashland, MA

Option 4: Operable Window Panels with Screens

Many people love the option of letting in pleasant weather and blocking out unpleasant weather quickly and easily. On the nice days and evenings, you can open the window in seconds and enjoy the weather and breeze with just the screen in place. Historically, this was always done with triple-track storm windows. Unfortunately, the price has risen (along with the quality) for triple-track storm windows, and regular house windows may be able to provide the same features at a comparable price.


The windows can be quickly opened and closed. This is especially important in the spring and fall. They also have a half-screen option, which allows for a perfect view through half of the window. This option saves the effort of carrying and storing storm window panels every spring and fall

Triple track storm windows on a three season porch Sutton MA
Triple track storm windows on a three-season porch in Sutton, MA

Option 5: Sliding Window Systems

Specifically made for porches, these sliding windows offer immediate opening and closing. They are available in full or half screens, which offer the best view. A major difference in this choice is the availability of a double-pane version. Double-pane glass has more insulating value and can stretch out the season even further. Sliding porch windows offer more ventilation and a better view than triple-track storm windows.


These make a very high-quality porch enclosure while maintaining some characteristics of screened porches and enclosed porches.

Three season porch with sliding windows Natick MA
Three-season porch with sliding windows in Natick, MA
Exterior view sliding porch windows Natick MA
Exterior view of sliding porch windows in Natick, MA

Glass Choices for Porch Enclosures

Annealed Glass 

Annealed glass is everyday glass found in your windows at home. It can work well for some of the projects listed above, but in larger panes, you would want to look at safety glass. Any glass below 18”  to the floor or inside doors (within 24”)  would need safety glass.

Tempered Glass (Safety Glass)

Tempered glass is a hardened glass that is four times as strong as annealed glass and is designed to break into small pebbles when it is shattered. The side windows in your car are made of tempered glass. Carrying large storm panels can be difficult, and even if the safety code does not apply to you, it would be good practice for you to have the panels made of tempered glass.

Acrylic Plexiglass (Safety Glass)

Plexiglass is a very lightweight material, and when removing and reinstalling panels, you may appreciate this very much. Plexiglass is brilliantly clear when new but scratches much easier than glass. It needs its own cleaners because it is more of a plastic than a glass. People frequently use glass cleaners on plexiglass, which dulls the surface. If you do choose plexiglass, be sure to use the appropriate cleaner. Modern plexiglass generally does not turn yellow in the sun — especially in moderate climates like ours.

Acrylic plexiglass storm panels below, tempered glass used in fixed windows above. Westwood MA
Acrylic plexiglass storm panels below, and tempered glass is used in the fixed windows above them in Westwood, MA

Low e Glass

Low e glass is used for almost every door and window in the country that is in a “conditioned” space. Condition space is any area that is heated or cooled. Low e glass basically reflects heat. In a heated environment it reflects the heat back into a room. In a hot climate, it reflects heat off of the window.


Storm Windows: Final Thoughts

Enclosing a porch adds valuable living space at a very reasonable price. Especially compared to the relative to the cost of adding an addition. It will definitely add value to your home and might be the deciding factor for a buyer when you put your house on the market.

A peaceful room like this is a great place to watch the falling snow, relax with a cup of morning coffee, or snuggle with your partner. During the coldest parts of winter, you can even put a radiant space heater out there for a few hours to increase comfort.

Three season porch enclosure with storm windows in Worcester, MA
Three season porch enclosure with storm windows in Worcester, MA