Do You Want to Add a Sunroom? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Do You Want to Add a Sunroom? Here’s Everything You Need to Know
Do You Want to Add a Sunroom? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Sunrooms, filled with sunlight and cozy patio furniture, are the ideal spot to unwind with a beverage and a good book. When you add a sunroom, these transitional spaces connect your home with the outdoors while protecting you from the elements, allowing you to enjoy the best of indoor and outdoor living at the same time. If you’re considering adding a sunroom to your home, you should know all your options. There’s a lot to consider between the different types of seasonal rooms, materials choices, and budget concerns. Use this guide for everything you need to know before you add a sunroom.

What’s a Solarium, and How’s It Different from a Sunroom?

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Outdoor Living Spaces: A Quick Guide to Adding a Sunroom | Artilux

Types of Sunrooms

Seasonal rooms come in many forms. Here are the basic types to consider if you want to add a sunroom.

Solarium or Conservatory : A glassed-in living space typically attached to the house and accessible from indoors. It’s designed to function as an additional living area during mild weather. However, because sunrooms usually aren’t hooked up to your home’s heating or cooling system, they may not be comfortable in harsh summers or winters.

Four-Season Room : Closely related to the sunroom, this option is designed to be heated and cooled. As a result, when you add a sunroom that’s four seasons, it can be enjoyed year-round.

Attached Greenhouse : Featuring the same basic structure and shell construction as a sunroom or four-season room, an attached greenhouse structure offers light, temperature, and humidity levels designed for plants.

Screened-In Room or Porch : This option has mesh-screen windows or walls rather than glass, which offers the advantage of fresh air without insects. Like the sunroom, it’s habitable only when the weather is agreeable. Because the materials are relatively inexpensive, this is a budget-friendly way to add a sunroom.

Where to Add a Sunroom

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Outdoor Living Spaces: A Quick Guide to Adding a Sunroom | Artilux

Deciding on the best location to add a sunroom is the first step when planning a glass or screen addition. Consider the typical weather where you live and the direction the sunroom windows will face. In northern climates, an area with southern exposure is best because it will get the most light each day. However, a southern exposure means additional cooling, which could be costly. An eastern exposure will ease cooling needs by providing sun in the morning and shade the rest of the day, while a western orientation could expose you to harsh afternoon sun that will need to be shaded. A northern exposure will provide lower levels of light and partial shade most of the day. In the North, this can cause the room to be too cool and damp, but it can work fine in the South, where it may eliminate the need for window treatments or additional cooling.

Types of Sunroom Materials

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Outdoor Living Spaces: A Quick Guide to Adding a Sunroom | Artilux

Understanding the components of a seasonal room will help you select the type of space you want. Here are some common materials used for sunrooms:

Vinyl : Vinyl is the most popular material used for the supports of a sunroom. It costs the least, requires minimal upkeep, and offers the best overall strength and insulation. Most vinyl supports are “multiwalled,” meaning they have an internal reinforcement of either aluminum or galvanized steel.

Aluminum : Aluminum doesn’t insulate as well as vinyl and is usually more expensive. However, many rooms that use vinyl-coated vertical supports for aesthetics or added insulation have aluminum as the roof structure for added strength.

Wood : Wood is the most expensive choice of structural sunroom material. However, it’s the most appropriate choice for screen rooms because you can easily attach the screen mesh to the timbers. Wood requires periodic maintenance to remain in good shape and look its best.

Sunroom Roof and Wall Ideas

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Outdoor Living Spaces: A Quick Guide to Adding a Sunroom | Artilux

Sunrooms, four-season rooms, and greenhouses are walled with glass and roofed with glass or polycarbonate (a tough, transparent thermoplastic). When it comes to selecting the materials for your sunroom, consider the following options:

Glass Walls : Glass walls should be silicone double-sealed, A-rated, and labeled “tempered safety” to meet building code requirements. Double-glazed glass is a popular choice that offers durability, insulation, and glare reduction.

Glass Roof : A glass roof is considerably more expensive but provides the most clarity. Look for the U-value of the glass; this is a measure of how much heat the material conducts. The lower the number, the less heat passes through, so choose the lowest possible U value for the most energy-efficient space.

Polycarbonate : For polycarbonate components, you can choose between different thicknesses. Twin-wall polycarbonate is a popular glazing option for conservatory roofs, offering insulation with a typical U-value of 2.3. Thicker options like 20-millimeter and 25-millimeter twin-wall polycarbonate provide even better insulation and strength, creating a true “room for all seasons## Considerations Before Adding a Sunroom

Before you proceed with adding a sunroom, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind:

1. Building Permits and Regulations : Check with your local building department to determine if you need a permit for adding a sunroom. They can provide information on specific regulations and codes that need to be followed during construction.

2. Budget : Determine your budget for the project. Sunrooms can vary significantly in cost depending on the size, materials used, and any additional features you choose to include.

3. Purpose and Function : Consider how you plan to use the sunroom. Will it be a space for relaxation and entertainment or primarily for growing plants? This will help determine the design and features you incorporate into the sunroom.

4. Climate Control : Decide if you want your sunroom to be heated and cooled year-round or if you’re comfortable with it being usable only during certain seasons. Four-season rooms require additional HVAC considerations to ensure comfort throughout the year.

5. Orientation and Sunlight : Evaluate the orientation of your house and the available sunlight in different areas. Choose a location for the sunroom that maximizes natural light while considering potential heating or cooling challenges.

6. Maintenance : Different materials require varying levels of maintenance. Consider the upkeep required for the chosen materials and select ones that align with your preferences and lifestyle.

Adding a Sunroom | Marc \u0026 Mandy Show

Adding a Sunroom | Marc \u0026 Mandy Show
Adding a Sunroom | Marc \u0026 Mandy Show

7. Design and Aesthetics : Work with an architect or designer to create a sunroom design that complements the existing architecture of your home. Incorporate elements that match your personal style and enhance the overall appeal of your property.

8. Energy Efficiency : Opt for energy-efficient materials, such as insulated glass, to minimize heat gain or loss in the sunroom. This will help regulate the temperature and reduce energy costs.

9. Professional Help : Consult with professionals, such as architects, contractors, or sunroom specialists, to ensure that the design and construction process meets your specific needs and adheres to local regulations.

By considering these factors and thoroughly planning your sunroom addition, you can create a beautiful and functional space that enhances your home and provides a seamless connection to the outdoors.

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