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Frequently Asked Questions About Sunrooms

Sunrooms are a very good investment towards the future of your home. Once you decide on adding a sunroom to your house, you'll have plenty of research to do, and along the way you'll also have plenty of questions about sunrooms.

What is a Sunroom?

A sunroom is a basic room addition that is enclosed largely with glass and affording exposure to the sun. They are sometimes referred to as sun parlors, solariums, green rooms, conservatories, porch enclosures, or patio rooms. Sunrooms can be a simple glassed in porch or deck, an addition to your kitchen or family room or a separate structure to your home with its own entry and exit.

What types of sunrooms are available?

There are four common types of sunrooms which include seasonal sunrooms, solariums or conservatories, patio rooms, and knee-wall rooms.

  • Seasonal Sunrooms - Used from spring to fall in colder regions and all year round in warmer climates. They are typically constructed with single pane glass windows and screens. The screens can either be full-length or built at a knee-wall. Seasonal sunrooms are not typically designed to be heated or air conditioned. They generally use the windows for natural ventilation. For added comfort, window blinds and shades can be installed.
  • Solariums and Conservatories - Used all year round. Solariums use insulated glass which allows the room to be heated and air conditioned. It also offers a panoramic view of the surroundings. Like seasonal sunrooms, solariums can have a full wall of glass or be constructed with a knee-wall. Most solariums are built with a curved or straight eave roof.
  • Patio Rooms - Generally used from spring to fall. Patio rooms consist of walls that are meshed all the way around. This allows fresh air in and keeps insects out.
  • Knee-wall Rooms - A knee-wall is a wall with a height that usually reaches the windowsill, which offers both a view of the outdoors as well as some privacy of indoors. Knee walls provide a more structured feeling and can also be used to run electric lines.

What type of window structures can be used?

Four types of window structures are available and your selection will depend on your budget and local building codes: The types include Aluminum, Vinyl/PVC, Wood and Clad.

  • Aluminum - Works well for structural support, but doesn’t work as a good insulator.
  • Vinyl (PVC) - Works as a good insulator, but will typically require additional reinforcement. Vinyl is a durable material that is inexpensive and requires little maintenance.
  • Wood - Works good for screen porches and patio rooms. Unfortunately, wood requires periodic maintenance, is prone to rotting, and expensive. In addition, wood sunrooms are very energy efficient.
  • Clad - Offers good energy-efficiency and minimal maintenance. Clad is moderately priced.

What are the window glass options?

Obviously glass is an important element of a sunroom considering the room is mainly made up of glass. The windows you choose will determine the level of comfort your sunroom provides.

Sunroom window glass options include:

  • Single Glazed (doesn’t provide sufficient insulation)
  • Double-glazed (two layers of glass filled with air or gas, U-value ranges from 2 to 2.5)
  • Triple Paned Glass (three layers of glass filled with air or gas)
  • Low E Glazing (coated with thin layers of metallic oxide, rejects energy wavelengths and greatly reduces heat transfer)
  • Polymer Coating (repels dirt)

Additional options include using Argon Filled Glass which reduces the amount of temperature in a room and provides better insulation. Also Tempered Glass, also known as safety glass, which breaks into small pieces instead of large shards. And lastly, Tinted Windows which can reject unwanted heat and UV rays.

Where should my sunroom be located?

The location of your sunroom depends greatly on what you plan to use your sunroom for.

If you enjoy shade and are looking for a sunroom with a cool breeze, a northern exposure will work well for you. In colder climates, you may need to heat northern exposed sunrooms.

If you are trying to get the most sun possible, a southern exposure will offer you the most. If you live in the north, then southern exposure will provide a nice warm, cozy room. However, if you live in the south, the room can get very hot and may require a cooling system.

For a mix of both sun and shade, eastern and western exposures work well. Eastern exposures provide sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon. Western exposures offer afternoon sun exposure.

What roof styles are there?

There are five main roof styles for a sunroom. Roof styles include a curved eave roof, a straight eave roof, a slanted roof, a cathedral style roof and a solid roof.

What are the benefits of a sunroom?

There are many benefits to adding a sunroom to your existing home. We have listed the major benefits to sunroom additions below:

  • Sunrooms are a practical and affordable way to increase the value and outward appeal of your home.
  • The resale value of a sunroom averages 89% - 115% of original cost.
  • On average, sunrooms are used about 4 hours per day.
  • Sunrooms are one the top important aspects to a house in the realty market.
  • Sunrooms provide extra living space.
  • Sunrooms allow you to enjoy the scenery and wildlife surrounding you without ever leaving the convenience of your home.
  • Sunrooms are beneficial to your health. Studies have shown that exposure to sunlight helps with mental illness and depression.
  • Sunrooms can be used for many activities such as reading, exercise, relaxing, dining, or it can be used as a kids play room or an entertainment room for guests.

What options can be added to a sunroom for climate control?

If you have a solid roof on your sunroom, skylights can be added to bring additional sunlight into the room and create an open, airy feeling. However, if you are planning to house a hot tub or plants, you may want to consider enclosing the entire room with glass to get the best sun exposure.

Vents and ceiling fans can be added to offer better ventilation. Fans will improve air circulation in a sunroom and create a nice breeze.

To control the heat, you can install shades or blinds. They will control the heat and glare that come in through the glass windows. In the summer they can reduce the heat, and in the winter they can retain the heat. Shades and blinds also provide a sunroom with privacy.

Lastly, heaters can be installed to provide heat for the winter. You can install the heater in a traditional fashion or in the floors for added comfort. Keep in mind; a great way to enhance the appearance of your sunroom and also provide heat is to install a fireplace.

How much would it cost to build a sunroom?

The price of a sunroom varies depending on several aspects. The main variables include where the sunroom is located, the size of sunroom, the type of glass used, and additional options such as the number of windows and the number of doors. The prices can also vary per region of the country. Keep in mind; you will need to take into account all added costs for labor and installation. Expect a starting pay of $3000-$5000 for an average sized sunroom with no special materials or designs. Sunrooms with larger dimensions, higher end materials, trickier designs and larger amounts of glass can start anywhere from $10,000- $15,000.

Looking For More Information About Sunrooms?

Sunrooms can be an excellent way to add value to your home. You'll want to make sure you are choosing the right sunroom for your home and your budget. We offer Free Sunrooms Quotes from local, reliable contractors.

Sunroom Contractors In All Fifty States

Vinyl Sunrooms

Vinyl Sunrooms
Vinyl (PVC) sunrooms are by far the best selling sunrooms today. Vinyl is a highly insulated material that is virtually maintenance free and available in an array of styles, shapes and sizes. It is enjoyed by many because it can be manufactured in all the most popular designs including Victorian, Edwardian, Georgian and Lean-To. It is a versatile and reliable product that performs well in both the extremes of cold and heat.

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Sunroom Designs

Sunroom Designs
Sunrooms are beautiful additions in a house that offer a quiet place to retreat and enjoy the natural sunlight and the brilliance of your green garden. But what many people want to know is how to decorate the sunroom itself. Of course everyone has their own personal tastes when it comes to decorating, but there are special ways to enhance this unique room. Color Scheme: Using light colors in your sunroom is beneficial in several ways.

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Sunroom Styles

Sunroom Styles
There are several different styles of sunrooms to choose from. Of course the design of the sunroom plays a role in this, but there are also other important factors. In fact, there are three main factors that will determine the type of sunroom you build. The factors include 1.) The amount of glass you want in your sunroom, 2.) How many seasons you plan to use the room for, and 3.) Whether or not you want to create new space or alter an existing space.

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