Adding a sunroom to your home is nothing like it used to be – not in terms of design, efficiency, or aesthetic appeal. You may be thinking of sunrooms, as they existed thirty years ago. These sunrooms were built with single-pane glass, aluminum, and metallic-looking, non-insulated roofs. Although pleasant enough to sit in given that bugs in the summertime were kept outside, sunrooms of this era could only be considered for use in warmer weather. Without proper insulation, the sunroom was no place to be on a cold winter’s day.
The products available to homeowners today are so technologically advanced in comparison to what people remember from the 70’s and early 80’s. There is really no comparison. The designs that use new technologies have created incredible options for homeowners.
“We are definitely in a different era when it comes to sunrooms,” says Ben Kripps, President of ClearView Sunrooms and Windows, “They are better looking, better performing and much more energy efficient than in the past.”
The wide variety of new technologies used in construction of contemporary sunrooms gives homeowners numerous options in terms of windows, flooring, walls, roofing, foundations as well as heating and cooling.
Foundation: The base of the sunroom (the foundation) is now more stable because the building design includes platform floors, footed slabs, crawl spaces, and sometimes basements.
Flooring: You have endless choices in terms of flooring options. Insulated floors will keep heat in during cold weather, and be cool during warm weather. Carpeting, tile, slate, hardwood, laminate, stone, and cement can all be considered in the design of a sunroom.
Roof: If you are building a sunroom that requires a roof (as opposed to building a sunroom under a deck, for example), roofs are insulated (R13, R26, R40) as compared to glass roofs that only have an R4 rating. A shingled roof can be made to match an existing roof whether it is an A-frame/gable or a slanted or studio roof.
Walls: Walls with Energy Star™Windows, have thermal separations and insulated extrusions to keep the warm weather in and cool weather out.
Windows: Know that windows can be of the sliding pop-out variety for easy cleaning and can be quickly taken out for maximum ventilation. Some windows have a picture framed look (brick molded like a traditional building) that can match replacement windows in the rest of the home. And, the amount of glass that is used today versus in traditional building methods eliminates that “closed-in” feel. All windows are tempered safety glass for safety.
Heating and Cooling: Heating for an all-season sunroom can be done many ways including by PTAC unit (heat/ cool/ heat pump), heated fans, a direct or zone heat furnace, or a fireplace or stove (wood/electric/pellet/corn/gas). Additionally, solar passive gain can be significant if your four-season room faces south or west.
A Good Investment
The housing market is highly competitive and homeowners want every advantage when investing in their property. Experts estimate that, on average, a sunroom brings a 60% return. Why? A well-built sunroom not only adds more square footage to the house, but it is also a versatile space that can be used for relaxation, game night, sleepovers, a place to put plants in the winter, and just to enjoy the scenery outdoors from indoors. The nice thing is that today’s technologies make sunrooms more energy efficient thereby more comfortable all year ‘round.