Whether you call it a solarium, a Florida room, a lanai, or a patio room, many people consider sunrooms to be the best seat in the house. A sunroom can feel like a retreat in your very own home. Maybe you’re building a new home and debating whether to include a sunroom. Or maybe you’re considering making an addition to your home to maximize relaxation. Either way, invest some time in research first. As with any big home improvement project, this one offers pros and cons and should be decided upon based on your lifestyle.
Pros: The Sunny Side of Sunrooms
A sunroom provides a great place to relax after a long day of work or school. As per the name these rooms allow you a taste of the outdoors as you sit in a comfy chair. Many people use them for reading or meditation.
There are a million other things you can do with this space so get creative! Turn it into a crafting room or place where your kids can do homework. They work well for entertaining, too, especially if you link them with a patio or outdoor kitchen. [link to post about outdoor entertaining] A sunroom also provides a warm, bright place for growing plants. If you need any decorating tips, check out sites like Houzz, or follow our blog for a future post on this topic.
A sunroom acts as a buffer between the outdoors and the rest of your house. If you keep it casual, you may use it as a place to take off muddy shoes or dry off the dog. If you go with a more upscale look, reserve the mudroom or another space for those messy tasks.
A sunroom can add a lot of natural light to your home. Not only does this add to the ambiance of the whole house, it can save you money on your energy bill. With so much natural light coming into your home you won’t think about turning on an overhead light until the sun goes down. However, you have to weigh those savings against heating and cooling loss, which we will get to…
Cons: Clouds in Your Sky
The main drawback to a sunroom is, naturally, energy efficiency. A sunroom typically contains more window surface area than walls. No matter what you do, windows are the most porous part of your home when it comes to heating and cooling. A south-facing sunroom benefits from the sun’s heat during winter. On the downside, it will be harder to keep cool in the summer. The opposite holds true for a north-facing room. One solution is to stick with vertical windows rather than angled ones. The Department of Energy explains, “Vertical glazing maximizes heat gain in the winter when the angle of the sun is low and you need the heat most…”
Take steps to maximize energy efficiency. Use a thicker glass with vinyl trim. Look for windows and doors made specifically for retaining heat or cool air. Finally, install cellular blinds, which provide insulation and control the amount of sunlight that enters.
While sunrooms on average tend to be one of the least expensive renovation projects it’s still easy to go over budget. If you think you want one on your new custom home, it’s best to decide during initial construction. Making an addition to your home later will be less cost-effective.
If you are making this addition to add value to your house before selling it you may want to reconsider. The ROI is lower than for most other renovations, so so you’ll likely end up losing money.
The downfall to this is while you can see the great wide world around you, the world can also look back. If you like your privacy, then think about how your sunroom is positioned on your property. Will it be screened by trees or fencing? Is it visible from the street or a neighbor’s yard? Sunrooms let in the natural sunlight and all aspects of nature. Explore options for blinds or curtains.
Do You Want a 3-Season or a 4-Season Room?
Decide how you want to use your sunroom. Do you want access year-round, or just during nice weather? Answering this question can help you decide whether you want a 3-season room or a 4-season room.
3-season rooms, more like enclosed porches, are separated from the house by thin windows or screens. With little protection from the elements, these rooms are best used during the warmer months of spring, summer, and early fall.
4-season rooms, on the other hand, can be used all year. These rooms are typically a fully insulated extension of the home. As such, homeowners are able to enjoy this spot all year round.
If you’re thinking of building a new custom home–with a sunroom or not–the time is now! Contact us to start planning a home that meets all of your needs and desires.