The addition of an All-season Sunroom can be one of the best changes you make to your home. All-season sunrooms have many advantages over screened-in porches. A heated sunroom extends the usability to 365 days a year, no matter the weather is outside, something that isn’t possible with a screened-in porch in the Northeast.
Sunrooms create additional livable square footage, and an open floor plan can integrate the sunroom into the flow of your home in a way that can’t be achieved with a screened-in porch. With the ability to open and close windows whenever you wish, you can keep your investment clean and keep dust and pollen from infiltrating the rest of your home.
Planning the best location for your all-season room is the most important decision you’ll face. Exposure to the sun can mean different things depending on your climate. Here in the North, if most of the windows face the south, that will provide the most sunlight during the day.
A sunroom on the eastern side of your home will reduce the need for cooling by delivering sunlight in the morning and shade in the afternoon. If your sunroom is on the western face of your home, you will be dealing with a more severe afternoon sun, requiring more cooling for your room.
A northern-facing sunroom will be partially shaded and give you reduced levels of light for most of the day. This can make the room cold and damp.
Open or Closed Floorplan?
Another decision to be made is whether the all-season room will be integrated into the living area of the main house or be separated by a door. Creating an open floor plan by opening the sunroom to the main house creates an unobstructed flow from house to the all-season room, creating a space that is truly integrated with your home. This also allows for extended sight lines throughout the main floor.
With an open plan, the main heating and cooling components of the house can be used for both spaces. On the other hand, most homeowners who choose to close off the sunroom entry usually opt for baseboard heating and forgo the cooling element.
Windows Will Let You Use the Room the Way You Want
By design, a sunroom requires a significant number of windows, and the style, material and cost have a major effect on the project. There are hundreds of window choices available, but what might seem like a daunting decision can be simplified by thinking about them in terms of efficiency.
Modern windows are made from double-paned glass with a special coating that helps prevent heat from entering in the warmer seasons and keeps it from escaping in colder weather. Depending on the window you choose, double-paned glass can be at least twice as efficient as single-paned windows from two or three decades ago.
There are even windows today that are triple-paned and filled with insulating argon gas, the ultimate choice in efficiency. These windows are designed for use in climates with extreme temperatures.
A common mistake homeowners make when adding a sunroom is not realizing the importance of heating, whether it’s permanent baseboard heat or radiant in-floor heating. With a source of heat, your sunroom will be comfortable enough to use every day of the year. Without it, your sunroom is usable only three of the four seasons.
More Tips to Ensure Your Sunroom Will Always Be Comfortable
Installing skylights can pool excess heat when the room gets too warm. Window placement is critical to allow optimal airflow from multiple windows. The addition of ceiling fans will aid in air circulation. Choose a fan with forward/reverse drives for summer or winter use. In the summer, forward fan rotation will create a cool downward airflow. In winter, reversing the fan rotation will help redistribute warm air that naturally rises to the ceiling. Curtains, shades or blinds that can be raised and lowered completely can help manage the amount of sunlight entering the room.
Sunrooms are an economically wise approach to home improvement. Compared to other ways of adding usable space, such as finishing an unfinished basement or converting a garage or attic, a sunroom can give you a lot of additional square footage that will add to the value of your home. And when it’s time to sell, a nicely furnished and decorated four-season sunroom adds a significant “wow” factor that turns many a buyer’s head, significantly increasing a home’s desirability and resale value.
R. Craig Lord Construction Company, an award-winning Design-Build firm in Moorestown, NJ, specializes in home remodels and additions. Contact us or call (856) 235-4237 to discuss your project.