Increase the use and comfort of your sunroom and decrease energy costs by replacing old windows. If you have an older home with an older sunroom with no upgrades, chances are your windows could use some updating. Here are a few questions to ask yourself.
- Does it get too hot in your sunroom?
- Can you feel cold air seeping through the window frame areas?
- Is the color of your furniture and flooring fading due to UV rays?
- Is the view to the outside obstructed?
- Do you avoid using your sunroom because it’s not comfortable, (damp, uncomfortable temperature, lack of ventilation etc.)?
If you update your windows you’re sure to:
- Improve air flow and ventilation creating a more relaxing atmosphere.
- Improve energy efficiency, to keep temperatures comfortable in hot and cold weather, which in turn is likely to lower utility bills.
- Choosing a satisfying style of windows to suit your taste and the décor of the home will create more relaxation and enjoyment.
There are several factors you need to consider when choosing your windows.
- Is your sunroom a 3 season or 4 season room?
- What is your budget?
- What is your local climate?
- What direction does your sunroom face?
- What do you intend to use your sunroom for?
Just What are the Best Windows for Sunrooms?
You want to make sure that the windows you choose will highlight the outside world. Therefore the best windows will be rather large with narrow frames to take advantage of visibility. Common types of sunroom windows include stationary windows, hinged windows, and sliding windows.
There are several looks and functions when it comes to windows. Some windows open by a crank, others slide manually and stationary windows that remain fixed in place.
Window Types for Sunrooms
Hinged Windows – Awning and Casement
Hinged windows can be hinged from the top or the side. They both open to the outside with a crank mechanism. There are two types of hinged windows – awning and casement.
Awning windows – These windows hinge from the top and have a crank mechanism. They open from the bottom of the window to the outside.
- These provide nice airflow even in rainy weather. If it is raining outside, you needn’t close the window as the window sash (panel) acts as an awning. The awning itself pulls breezes into your sunroom.
- Increased Light and Visibility. Awning windows don’t have bars, only a single sash (or panel) without dividers. So, it maximizes the amount of light coming in and an unobstructed view.
Casement windows: – These windows have a sash (or panel) attached to its frame by hinges installed on the side.
- These windows have screens and open from the side with a crank mechanism. These are among the most popular as they offer great ventilation, unobstructed views and easy cleaning properties.
- A unique feature of these windows is that if you open them just a few inches, they catch the outside air and redirect it into the sunroom.
- Casement windows are best purchased in small to medium sizes. Too much wind may cause hinges to twist in larger windows.
Double-hung windows: These lovely windows have two framed panes and you can slide the panels up or down. They each operate independently. They lock in the middle. The panels can even tilt into the room by 90 degrees for maximum ventilation.
Horizontal Slider windows: These also have two framed panes that slide independently to the left and right. These also lock in the middle, which can help childproof your windows and prevent break-ins.
Bay and Bow windows: These sunroom window options offer a much more expansive view, allowing more sunlight to flood the room. They add an interesting architectural design. They are made up of multiple windows angled to project outwards and naturally invite a great space for a reading or dining area.
It may seem counterintuitive to have windows that don’t open in your sunroom, but just think of the parts of your sunroom that are high up. These areas are more difficult to access and here these windows can work well. They also tend to be draft proof and well insulated. Fixed windows are also non-operational or stationary windows, designed to let in light and add expansive views. Fixed windows have larger frames than picture windows. This is to match the sitelines of accompanying operating windows. These windows have a more contemporary look than picture windows.
Picture windows, broadly speaking, are a type of fixed window. These stationary windows feature a smaller frame to maximize glass surface, to allow a clear, unobstructed view. Note that they are often made to match nearby operational windows. They offer a rather traditional look.
Types of Glass
Not to be outdone by window styles or types, choosing the best type of glass for your sunroom is of vital importance. Energy efficient windows with Energy Star ratings are a good choice for purchase.
Float Glass versus Tempered Glass
Float glass, also called standard glass, is relatively inexpensive, and while it is commonly used for small windows in the home, is not used in sunrooms. Float glass is fragile and brittle and tends to be dangerous when broken, as it will break into small splinters and sharp shards. This can easily cause bodily injury. But float glass can be put through a process to toughen it and results in what we commonly call tempered glass.
For sunrooms, a toughened or tempered glass is used. It’s safer because if it breaks, it will break into small chunks. It’s also less likely to break under strong impact. It has the added advantage of being more energy efficient. So, always look for tempered glass when updating your sunroom.
Double Paned Glass is the Standard
Although double paned windows began to be manufactured in the 1930s and became a little more common in the 1950s, it wasn’t till the 1970s that double paned windows in homes became somewhat common. In Texas, it became a requirement to build homes with double paned glass in the early 2000s.
Single-glazed – This is a basic window, now outdated, with little insulation or UV protection. Because it has no insulation it does a poor job of muffling outside noise or keeping warmth inside, in the cold months, or heat outside in the hot months.
Double-glazed – This is the most common type, with two layers of glass with air or gas trapped in between for more insulation. It insulates the room from outside temperatures. Gas is best, as it insulates better than air.This type of glass is probably sufficient for Texas weather. You can expect energy savings as high as approximately 30 percent with double paned glass.
Triple-glazed – This is the most expensive option, but is also the best at preventing heat loss. Triple-pane windows may use either argon or krypton gas. This would be excellent for very cold climates.
Glass and Energy Efficiency
You may decide to opt for more energy efficient glass if you have a 4 season sunroom, and if your sunroom receives several hours of hot sun each day.
Low-Emissivity (Low-E) Coatings
A Low emissivity coating is an invisible metallic layer, molecularly bonded to glass surfaces. It allows the wavelengths of visible light to pass through while deflecting infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths.
This great product prevents heat from escaping your home in the winter and prevents sunlight from heating up your home in the summer. Low-E coatings also prevent sunlight from fading upholstery, rugs, flooring and other objects placed in the sunroom and so helps preserve items longer. In this way, it can save money for the homeowner.
Sunshine Sunrooms has been helping homeowners design and build beautiful sunrooms and more since 1993. We offer individualized services based on each of our client’s specific budgets, vision and needs. Call us at (972) 243-5390 for all your sunroom design, construction, and repair needs or contact us online to request a quote.