When deciding to purchase a sunroom, there are a number of things to consider. To get the best quality sunroom for your budget, careful planning is an important step. You will need to consider the type of roofing, flooring, windows and window treatments, insulation, materials used in the framework, heating/cooling systems and electrical system. Working with a contractor that is knowledgeable and experienced in design options can help maximize the final results.
1. Adding a Sunroom is Best Handled by Professionals
Although a sunroom addition is less complex than adding a standard room, it still is a major structural change. Trying to add a sunroom as a D.I.Y project could be a rather risky endeavour.
Unlike a general contractor, sunroom specialists who install sunrooms on a regular basis understand the complexities and can avoid any pitfalls that a non-specialist is likely to run into. It’s also best to work with a single contractor when possible that does the job from start to finish. That way, there is only one contractor to call should any issues arise.
- Always check reviews to show trustworthiness and quality of materials and work.
- Ask for a comprehensive contract that details the contractors responsibilities and the client’s needs.
- Ask about a warranty in the consultation stage.
- Is the contractor bonded and insured?
2. You Will Need a Zoning Permit
It’s of utmost importance to check with local zoning officials before even deciding where to add a sunroom. There are regulations that set boundary distances from your structure on your property to those of your neighbour. These regulations may restrict the size and dimensions of the sunroom you are hoping to build. An experienced contractor will be able to deal with this issue.
3. A Four Season Sunroom Adds Value to Your Home
Did you know that a four season sunroom adds to the square footage of your home? If you decide to sell your home in the future you will recoup a good portion of your investment.
4. Costs Vary
While keeping your budget in mind, estimating the cost of your sunroom depends on various factors. The size of your sunroom, materials used, contractor rates, even the condition of your home and current utilities influence the cost.
The type of sunroom – prefabricated, 3 season, or 4 season – these types will have widely varying costs. Prefabricated sunrooms, while the least expensive will offer the least value as well. A three season sunroom may be the best option if you are on a tighter budget but it will not be as valuable when selling your home. Whereas, a four season sunroom, will offer the best value, usage and satisfaction to you while staying in the home and also monetarily when selling.
5. What Framework?
Aluminum: A very durable, weather hardy material, aluminum is very flexible and can be formed into many shapes. Aluminum is lightweight but very strong so is great for areas needing additional support. The upfront cost is quite affordable and is easy to install. Aluminum does not rust, rot, warp or swell. However it is easily dented or scratched. Another important drawback is that aluminum on its own is a rather poor insulator. For this reason if used on its own, it may be a better choice for seasonal use only.
Vinyl: Vinyl has become the most popular material for use in sunrooms. It is the least expensive overall, is almost maintenance free, and is one of the better materials for insulation and so adds to the energy savings of the home. Vinyl supports are often reinforced internally with aluminum or steel for even more strength. While usually done in white, you can pick different colors.
Just like aluminum it resists warping, swelling and rotting. Both vinyl and aluminum resist termites as well. These days, manufacturers use composite materials like vinyl and aluminum together to enhance each other’s performance.
Wood: wood is always a popular choice due to its beauty and warmth. It generally requires higher maintenance than either vinyl or aluminum due to possible deterioration from too much humidity and exposure to sunlight.
It isn’t only a four season sunroom that should be insulated. A three season sunroom won’t have an HVAC system attached, but insulating it will help to keep those hot sunny days from making the room uncomfortably hot in the summer, and help hold heat in during the cold weather.
After your sunroom is built, you can think about adding blinds, and/or insulated drapes for more insulation.
The correct type of windows are also very important to either keep heat inside in the winter or keep the hot, hot sun in the summer from overheating your sunroom.
Next time we’ll check out energy efficient windows and other types of windows, roofing options, flooring options, and electrical and HVAC options.
Sunshine Sunrooms has been helping homeowners design and build beautiful sunrooms 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.