What You Need to Consider Before Undertaking a Sunroom Project

Adding resale value to your home does not always mean incurring significant expenses. Renovating a house or remodeling an unused basement as a new apartment can be considerably expensive. Whereas adding a sunroom to your home can be a smart investment. A new room for the family gives everyone additional personal space, and it gives you the perfect reason to hike up the prices once you think about selling the home.

You can always use some additional square footage. A sunroom gives your family another room to stretch out. You can store your favorite books in there, add tropical plants and add a couple of lounge chairs to create the perfect lazy nook. It can become your ideal getaway space when the household chores become too much for you.

Which part of your house is ideal for a project like this?

Learning about so many apparent benefits makes one wonder why more homeowners don’t add sunrooms to their existing properties. Well, the reason might have something to do with the lack of information.  Most people believe that building a sunroom can be a costly affair.  Others, who want to start it as a DIY project, often feel daunted by the sheer number of permits they have to acquire and the extensive physical labor they have to put in while building the new room. At the same time, a sunroom is a highly customizable structure, and people are often confused due to the plenty of variants available. For example – while thinking about building a sunroom, you might want to consider the following areas:

  • Interior framing
  • Enclosing your existing outdoor pool
  • Enclosing the outdoor porch
  • Wall framing adjacent to your yard
  • Window installation

Now, DIY-ing a sunroom design is not a problem, but finding the right spot and figuring out the correct installation procedure for the abundant frame variants can be difficult for any first-time builder. By choosing the right material to build your DIY sunroom, you can save a considerable amount that you can later spend to upgrade your swimming pool or porch.

Where should you place your sunroom?

In addition to the position of the sunroom relative to your home, you must figure out the direction the room faces before finalizing the location. The optimum location will allow the maximum amount of natural light, air and reduce your energy bills for the daytime.

  • In the southern climates, choosing a southern exposure might be costly. Rooms that face the south predominantly require additional cooling. That can rack up higher energy bill than a northern exposure.
  • In the northern climates, you need to ensure that your sunroom gets enough southern exposure. Southern exposure will give your sunroom enough light and warmth during the daytime. Rooms in the north that face the north as well require additional heating during a good part of the year.
  • An east-facing room will be ideal for southern climates. It will have the sun exposure during the day and enough shade from the early afternoon.
  • Western orientations are ideal for northern or cooler climates since these rooms will get the maximum sunlight throughout the entire day.

How will the building materials influence the cost of the project?

Understanding the material that goes into making sunrooms around the country should help you predict the final cost of the construction. Speaking with an expert, who builds enclosures for homes in your locality can also help you in providing an estimate for this project. However, here is a general list of the material you might want to consider –

  • Aluminum –it might not be an excellent insulator, but it is pocket-friendly. If you reside in a rather pleasant climate, you might want to consider aluminum. Most sunrooms that use vinyl-coated supports use aluminum in their roof structure due to the increased strength.
  • Vinyl –it is a popular choice among urban and suburban homes for building extensions. It is the most pocket-friendly of all building materials, and vinyl requires minimum maintenance. Although you will mostly find vinyl frames in white only, you can customize them once your finish construction. The costlier vinyl components you see in the market are multi-walled. That means they use aluminum or galvanized steel reinforcement.
  • Wood –that is a rather expensive choice and not very sustainable either. Unless you are using reclaimed or recycled wood sheet, a full-wood sunroom is going to cost you a more. However, wood makes attaching screens much easier and hastens the construction process. Wood is the most customizable of all options, but they require dedicated upkeep. At the same time, you need to invest in weather-proofing and fire-proofing the construction material for the safety of your family. Check your insurance plans and permits to see if you can use wood to build an extension for your existing porch.
  • Glass walls –you can choose glass for the walls as long as they are silicone double sealed with tempered safety. They should meet the local building code requirements in your area. The double-glazed glass is durable and has glare reduction. The typical U-value should range between 2 to 2.5.
  • Double-glazed glass with argon filling and low E-coating –while you can go with the double-glazed glass with Low-E coating, without the argon filling, the presence of argon reduces the U value by an additional 0.3. These glasses are more effective in reflecting heat and the UV-rays of the sun.

In spite of the high costs and labor, why should you think about adding a sunroom?

Sunrooms from open porches is an excellent idea for those, who like to spend some time watching the sun go down. For the quasi-urban and suburban areas, where homes have beautiful surrounding sceneries, turning an open porch into a sunroom can be a smart decision. You can add a hammock, place a bookshelf, add decorative plants and put a bed for your pet in the warm enclosure. The right kind of material will provide complete protection from the elements of nature and the UV-rays of the sun. So, you need not worry about the Indian handicraft wall hangings or the delicate orchids you place inside. At the same time, the sunroom can protect you from the mosquitoes and bugs that tend to be populous during the pleasant summers. You can use the patio even in the winter months thanks to the incredible insulation and weather-proofing of the building material.