Imagine being able to bathe in warm sunlight from within the comfort of your own home, without having to swat away bugs or abide by the weather conditions.
This is what a sunroom can offer you.
Often referred to as a “solarium” or sometimes even a “Florida room,” a sunroom is a thermo-insulated room with a solid ceiling but surrounded by three walls made up almost entirely of large windows, or, in some cases, sliding glass doors.
The concept is to invite an abundance of natural light into your home and offer an unobstructed view of the surrounding landscape — without ever having to step outside. It can serve as a breakfast nook, a family room, an entertainment area, and a number of other functions.
Sunrooms can be a cost-effective extra space in your own home, and the use of natural light should reduce the amount of electric lighting you might normally rely on in a less open space.
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But before you pick out the perfect place in your home for a new sunroom, there are a number of important factors to consider, from the types of windows to the materials used.
Choosing the windows for your sunroom
What types of windows are best suited to a sunroom? Matt Berry, replacement sales manager for Pella Windows & Doors of Oklahoma, recommends focusing first on the type of glass.
“There are numerous glass options on the market, but to maximize a sunroom, you need glass that is mostly clear and energy efficient,” Berry explains. “Pella has unique glass options that minimize the amount of heat coming in from the outside while maximizing the amount of natural light to flood into that room.”
Berry also emphasizes the need for strong and sturdy materials, such as Pella Impervia® fiberglass, to allow for the installation of large windows with narrow frames that will maximize the visible glass square footage. Using weaker material will necessitate larger frames.
In terms of window styles, casement (or crank-out) windows and sliding windows are among the most popular types of windows for sunrooms.
“Their popularity derives from the initial motivation for most sunrooms, which is the desire for an environmentally-controlled living area with an extreme amount of natural light and visibility while allowing ventilation similar to that of a screened-in porch,” Berry says. “Casements and sliders both minimize visual obstruction while keeping the outside out and inside in.”
For example, homeowners with a residence in Maryland decided to replace the stacked awning windows in their sunroom with large casement windows, providing improved ventilation. The addition of a large fixed window in place of a wall of small awning windows also allowed for better lighting and a better view of the beautiful lake behind their home.
Finding the right spot for your sunroom
Location matters. Where you decide to place the sunroom in your home will affect how it functions. For example, homeowners in cooler climates will commonly place the sunroom on the south side of their home to capture more sunlight and warmth.
Conversely, in warmer climates, homeowners have been known to place their sunrooms on a north or northwest side of the house to avoid an overwhelming amount of heat.
Above all, Berry stresses the importance of hiring a certified installation crew to reduce the risk of errors and ensure a long lasting installation.