Sunrooms, also commonly referred to as solariums or patio enclosures, have always been an ideal design choice for those looking to have natural light and spectacular views all year round. But in recent years, sunrooms have gained tremendous popularity. With the pandemic forcing homeowners to re-think their space and learn to coexist with their partners, spouses, children and pets—as they all work and study from home—sunrooms represent a great option to add extra living space and add natural daylighting all while remaining safely in the home. “Outdoor living space is more valuable than ever before, and we’re seeing homeowners taking greater advantage of their existing porches or adding new structures to their home,” said Rick Mullen, Director of Sales at Custom Window Systems.
But not only do sunrooms provide benefits related to daylighting, they also offer a pleasant living area that can increase the size, value and functionality of the home. Whether a homeowner, architect or remodeler, there are certain factors you need to consider if you want to add sunrooms to your next home improvement project.
Given the potential solar heat gain associated with sunrooms, selecting a high performing ENERGY STAR window will increase the comfort and energy efficiency of the new space. A high performing window with a low-e coating will keep the sunroom comfortable throughout the day.
Although it may seem strange, the geographic location isn’t crucial when choosing what elements will be a part of the sunroom. What matters is the type of usage the homeowner is seeking to obtain from the room, as it will influence the type of window choice. If homeowners want to use the room year-round, then they usually opt for glass. If they are wanting to use the room for 3 seasons, then they may want to consider soft vinyl windows.
Photo credit: Pella Windows and Doors
When installing windows and doors in a sunroom, it is important to consider ventilation. An operable window with a clearer opening is the recommended option, since it will be able to provide the most ventilation—something important specifically during warmer months. In addition to considering ventilation, the aesthetic of the sunroom is what will drive the decision behind which window to install. The most popular and functional option is a sliding window. These types of windows consist of two sashes, and each sash independently slides left or right. This means that they can be either completely open, or slide both to the middle with openings on either side. This will allow plenty of light to come in with unobstructed views, and maximize the air flow in the sunroom on nice days.
For the door options, the most popular one remains sliding glass doors, as they provide great visibility to the outdoors, while remaining energy efficient. However, single swing doors are another great option. These types of doors create an air lock to effectively insulate against heat conduction and sound transmission, making them an appealing investment for homeowners.
Photo credit: Andersen Windows and Doors
From having a more enjoyable living space both winter and summer seasons, to increasing work productivity, to improving wellness and health with natural sunlight, sunrooms are expected to remain a popular addition to a home that can offer a versatile place to entertain guests or simply enjoy the outdoors.
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