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Sunrooms: What Are They? Pros and Cons of Adding a Sunroom

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 - Sunrooms: What Are They? Pros and Cons of Adding a Sunroom

With windows and glass roofs, sunrooms offer an abundance of natural light and provide homeowners with a special place to dine, relax, and host guests.

What Is a Sunroom?


Sunrooms: What Are They?

A sunroom is an indoor room with multiple windows to maximize natural light and showcase views of the outdoors. Sunrooms—also known as solariums, garden rooms, or Florida rooms—often feature adornments of plants and furniture. Sunrooms can be built atop an existing patio and serve as an extension of the main house while inviting fresh air indoors. Sunrooms are a popular home addition because they can increase home value and provide homeowners with an additional living room or home office to work, host, or cozy up with a good book.

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2 Types of Sunrooms

Different types of sunrooms have distinct nicknames to determine how often you can use this living space throughout the year:

  1. 1. Three-season room: You can enjoy a three-season sunroom for three of the year’s four seasons: spring, summer, and fall. A three-season sunroom does not have climate control, meaning there won’t be heating in the winter or air conditioning in the summer. This makes the three-season room more affordable. Three-season sunrooms will normally have patio doors to keep the outdoor air from affecting the rest of the house’s temperature, and they may also have a ceiling fan to keep air moving in the warmer months.
  2. 2. Four-season room: A four-season sunroom has HVAC ducts for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning so that homeowners can enjoy the space year-round. Four-season sunrooms might not have sliding doors, operating more like a natural extension of the home.

Sunroom vs. Conservatory vs. Patio: What’s the Difference?

A sunroom, conservatory, and patio are all associated with the outdoors, but these rooms each have distinct functions:

  • Sunroom: A sunroom is a room primarily meant for lounging. With glass windows and skylights, sunrooms emulate the feeling of being outside while being indoors. You can grow potted plants and some fruits or vegetables in a sunroom, but this space is still a part of a house and, as such, is meant for living in.
  • Conservatory: A conservatory is a space strictly for growing plants. Like a sunroom, a conservatory will have glass walls and roofs, but homeowners optimize the natural light for the explicit purpose of growing different kinds of plants. A conservatory might not be attached to the main house; it may exist as an independent structure off of a home. A conservatory is like a smaller greenhouse, providing a space for plants to thrive. Larger conservatories can be for cultivating foods for commercial purposes.
  • Patio: A patio is an outdoor area just off a house for socializing and al fresco dining. Patios typically feature stonework flooring and are not enclosed, making them outside areas to be enjoyed on summer days.
 - Sunrooms: What Are They? Pros and Cons of Adding a Sunroom

Pros and Cons of Adding a Sunroom

Before adding a sunroom to your home, consider the pros and cons of this home improvement project. Some of the pros include more natural light in your home. With all-around glass walls, these patio enclosures can quickly brighten up your home or at least provide you with a space to access the sun while indoors. Sunrooms also increase property value by offering a new space to host or a second family room and are an excellent place to grow an indoor garden.

The cons for this unique type of room are often associated with cost and logistics. New sunrooms can be a DIY installation, but this room addition quickly becomes more involved and expensive. It may also require a building permit and specific building materials. Be sure to budget accordingly; sunroom costs usually correspond to the square footage. Additional expenses can pile up if your HVAC system for a four-room sunroom is not energy efficient.

 - Sunrooms: What Are They? Pros and Cons of Adding a Sunroom

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