How to Live in Your Sunroom Year Round How to Live in Your Sunroom Year Round

Eva R. Marienchild
When you first get your sunroom, you will be so glad to have the place to yourself, again (although the workers don’t usually have to stay a long time; sunrooms are notoriously quick and easy to put together!) that you’ll just plop in the white rattan chairs you’ve set up and “veg out” for a day or two.

At nightfall you might notice that the room stays a little warmer than you’d expected. That’s because the special glass retains heat during winter and repels heat, during summer.

Sounds great, right? A romantic view of the great outdoors while you’re snug as a bug and safe from critters, and the elements.But to create this scenario, you’ll have to do a little planning. Everything from the foundation you use, to whether or not you go for tinted glass will play a part in your selection process.

Let’s start with the basics:

Before you look for quotes from contractors, gather the following information:

1. What sort of house do you live in? One or two story? Mother and Daughter? Town House?

2. Using your feet to measure, pace out the dimensions. Do you figure you want a 10' x 12'? Or more like a 20’ x 24’? Remember that larger rooms jut out farther into the scenery that you’d be overlooking. Make sure you’re not going to be looking into your neighbors’ garage (unless it’s so stunningly constructed that you wouldn’t mind having that as the view!)

3. Do you have a homeowners' association? Get the telephone number. Your contractor will want to find out what the ground rules are before he starts construction - and he’ll want to make sure he complies with them. Remember, you may be selling your house someday, and this extension must be in compliance from owner to owner.

4. Are you going to be building on an existing concrete slab, or on a patio? If you don’t have either, you will be starting from the ground up.

5. Will you be using this room to exercise in? Some people put in pools, hot tubs, and bicycles or treadmills.

6. Do you want glass that has high visibility, or glare reduction? Tell your designer/sales rep how you feel about tinted windows. They will diffuse the sun’s glare, but the light won’t be as “white hot” as see-through glass.

Now, here’s the part you’ve been waiting for.

7. Will you be using your sunroom year round?

If the answer is no, you’ll probably need only single-glass pane, or non-insulated, for the windows. For the roof, a simple non-insulated will do fine.

If the answer is a resounding yes, you’ll be better of with a double-pane, insulated glass for the regular windows.

For the “knee walls” - the portions of pane that are at knee-level, more or less, and meant for hardier wear - you’ll want to choose insulated. Tell your designer/sales rep to point out, in the photo gallery s/he will be carrying when they first visit, the designs with the knee walls.

You’ll also need an insulated roof.

Most screen options are fiber mesh, so this will remain the same no matter whether you want to frequent your sunroom year-round or not.

Now, to make sure your sunroom is warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, ask your designer about the “R value” of the glass. The higher the value, the higher the efficiency of heat circulating throughout the room.

Then, during the summer, there are some glass coatings with up to 8 layers, to effectively block a high percentage of the sun’s rays. This results in cooler indoor temperatures.

OK. Now that you’ve gathered the basics, relax! "Relaxation is the # 1 reason homeowners add a sunroom," says an industry leader.

In order to make it even easier to relax, make sure you outfit your sunroom with light-colored, airy modular furniture that’s easy to move around. Don’t forget a lightweight coffee table!

Now, lean back, put your feet up, and sip some lemonade, in the summer (or cinnamon-spiced apple cider, in the winter) while you survey the great outdoors - all year round - in your new sunroom!
Eva R. Marienchild is an accomplished communicator: an author, editor, poet, artist, speaker, and life and career coach. Eva's specialties are health, home, nutrition, environment and spirituality.

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