Beginner's Guide to Sunrooms Beginner's Guide to Sunrooms

The first time I stepped into a sunroom, I was enthralled! It was my job to demonstrate sunrooms in a showroom.

I had been hired by a respected manufacturer and installer to introduce homeowners who stopped by the showroom, to the unique pleasures of outside living ... indoors.

"Sunrooms are an affordable luxury item," the owner told me. "Rather than add an extension to your house, why not add an entire getaway area, in compact form?"

Does that sort of lifestyle sound like a dream come true? It is!

What especially appealed to me was the idea of being in the great, cool (or warm—depending on the season--) outdoors, while being completely sheltered from bugs and other critters, by a hardy screen.

The many doors and windows in the sunroom add dimension and a feeling of space, and the convenience of being able to step outside without having to go back through the main part of the house can’t be beat!

Sunrooms are customized, and connected to your home, although they can be autonomous. (Your contractor will be able to show you pictures of other sunrooms they’ve built. Start the narrowing-it-down-process by focusing on the sunrooms that most "call" to your sense of whimsy! Remember: it's all about a dream come true!)

There are a few construction codes that will have to be investigated for your specific locale. A good contractor will handle those phone calls and handle the paperwork for you.

How Do I Start?

The first thing you have to decide is the shape of your sunroom. To do that, hone in on why you are purchasing a sunroom.

Is it:
a) to enjoy the outdoors, all year round?
b) to expand your living or entertaining quarters?
c) to construct a mini-getaway?
d) to make your house more valuable to future buyers?

If you are going for d), you can opt for a generic shape - nothing outlandish or too unique. A good shape to consider might be a large rectangular one with a modest, non-conservatory roof, or a “straight eave”. You can also go for something that resembles an adobe.

If you’re leaning towards a) or c) you can play around a bit with selection. You are probably looking for maximum sunlight. In that case, you might look into conservatory-style roofs, with built-in skylight. The amount of sun that’ll come into your sunroom will make you think you are outside! This sort of exposure is excellent for reading or for enjoying a mid-day chat with friends or family.

Whom Should I Call?

If you want to avoid the middleman, and just speak to one contractor, go for a manufacturer and installer in one. (The company is distributing their own lines.) First step: ask for a sales rep to visit your home, armed with a photo gallery.

What Are Solariums?

The way Solariums are designed, they provide owners with the maximum amount of sun rays. You might be concerned that it sounds as if the sunroom might become too hot - and you’d be right to be concerned.

But most sunroom manufacturers make their sunrooms with specially-designed glass - double panes, or thicker - to filter sun rays. In addition, there are tinted hues, which give an alluring added “coolness” to the light that passes through the glass.

I'm Not Ready to Hire a Contractor. Can I Do It Myself?

Absolutely! If you are a handyman, some manufacturers distribute ready-to-assemble units. It’s a good way to save a bundle!

Whatever style and form of construction you choose, you won’t have to worry about breaking the architectural line of your house. The sunroom can be designed to elongate the existing building, as it were.

Sunrooms don’t compromise your house’s design. In fact, they provide just the opposite effect! Like all high-quality extensions, sunrooms look as if they were on your house all along!

Indeed, once you step into your new sunroom, you'll wonder how you ever did without it!
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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