A sunroom can be a fabulous addition to your home for a few different reasons. A sunroom is the perfect balance of indoors and outdoors—a place to sit in comfort and appreciate the world around you. A sunroom allows you to enjoy nature without the less pleasant parts. For those who live in humid climates, a sunroom can mean appreciating summer evenings without mosquitos, June bugs, or other unwanted visitors. In more extreme climates, the addition of a sunroom allows you to be closer to the outdoors even in inclement weather. You’ll also be able to take advantage of natural light with your new sunroom—perfect for artists and sunshine-lovers. Picture yourself painting on springtime mornings or drawing in the evening light.
Which Type of Sunroom Is Best for Your Home?
Three-Season Sunrooms: A three-season sunroom is essentially a covered outdoor space, and doesn’t require the same level or quality of insulation and glass that other sunrooms might. They are designed for use during the spring, summer, and fall seasons in most climates, when outdoor temperatures are relatively mild. This may be between 5 and 8 months of the year, depending on your location. The colder your climate, the shorter your usage window.
Three-season sunrooms are typically not heated or insulated. Their windows are most often outfitted with single-tempered glass panes, which don’t offer much in terms of energy efficiency and are significantly less energy efficient than their double-paned counterparts.
Four-Season Sunrooms: A four-season sunroom is designed for year-round use in any climate thanks to thermal engineering. Four-season sunrooms provide temperature control that allows you to heat or cool your sunroom as needed, because they require the same insulation as a normal room addition. The typical four-season room is outfitted with energy-efficient windows, which may reduce the loss of radiant heat in the winter. That means the heat that you put into your sunroom will stay in your sunroom, with less loss through walls and windows. These benefits may reduce your need to heat and cool year round, which may lower your energy usage.
Solariums: Aptly named for its bounty of sunlight, a solarium’s walls and roof are made almost entirely of glass. While sunrooms typically feature more than 40% glass, a solarium features as much glass as possible—usually every surface beyond the structural frame of the room. Solariums often have a sleek, modern design and may feature rounded corners.
While solariums are the most immersive type of sunroom, they are often the most costly—not only in construction costs, but also in utilizing the room. Because the walls and roof are almost entirely made of glass, they may be more difficult to cool than other types of sunrooms. Many solarium-owners opt to mitigate the heat by installing ceiling shades. This can also limit glare during the brightest part of the day.