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Sunroom Addition Frequently Asked Questions

June 13th, 2024 | 9 min read

By Callie Lovejoy

In a world where we have unlimited information at the end of our fingertips, it’s hard to figure out where to start as you research any topic, especially home improvement projects! Everyone has an opinion and an idea, sometimes well-founded in experience and research. Sometimes not so much…

What information is actually useful to you?!

Never fear! We’ve been in the home remodeling industry in central Ohio for over four decades, with 13 years as a certified BetterLiving sunroom installer. 

In this article we will give you summarized answers to the most important questions you should be asking if you are considering a sunroom addition, regardless of what contractor you hire for your project. And there are links to more detailed information about each topic if you want to dive deeper.

Table of Contents:

How Much Does a Sunroom Addition Cost?

The cost of a sunroom can depend on many factors such as the size of the room, the type of room, and if there is an existing foundation already in place. For the average costs of different types of sunrooms, we are going to use a 12’ x 12’ room with no existing foundation.

Screen Rooms: $15,000 - $30,000

Aluminum Three-Season Rooms: $35,000 - $50,000

Vinyl Four-Season Rooms: $45,000 - $65,000

How Long Does a Sunroom Addition Take?

Your sunroom project timeline will depend on the size of the room and the scope of work. The scope of work is how many tasks need to be completed for the project. For example, if you already have a concrete patio to build your sunroom on, your project would be shorter than if you needed to build a foundation before installing the sunroom.

In general, an aluminum or vinyl sunroom addition with JSB takes about 1 - 2 weeks.

What Types of Sunrooms Are There?

Three main types of sunrooms are most commonly added to a home are screen rooms, three-season rooms, and four-season rooms.

Images showing the difference between screen, three-season, and four-season sunrooms

Screen Rooms

Screen rooms are spaces that are enclosed by screens rather than windows. In Ohio, they are most often used in spring, summer, and fall as long as the summer humidity doesn’t push you back indoors. Since screen rooms are not enclosed by glass, the room inside along with the floor, furniture, and decor are exposed to the elements to some degree.

Three-Season Rooms

Three-season rooms are enclosed with windows, often floor-to-ceiling, on one to three sides of the room. The windows can open and close and these rooms are also most often used in spring, summer, and fall. Three-season rooms are not climate-controlled so they can get chilly in the winter and hot in the summer if you don’t have good-quality sunroom glass. The benefit of a three-season room over a screen room is that the room and its contents are protected from rain, dust, and any other nature that might try to blow in.

As a side note, three-season rooms have paneled roofs, not glass roofs. A sunroom with glass walls and a glass roof would fall in the solarium category.

Four-Season Rooms

Four-season rooms are enclosed with windows just like three-season rooms but they can be climate-controlled, making them comfortable to use all year round. The windows can still open and close and the room’s contents are protected from water and dust blowing through the screens. Four-season rooms can also be called all-season or year-round rooms.

Can I Enclose My Porch to Make a Sunroom?

Yes! This type of sunroom project is called an “under-existing” sunroom. This means that the sunroom is going to be built under an existing roof, such as a porch. Under existing rooms can be screen, three-season, or four-season sunrooms. Many times, these projects are replacing wood screen rooms that have succumbed to the elements.

Before and after of a covered porch to a three-season sunroom

How Important are the Sunroom Windows?

Absolutely! The quality of the glass in your sunroom is one of the most important parts of your sunroom addition. Whether you are building a three-season or four-season room, your sunroom windows can make or break the usability of your room in extreme temperatures.

Single-pane glass has basically no insulating capabilities. It’s cheaper than other options but your sunroom will be an ice box in the winter and a sauna in the summer.

Double-paned glass with low-emission gas between the panes offers better insulation to keep the heat out in the summer and in during the winter. Not all double-paned glass is the same however, so make sure you ask about the details of the glass that your contractor uses.

For example, here at JSB, double-paned glass is standard in all of our three-season and four-season sunrooms. Aluminum three-season rooms use LoE Argon gas-filled windows to reduce the amount of heat that goes in or out through the glass. Silver-oxide LoE insulated glass makes a four-season room energy efficient so that it can be climate-controlled.

Where Should My Sunroom Attach to My House?

Typically, we install our sunrooms on the back of your house and use an existing door to connect your home to your sunroom. We can put the sunroom on the front of the house but these are usually when we are enclosing a front porch. It is usually in your best interest to avoid having to move any major systems like an A/C unit as you choose the location of your sunroom.

What is an Average Sunroom Size?

Sunrooms can come in any size and shape but some dimensions are more common than others. Listed below are the most common sunroom sizes that we install here at JSB Home Solutions. 

Under Existing Screen to Three Season Room-1Average sunroom sizes: 

  • 10 ft. x 12 ft. 
  • 12 ft. x 12 ft. 
  • 12 ft. x 14 ft.

Large Sunroom Sizes:

  • 12 ft. x 18 ft.
  • 16 ft. x 20 ft.

These dimensions are not the only possibilities for sunroom additions. They tend to be popular because their shape and proportions lend themselves to having enough space in the sunroom for various sizes of furniture and walkways.

What Kind of Foundation Do I Need for a Sunroom?

Your sunroom can be heavy and will need a solid foundation to support the weight of the room. Foundations can be a concrete pad, a pressure-treated wood deck or a composite deck. Here at JSB, your design consultant will be able to evaluate the condition of any existing pads or decks to make sure they are suitable for your sunroom. If you don’t currently have a pad or deck, building one will be a part of your sunroom addition project. JSB can complete this task as part of your project and this is an important question to ask of any other contractor you work with.

Images showing concrete pad, ground level deck, and raised deck sunroom foundations

Should My Sunroom be at House Level or Ground Level?

There’s no one right answer to this question. While both options are possible, the decision to build your sunroom at house level or ground level could depend on whether you have an existing foundation and personal preference.

If you already have a solid foundation, it would be the most cost-effective to build your sunroom right on top of that foundation, regardless of whether it is at house or ground level. 

If you do not already have a foundation, you should imagine how you see your family using the sunroom. For example, will it be a seamless addition to your house with the door usually open from the sunroom to the rest of your home? If so, building your room at house level could let you walk into your sunroom just like any other room of your home. 

What Types of Sunroom Materials Are There?

The three materials that are most commonly used to construct sunrooms are wood, aluminum, and vinyl. Each material has its own characteristics and comes with a list of pros and cons.

Wood/Stick Built Sunrooms

Wood, also called stick-built, sunrooms use traditional framing methods with 2 x 4’s for the walls and oversized windows to bring in large amounts of natural light. These are most often installed on homes as the home is being built, as opposed to as an addition later on.

Pro: Stick-built sunrooms have the greatest design flexibility because wood can be crafted into any shape when you work with it. 

Con: As with anything built out of wood, stick-built sunrooms are susceptible to water damage and compromised structural integrity with temperature changes. 

Aluminum Sunrooms

Aluminum is used to construct pre-fabricated pieces that are then assembled on the job site. They can be screen rooms or three-season rooms, depending on if you choose to install windows or just screens.

Pro: Aluminum is waterproof and offers a temperature-resistant, no-maintenance alternative to wood sunrooms.

Cons: While aluminum rooms are insulated, they are not insulated enough to be able to be climate-controlled. 

Vinyl Sunrooms

Vinyl is used to build four-season sunrooms and it is aluminum wrapped in vinyl which creates thermal breaks in the sunroom wall panels. This means that less heat from the sun travels into your room and less heat leaves your sunroom from your heating unit.

Pro: Just like aluminum, vinyl is waterproof, resistant to temperature changes, and no maintenance. Vinyl rooms have the added benefit of being able to be heated and cooled.

Con: Vinyl sunrooms cost more than aluminum rooms because there is more material being used to create the thermal breaks necessary for climate controls.

Sunroom Design Options

What Colors Do Sunrooms Come In?

The color of your sunroom most often matches the trim of your home or compliments your home’s color to make it a seemless addition to your home.

Screen and Three-Season rooms have a powder-coated paint finish that comes in white, desert sand (tan), and earthstone (dark brown). You can also choose for the inside of your sunroom to be white with any of these exterior colors. White interiors tend to make the room feel larger and compliment the interior of the home as well.

Four-season vinyl rooms can be white or desert sand. The dark earthstone color absorbs too much heat from the sun to be used with the increased insulation of a four-season room.

What Roof Shapes Do Sunrooms Have?

The most common sunroom roof shapes are gable and shed. Most of the time, the decision on what roof shape you use is a stylistic choice to make it blend nicely with the rest of your home.

Two roof shapes are available for sunrooms; gable and studio

What Should I Use for Flooring in My Sunroom?

The flooring in your sunroom will largely depend on the type of room you have and the type of foundation it sits on.

Regardless of the type of room, if you have a concrete foundation the most common choice is to leave your floor bare concrete. If your concrete is smooth, you could add a laminate vinyl plank (LVP) or laminate vinyl tile (LVT) but it is probably an unnecessary expense with a concrete foundation.

The other common type of foundation is a deck made out of either pressure-treated wood or composite material. In this case, your flooring choice is often tied to your room type. 

  • Screen rooms usually just leave the deck boards as the flooring.
  • Three and Four-Season rooms could be left as deck boards because it is double insulated from under the deck. However, it is more common to install a ¾” subfloor with an LVP or LVT as your finished floor.

Two images showing possible flooring choices for in a sunroom

You can always add rugs as you furnish the room to add comfort, warmth, and design to your sunroom floor. Indoor/outdoor rugs work well with screen rooms where rain can blow in.

Can I Make a Sunroom More Private?

One concern that many homeowners have when adding a sunroom to their home, especially if they live in a neighborhood, is that they will feel like a fish in an aquarium. There are several ways that you can make a sunroom feel more private without losing the benefits of a sunroom.

Two images showing glass bottom sunroom panels and solid bottom sunroom panels

One option is to use insulated knee walls around the room. This means that the sunroom windows won’t go from floor to ceiling, giving you more privacy.

You can also choose to use solid insulated panels above your windows in a gable room which can make the room feel more cozy.

After your sunroom project is completed, you can also add curtains or blinds for privacy and for blocking the sun as needed.

Can I Have Skylights in My Sunroom?

It is possible for skylights to be built into a sunroom. However, we do not install skylights here at JSB. They are prone to leaks and they are an added expense that doesn’t add to the overall use or feel of the room since the sides are all windows already.

Can I Put a TV in My Sunroom?

Interior of a sunroom featuring a TV mounted to the wall.Sure! You probably don’t want to put a TV in a screen room but you can certainly add one to your three- or four-season room. Most homeowners install the TV against the house wall so that there is less glare behind the TV from the sun. If you are building a gable room, you could also use insulated panels above the windows on the gable end and this makes a perfect backdrop for a TV with glare from the sun being blocked.

What Kind of Warranty Does a Sunroom Have?

Each sunroom contractor will have their own warranty and the jargon used in a warranty can get confusing. The best advice here is to ask lots of questions about the warranty to make sure you understand the terms and keep any warranty paperwork for future use should a need arise.

Our BetterLiving Sunrooms have a transferable 50-year warranty. This means that your sunroom is under warranty for 50 years and that warranty transfers to a new homeowner if you sell your home.

I Understand the Basics of a Sunroom Addition, Now What?

Any time you are researching a home improvement project, the best source of information are the contractors that do those types of jobs. However sometimes, you are still left to sift through a contractor’s promises to find what is true and factual and what is a sales gimmick.

Our goal here at JSB is to come along side and give you as much information as we can to help you make informed decisions about your home. Regardless of which sunroom contractor you work with, the two most important questions for your sunroom project will be the cost of your sunroom and your sunroom project timeline.

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