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How to Plan a Sunroom Addition

Sunrooms offer a number of benefits. If you are considering a sunroom addition to your home, it is important that you understand these benefits in addition to considerations for that sunroom. Sunrooms allow you to enjoy sunlight year around, even during the colder winter months. You can use the sunroom as a greenhouse during winter and they offer a great way to increase your home’s value. If you are thinking of adding a sunroom, you should note that they are not typically cheap. Because of the expense, you have to ensure that you get the right sunroom and have it installed in the right location on your home. There are a few things to keep in mind when buying your new sunroom.

  1. You have to know how much you can afford to spend. Setting a budget is the first step in selecting the right sunroom for your home. You need to determine if financing will be needed and how you are going to provide that financing. Setting your budget and getting financing in place is essential before you begin choosing the sunroom that you want and long before you begin construction.
  2. Find the “true south” location in your home. This is not the south that you will see indicated by a compass. True south can be found by hanging a plumb bob on the corner of the house and following the direction of the shadow at the precise midpoint of a day between sunrise and sunset. If you ensure that your sunroom is aligned with the true south, you can enjoy the optimal lighting and heating potential of the room.
  3.  Determine where your sunroom will be installed. Keeping in mind that you want it as close as possible to the true south position, you also have to ensure that you are installing your sunroom in a location that will be used and in one that offers the least impact on your home’s structure. You may be faced with the choice of installing it in the best true south position or installing it in an area that best suits your specific needs.
  4.  You should ensure that you have contacted your local zoning board to inquire about any permits that are required. You can learn more about specific zoning laws and building codes to see what you need before you begin construction.
  5. Think about what specific features you want in your new sunroom. When choosing features, you should also determine the size of the room that you want, how you are planning to access your sunroom from your home and various design aspects like the type of flooring you desire, how you want to heat and cool the sunroom and other elements of design. When choosing the heating and cooling process, keep in mind that the specific system you use for heating and cooling will have a major impact on the cost of building your sunroom as well as keeping it comfortable in the future. Stone or tile are good choices for flooring as they capture the energy of the sun to provide heating. Thermal glass is also a good idea and adding ceiling fans and a few vents will allow you to easily cool the room without having to add venting from your primary heating and cooling system. Think about what types of windows and doors that you want. French or sliding doors placed on the wall between the sunroom and your home allow you to ventilate it easily during the summer when temperatures are higher. Glass windows tend to trap more heat energy so these are better choices than plastic and will allow you to keep the room warmer during the winter months. Also, skylights can help you to ventilate the room and allow additional sunlight in.
  6. Finally, begin your design planning when you have the other elements worked out. You can use computer assisted design programs to help determine what size and shape of sunroom will work best as well as where it will easily fit into your home’s overall design. Software programs can also create the specific design plans that your contractor will need when building your sunroom. You could also hire an architect to draw up unique designs for your sunroom. The architect can use your own desires and ideas and incorporate them into a design that the contractor can use to build the room. Fees will vary depending on the architect and likely the complexity of your design. The software program is a much less expensive option but using an architect can ensure that the building process runs a bit smoother.
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