Constructing Outdoor Dreams: The Four-Season Room

Additional space, ample sunlight, and affordability are three distinct reasons the decision to consider building an enclosed sunroom is made. Attached to the house and accessible from the indoors, the “every reason” room functions as an added living space for the family to gather or retreat when cold or rainy weather dampens outdoor festivities.  The four-season room, well-insulated with windows and ventilation, and locked doors, increases the value of the home while fulfilling a distinct purpose.

Dreaming about Upgrades 

Screened Porch:Homeowners often consider adding upgrades to their home.  Investing in a porch may include adding a roof as a protection from the sun, and establishing the perimeter with screens and a door.

Three-Season Rooms:  Solariums are ideal additions for homeowners who seek to expand their living space in the spring through the fall.  These extensions feature floor-to-ceiling single-pane to double-pane windows with UV protection; yet, are not insulated to provide air conditioning or heating. Options on roofing and room design can inspire a unique extension to your home, or as a stand-alone location on your property. Hiring a professional is an investment of a relationship and cost for the exchange of experience, insight, and a customized room with a roof matching the color and style of your home.   Kits or modular pre-fabricated solariums are possibilities to save on cost whether it is a do-it-yourself project or if it requires a contractor.

Year-Round Solarium:

The advantageous need for natural light and warmth has a connection to our physical and emotional well-being.  Walls enclose our desire to be part of the natural world.  Simply witnessing nature alters our emotions and eases stress levels. While the year-round solarium is more expensive than a three-season room due to the need of footers and foundation, insulation, and heating, opening the door to step into a fully enclosed room featuring floor-to-ceiling views of the outdoors is possible with the grace of financial flexibility and options.

Making Decisions 

  • Resale Potential: If considering a resale, livable space and size of the room will impact the value. Planning for its purpose as a dining room, study, or living room is an added benefit to potential future buyers.
  • Location: One of the first decisions is choosing the perfect spot. Most sunrooms take advantage of southern exposure, which provides the most extended period of natural light; however, “cooling” will impact comfort and cost.  On summer days, well-chosen blinds or curtains can block the sun’s intense rays.  With adequate ventilation, a space heater may be the solution to enjoying your non-heated space when occupied in the winter.
  • Types of Materials: It is vital to discover how the materials offer weather protection. Will the new space be draft, moisture, and rust resistant?  Consider the benefits of aluminum versus vinyl construction. While aluminum is temperature and humidity resistant, vinyl is often reinforced by inner frames made from aluminum or steel.
  • Roofing: Diverse options exist in choosing the ideal roofing system for your project.  Gabled, single-sloped, wood or an existing roof are possibilities of a closed shelter; however, glass roof panels can transform a sunroom into a solarium.
  • Windows: Insulation is a vital factor in the decision-making process.  Single pane windows protect against the elements and are often standard in most three-season room packages; however, an energy rated window that offers UV protection, such as Low-E, can aid in maintaining cooler temperatures in the summer months and warmer temperatures during the winter.  Insulation will make a significant difference in the comfort of the room and usability throughout the year.
  • Glass Tinting: Tinting glass is an option for single-pane and double-pane windows. In addition to shading while reducing solar heat gains, tinting increases UV protection.
  • Accessories: Sunrooms provide attractive accessories such as electric-powered skylights and remote-controlled shades.  Additional options in your four-season room include cathedral ceiling, tile flooring, and ceiling fans.

Upgrading a porch is not just a daydream of possibilities. Your vision can inspire a location for family gatherings and social occasions.  Surrounded by hanging baskets and potted plants, the addition can ease stress levels and promote wellness. For those who build a sunroom, it instantly becomes the most popular location in the house!

Next month: The Appealing Portico


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