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Home > Articles > Sunrooms > How to Make The Most of a Sunroom
 

How to Make The Most of a Sunroom


Written by: Stephanie Stevens | Date: Monday, 8th March 2010

Imagine being able to enjoy the ambience of your garden and surrounding area all year round - whatever the weather is like - in the comfort of an armchair, or seated at your dining table. When the sun goes down and the hours of daylight drift away, you can still gaze out at a starry or moonlit sky. The addition of a sunroom can bring functionality and elegance to any home by opening up the whole flow of your floor plan.

The term 'Sunroom' refers to an area of the home, which has an increased area of windows allowing a large flow of sunlight to enter through - they are also referred to as conservatories, solariums or garden rooms. This in turn makes the designated room much brighter, while controlling the climate and weather within. It provides a wonderful addition to your home at less cost than a traditional extension and adds great value to your property at the same time.

With more people working from  home and spending more quality time there these days; home improvement projects have greatly increased. A sunroom can offer any type of additional room, depending on your lifestyle and personal preference. You could have an office with a wonderful view, a gym, a dream kitchen, a playroom, a pool enclosure, a bathroom or even a master bedroom or private spa.

Before embarking on a sunroom or patio enclosure you must, of course, assess your circumstances and requirements. You will need to decide what type and size of room would serve you best. It may be that you just want to let light into an existing room, or you may want a completely new addition to your home. It is probably best to enlist the assistance of a sunroom specialist, who will be able to advise you and then design, plan and install it for you. Remember that you may also need to obtain planning permission before you can commence with any building work.

Screened Rooms - Porches

This involves the addition of large screened paneled walls, instead of glass, that allows fresh air to circulate through, but keeps out insects and other unwelcome pests. Unfortunately, this type of construction is only suitable for warmer times of the year or countries where the climate is temperate all year round.

Full Glass and Partial Glass Sunroom's

The amount of glass you choose to have in your sunroom structure is entirely a matter of personal taste. Some people like to bring in as much light as possible, particularly if they wish to keep a selection of plants in it and develop it into an indoor garden, or to create an indoor swimming or spa area. Others prefer to stick with more traditional structures, which comprise of a 'dwarf' wall, rather than glass to ground, with a solid roof. If you prefer to have a solid roof but feel that a little more light is required, then you can put in skylights, which can make a big difference.

Converting existing rooms

It may be possible to convert an existing space - particularly an unused space, which could be utilized. You may have an area or corner of a suitable room, which has an architectural design and gets plenty of sunlight - without the shade of trees. This could make an amazing feature and would certainly be a good focal point in your home for socializing - it would also be a good future selling point. This is usually the cheapest option, as part of the structure is already in place.

A Sunroom for all seasons

If you wish to be able to make the most of your sunroom all year round, then you must plan it very carefully to ensure that it meets the correct requirements for the changes in climate. An insulated ceiling, walls and glass windows, along with additional heating and cooling systems will be required to allow you to feel comfortable in your sunroom all year round - you may be able to extend your existing heating and cooling systems to meet your requirements.

Conservatories

These structures were styled from the Victorian era and have increased in popularity over the years. They can be bought in specific designs and styles directly from the manufacturer or they can be custom-made to meet your specific requirements. They all have a unique roof design, which makes them stand out from any other structure. They are generally made from high quality materials, including energy-saving glass. They are the perfect way to increase your living space and can be adapted for all year round living.

Choosing the right materials

Although glass windows and doors are the primary components of any sunroom, the frames are usually made from, wood, aluminum or PVC. PVC is probably the best option, as it performs well in both extremes of cold and heat and requires no maintenance in the form of painting or staining. Most PVC systems for window and door construction are 'multi walled' with internal reinforcement by means of either an aluminum or galvanized steel box section. PVC also comes in other colors other than white, including wood grain finishes in different wood colors. However, if you live in a historical building, PVC will not be permitted.

Choosing the most suitable glass will also depend on your requirements. There are now many different types available such as, Triple-panel glazing and argon-filled windows. There is also safety glass and even self-cleaning glass. The right type of glazing can help to improve insulation and reduce fuel costs in the winter. It can also improve the overall temperature inside the sunroom on hot days, by helping to prevent the transfer of heat.

Whatever design you decide on and whichever area of the house you feel would benefit from additional space or conversion, make sure that the design you choose fits in with the overall design and period of your home. Think carefully about your choice of materials too and make sure that your structure is going to be strong and well made, to ensure that you get many years of use and enjoyment out of your sunroom.

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