Adding a sunroom brings the outdoors to you, while you stay warm or cool depending on the season. They are also known as solariums, sun parlors, or conservatories. Whatever you want to call them, they add some wonderful floor space to your home — space that’s sure to be one of your favorite places to spend quiet time soaking up the sun, having your morning coffee, and observing the outdoors.
Solariums can be heated and cooled for year-round use or they can be attached with access from the home, but more seasonal in nature — too hot in the summer and too cool in the winter. Screen rooms are another possibility to keep the insects out and allow the fresh air in, but in the hot and cold the air can be too fresh.
Here in Connecticut, most of these rooms need heating and cooling to allow maximum use of the space. This temperature control can be provided from the home’s existing HVAC system, if the existing system has the capacity and ducting can be properly routed to the space. Gas wall heaters and radiant floor heating are also options for winter months along with ductless air conditioning units for the rest of the year.
A glass roof can make for some dramatic lighting and really bring the sun into your solarium, but it can also drive up your cooling requirements in the summer. There are a few ways to put in window treatments to provide shade for the roof, which can help with the cooling costs quite a bit.
Another approach is to match the roofing from your home. This can serve to blend the sunroom into the overall look and feel of your home while providing important summer shade.
The first consideration for location is to review the sunlight. Southern exposure is usually too warm for Branford. The best option is a room on the eastern side of the home that provides sun in the morning and shade the rest of the day. Northern exposure can also provide shade and help with cooling requirements.
The next consideration is location in relationship to the rest of your home. Building your sunroom off the kitchen may be the best option, as these rooms often become the preferred eating spot. Alternatives are off the family room, living room, or dining room. You should also take into consideration the views that will be available through your sunroom windows.
There are many fun and exciting options for your new space. For example, you can use opening skylights that let out heat and opening windows to do the same, as well as ceiling fans to improve circulation. As I mentioned earlier, window treatments can help to screen the sun for both the windows and glass roofs. There are also a number of options for your windows including double-glazed glass or polycarbonate, designed to insulate as well as reflect heat and ultraviolet rays.
I like the post at Better Homes and Gardens titled What to Know Before Adding a Sunroom. It offers a number of ideas for solariums and sun porches, along with insight into construction considerations. I’ve also found some excellent addition ideas and photos on Pinterest and Houzz.