The trend toward bringing the outdoors in to our homes makes the addition of a sunroom very popular. If your goal is to open your home to natural light, fresh air and natures views you’ll want to select a style that optimizes your window and door choices. Traditional sunroom additions give you the maximum flexibility to select the size, style and location for your sunroom windows and doors.
A ‘site built’ or sometimes called ‘stick built’ addition is built from scratch on-site. In this case, the wood, concrete, glass, siding, shingles, insulation, lighting and every other component is selected to closely match your existing home or to upgraded standards. A traditional sunroom addition is constructed by a contractor just as any regular addition or house would be. Permits are pulled, a foundation is laid, walls are framed, insulated and sheet rocked, roof trusses are built, and the room is wired for power.
Since the primary purpose of these rooms is to create a bright and airy space, particular attention needs to be given to the window and door selection in order to get the maximum benefit of the room. Here are some key considerations for your sunroom addition windows and doors.
Size and Placement. Maximize views, air flow and traffic flow by choosing the best layout for the windows. Ideally you want to keep the size, height and spacing of your windows consistent with the rest of the house. Yet, this is a glass room where the windows and doors need to be highly functional. Consider using Marvin awning windows to manage airflow and keep out surprise rains. You can also stack your windows, keeping one row consistent with the height of your home’s existing windows and adding a second row above or below to let in more light or ventilation. With all the expansive door options available today, maybe you can plan your sunroom to have a virtual open wall on one side by using multi-panel sliding or French doors.
Styling and Material. It’s important to match your existing home window styling when adding a sunroom. Ask your contractor to match the exterior and interior window trim. While it’s also important to match the original window material, such as wood, vinyl or metal, in order to get the same look, today you can often match a window profile using alternative materials. So, if wood replacement windows are beyond your budget, today, you may find some composite materials or vinyl from manufacturers like Andersen that offer slimmer profiles, which more closely resemble wood than in the past. Wood windows use clad exteriors that also nicely match older wood windows. Ideally, if your existing windows have grids, called muntins, it’s important to match the same divided light pattern for your sunroom windows. Today’s divided light options can reproduce the look of older true divided light muntins for a much lower cost.
Comfort and Maintenance. One of the greatest benefits of today’s windows, besides their energy efficiency, is the ease of cleaning them. Windows tilt in to allow you to wash both sides of the glass from inside. Dual pane glass doesn’t require any additional protection like the storm windows of the past, which were fixed glass windows added to the outside to protect against drafts and severe weather. Sunrooms are ideally built to maximize the south-facing exposure offering more light and warmth. Consider air-conditioning, a ceiling fan, or blinds between the glass in order to keep it comfortable on the hottest days. Planning the proper roof lines, skylights, eaves, and natural deciduous trees can all combine to keep the room comfortable.
Building a traditional sunroom addition gives you the most flexibility to expand the size of your home, with a room that matches the existing home and is a light filled room with views. Remember, when planning your perfect sunroom addition, windows and doors make up 50-80% of your walls. Focus on selecting the styling, functionality and ease of use in order to optimize your investment in your home.
Read our previous blogs for more ideas about designing sunrooms that focus on functionality and connect the indoors to the outdoors.