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   Getting Into Sunrooms
 
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The notion of sunrooms conjures up different visions for many people. Some see a space resembling a glassed-in deck where you can laze in a sunny spot without insects, the rain or the cold bothering them. Others envision an indoor-outdoor area where kids can play, they can relax in a hot tub and entertain guests. And still there is a notion that a sunroom is a glorified greenhouse featuring plants as the focal point.

Sunrooms = Enhanced Living

A sunroom is an extension of the home made mostly of glass or plastic which is built onto, or into, a house in a way that allows the sun to enhance living. In the past they were built with wood and brick framing holding in the large windows. A large Victorian mansion sometimes had an atrium or conservatory made of wrought-iron framing that held as many as a thousand panes of glass.

In days gone by many city homeowners had covered or screened-in porches which allowed them to relax in the evening. There wasn't as much noise from traffic and they could converse with their neighbors and passersby. As the tempo of the cities increased more time was spent out back in the garden and gradually the front porch was replaced by the back deck . These decks were then enclosed with windows as protection from the elements and they added to the floor space of the interior.

Sometimes called a a solarium, Florida room or “enclosed patio” modern sunrooms commonly use structured aluminum, which holds the glass panes glass, or PVC. Depending on the geographic location of the home it may have a clear roof or series of skylights to take advantage of the sunlight, or have the top roofed over to block excessive sunlight. These structures usually face a lush garden on the side or rear of the home while others will face out front in order to capture a beautiful view.

Options for Sunroom Placement

  1. South: In the winter a sunroom facing south will maximize the warmth of the short, sunny days but will not be in that position for the hot sumer sun.

  1. East: This is for those who do not want direct sunlight making it a good position for a dining room.. Shade plants will also thrive in this sunroom but there is enough light for almost all other varieties.

  1. West: Sunsets are gorgeous in this position, with the amber rays spilling all through the home through this portal.

  1. North: From this position you can have natural light without any incursion of the hot rays of summer which can cause furniture and drapery to fade. However, it might be a good idea to have heating.


Types of Sunroms

1. Traditional Sunroom: These range from simple patio enclosures to full additions to the home. What they have in common is that both have a roof. The roof may contain skylights but it is designed to block out the sun.

2. Solarium: Like the garden green house the solarium is completely enclosed in glass or clear plastic except for the floor. The edge of the roof is sometimes curved downward to allow rain and snow to slide off easily. It is usually attached to the home, on the side or back.

. 3. Conservatory: (sometimes called Edwardian): Imagine a house of glass with a stone or brick foundation that butts up against the home and allows complete indoor access to the dwelling and you have a conservatory. Like the wrought-iron-framed ones of old you can get this style in a Victorian motif or in a modern all-windows model. The roof is peaked and contains reinforced glass.

4. Screened Enclosures: These are basically porches with a large screened areas and will look attractive of the front of the home. Some even have removable windows to close it off in colder weather.

Other Advantages of Sunrooms

  • Solar Heat: For the “green” enthusiast a well-placed sunroom can cut down heating costs in the winter especially if the floor is made of thick stone. A few hours of direct sunlight can heat the rocks enough to suppliment the heating in that part of the home for hours. Just add a fan.

  • Resale: The curb appeal of a sunroom is enough to draw prospective buyers in for a closer look.

  • Easily Built: Unlike the cumbersome wood framing most sunrooms are designed in a kit form and go together very easily in the right hands. However, you should really have a contractor do this. And for stability have a “knee wall” built.

  • The Garden Comes Indoors: Just because it's autumn your sunroom doesn't shut down. In many areas you can harvest tomatoes until Christmas and start them again in January for plating when the snow goes. It can be your -all-year source of herbs and vegetables.