Full glass sunroom addition: sun, sky and great ROI
Full glass sunrooms are often called conservatories or solariums. In a mild climate you can relax under the sky even when there are cool breezes or rain, as they have a solar heating potential similar to a closed-up car. Sunrooms extend the growing season of potted plants. You can even put in a hot tub to enjoy year-round. However, when planning your sunroom, be aware that an unshaded south-facing room can gather heat quickly in almost any climate.
Full glass sunroom materials
Glass and frame materials are the primary elements of your sunroom:
- Glass materials: Tough, strong polycarbonate and other synthetic materials are sometimes used. Actual tempered glass windows for roof and walls may be dual- or multi-paned for insulation. They can also have special coatings inside or out to decrease summer heat built-up or increase cool-season heat retention.
- Frame materials: Sunroom structural elements may use aluminum, vinyl-clad materials or wood.
Other elements of your sunroom project include the walls, plumbing, heating and cooling, lighting, roof framework and how the room attaches to the rest of the house.
- The majority of sunrooms attach to the home with access via a double or single door. Other homes completely remove a section of an exterior wall, adding a sunroom extension to an existing room.
- Glass walls may be ceiling to floor or three-quarter height to allow for perimeter seating or storage at the bottom. Regularly-spaced vertical braces of aluminum, wood or vinyl-clad material provide support for windows, doors and roof joists.
- Heat and cold build up in a full glass sunroom. You may want a fan or other methods of cooling and heating the room.
For the roof framework, there are several options, including these:
- The glass ceiling can slope straight and flat from the eaves.
- The ceiling can curve at the sunroom's exterior wall.
- The roof can be gabled or slightly dome-shaped, typical of a conservatory.
- You can have a partially-solid, insulated roof with one or more skylights.
Sunroom kits, costs and contractors
A number of manufacturers such as Admiral, Champion Windows, Four Seasons, Joyce Manufacturing, Patio Enclosures, TEMO and others, have customizable sunrooms available as kits for homeowner or contractor construction. Sunroom prices for a very simple Rion 7-by-9, polycarbonate, lean-to sunroom for do-it-yourself installation are roughly $1,400 to $2,200 without a floor. Expect to pay closer to about $7,500 to $10,000 for other brands' small kits. A typical larger sunroom addition is often in the $20,000 to $30,000 range. A complex conservatory-style, all-glass sunroom can cost $50,000 or more.
Think of the pleasure of your room full of sun, and consider that the 2011 Cost vs. Value Report estimates that the resale return on investment can be 90 percent or more. The form on this web page simplifies finding local contractors who can bring a sunroom concept to reality.