Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | January 30, 2012
Sunrooms add extra living space, bring the outdoors inside, and boost your home's resale value. A variety of sunroom options are available for budgets big and small.
All glass, pre-fab or converted: sunrooms come in many styles
The options for a sunroom are as wide and varied as your imagination. They can be made entirely of glass, including the ceiling; or they can be small rooms with large glass windows. Some sunrooms don't have glass at all, but screens that allow the breeze and sunlight to pour in.
You can choose from prefabricated sunrooms with quick installation by a professional, or one that is built by a contractor from the "foundation up." Some sunrooms are conversions of existing rooms. Conversions can save a great deal of money.
Sunroom costs: shining some light on the sticker price
Sunroom costs vary greatly. A simple screened sunroom, created from an existing porch, can cost $500 to $1,500 for do-it-yourself materials. A custom-built version could cost between $5,000 and $15,000 or more.
If you prefer a prefabricated sunroom, expect to pay around $10,000 for an 8-by-10 foot space. Larger models can run between $15,000 and $35,000. These estimates include foundation work, and assume that the area will not be heated or cooled.
For a four-season sunroom with a heating and cooling system, expect costs to reach into the $60,000 to $70,000 range. Additional options, such as remote control blinds and automatic awnings, can add to that bottom line.
The glass you choose for a sunroom can also drive up costs. Single-pane glass is common in sunrooms that do not need to be heated or cooled. Double-pane windows provide more insulation, but come at a higher price. Triple-pane windows are the most expensive, yet they also provide greater insulating value. If you are creating a sunroom of many windows set into a traditional wall, expect to pay from $300 to $1,000 or more per window, with the double-pane and triple-pane options at the higher end of the scale.
Finally, don't forget the need for permits. If your city or county requires a permit to build an addition to your home, you should obtain the proper paperwork before moving forward with the project. The guidelines and cost of a permit may vary, depending upon where you live. To be sure of the guidelines in your area, contact a local sunroom contractor by using the form on this page.