When it comes to fortifying your porch, there are three popular options:
- A screen room (or screened-in porch);
- A sunroom; or
- A sunroom that converts into a “screen room.”
To create a sunroom that converts into a screen room, it is fitted with sunroom windows with screens. The main benefit of this setup is that you don’t have to say goodbye to the relatively more open experience of having a screened-in porch. And when harsher weather or precipitation sets in, all you have to do is close the windows—and you get a sunroom that is shielded from the elements.
A sunroom window with screens can take on various styles, depending on your needs and preferences. In this article, we talk about how to decide if you need a sunroom as well as how to convert a screen room to a sunroom.
Let’s get started!
Screen Room vs. Sunroom vs. Sunroom/Screen Room
All of these enclosures offer plenty of natural light. This can be a wonderful space to entertain guests, enjoy hobbies, grow plants, or just simply relax. And while you’re in spaces like these, you get an extra dose of sunlight and vitamin D.
All of these upgrades also add real estate value to your home. However, a sunroom can add exponentially more value than a plain screen room or screened-in porch.
The Outdoor Air & Dust
Screened-in porches are a clear winner when it comes to ventilation because the screen allows air to flow more freely. The downside to this is that the air can carry dust, which results in the porch getting dusty very quickly.
Meanwhile, the advantage of sunrooms is that you get to choose when you want the outdoor air and when you want the space to be enclosed.
The Bugs & The Elements
Though all enclosures protect you from bugs, they do so in different ways.
- Enclosed porches give protection from bugs at all times.
- Pure sunrooms need to be closed to give bug protection.
- Sunrooms/screen rooms (which are fitted with a sunroom window with screens) have windows that can be left open—as long as the bug screen is in place.
When it comes to protection from precipitation and harsh weather, sunrooms are the clear winner.
Sunrooms also take the crown when it comes to showcasing a good view. A sunroom without screens has uninterrupted glass. And if you’ve chosen to use versatile sunroom windows with screens, the screens can be removed or retracted if you want a clearer view on a beautiful day.
5 Simple Steps to Convert Screen Room to Sunroom
You can easily convert your plain screened-in porch or screen room into either a sunroom or a sunroom/screen room by following the steps below:
Step 1: Design and Assessment
The first step is to design your sunroom. You can enlist the help of an expert designer or architect for this stage. They would also be able to determine if your porch’s frame can support the structure of a sunroom or if it needs to be replaced. Experts can also help you secure a building permit in case it’s needed for your area.
Step 2: Decide if You Need a Sunroom Window With Screens
The next crucial question to ask yourself is: Do you want a plain sunroom or a sunroom that can also convert into a screen room? In terms of construction, the difference between the two is the type of windows that they feature.
For plain sunrooms, you need regular windows that don’t have a screen. For sunrooms that convert into screen rooms, you need a sunroom window with screens.
If you choose to get a sunroom window with screens, you can determine if you want all your windows to be like this, or if you just want screens for select windows. The choice is yours. Keep in mind that most sunroom windows with screens have retractable or detachable screens, so they can all be removed if you want a clearer view of the outdoors.
Step 3: Removing the Old Screen Panels on the Screened-In Porch
The next step is to have the old screen panels removed. The wood stops that are holding the screen panels need to be taken out, then the panels can then be lightly hammered out of place.
If the frames or pillars on your porch are fit to support the walls of the sunroom, then converting the screen room into a sunroom will be relatively easier. You can then go straight to step three.
However, if the pillars of the porch aren’t strong enough for a sunroom, new ones would need to be built. We recommended getting in touch with an expert to be sure.
Step 4: Construction of Walls and Flooring
a. Sunroom Walls
Depending on the design of your sunroom, some portions of the porch will be fitted with varying sizes of walls. These would be where the door and the sunroom window with screens would be fastened.
The construction of the walls is similar to that of any exterior wall of the house. The walls would have top and bottom plates, studs along the middle, and are typically covered with plywood on the outside.
Then, the electrical wiring would need to be installed along this framework, right before insulation for the walls is set in place. Finally, the drywalls for the interior are placed on top of the insulation and the insulation’s protective barrier. The necessary interior finishes are then applied.
As for the outside of the sunroom, water and air barriers are typically wrapped all around the structure to fortify it against the elements. Shingling would then be done on the outside and then finished with a durable coat of paint.
b. Sunroom Flooring
Some homeowners prefer to change the flooring of their sunroom to match the indoor flooring. But this isn’t always necessary as some homeowners prefer to keep the sunroom’s flooring different to retain a more outdoorsy feel.
Another option is to get luxury polyvinyl planks. These are beautiful planks that resemble real wood but are water-resistant. Considering that a sunroom would be the first area of the house you step into from the outside, it’s important to make sure that it doesn’t suffer from water damage.
Step 5: Installation of the Sunroom Windows with Screens and the Glass Door
Next up is the most exciting step: it’s time to install the crisp and clear glass fixtures to make it the bright and protected part of the house that it is meant to be. This is basically what defines the sunroom, setting it apart from ordinary-looking screen rooms or enclosed porches.
Low-E vinyl windows are an excellent choice for sunrooms because they help to regulate the temperature of the room and are extremely low maintenance. If you opt for having a glass door, you would also want to find a low-E glass door. The windows and doors are installed in a similar fashion—with a weather-tight seal to reinforce the sunroom against the elements.
As mentioned earlier, remember to choose a sunroom window with screens if you want your sunroom to be convertible into a screen room.
And there you have it. After these fundamental steps, all you need is some decorative finishing touches, and your sunroom is ready to shine.
Outfit Your Sunroom With Windows and Doors From Clera
Clera Windows + Doors is a leading manufacturer of sunroom windows with screens and doors that are perfect for sunrooms. With our professional window and door installation services, you can be sure that your windows and doors will be well-sealed and will serve you well for years to come.
Contact us today to get a free estimate. We’ll be more than happy to help you make your sunroom dreams a reality!