Beyond increasing the real estate value of your home, there are many benefits to getting a sunroom. Of course, as the name suggests, this room is flooded with natural light. This can be a wonderful space to entertain guests, do hobbies, grow plants, or just simply relax. It’s just like having a screened porch but without the onslaught of dust and precipitation and can be a good place to stay for all seasons. Moreover, you will be able to enjoy the crisp view of the outside world without the grids of the screen. And do we even need to talk about how much more luxurious it looks from the outside? Aesthetically speaking, glass trumps screen on any given day.
But this doesn’t mean that screened-in porches do not have their advantages. If you’re reading this article, chances are you already have your heart set on having a sunroom. But we’d like for you to make the most informed decision possible. So before we talk about how to convert a screened porch to a sunroom or how to build a sunroom, let’s weigh the pros and cons.
Screened In Porch vs. Sunroom
There are advantages and disadvantages to both – so let’s have a closer look.
Screened-in porches and sunrooms both allow for extra space where you can relax, entertain guests, and even do hobbies. And while you’re in spaces like these, you get an extra dose of sunlight and vitamin D. And let’s take a moment to appreciate how big of a deal that is. Sunlight comes for free. But the vitamin D that you get from it has priceless benefits – including strengthening the bones, boosting the immune system, warding off depression, and even helping to regulate weight.
Both the screened-in porch and sunroom will also add real-estate value to your home. However, a sunroom can add exponentially more value than a screened-in porch.
The Outdoor Air & Dust
It seems that screened-in porches are a clear winner when it comes to ventilation because the screen just allows air to flow. The downside to this is that the air can carry dust and the porch can get dusty very quickly, depending on where you live. Some people may actually prefer this though – having the more outdoor feel of a screened porch.
Meanwhile, sunrooms are more ‘indoor’ and protected than screened porches. But if you want more of the outdoor air in a sunroom, there’s still a solution for that. You can opt to have big windows that open wide and let the outdoor air in. The advantage of sunrooms over screened-in porches in this respect is that you get to choose when you want the outdoor air and when you want the space to be more closed.
The Bugs, The View, & The Elements
Both screened-in porches and sunrooms can protect you from bugs. But for sunrooms, the windows may need to be closed to achieve this. On the other hand, screened-in porches give all-around bug protection while still allowing the air to flow. But the trade-off in having a screened-in porch is the compromised outdoor view and virtually no protection from the elements. Screened-in porches are not the place to be when rain or winter strikes.
But there is a way to win it all: you can consider combining the two solutions. If you live in an area where there are a lot of mosquitos or wasps, having a screen that you can pull down on the windows that open in the sunroom is something you can consider. As for the view, you can still enjoy it from the crisp and clear screenless glass of fixed windows or windows that are closed. And of course, since it’s a sunroom, this area of the house can be protected no matter the weather or the season.
Steps to Convert Screened Porch to Sunroom
So if you’re determined to convert your screened porch into a sunroom, here are the steps on how to build a sunroom. These steps are specifically for a four-season sunroom. The entire process, when done by experts, can take only a few days.
Step 1: Design and Assessment
Before anything else, you would need the design for your sunroom. You can enlist the help of an expert designer or architect here. They would also be able to determine if your porch’s frame can support the structure of a sunroom or if they need to be replaced. These experts can also help you secure a building permit in case it’s needed for your area or for the design that you want to have.
Step 2: Removing the Screen Panels
Supposing that the frames or pillars on your porch are fit to support the walls, sunroom windows, and doors of a sunroom, then the next step is to have the screen panels removed. The wood stops that are holding the screen panels need to be taken out and the panels can then be lightly hammered out of place.
Step 3: Construction of Walls and Flooring
Depending on the design of your sunroom, some portions of the porch would be fitted with walls – and these would be where the sunroom windows and door 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 then typically covered with a sheath of plywood on the outside.
Then, the electrical wiring would need to be installed along this framework, right before insulation for the walls are 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 coat of paint.
If you want to change the flooring of your sunroom to something that matches your indoor flooring, you may also do so – but this isn’t really required and some homeowners prefer to keep the sunroom’s flooring different to retain a more outdoor feel.
Step 4: Installation of the Sunroom Windows and the Glass Door
The most exciting part of the process is the installation of the sunroom windows and the glass door. This is basically what defines the sunroom, setting it apart from just an enclosed porch or just an ordinary room. 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.
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.
And there you have it. After these fundamental steps, it just takes some finishing touches and your sunroom is ready to rock.
Where Do I Get the Best Windows and Door for My Sunroom?
Clera Windows + Doors is a leading manufacturer and seller of windows and doors that are perfect for sunrooms. And with our professional window installation, you can be sure that your windows and doors are fortified and will serve you 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 into a reality!