Sunrooms make a great addition to many homes. A sunroom can offer you a great view of your yard and provide natural light to enter the home. You can harness light from the sun to help heat your home. The sunroom can act like a greenhouse over the winter. Plants that cannot survive the cold can thrive in the sunroom. Sunroom additions can be expensive and proper planning can help you save thousands of dollars. For some areas a sunroom is more practical then others. If a person lives in a sunny area they will get more benefits from the room than areas that are known for fog. Here are some tips to make the process of adding a sunroom go smoothly.

  1. The first thing to do when designing a sunroom is to set up a budget and research finance options. The average price of a 200-square-foot sunroom can cost over $70,000. Setting up a budget will allow you to know your financial limitations when designing your sunroom.

  2. Once you have a budget set it is important to find the correct placement for the room. To find the best spot for the sunroom start by finding the true south of your home. The true south is different from the magnetic south. To find this position hang a plumb bob in the corner of the home. The true south is the direction the shadow the bob will point at midday. The sunroom should be as close to the true south as possible. This will allow you to get the maximum heating and lighting advantage.

  3. In some cases the true south will not be the ideal place to add a sunroom. You need to build this room where it will cause the least amount of stress to the existing structure of the home. In some cases this will not be the true south. You should look for an area where the room will still get the most light.

  4. Before starting any type of construction make sure you contact your zoning board and learn the building codes in your area when planning your sunroom. You will have to follow the codes for safety regulations and other building codes you must follow.

  5. To stay within your budget decide what features you want in your sunroom and what you can do without. This includes room size, how the room will be accessed from the home, design elements, types of flooring, and heating and cooling issues. Heating and cooling can affect the costs of the project. Thermal glass, stone or tile flooring can capture the energy from the sun and provide heat. Ceiling fans and vents can help cool the room. This will save time and money from having to extend heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems to this new room. Door and window design can affect the room. Exterior doors with a removable screen, French doors, or sliding doors between the house and the sunroom can help keep it well ventilated during the summer. Glass is a better decision for windows then plastic. Vent skylights can also allow sunlight to come into the room. If you live in a cooler climate you want to select materials that will help retain heat.

  6. It is important to plan out all the dimensions of the room before hiring a contractor or getting supplies for construction. There are computer software programs that can aid in this process. The program can even create exact plans for the contractor to follow. An architect can also be hired to design the sunroom. The architect can take into consideration all the building codes and make a blueprint for the contractor. Architects will charge a fee and the fees will vary. Computer programs will cost less but they cannot bring the professional knowledge and experience that an architect can.
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