A sun porch is a room enclosed with screens, storm windows, or glass, and a roof, that allows homeowners to enjoy the outside when the weather is less than ideal. Other names for sun porches include sunrooms and Florida rooms. They may also be called a conservatory, although conservatories traditionally have a glass roof. Sun porches often share the same type of roof as the rest of the home, although the room may include sky lights.
Most often, sun porches are located on the back or side of the home. Enclosing the front porch to create a sunroom is less common, although it may be done to take advantage of the orientation of the house. A sunroom added to the south or west side of the home will get a good amount of sunlight. Placing the sun porch in an area where it does not receive enough sun will keep the room cold and dark, reducing the functionality of the room. Shades or blinds may be necessary along the southern or western facing side of the room, for comfort.
These rooms are typically unheated, which means that it cannot be enjoyed year around. This is where the term "three season room" comes from when describing a sun porch. In warm climates, the walls may be screened, but traditionally, the walls of a sun porch are storm windows or glass.
If the sun porch is built as an addition to an existing home, enclosing a porch that is already in place, the floor will be concrete, decking material, or whatever material was originally used on the porch. The flooring can be replaced to match the flooring used in the home, or left as is. If the sunroom is built new, the flooring will match existing flooring in the home.
The sunroom is often designed to add more living space to the home. This means that is should open into the living room, dining room, or kitchen. One common use for sun porches is creating a breakfast nook. Designing the sun porch so that there are entries from both the kitchen and dining room creates an inviting informal eating area.
Building a sunroom is an affordable way of increasing the living space of the home. Depending on where the the home is located, the sunroom may not be considered part of the square footage when selling a home. Some areas require that the room be heated to be considered part of the square footage.