The term sunroom can mean slightly different things to different people. By definition, it is an enclosed room or porch specifically created to allow as much sunlight in as possible. These rooms have lots of glass or synthetic window materials — many include floor-to-ceiling windows and glass roofs. When people refer to one, many times they use the terms conservatory, greenhouse, sundeck, sun lounge, sun porch and solarium as synonyms although builders define these terms more specifically.
Plans for sunrooms can be part of a home's original architectural design, but in recent years, they have also become a popular addition to any house. Unlike the average greenhouse, which is usually a stand-alone entity, the sunroom is typically attached to the home. With the advent of prefabricated sunrooms, most homes today can add one that will be enjoyable, economical, sturdy, energy efficient, and increase the value of the home. Prefab construction has improved vastly through the past several decades; new designs and materials bring in the warmth of the sun even in the most northerly climates, and this addition can be ready to enjoy within weeks.
Normally, these rooms are constructed of frames of aluminum or decay-resistant woods that hold glass panels. The glazing may be single-pane, but double-paned glass is almost always used because it is most efficient for keeping the extreme heat out in the summer and the chill out during winter.
Besides spending hours in a comfortable indoor garden setting, people who have sunrooms installed will reap another major benefit — energy savings. The natural light emitted into the room can cut down on the need for lights on a dreary winter's day. They can also have solar panels installed to capture the sun's money-saving rays and distribute it throughout the rest of the home.
Some people design their sunrooms as basic greenhouses where they can enjoy their gardening hobby year round, while others use theirs as extensions of existing rooms. Still others plan their rooms to be the hub of the house as the den or family room. Regardless of how a homeowner plans to live in it, construction advances have eliminated some of the problems of the past. Newer materials and construction methods cut down on issues like heat loss, condensation, and sun damage.
Modern sunrooms are available in a wide range of sizes, styles, colors and shapes and can be custom designed or purchased in kit form for the do-it-yourselfers. Those with glassed-in ceilings can also provide a spectacular view of the starry sky at night. Proper placement on a piece of property is critical; the room should always be built in a south solar orientation to reap the most benefits from the sun. Contractors that specialize in this type of construction are available throughout the country, and homeowners should be sure to seek their advice.