Window Types and Options
Glass windows and doors are the primary components of any sunroom. Sizes, shapes and styles offered by manufacturers are almost without limit, allowing a great deal of creative latitude in design. It is wise, however, to choose windows that are compatible with the existing windows and overall architecture of your home. Also, rarely should single-paned windows be considered anymore, because of today's energy efficiency standards. With double and sometimes triple paned windows, there is gas between the glass and glazing to limit heat flow across the window.
Fixed windows tend to be less expensive than styles that open, so a smart option is to combine a number of fixed windows with ones that will open. You can also save money on this expensive portion of your sunroom by staying with stock size windows rather than custom creations. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of different window types.
- Wood - Wood windows are energy-efficient
- All-wood typically are the most expensive type of windows.
- Custom builds are usually available.
- All-wood will require periodic refinishing.
- Vinyl - Superior energy efficiency.
- Moderate cost.
- Available in few stock colors.
- Maintenance free.
- Can be painted.
- Aluminum - Not as energy efficient as most others.
- Should include a thermal break to slow transfer of heat.
- Clad - Energy-efficiency of wood frames
- Mostly maintenance free
- Moderately priced.
- Most popular style of window/door.
If you live in an especially cold climate or have special concerns about the energy-efficiency and insulating capabilities of your windows, you may opt for specialty glazings.Some window options you might consider are:
- Triple-paned glazings - Includes three panes of glass to create two layers of insulation that prevent heat loss.
- Argon-filled windows - The space between the panes of glass is filled with argon or another inert gas. Argon's thermal conductivity is about one-third less than that of regular air, so it provides better insulation.
- Low-emission (low-E) glass - This type of window is coated with extremely thin layers of silver or other metal. The glass permits light to pass through but helps prevent the transfer of heat. This allows hot or cold outside temperatures to be kept out and inside climate control measures to be better retained.
- Safety glass - Required by most building codes for skylights. The most popular is tempered glass. Tempered glass is heat-treated and when it breaks it crumbles into small, blunt chunks rather than large shards of glass.
For sunrooms that have a traditional framed roof instead of an all-glass topping, skylights can provide an extra amount of light and airiness. Simply because they are opened directly to the sky, they allow nearly twice as much light to enter the room as regular windows. Glazing options for skylights are similar to those of windows. The industry-standard is insulated tempered safety glass. There are three basic types of skylights:
- Fixed skylights - Cannot be opened. Most economical. May include "bubble shaped" insulated dome to help shed water.
- Fixed and vented skylights - Include a small vent that can be opened. Less expensive than skylights that fully open.
- Vented skylights - Open via hand crank, control rod or electronic control. Should be equipped with insect screen.
Calculating Pricing for your new Sunroom Addition?
Price is a big factor in planning your budget for the project, with a quote you will be able to calculate the cost of options such as sloped ceilings versus gabled/cathedral or a traditional sunroom versus a solarium. When you request a no obligation Sunroom Quote, we pass your request to only one sunroom professional who will call you. No more multiple annoying phone calls.