Types of Sunrooms and Patios
- Screened Rooms/Porches
- Additions to Existing Walls vs. Converting Existing Rooms
- Full Glass Rooms vs. Partial Glass
- Three & Four Season Sunrooms
A screened porch is essentially a regular porch that has had the addition of perimeter walls of large screened panels that allow fresh air to circulate while helping keep out insects. Screened rooms can be an excellent way of getting more mileage out of your patio or deck. Use of this casual area is often limited to the summer and warmer portions of the spring and fall months.
Just as each home varies in its needs and characteristics, each homeowner's choice of approach to adding a sunroom varies. For some, an existing space such as an unused deck or patio or perhaps an architectural alcove may make the perfect new sunspace. For others, adding extra living space is a priority and only a new addition to the existing structure will do.
One of the most obvious differences in sunrooms is the amount of glass that they contain. While some may be comprised almost completely of glass, others opt for more traditional structures with solid roofs or "knee walls" beginning at the base of the floor and extending up two to three feet. Some sunrooms with traditional rooflines opt to install skylights to allow extra light to enter the space. Whether you opt for a full or partial glass room is a matter of personal preference, specific needs, existing architecture and local building code compliance.
Less obvious but perhaps most important in determining the amount of enjoyment you derive from your sunroom is whether you choose a three- or four-season sunroom. While both are enclosed glass rooms, a four-season sunroom includes a fully insulated ceiling and insulated walls as well as insulated-glass windows. The home's heating and cooling system is extended to keep a four-season sunroom comfortable on even the most flaming summer day or the most frigid winter night.
If the exiting heating and cooling system is not substantial enough to handle the additional load of the sunroom, additional systems such as a baseboard heater or window-unit air conditioner may be added. Unless you live in an extremely temperate climate, only a four-season sunroom will provide radiant relaxation year-round.