Whether you call it a sunroom, Florida room, patio room, sun porch, conservatory, solarium, greenhouse or garden room, a sunroom makes it easy to bring the outdoors into your home. Thanks to improved materials and design, builders and manufacturers have largely solved the two major complaints of sunrooms past: heat loss and leaks.
Operable windows and ceiling panels and a ceiling fan let the breezes blow into a dramatic three-season sunroom with lovely garden views.
That moment in a summer's day when it's time to enjoy the late light may be why sunrooms were invented. It's a place to enjoy your morning coffee and your garden without messing up your work clothes with picnic table grime.
Almost every designer, builder or owner of sunrooms uses some version of the phrase “bringing the outdoors in.” A sunroom immediately satisfies the conflicting desires for nature and comfort.
“You stay away from the bugs and the pollen and you can have comfortable furniture that won't be ruined in the rain,” said Dale Contant of Atlantic Design and Build in Marietta, Ga. “You can really extend the seasons. When you're outdoors you hear the birds, you hear the wind blow. You could even hang out in a storm. It's a room to get that vitamin D!”
And talk about a room with a view. “For people with their view of the ocean, view of the trees, view of the mountains, they want to minimize the amount of structural blockage,” said Bob Ottaway, general manager of Westview Sunrooms in Dallas, Ore., which works with architects to build custom sunrooms. “For a typical wall, there is eight to 10 inches between the daylight opening of one window to the other. But with a sunroom, there is only three inches or less.”
With a sunroom, you can enjoy your backyard even in a downpour.
Another advantage of some sunrooms is that light is an architectural element. “Any reflective surfaces will broadcast light into the existing home,” said Doug Piehl, owner of Freeport Conservatories in Freeport, Maine. “In a traditional addition where you put on a solid roof, even with nice windows, the new space is light but the rest is darker. With a conservatory, the existing space benefits. You can take a 5 x 12 room—a tiny space—but with the light everything feels bigger and brighter.”
Definition and Types of Sunrooms Sunrooms, Florida rooms, patio rooms, sun porches, conservatories, solariums, greenhouses and garden rooms are the terms loosely tossed around and are defined differently by manufacturers. No matter what it's called, a sunroom's design depends on its use, the house's style and the homeowners' budget. It may be integral to the house or closed off by a door, insulated or not, on a foundation or off, with a glass roof or a ceiling, with operable or inoperable windows. It can be tiny or immense. Some companies deal in prefab kits, but sunrooms can be custom-designed and stick-built.