Here on Vancouver Island it can get pretty dull and dreary this time of year (November) but just imagine bathing in the warmth of the summer sun, surrounded by lush greenery on a cold winter day. Yes, winter’s here but there’ no need to suffer through winter by staying in a dark gloomy house. You can bring summer back and brighten your days with addition of a sun room to your home. Not only that but come summer you can still enjoy the lifestyle and home improvement your new room will bring. In early spring you can open things up a little and begin enjoying the fresh spring air long before it’s comfortable enough to stay outside. Come summer your sunroom will serve as a screened living space protecting you from the pests that tend to come out around sun set. Yes, it’s true the image of a sunroom brings scenes of warmth, tranquility, relaxation and an outdoor living space brought indoors.
Whatever your ideas are for a sunroom there are some basic things we encourage you to consider:
- First think about the big picture – what do you imagine the purpose of your sunroom to be? Is your goal to expand your living space? – or – are you wanting to add a quiet private space? Perhaps you’re interested in creating a new casual dining space for a leisurely breakfast – or – a space for cocktails and evening entertaining? Maybe you have a green thumb and it will serve as a work space of sorts allowing you to garden or enjoy other hobbies all year round? Take time to get the big picture and the main reason you are undertaking this renovation clear in your mind.
- Will you be using this space year-round or for just specific parts of the year? While a four season room needs to be built on a proper foundation and be heated and completely insulated a three season sunroom only needs to be wind and waterproof. You can save even more money on a two season sunroom which is likely not much more than than an enclosed screened deck. Although this time of year most people are interested in expanding their indoor living space for those cold winter months.
- Is this going to be an addition to your house or a separate new space? Your New sun room project can be created in many different ways. It could be a sunny breakfast space that expands upon your existing kitchen or maybe an additional to your family room; closing in a deck or porch; or perhaps a independent building altogether like a glass gazebo. It could be all glass as in a solarium which can be purchased complete as a package, or a classical conservatory, or a more of an addition with traditional windows, doors and skylights.
- Have a well thought out heating, cooling and ventilation plan. Overheating is probably the most common problem we see with sunroom. This is largely due to poor selection of windows and glass. Be sure to use windows that open, and have them laid out in an engineered plan which optimizes cross ventilation in the summer time. Realize that summer isn;t the only time you need to be concerned about overheating. A poorly built sunroom with improper glass can become an oven in winter too. The type of glass used in you new room is critically important; be sure to use glass that is triple glazed and has reflective properties to will keep some of the sun rays out while have the insulting affect of keeping heat in at night. This will reduce large swings in temperature from day to night and in between. If your design includes skylights make sure they are the kind that will also open. Another added feature which is well worth the investment is built in retractable blinds for all of the glass surfaces – windows, skylights and especially for an all glass roof. Energy efficient windows will also help keep the heat in. For an all season sunroom, it’s important to have your heating system assessed to insure it can handle additional heating or cooling requirements for your addition. As your renovation specialist our assessment may recommend the expansion of your existing system to make sure your sunroom is always comfortable.
- A Solid Foundation. Year round sunrooms and solariums need to start with a proper foundation built below the frost line. To skip or skimp on this important step is a recipe for problems including – movement due to settling; broken or cracked windows; gaps and moisture problems to name a few.
- Prepare the area. Trees are a wonderful part of any property as they provide shade from the sun in summer time. But, they can also cause damage or an unsightly mess of your lovely new glass room. This is especially true if your design includes a glass roof. Be sure to trim tree branches and clean up the area around your new sunroom to prevent damage or nuisance. Remove any overhanging branches which will drip sap onto the glass or worse yet break and fall onto your roof. We also recommend using tempered glass for your roof to prevent dangerous shattering in the event something heavy does fall on your roof.