Tuesday, November 8, 2022 / by Teresa DiPeso
Is a sunroom just the same thing as a Florida room or a solarium? Well … yes!
When it comes to a home’s rooms (or real estate listings), we expect to see bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, and perhaps the occasional playroom or den. But a sunroom is often an unexpected bright bonus. But just what is it, and is it something you truly want in your home?
What to know about a sunroom
A sunroom by any other name … is probably the same thing as a sunroom. Also called a solarium, Florida room, garden room, sun parlor, patio room, winter garden, or conservatory, it’s basically a space with windows or screens on three sides that let the sun shine right through—often on the southern side of buildings in northern climes to capture maximum exposure. They can be insulated and equipped with heating/cooling, or as simple as a screened-in patio.
Sunrooms are a popular amenity because–let’s face it—who doesn’t want to soak up a few more rays, without enduring chilly winds or biting bugs?
A sunroom will lengthen the amount of time that you can enjoy sunlight from the comfort of inside your home. The sunrooms also has versatility going for it, serving as a dining room, playroom, or office. In fact, one of the most famous solariums—built in the White House in 1927—served as a recovery room for Ronald Reagan after he survived an assassination attempt, leading him to call it his favorite room in the presidential residence.
Is the sunroom just for warm climates?
How much use you will get from a sunroom depends both on the climate and the materials you use to build one. If it’s insulated and roofed with traditional roofing materials, it can be used year-round (often called a four-season sunroom) no matter where you live.
Sunrooms are very popular at the Shore. Due to the "Cape May Bubble" created by being surrounded by water on three sides, our area avoids severe cold most of the time, and Cape May County winter always brings with it many beautiful and sunny 50 degree days.
How much does a sunroom cost?
A very basic DIY sunroom with no insulation will run under $10,000. However, if you’re talking about a drywalled room with heating and air-conditioning vents or a separate system, experts say a ballpark range is $35,000 to $50,000. But it varies greatly depending on the materials you use, the size of the room, and other features you choose.
Some are only simple concrete or tile floors with surrounding windows and screens than can be opened in good weather and closed against inclement weather. Some of the more extravagant sunrooms feature indoor pools, fish ponds, indoor gardens, fountains, and extravagant building materials and amenities.
For those who are worried about the adverse health effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, sunroom windows can be equipped with UV-protected glass.
Yet even with insulation, one downside to consider is that the massive windows of a sunroom can boost your energy bill to keep the room comfortably warm in colder climates (or cool in hot climates). On the flip side, if constructed just right, sunrooms can actually lower energy bills in cooler months since they heat up quickly. This explains why solariums are often incorporated in passive solar building designs that collect and store heat through the proper placement and angling of windows rather than through more “active” technology like solar panels.
What is the return on investment for a sunroom?
Sunrooms are not typically features that will add to a home's overall value UNLESS you're expanding the footprint of the home, then it definitely will!
Like any home improvement, you should first and foremost consider how much you’ll enjoy a sunroom as your deciding factor. So if more sun would brighten up your living quarters, it may very well be worth every penny.