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Everything About Transforming Your Patio into a Sunroom

Everything About Transforming Your Patio into a Sunroom

Exterior renovationsEverything About Transforming Your Patio into a Sunroom

Turning your outdoor space into a sunroom means benefiting from the surrounding landscape without dealing with weather-related downsides. Whether the wind is blowing, rain is falling, or storms are veering their ugly heads, why deprive yourself of a beautiful view? To reap the benefits of your sunroom at will, you first have to choose wisely when it comes to the different options made available to you. 

Turn Your Patio into a Temperature-Controlled Sunroom

Source: Canva

If you’re considering using your sunroom throughout the summer, note that a north-facing space is preferable. In fact, a sunroom facing said direction will benefit fully from its position, creating an enjoyable coolness within its confounds, bypassing the overwhelming heat outside.

As for the type of glazing to prioritize, reflective glass is best. The latter doesn’t retain the heat inside the sunroom, therefore it won’t intensify. In keeping with the idea of maintaining a cool sunroom, opt for single-glazing (5- to 6-inch thick glass panes) with limited insulation properties. Also, consider installing window shades to create a sun-shaded zone. Along the same lines, consider buying a specifically designed ceiling shade.

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Wide Array of Heatless 3-Season Sunrooms

Source: Canva

There are three available options in terms of heatless sunrooms.

Firstly, we should mention that glass-framed sunrooms are an especially sought-after option. In terms of characteristics, this type of sunroom is similar to a heated model, aside from its lower energy efficiency. Note that this type of sunroom retails for roughly $10,000 to $30,000

Secondly, a polymer sunroom has an aluminum frame. Its glazing is clear or tinted, is especially resilient, and has a 10-year or so lifespan. However, maintenance-wise, it does require more upkeep if you want to steer clear of dirt-stained windows. This type of sunroom is half the price of its glass counterpart. Therefore, you can purchase a veranda-like sunroom for about $6,000 to $15,000

Lastly, purchasing a veranda-like sunroom is a worthwhile choice for those looking to blend in their new purchase with their home’s architecture as much as possible. This type of sunroom is designed with several windows, allowing you to benefit from a crisp, gentle breeze while easily airing out the inside of your enclosure. To benefit from a veranda-like sunroom, note that you’ll need to spend between $7,000 and $25,000

If you deem yourself quite handy, go ahead and install your new solarium yourself. Bear in mind that it must lie on a sturdy wooden deck, upheld by piles or forming tubes inside which concrete is poured.

What is the difference between a sunroom and a veranda?

According to the APCHQ (Quebec’s Association of Construction and Housing Professionals), the main difference between a sunroom and a veranda lies in their construction and usage. A sunroom (or solarium) is typically heated, insulated, and used year-round, which subjects it to the rules and standards outlined by the Building Code since it’s considered an integral part of a house. 

On the other hand, a veranda is typically not heated nor insulated, and it’s not used year-round, which positions it outside the Building Code requirements established for house-related structures. As such, a sunroom is an additional living space, while a veranda could be described as an indoor-to-outdoor, seasonal transition space.

To learn more about how these two structures differ, check out our article What Best Suits Your Project: A Sunroom or Veranda?

Transform Your Patio into a Heated, Winter-Ready Sunroom

Source: Canva

If you’re planning on using your sunroom mainly during wintertime, a north-facing positioning is best. In fact, doing so will trap the heat generated via the sun’s rays inside the enclosure. The thermal disparity found between the sunroom’s walls and its interior setting will allow for an even heat flow. 

The enclosure should preferably be small in size since it requires the use of artificial heating on top of the natural heat stemming from the sun’s rays. 

To get the most out of heat storage during the colder seasons, select energy-efficient insulated glazing. Double-glazing is a must since you have to boost heat retention as much as possible.

Flooring choices are also of utmost importance, as some types of floor materials are especially cold to the touch, thus not the most judicious of choices for those looking to benefit from a warm and cozy nook. Therefore, ceramic tiles and stone shouldn’t be at the top of your list of preferred flooring.

Should you not be able to go without the sheer beauty and aesthetic appeal of the above-mentioned flooring materials and want to install either one in your sunroom, then it’s best to artificially heat the floor. Note that doing so will cost roughly $300 to $400 per square foot and is a significant financial investment. 

No matter your flooring of choice, it's recommended to inject a spray polyurethane foam (at least 5 inches thick) to fill the void found under the flooring. This supplementary and highly efficient protection acts as an air and vapour barrier, limiting gaps that are likely to allow cold air to filter through your floor and into your sunroom. Implementing this measure means complying with the requirements established by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec for outdoor flooring insulation.

Transforming Your Deck into a Sunroom Guidelines 

Source: Canva

Resilient Glazing

No matter your motivation behind wanting to turn your deck into a sunroom, note that choosing tempered glass is a must. This type of glazing was treated to render it two to five times more resistant to thermal shocks compared to standard glazing, making it the obvious choice when building a sunroom. 

A Low-E Film for Optimal Energy Efficiency

Also noteworthy, applying a low-e film over your windows. This film is made of a thin layer of metallic oxide that's applied to your windows' surfaces, allowing heat to reflect inside during the winter and outside during the summer. Therefore, no matter the season during which you plan on enjoying your sunroom, you’ll definitely reap its benefits.   

Transforming a Deck into a Sunroom… Costs Matter

There’s no surprise here, but opting for a year-round sunroom requires a hefty sum compared to a heatless sunroom. The reasons behind this price discrepancy are due to insulating the entire structure to get it ready to face harsh winters as well as building a foundation. 

Moreover, you have to hire a professional to install it, which is also a factor to account for in your budget when purchasing your sunroom. That’s why people usually spend around $30,000 for a heated sunroom, an amount that widely differs from the costs mentioned above regarding heatless sunrooms.

How to Properly Set Up a Sunroom

To minimize the risk of unwelcomed surprises post-sunroom construction, request information from your local authorities to gain insight regarding local regulations pertaining to this type of construction. The established measures may very well vary based on your area of residence. Also, bear in mind that you have to comply with the mandatory measures imposed by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (or your local construction regulatory authority) regarding your sunroom building project.

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Last modified 2024-02-02

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