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March 17, 2010 at 11:34 am | Category: Remodeling Contractor

There are a few ways to get a sunroom built for your home. You can choose to build a DIY sunroom, which involves designing the sunroom, purchasing the needed materials and building the sunroom from scratch. You can also elect to order a sunroom from a list of sunroom kits that you build yourself. Alternately, you can purchase your sunroom from a manufacturer that will supply the labor necessary to build a sunroom.
You should only attempt building a sunroom from scratch if you’re a weathered do-it-yourselfer. Pre-made sun room kits are easier to build and most do-it-yourselfers can successfully complete these projects. If you’re looking for a sunroom that will abide throughout the seasons and years, you should consider enlisting the help of contractors or ordering your sunroom from a manufacturer.
Designing Your Sunroom
When you’re designing a sunroom, start by looking at pictures of sunrooms. Search online or order catalogues from manufacturers. There is great architectural variability when it comes to sunrooms, so it’s beneficial to explore all your design options before committing yourself to one design. Note what features are most attractive to you and include them in your design.
You should also keep the purpose of the room in mind while you’re designing it. Will the sunroom addition be used mostly as a greenhouse for your plants, a meeting area for your entire family or a small room for your personal retreats?
Lastly, remember that a lean-to sunroom with a slanted front is probably the easiest design to build yourself.

Remember that your solarium should face the sun, which means you’ll want your main windows to face the solar south. Solar south is different from the compass south, so contact your local weather service to find out where solar south points in your area. If your home’s position does not allow your sunroom to face a perfect solar south, remember that any orientation within 15 degrees of compass south is perfectly acceptable.
Facing the solar south will allow you to grow plants year-round in your solarium and will generate free passive heat during the cold winter months.
Energy Efficiency
A DIY sunroom may not be the most energy efficient structure. That means you’ll have to counter the energy inefficiency through maximizing your thermal mass! Achieve thermal mass by using brick, stone or concrete as a sunroom floor.
Thermal mass materials conduct and store energy (heat and cold) and then release the energy back into the living area once it’s needed. That means that your brick sunroom floor will store the warmth of the sun, keeping the room cool, and then release the heat when the sun goes down and the room grows cold.
Water is the best thermal mass material; you can incorporate water into your sunroom by planting water gardens full of lilies, water hydrangea and duckweed into big barrels. These water gardens are delightful to look into and are saving you some bucks on your energy bills.
Painting your roof and walls a lighter color is another way to make your sunroom more energy efficient.
Sunroom Building Materials
Sunrooms are typically built on a slab foundation. You’ll also find useful framing information within the article.
Because you have to worry about temperature variations with your sunroom, you should buy pressure treated wood. Aluminum is another popular choice for building sunrooms. Stain or paint each piece of wood.
Double glazed windows offer a sunroom the perfect insulation and glare reduction. These types of windows are also very durable.
Check the U-value of windows before purchasing them. The U-value measures how much heat the material conducts. The lower the U-value number, the less heat that passes through the windows, making your sunroom more energy efficient! The U-value normally ranges from 2 to 2.5, so get the lowest number you can find!

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