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What You Need to Know Before Adding a Sun Room to Your Home

Sun rooms are very popular here in The Bay Area, they allow us to enjoy our beautiful California sunshine and also protects us when it rains.  Sun rooms can add value, beauty, and square footage to your home. Although you might think of these rooms as only used during certain seasons, they can usually be enjoyed all year round with today’s modern technology. Choose wisely and it is worth it.

A sun room is a room made from windows that do or do not open. These can be three or four season rooms that can be added on to your existing square footage from kits or built by professional contractors. These rooms can be built in any climate and vary in size.

Adding a sun room really brightens up your home. Because the room is made of windows, you can add square footage without walls getting in the way. There are many types, and you are only limited by the scope of your imagination–and your budget.

One thing you need to know before adding a sun room is that you are changing the footprint and size of your home. This means that municipal building codes are likely involved. Always consult your city for permit information before beginning the process.


Before Adding a Sun Room

There are many ways you can add a sun room to your home. However you do it, make sure that you think through the process and the benefits and drawbacks of adding this unique space to your home. It is a big decision, and it can also be an expensive one.

  • Buy a kit
  • Hire a contractor
  • Build it yourself

Research is the important first step in this process. Every city has different building codes, and you might not be allowed to add any square footage to your home. Your municipality might also not allow sun rooms or certain types. Ask first before building.

Once you have determined that a sun room is legal, you will also know how big you can build. You might have had a size in mind, but the constraints of the local laws may limit you as much as your budget. It’s always better to know first than to have to tear it down.

There are also factors to consider in the building process itself once you have the permit. You will need to find a reliable contractor to install your sun room. If you have the skills, you might even install it yourself.

When choosing a contractor, it is important to check the license through your state or local agency. It might be tempting to just go with anyone to save money, but this is not where you want to save. A good contractor will finish the job and do it right.

The sun room company is important as well. Make sure to check the Better Business Bureau listings and local reviews to make sure you are getting a quality product. It might be tempting to cut corners here, but you will probably regret it. You get what you pay for.

Remember that a sun room is still a room you are adding on to your house. Your home is one of your biggest investments. It is better to spend the most you can afford and budget well. You might consider a smaller sun room made of better quality products.

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What You Need to Know: Sun Rooms

There are many types of sun rooms. Once you have a permit, a reliable contractor, and reputable distributor you will still need to decide what kind of room to build. Some are designed to be used only part of the year. These might be cheaper, but it is a trade-off.

How you plan to use the room will be an important part of determining which type. If you want to use it year-round, you will want a sturdy, all-weather room that can withstand storms. If you do not use it in the winter, the room will be cheaper. Your climate matters!

If you are located in an area that has heavy storms or hurricanes, this should be a consideration in choosing the type of glass. You can build a kit designed to be a sunroom, or just hire a contractor to build a room out of windows. Keep climate in mind.

Sunrooms are different from porches in a few ways. You might consider which type of add-on you want, because just adding a porch to your house can be considerably cheaper. Sun rooms have many benefits porches do not, however.

  • A sun room is made from windows
  • A porch can be screened in, but is still an outdoor space
  • A porch does not add square footage to your home

You can research different floor plans of sun rooms on the internet. It is a good practice to look at many different companies and get catalogs, product samples, and quotes before deciding. Local companies will likely send sales representatives to your home.

It might be tempting to take the first offer, but if there is more than one company in your area installing sun rooms, get more than one quote. They might offer installation services that include everything, including the permits. This can save a lot of hassle.

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Before Adding a Sun Room to Your Home

As with any other big decision, you might consider why you want a sun room and not just a home addition. There are disadvantages and advantages to sun rooms. It is a decision that should be reflected on with a pro con list. You might choose otherwise.

The costs of sun rooms can vary widely. One of the reasons is that a large part of the cost can be in labor and materials. These costs will depend on your region and might make up about $10,000. This might be up to half the overall cost of the sun room.

Materials costs can vary widely depending on the quality of the materials. Windows are expensive, but you will want to consider that energy efficient windows will reduce your energy costs. Other fixtures might be changed out later and reduce initial costs.

Sometimes material and labor costs can be reduced by buying kits. These kits are available through big box stores and sun room distributors. Inexpensive metal sun rooms can even be purchased that you can likely install yourself for around $4,000.

Although it might be tempting to purchase these cheap kits, remember that they are not the same as the professionally built sun rooms. The big box store kits are usually metal or vinyl and will not hold up for years. It is not the same as building a real room.

  • A real sun room is a real addition built onto your home like any other room
  • A kit purchased from a store is often made of plastic or metal, like a tent
  • A sun room is a permanent feature of your home

This is why adding a sun room is such a big decision. You will be permanently changing the look and feel of your home. This can be a great thing. Remember that it is not a decision that can be easily reversed. It is just like any other home addition.

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If you are still trying to decide if a sun room is for you, consider making a pro-con list for your unique situation. Look at your individual budget. Financing might be available for you. There are many advantages to having a sun room in your home.

  • Sun rooms add more light to your home
  • Sun rooms add square footage and value to your home
  • Sun rooms can be used for reading or plants
  • Sun rooms are unique and add interest to your home
  • Sun rooms might prevent depression during winter
  • Sun rooms add another room to your home



Despite all of the advantages to having a sun room, you should never make this big of a decision without considering some of the reasons why a sun room might not be the best option. Another type of addition, no addition or a porch might be your better choice.

  • Sun rooms are pitch black at night
  • Sun rooms do not make good bedrooms
  • Sun rooms might get muggy
  • Sun rooms might add to utility bills

Sun rooms add to the size of your home and therefore increase property taxes. Sun rooms cause privacy concerns for some because of the fact that they are made of windows and anyone can see in. Some buyers may not like sun rooms when you sell.

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Adding a Sun Room to Your Home

Although the disadvantage list might seem extensive, most of these problems can be worked around. Shades can help with several of the problems on the list, including the night, mugginess, utility bills, and privacy. They might even ease buyers’ concerns.

Although a sun room might add to your property taxes, remember that it is also increasing the value of your home. There is always a trade-off when you are adding to your home. In the long run, your home will be worth more if you decide to sell it too.

Although your new sun room might not work well as a bedroom, it has many other functions. Some people may not even mind sleeping in a room of windows. It is all a matter of taste. Adding shades to the windows makes them as good as walls.


Sun Room

When you have decided to add a sun room to your home, the fun begins. There are many things you can do with this new room. Sun rooms are versatile spaces that can be almost anything from a home office to a dining space. They work well for plants or kids.

Decorating a sun room can be a unique challenge, but challenges are just hidden opportunities. It is a good idea to include some kind of shades on your sun room to prevent the room from getting too hot. This will lower utility bills and help with privacy.

One reason people add sun rooms is that the spaces can be used for so many purposes. You have just gained a new living space. You can use it for entertaining, or change its use from time to time by varying the furniture. Possibilities are endless.

  • Home office
  • Library
  • Atrium
  • Greenhouse
  • Dining area
  • Living space

A sun room works well as a home office or as a library. It can be a good classroom or homework space. Even a small sun room does not seem as small because it is made of windows. This bright and airy space is full of light and easy to work in. Enjoy your time.

Sun rooms can be rather dark at night. For this reason, you might consider brightening up the space with floor lamps or table lamps. Sun rooms obviously do not have as much wall space as a normal room. They can still be cheery though. Try painting them bright.



Before you add a sun room to your home, always check your local building codes and make sure to have the proper permits. Then, make sure to hire a licensed and reputable contractor unless you have the skills. Make sure to choose a solid sun room company.

Once you have added on a sun room, you have a new room for the life of your home.  It is an important decision, and once you have added up the pros and cons, you will see why it is so important to go with quality work. It is work that will last for your home.

Sun rooms are great spaces to gather, work, or relax. As long as you make sure to do your homework before you add a sun room to your home, you will have a space to enjoy for many years to come. It adds value and interest for guests and resale too.

Element Home Remodeling East Bay is an Oakland based contracting company that specializes in custom built sun rooms of all types and sizes.  Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Element Home Remodeling

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