Monday, September 19, 2011

Project: Sunroom Addition

Sun room

Is it worth it?
Definition: A Sun room, also known as Florida room, and in some cases, a 3 season room is defined as a structure which is constructed onto the side of a house, usually, to allow enjoyment of the surrounding landscape while being sheltered from adverse weather conditions such as rain and wind. However, today Sun rooms are so much more than a mere structure to enjoy the exterior landscaping. Many are also all purpose rooms, family rooms and double as a place to entertain or house overnight guests if it is properly heated and cooled. Sun rooms are seen primarily in southern regions of the United States, but they are starting to emerge elsewhere too. Many of the origins associated with sun rooms, began in Europe.
Adding a sun room on to an existing home, especially if using an existing enclosed porch is a great way to expand square footage and add much needed space. With the addition of heating and cooling capabilities a sun room can often add value to a home. How much value differs depending on what area of the country you live in, and also to what extent your addition is made livable. Sun rooms that are not heated or cooled are often called 3 season rooms and in most cases must have the ability to be closed off during certain times of the year when temperatures are too hot, or too cold to enjoy the room. Adding electric fireplaces, or window unit air conditioning may be an option to get the most use out of a sun room, provided it is well insulated and built to code.

If you are willing to do most of the work yourself, with the proper building permits obtained, enclosing a porch and making it into a sun room can be done relatively inexpensively. Do not skimp on the materials however, if you plan on this being a year around addition, as you will only add to your heating and cooling costs in the long run. If you are considering a three season room, make sure to have the ability to fully close the room off when not in use. Do not expect to receive the same return on your investment for a 3 season room. In some states, the added square footage is not included in the homes appraisal, and this could affect your ability to recoup any costs associated with it. In some states, a sun room yields far less of a return on the home value than a family room addition, so consider carefully  the definition of both before adding it on. Building inspectors and appraisers have different criteria involved for both and knowing this in advance may make a difference in what you label your room.

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