A Four Season Sunroom often provides the ‘best of both worlds’ for homeowners when compared to a traditional room addition.
To clarify, many people confuse a Four Season Sunroom with a traditional room addition. A traditional addition will usually have a few more windows than a home living room.
On the other hand, a Four Season Sunroom will have virtually all windows. Sunrooms are built specifically to maximize window and glass area to embrace an outdoor experience – while sitting indoors protected from bugs and the elements.
Conversely, when using traditional building methods (lumber), Wisconsin building codes and required materials needed limits the amount of windows – glass area. The result is traditional room additions can make it feel as if you are sitting in just another room in your home.
Four Season Sunroom Characteristics
There are multiple factors a homeowner should be aware of before deciding on whether to build a Four Season Sunroom or traditional room addition. Below is a list showing significant features a Four Season Sunroom usually has and their value to homeowners.
This door could be a double French, sliding/patio or swing door between the Four Season Sunroom and the home. The door creates a separate climate zone apart from the home’s furnace/air conditioning. The sunroom will normally have its own independent heating-cooling source. However, there is a variation in which the home’s furnace can be zoned for the sunroom with its own thermostat. In contrast the wall of the home is normally removed for a traditional room addition with no thermal door.
Separate Heating - Cooling A Four Season Sunroom Advantage
A Four Season Sunroom with a thermal door allows for separate heating and cooling. The sunroom area can be quickly heated or cooled as needed to save energy. There are times when homeowners like to sit in their sunroom with the windows open, but the home is still being heated or cooled. Often, homeowners like the temperature to be different in the sunroom than the rest of the home.
Seasonal Usage With A Four Season Sunroom
Homeowners have the option of shutting down a Four Season Sunroom or opening it up with the use of a thermal door. With no thermal door, a traditional addition must be heated and cooled by your home’s HVAC all day, every day. Therefore, traditional additions usually have a higher energy expense than a Four Season Sunroom.
Tax Assessment – Four Season Sunroom vs Traditional Addition
Sunrooms are usually assessed at a lower tax rate compared to traditionally built rooms. An addition is considered to be added square footage to your floor plan and taxed accordingly. Since a Four Season Sunroom usually has a thermal door, they are normally considered a seasonal-use room. Seasonal-use rooms are usually taxed less than additions. However, many homeowners use a four-season sunroom all year long. Better energy savings and lower taxes are a winning combination.
Higher Value – Better Performance
The structural components for a Four Season Sunroom are built with extra strength and minimal bulk. As a result, homeowners get much more value in terms of durability, wind resistance and a high amount of windows-glass area. Dollar for dollar, when comparing building materials for an equivalent size room, a well-designed Four Season Sunroom system is a much better value than a traditional addition.
Qualities Of A Screen Porch
ClearView’s Four Season Sunrooms are uniquely designed so their window sashes can be removed in seconds. Should a homeowner want to have all “walls” open with full screens, they can remove the windows quickly and easily by design. Large wall areas cannot be opened on a traditional room addition because they are normally built with 50% less window openings.
Cost Effective Climate Control
Four Season Sunrooms have their own heating and cooling capabilities that can be used whenever necessary. Heating with a Packaged Terminal Air Conditioning (PTAC) unit (most cost effective) or a Mini Split HVAC unit (twice the cost of a PTAC) allows homeowners to heat or cool their sunrooms quickly and on demand. Hooking into your home’s furnace might require a new larger capacity furnace/air conditioner and zoning with a second thermostat and duct work (three to five times the cost of a PTAC).
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The Bottom Line
A sunroom is one of the most enjoyable home improvements a homeowner can make. However, there is a misconception about building sunrooms, probably a result of the prefabricated metal sunrooms popular in the 1970’s and 80’s. It is a myth that sunrooms are a quick and easy project requiring minimal effort. Done well, an experienced contractor can make the project enjoyable and homeowners can have a great time creating a special room for their home.
For more information, contact ClearView Sunrooms & Windows or give us a call at 608-226-9800.