is 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
. The concept is a popular one in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In the latter two countries, it is normally described as a conservatory
, although the room may not contain plants.
The structure is often referred to as a patio
, patio enclosure or Florida
Room. It can be constructed of brick, breeze block, wood, glass or PVC
. The brick or wood base makes up the main support for the PVC, referred to as the "knee wall", which is attached to the top of it. The glass panels are large and often clear instead of frosted. The roof may be of glass panels but is more usually of a plastic material which lets in sunlight.
Farmhouses and urban
row homes featured a covered porch as a place for the user to sit and relax. With the suburbanization
, families increasingly used their back patios
for this purpose. However, weather conditions often made patios unusable at times, providing an incentive for families to cover and screen in their patios for privacy and for shelter.
As this trend evolved, so did improvements in glass manufacture, making it possible to attach storm windows together to enclose a patio space.
During the 1960s, professional re-modelling companies developed affordable systems to enclose a patio or deck, offering design, installation, and full service warranties. Patio rooms featured lightweight, engineered roof panels, single pane glass, and aluminium construction. These versatile patio rooms extended the outdoor season, provided protection from rain, wind and insects, and gave homeowners extra space. The interior of a sun room warms quickly in sunlight, even on cold days, and may provide a means of heating the part of the main house into which the sun room or conservatory opens. Furniture and plants located in a sun room/conservatory should be resistant to temperature change.
As customers became more energy conscious and building technology aware, patio and sunrooms became available with insulated glass, vinyl and vinyl-wood composite framework, and more elaborate designs. Many American companies also began to offer greenhouses and conservatories, which were popular in Europe.
European companies discovered a niche market where customers wanted extra privacy. This meant that blinds and curtains were specially developed to be fitted into the sunroom without damaging the stability of the structure. This has proved a profitable industry where blinds can now be controlled from electronic
Another market is for specialised flooring in sunrooms. In earlier sunrooms, floors were often tiled because of the possibility of roof leaks, and cold air entering resulted in the room becoming chilly. Floors with heated pipe and insulation are now available. Types of flooring are available in a wide variety of materials and forms and customers are no longer restricted to tiles. Older sunrooms which are not structurally sound, may be prone to leaks and draughts, so traditional tiled floors are still in demand.
As one would expect, prices vary widely according to location, builder, size, materials and design. "Contemporary" sunrooms are often the most affordable option, while more elaborate designs cost