Sunroom

Sunroom

[suhn-room, -room]
A sunroom 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 and wind. 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.

Design

The structure is often referred to as a patio room, solarium, 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.

History

Farmhouses and urban row homes featured a covered porch as a place for the user to sit and relax. With the suburbanization of America, families increasingly used their back patios and gardens 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.

Niche markets

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 hand-held devices.

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.

Price range

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 more. more. more.

References

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