Sunroom addition - what's your experience?

PatintleFebruary 17, 2005

I'm thinking about adding a sunroom attached to the back of my house so that we have more space to put exercise equipments in. We live in Seattle area, which is wet and rainy 9 months/year. We are wondering if adding the sunroom is a good idea in long term. Does anyone have good/bad experience after installing your sunroom? Do you like it? Do you experience any problems? We're concern about i) drainage problem ii) if it'd be area of heat leakage iii) problems after using it long term (15++ yrs.)

If you could share your experience and the sunroom manufacterer that you use and like, that would be very helpful. Thank you in advance.

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ah, yes, I know way more than I wish to know about sunrooms.

I am in Southern Massachusetts.

We had a 4 Seasons Sunroom installed about 3 years ago.

It is 15x15 and I live in it. It is so nice in the winter.

The building part was a nightmare. Good contractors are very difficult to find.

We had to do an awful lot more weatherizing to make it useable year round. It was almost all sealing air leaks with silicon. It was not hard or expensive. But it took a long time to locate and seal all the air leaks.

I have it well enough winterized now that one oil filled electric radiator works if the temp is over freezing. Two if the temp is in double digits and three for the very few nights that go into single digits.

The house is currently for sale so I have pictures posted on my website you can look at and see how it integrates into a 100 year old home.

Things are chaotic now with the house for sale if you have more questions email me at my website

Here is a link that might be useful: Sunroom/ old house pics

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 10:14PM
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My parents installed a "sunroom" on the back of their house in the middle of an evergreen forest in North Vancouver, B.C. It filled a corner between the kitchen and their bedroom. Even though it had skylights, the sun hardly ever reached it.

They said it was the best thing they could have done. Even on dull, rainy winter days it was so much brighter than the rest of the house. My parents both suffered ill health for the las years of their life, but that bright room brought joy into their lives.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 7:01AM
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Thank you both of you!
I'm curious about where people put the sunroom. In my house there isn't a corner where the sunroom would fit. It would either be next to my family room, in which I'd need to tear down the family room window and make it a sliding door,and kill the garden bed. Or it would be on a porch, next to kitchen and breakfast nook. It would cover my kitchen window and sliding door next to the nook. Good thing is, we don't need to add sliding door. But, it means I won't be able to enjoy looking out from breakfast nook to the garden, I would look through the sunroom instead! I'm not so sure that's a good idea.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 12:55PM
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We just finished a Four Season Sunroom that we put in place of an old decrepit screened in porch. I live in the New York Metro area in an 80 year old home. To meet code we had to pour a new foundation as the porch sat on a 3 inch concrete slab. We ran a hot water zone off out steam boiler and used it as radiant floor heat. It was a very long project, but the results are worth it. Four seasons has a proprietry glass that is very highly insulated and we used the vendor as out GC- a tad pricey but it made him responsible for the entire product. The company guarantees it for 20 years against leaks etc. We now spend almost all out time there including meals frequently. The insulation is incredible and infact the part of the house it connects to is warmer as the insulation is way more than a porch offers!! Id be happy to answer any specific questions you may have

    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 12:59PM
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Mine has two doors leading into the house. One into the kitchen, which was the old back door. We took out the pantry/landry room window to make a door into the pantry as well.

That was previously the darker part of the home but now light comes in through those doors most of the day.

I can look out the sun room while I fold laundry or sit at the kitchen table.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 7:44PM
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I have an original sunroom--a four season front porch on my urban bungalow. It was originally three season (or, because we are in Minnesota, more like 1 1/2 season) but converted to four season probably 50 years ago with the addition of a radiator on each side. The porch faces south, has 12 windows (!), and is absolute heaven--almost solar heated--on sunny winter days. We had about a week of well below zero temperatures this January (nearly 30 below on one day) and I got a suntan on my face sitting on the sunny porch reading a book! Like many bungalows, our home's ceilings are low and other rooms tend to be on the dark side, so I don't know what we'd do without the sun porch. Its got a great original beadboard ceiling, restored pine trim and floor, and is decorated with lots of green plants and brown wicker furniture.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 7:06PM
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We are having a sunroom built over our deck. We were going to make it a 3-season room, and not put in heat, but we were told by friends that if we don't put in heat, the sheetrock would crack during the cold weather. Anyone have this situation?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 11:42AM
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Our house has an unheated 3 season's room that runs along one side. The DPO turned half of it into a (unheated) nursery for their newborn by insulating the walls & screwing up sheetrock. I'm in NY and it gets pretty cold here. We've never had a problem with the sheetrock in that "room" cracking...not that we'd care. I'm looking forward to taking it all down this summer & turning it back into a 3 season's room.

This room is not on a slab but over a porch base so it's a similar situation to how your sunroom will be. I'd think about running some heat in there if you could but like prettyphysicslady said the oil filled radiators work pretty well for heat on an as needed basis.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 1:19PM
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This is John's wife Pauline. We turned a three season porch into a 4 season sun room. So far it has been the best investment we have made. Well maybe the total kitchen remodel is. I am an artist and it is my studio. we enter the room via a study which was originally a bedroom. Other than when I am at my computer my day is spent there, we usually eat dinner there as well and breakfast sometimes

The room is 12x20, has windows on three sides. They are 54" tall and wall to wall on the North, East and South. There is so much solar heat that one oil filled electric radiator heats it on all but the very coldest winter days. Here in Minnesota that can be cold.

We put in sliding doors so I can go directly out into my garden to work either on my sculpture or the garden. Needless to say I can't recommend a sun porch more highly.

There hasn't been any drainage problems, we are in our second winter with it and the first winter we did have some leaking and had to find where the cold spots were and add some more insulation last summer. This winter it is nice and snug.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2005 at 8:43AM
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WE plan to build a sunroom on the deck. What is the best floor to put over the wood? Iwould like to keep the floor of the deck if we could but how would we fill the cracks between the boards.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 1:18PM
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We have a screened in porch,tired of putting furniture out in spring put away in fall.We put a checkerboard pattern tile on the floor love that.If we just would have thought before we put tile down.We could have put the radiant floor heat out there too.We would like to make it a sun room now.That would have been great.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2005 at 6:54AM
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I added a three-season porch off the dining room of my 1910 house four years ago and could never have imagined how much I would love it. Two small electric baseboard heaters kept it warm every day of the year...and all but a few nights. The room has a total of ten long windows (on three sides) and it is wonderful to be out there all four seasons.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 3:37AM
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Clairdo2: We plan to put indoor/outdoor carpeting on the floor. I think the contractors put a sheet of plywood over the deck, then nail down the carpeting.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2005 at 2:28PM
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My South-facing Sunroom is really half of an enclosed wrap-around porch. It is great for helping to heat the house and reduce energy costs several months of the year.

I cram the space with many 5-gal plastic buckets in the fall to extend my Tomato harvest to December, and also to winter over Pepper Plants. Turned out nites were a bit too chilly there for the Eggplant to make it, and mealybugs won a battle that began in January on plants that were looking OK - but weakened from being indoors.

If it were me doing the enclosure, I would have added good wall insulation in addition to the Storm windows that were added to the 4 large wood-framed windows that make up the primary greenhouse wall. I'd also not have covered up 2 lovely old windows that were designed to flow warm or cool air indoors according to seasonal comfort needs.

If you can, consider adding solar panels and hot water system above, with a radiant heat option, and solar-powered automatic blinds for a wonderful and practical luxury.

Many months of the year I manually open and close all four large blinds in morning and evening, for indoor climate mangement. Most other folks probably would not do this daily the room 9and house) could get too cold or hot, and may need to heat or securely close off the room.

If someone is interested in a Solar System, for excellent passive and active Solar home-site planning - I can provide a referral in Oregon. Here providers also are required to help you apply to get subsidies, loans and Tax Credits for which you may qualify.

I've stuffed my sunroom with so many plant things, I have no space left to sit and enjoy my morning newspaper that I used to enjoy. As soon as I finish planting-out all my seedlings and wintered over plants, that room comes back to life as part of my living space! I pledge also to store all seed in the basement this year instead of that room that can get rather over-heated before it warms the house.

Try to plan a bit more space than you THINK you need, and perhaps build storage options in using overhead shelves and knee-wall cabinets below windows. A really bright color is more fun that antiseptic white also...tho I have a white bead-board ceiling to help reflect this (and an AM-sun window) is a good seed-starting space for heat-loving things I don't Winter-Sow outdoors. Refer to the WS Forum at for the Wintersowing FAQ, pix and discussion.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2005 at 3:28PM
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I am considering a sunroom addition.I am trying to decide on a custom built or something more like Patio Enclosures or 4 Seasons.If you have used either of these companies, please let me kow whether you are satisfied with the results.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2005 at 9:04PM
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We had a Four Seasons conservatory put on the back of our house 2 years ago, it was the best thing we have ever spent money on! We live in it year round, we are in the Pacific Northwest where winters can be dreary, but it is always bright out there. We put it on the back of our house so it feels like we are in the garden year round. The only heat we put in was a free standing gas fireplace, we use it all year. We spent the extra money getting the good glass so we could use it in summer (otherwise too hot) and winter (too cold)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2005 at 7:12PM
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We finally got our permit for the 3-season room, and construction should begin shortly. We will put a portable heater in the room for the cold weather. The room faces south, so I think it will be nice and cozy. Can't wait!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 6:53AM
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We had final inspection on the 3-season room last Friday, and are waiting for the results. We had carpeting installed on Saturday, and the room looks beautiful. Once we pass inspection, we'll put the furniture in and see the final results.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 9:45AM
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We had a FR, faced East, with 3 sides of windows and I loved it. However, we did have a problem with fabric fading even though we had replaced all the windows the the special UV glass. We had to have our couches replaced due to the fading.

I do think if the sun room faces West there could be a problem in the Summer months as the West Sun is so strong.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 10:40AM
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The windows face West, South and East. We'll have to keep an eye out for fading. Thanks for the tip.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 1:50PM
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My dad put sunroom on the south side of his house. The original back door and patio door opened into the sunroom. The kitchen window also opened into it - he made that a sliding window for a pass through. He lived in the Chicago area so there is snow in the winter. The only thing he did wrong was to have all the windows permanet, couldn't open a single one. There were two screen/storm doors at each end but they didn't give enough ventilation in the summer. The heat build up was somethinbg else. You couldn't use it in the summer but spring, fall & winter were great.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 6:58PM
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So far, the sunroom is great! Our original plans had called for skylights, but we're glad we didn't follow through on that. It would make the room too hot. We'll use a portable heater in the winter months so we can enjoy all year.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 7:18AM
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THis is our custom sunroom which is heated by a gas fireplace. It has a deck on three sides and two skylights. We love the room.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 6:53AM
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We are in the process of converting a room off of our kitchen to a sunroom. Our kitchen in our 1890 Bungalow in Al, is in the middle of the house. We will now be able to see out the wall of french doors and 2 windows to our small backyard. We will take out a couple trees that need to come out anyway and make a brick patio too. The room has 2 small skylights and we are adding a larger one a little higher up the roofline. This will brighten the kitchen and give us a nice new breakfast area.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 1:29PM
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We recently moved into a cluster home (end unit) in PA with a sunroom. While it is a lovely addition, it is not a 4 seasons room (single pane glass); therefore, it can get pretty cold in there when there is no sun. It was built on an original patio leading out from our living room. In the evening, we open the sliding glass doors to let some heat in and it will stay at 50-60 degrees. However, we are now heading into winter pretty soon and on days when there is no sun, it will not be comfortable. We have already tried an oil filled radiator heater and several ceramic heaters, with no success. If anyone knows of an economical way to heat sunrooms, we would appreciate feedback. Also, would a ceiling fan in winter provide coolness (the house is centrally air-conditioned, but don't know if it would be enough to cool the sunroom even we left the sliding glass doors open).

Thank you for any feedback you can give.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 11:46AM
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We tore off an old porch and put one up about ten years ago. Our house is ell shaped and the kitchen and dining area had the longest wall exposed to the north winds and elements. We own a range of greenhouses, so the first thing popping into my mind was a rigid lean-to half greenhouse. We have double-walled lexan covering down to about two feet off the ground level and brick floor over sand bed. Three doors and one window open off this solarium and we heat it, and usually leave the doors and windows open between it and the house in winter. I have a fountain out there, and hang ferns and houseplants where I can see them when I am cooking.

I think it's one of the best things we ever did to this house for comfort. It dramatically cut our fuel bills, actually by making a dead air space against the elements. We get some passive solar gain as well in the daytime and the bricks serve has heat sinks. It's a wonderful mud room since we are professional gardeners. The boots are shucked there! When the brick gets grimy, we hose it down and it sinks into the sand. I have some wrought iron furniture out there and on some winter days, just sit in front of the gas fireplace out there and have my morning cuppa.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 11:35PM
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I would like to know of anyoneÂs experience with removing a wall and using Four Seasons conservaglass? I plan to expand the family room with glass on one side and was wondering about controlling temperatures and if Four Seasons glass was really effective? Any things with this major project I should be aware of? By the way, it is only a 12 ft by 6Â 5" addition and with knee walls and Georgian style, this project if 40 K. How does that stack up with your prices?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 6:49AM
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I would like to know of anyoneÂs experience with removing a wall and using Four Seasons conservaglass? I plan to expand the family room with glass on one side and was wondering about controlling temperatures and if Four Seasons glass was really effective? Any things with this major project I should be aware of? By the way, it is only a 12 ft by 6Â 5" addition and with knee walls and Georgian style, this project if 40 K. How does that stack up with your prices?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 6:51AM
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I am just completing the conversion of a screened in porch to a 3 season sunroom. We contracted Betterliving Sunrooms, they advertise the highest quality and service.

Right now I think it is a disaster. Some of the WORST workmanship I have ever seen. Leaked like a sieve in several places. Too their credit, one of the leaks was where the existing roof meets the house, and they fixed that no questions asked.

The other leaks are pure workmanship and or product issues. For instance, one of the upper glass pieces had to be caulked after installation because it leaked so badly. They advertise a 2 inch rubber gasket for the wall to floor seam that makes it watertight - my watertight integrity now rests with 1/16 inch beads of caulk!

That's not the worst part though. I said from the beginning, I was putting down ceramic tile. They said no problem, they use Advantec underlayment - it's the best you can get. Problem is, 50%, I repeat 50% of the butt seams don't hit the floor joists. For every one of these seams, one of the sheets of plywood don't contact a floor joist at all. One sheet deflects 1/8 inch when I walk on it.

So, I have $1500 worth of tile and material in my garage and I don't know what to do. Any experience correcting this type of problem? I don't have access under the floor, and the plywood is all tung and groove.

Obviously I would NOT NOT NOT recommend Betterliving - they seem to have left the Q out of Quality.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2007 at 11:53AM
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We live in Kitsap County, WA - near Seattle - and are thinking about adding a Lindal Cedar sunroom -9' x 21'- off of our master bedroom. We were wondering if patintle - the original poster of this item in Feb 05 - ever built her sunroom, and if anyone else has specific experience with Lindal Cedar sunrooms, as the price we've been given seems fairly high. I know Lindal has a good name in the NW, but am wondering if the extra $ are worth it.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 8:23PM
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We're planning to add a sunroom to our home this spring and was wondering if you could give me more information about your sunroom. I like the "look" of it. It looks cozy and warm. What size is it? Which direction does it face? Do you have windows on 3 sides? Is the floor carpeted? What type of windows did you install? It looks like it has a gable roof with open wood ceiling which is beautiful. Do you have any trouble with the sun fading wood or furniture? I've been reading all of these posts, and now I'm worried about what to build. Ours will have a regular constructed roof. We also want to heat with a gas fireplace. We have one in our living room now. THANK YOU for all of your help.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 7:33PM
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A Four Seasons sun room was installed about a year before I purchased by house. It leaks every time there is a snowfall (or there is snow on the roof) and the room is heated. I called the office in Ann Arbor and they it looks like they shot some caulk at the edge of the glass panel where the leak occurs. It continues to leak (13+years). From my understanding the warranty did not carry over when the house was sold. IMHO buyer beware.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 11:34AM
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We added a 4 Seasons sunroom last summer. We took out the window in our dining room to the West and put in a french door to the sunroom. The window over my sink also looks out into the sunroom so we just took off the screen and open or close the window depending on whether or not the room is being heated/cooled. Works great as a pass thru or just to talk to family in the sunroom while I work in the kitchen.

The sunroom is my happy place. It is 20 x 20 and not an inch too big. I moved my dining table out there and put in all the leaves so I can seat 8 easily. We added a couch with recliners on each end plus another recliner and a LCD 46" TV on the wall (plasma reflects more light than LCD). Another corner is my office with my Grandfather's secretary desk, my computer desk and a lateral file than looks like a beautiful wooden chest. And yes I have several big plants that just thrive out there.

We installed a heat pump. It sometimes seems a little noisy but work OK. Full windows are on north and south with a sliding door on the north onto a deck. On the west we have a solid panel across the lower portion and the rest is glass up to trapazoids in the peak. We put a wooden beam down thru the center of the ceiling and covered it with oak beadboard. Beautiful! We added 2 ceiling fans that were a must. Each set of windows has one side that slides open so we can get wonderful breezes thru when we want to.

We live in the country and enjoy every minute in our room. I have watched turkey right outside the window while I ate breakfast, as well as rabbits, geese, bluebirds, etc. Yes, I am in my sunroom right now!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 10:01PM
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I'm considering a sunroom. Have heard 3 sales presentations Four Seasons, Temo (Home Depot) and Owens Corning. Looking for any experiences you may have had good or bad and if in the end you were happy with your choice. Particularly interested if you have considered any 2 of these 3 and what persuaded your final decision.

Thanks for your feedback.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 8:24PM
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I have an 8 X 14 slab with 4FT high fence surround. Our sliding patio door leads out to it from the house.
We have very low eaves that extend about 4FT from the house.
And there is about 18" of space between the eave and the top of the 'fence'. I'd like to enclose the area completely, but apart from cutting out the eave to accommodate a cover, I am at a loss as to what my options are...
Any ideas?


    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 5:02PM
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