Archive for the ‘Sunrooms’ Category

Secure Windows For Sunrooms

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

sunroom-wallSunrooms need windows that serve two purposes. These windows should open and close easily so you can ventilate the room and keep your energy costs for heating/cooling manageable. They should also make it difficult for an intruder to get inside. This is especially important for an attached sunroom that opens into the main section of the house. With any glass walled room that isn’t regularly shielded with privacy blinds or curtains, burglars have the opportunity to see valuable items on display. They need to have a reason to believe entering will be difficult or dangerous.

Windows that are secure and difficult to break can help deter a potential burglar from making an entry attempt. All windows in the sunroom should have appropriate contacts to set off an alarm if someone tries to open them from the outside. Placing alarm monitoring company labels in highly visible spots can also be a deterrent. Installing security window with safety locks may create additional barriers to entry.

Large casement and awning windows used for sunrooms tend to be some of the most secure on the market today for a couple of reasons. Generally, they won’t open wide enough to let an adult through. The crank used to open and close casement and awning windows can act as a security device by significantly slowing a burglar down. As long as the window is in good working condition, it is next to impossible to disengage the mechanism from the outside – and it is difficult to break.

Standalone Sunroom Considerations

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

sunroom-viewNot all sunrooms have to be attached to an existing home. Some conservatories are built as standalone units instead. This approach has advantages and disadvantages depending on where you live and how large/complex you want the structure to be. Here are some things to consider when you are planning a standalone sunroom:

When a sunroom is not attached to your house, you have a great deal of leeway in its size, shape, and placement. However, it’s a good idea not to get carried away. The larger the room, the more expensive it will be to build. High quality glass isn’t cheap! A covered deck, pergola, or small gazebo can serve as the base around which to build a cost-effective sunroom.

A detached sunroom will need its own heating and cooling system unless you only plan to use it in temperate weather. Locating this structure in a breezeway so you can open up a few screened windows for fresh air can help reduce the need for an air conditioner. In some climates an electric fan may be all that is needed to keep the room comfortable – especially if it is properly insulated.

Building a sunroom where it will receive partial shade for several hours a day from a nearby tree is another option for keeping things cool. Just don’t build it too close under the tree or falling branches may cause damage in a storm.

Sunroom Painting Tips

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Painting the interior of your new sunroom is what gives it that “ready to live in” feel. Picking the right shade and texture is important here. You don’t want to have to repaint again anytime soon when you’ve just finished a major remodel project.

Walls

According to the folks at Benjamin Moore, some of the most popular shades for sunrooms are light browns, peach, cream, and beige. Spring greens and yellows are also often used to brighten the walls while blues are a common choice for homeowners who plan to use the sunroom mainly for relaxation. Using a kitchen or bathroom quality paint is a good idea if this area will be exposed to moisture from outdoors.

Floor

paintA concrete floor can be painted with a concrete binding primer and a tough epoxy (such as the products used for painting garage floors). Your desired tint can be added to whatever paint you choose. So, the floor can be made to match the walls or it can be a complimentary color. Adding a faux or sponged finish in a contrasting color can make it easier to conceal cracks, stains, and scuff marks as the floor ages.

Some resources recommend applying paint directly to an unsealed concrete floor for the highest level of adherence. If the concrete is already sealed, it may need to be treated with acid so the paint will stick. Either way, applying a layer of sealant as a final coat is a good idea since it will help the paint last longer.

Sunrooms: Financial Considerations

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Are you planning to add a sunroom to your home? This is the type of home improvement project that should be done because you plan to enjoy the room yourself. While this type of addition does offer an increase in property value, you can’t expect to recoup your entire investment. In fact, the average cost recovery is just 51% of the price of the sunroom when you sell your house. The percentage is slightly higher if you live in the Southern United States, but it tops out around 55%.

sunroom-being-builtAnother important financial issue that you should be aware of before constructing a sunroom is homeowner’s insurance. What happens if you build the room yourself and someone is injured in the process (or if you inadvertently damage the structure of your house)? You need to know if your existing insurance policy will cover the claim.

It’s also important to revisit your current coverage to add the sunroom. Otherwise, it will not be replaced if your home is lost in a fire or other catastrophic event. Then, your full investment in this remodeling project will be lost and you will have to rebuild the sunroom out of your own pocket. Think of the cost of purchasing additional coverage as a small maintenance fee that is just part of having a beautiful new sunroom to relax in.

Hot Tubs and Sunrooms – A Perfect Match?

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

One of the most challenging aspects of owning a hot tub is protecting it from the weather. Extreme cold can damage the mechanical parts of an outdoor spa. This means it is necessary to keep a hot tub running all winter long to maintain a safe minimum temperature. If it is snowing, a cover must be placed over the tub.

4320713761_ba91e0f090_tWhat if you could install a hot tub in a more protected environment while still enjoying an “outdoor” feel? This is an idea many homeowners are experimenting with by installing a hot tub in a sunroom. In these cases, the sunroom may be furnished and decorated more like a spa than a reading room or plant conservatory. A table for serving refreshments, a few lounge chairs, and a tile floor with a textured surface are great design elements for such a sunroom.

Special Challenges

Of course, the requirements for a hot tub room are different than those of a typical sunroom. The materials used should be resistant to moisture. The room must also be appropriately vented so steam doesn’t build up and make the space uncomfortably hot and humid (although some people like the sauna effect!) The excess moisture should be able to condense and drain to the exterior of the sunroom instead of inside the room.

A hot tub also has unique plumbing (and electrical) requirements. Such considerations are easiest to accommodate during the initial planning stage rather than as a retrofit. Putting a hot tub in a sunroom that is not designed properly for such a use may result in damage and disappointment.