How Sunrooms Are Different From Room Additions

Sometimes the terminology used by homeowners to describe the rooms and areas in a home becomes interchangeable over time. Other times, confusion regarding the sometimes-subtle differences between one type of home addition and the next arise. Such is the case with sunroom additions and room additions. Although a sunroom addition is a type of room addition, it is not necessarily the same as a standard room addition for your home. In order to determine what kind of home renovation is right for you, it is important to understand how these two types of rooms vary from one another. Here’s how sunrooms are different from room additions:

1. Room Additions Tend to Have More Usable Space

Sunrooms are designed to let in a lot of natural light, and so they are constructed with a lot of windows. This feature tends to decrease the wall space in the room. The benefits of natural lighting are many, but the lack of wall space can create other challenges for furniture layout or decorating the space in the room. Room additions are, on average, larger in terms of square footage; however, there are exceptions to this rule.

2. Sunrooms Tend to Have More Windows

The idea behind a sunroom is that it creates an area in the home that can receive a great amount of natural light. To accomplish this, large portions of the exterior walls of a sunroom are designated to windows or glass construction. This is different than is with the case of room additions where the addition is integrated within the architecture of the house and often constructed of the same, or similar, building materials as the rest of the home.

The glass surfaces within a sunroom can decrease its energy efficiency if the homeowner is trying to keep the room’s temperature regulated throughout excessively hot or cold months. But, keep in mind that there are plenty of other benefits a homeowner can receive from all the natural light as well.

3. The HVAC Requirements are Different

A room addition will need different HVAC requirements than a sunroom. In fact, some sunrooms may not even be wired for electricity; whereas room additions, which need to follow the building code requirements of the rest of the home, will be wired and integrated into the home’s main HVAC system.

Sunrooms that serve as 4- season rooms may also be integrated into the main heating and cooling system of the house. But, oftentimes, it is a better option to regulate the temperature in these rooms separately using their own heating and/or cooling system. Sunrooms that do not get used for part of the year will almost always feature some kind of door that allows it to be separated from the rest of the climate-controlled areas in the home. As such, they do not increase the load on the existing HVAC systems in the house.

4. Room Additions Tend to Have More Placement Options

A room addition may create more options for a homeowner in terms of placement, shape, and size. The options for a room addition are broad, but sunrooms function in a more specific way. Sunrooms are best constructed on the side of a home that receives the most sunlight. So, depending on the orientation of the home, the lot size, and shape, etc., a sunroom may be a more viable option for some homes more-so than others.

In addition, the glass exterior of many sunrooms makes them a better choice for the side of a home that isn’t as openly exposed to street or road traffic. For this reason, they are often added to the backs of homes where they can be incorporated with additional deck or patio structures and privacy can be maintained with vegetation or fencing. Room additions don’t have these same features and aspects, all of which can create possible restrictions or challenges to layout or placement.

Both sunrooms and room additions can create exciting new options for your home. Before deciding on which home improvement project to go with, weigh their differences and consider how the aspects of each type of room will coordinate with both your home and your property size. If you would like to explore more options regarding either a sunroom or a room addition project, give us a call at (717) 399-4708 or visit our showroom to get inspired!