Home Improvement Blog: A Toolbox of Ideas

Sunroom vs. Room Addition: What’s the Difference?

Posted on Wed, Apr 13, 2011

 sunroom additionYou may be ready to add on to your home. You need extra space, another room i.e. a family room, den, or just a place to relax. What needs to be thought about is what do you want to use it for, what will be its primary use?  There are a couple of options to consider that will achieve the extra room needed.  In some cases, like the expanding of a kitchen or an additional bedroom, a construction style room addition would work better.  Looking for additional room to relax and enjoy life, you may want to add a year round sunroom.



Useable Space

Both a sunroom and a construction style addition add useable space but with slightly different functions and style. A sunroom, which is mainly glass, will allow you to enjoy the outdoors and nature to its fullest! Glass connects you with the outdoors comfortably--rain and inclement weather become exciting events!  As well, sunrooms have doors that lead to the outside, typically to the backyard.  A room addition may suit your situation better and can give you a little more privacy, as you may need it if you are adding a bedroom space. With a room addition you can add plumbing which is useful if you are looking to add bathrooms or kitchens.



Amount of Glass Allowed

Sunroom glass enclosure

According to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) generally speaking a conditioned living space (i.e. room addition) cannot have more than 40% glass on the walls

. Thus, this option gives you privacy with far less windows to consider.  A Sunroom is defined as a non-conditioned living space having more than 40% glass.  This opportunity affords you to enjoy the outdoors without the “enjoyment” of the harsh elements.




HVAC Requirements for Room Additions vs. Sunrooms

All room additions built for useable space need to be conditioned via a central HVAC system. The new space needs to tie in with your current furnace or central air system.  On the other hand, sunrooms do not require heating or cooling but still can have them on demand or as needed. This is generally achieved through the addition of a wall mounted HVAC unit which can be controlled based on need.  Most of the best year round vinyl sunrooms are so well insulated that the heating and cooling requirements are usually minimal. 



Different Functions

A room addition is meant to be another room on your house. As we have touched on, this type of room is good for a room that needs plumbing, privacy and doesn’t need to lead outside.  A sunroom is a specialty room addition that is designed for leisure activities and various functions. Constructed mostly of glass, this type of addition is great for enjoying the outside inside, entertaining and relaxing with family and friends.  There are pricing differences as well as construction time lines and certain requirements for each. Consider which option would be best for you.


Sunroom Design


Tags: Room Addition, Sunrooms