What's a Sunroom?

by Team HomeServe
wide shot of a residential Sun Room

Sunroom Costs at a Glance

  • Standard sunroom: $8,000-$80,000+
  • 15x15 wooden sunroom kit: $15,000
  • Aluminum and glass sunroom kit: $22,000
  • Four-season sunroom: $20,000-$35,000
  • Compare to room addition: $50,000-$100,000

You’ve definitely seen a sunroom — even if you didn’t know what it was called. Think of a bright, airy room surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows on all sides. It’s the perfect place to warm up with a cup of coffee in the morning or enjoy the sunset in the evening.

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If you’re thinking about adding an outdoor or semi-outdoor space, a sunroom might be just what you’re looking for. It can give you an outdoor feel while offering all the protection of an indoor living space. So what’s this sunny little luxury going to cost? Check out the details below to see if a sunroom is right for your home.

What Is the Purpose of a Sunroom?

Sunrooms are attached to your home and usually consist of glass or windows on all sides. Its purpose is to give you extra indoor living space that you can use when the weather is mild. Because sunrooms aren't usually connected to your HVAC system, they typically aren't as functional in the winter or during hot summer days. That said, they’re perfect if you live in a climate that's mild year-round. A sunroom is typically used as a sitting room. It can feel a little like a greenhouse that's attached to your house, but most sunrooms have shingle roofs rather than glass ones.

You may also have heard of four-season rooms, which are very similar. However, these usually have heating and cooling systems to make them comfortable all year (hence four seasons). It can connect to your existing HVAC system or have its own heating and cooling sources. It's also primarily used as a sitting area or additional living space.

Is a Sunroom Considered Living Space?

A sunroom gives you more living space, which increases your useable square footage — but it might not necessarily count toward your official home square footage when you go to sell. The criteria can vary by your location, but to be counted as living space, a sunroom usually needs to use the same heating and cooling source as the rest of the home.

The construction method can also have an impact on whether it’s considered an official living space. If you just add a sunroom kit onto the back of your house or over an existing door with the exterior wall visible, it might not be considered additional square footage for your home. If it's integrated into the home and feels just like an additional room, it's more likely to be counted toward your official square footage.

Is a Sunroom Cheaper Than an Addition?

Building a sunroom is almost always cheaper than building a full addition. According to The Spruce, the cost of a sunroom can range from $8,000 for a small, simple room to over $80,000 if you build a large sunroom with a slab-on-grade foundation. A 15x15 wooden sunroom kit can cost around $15,000, and an aluminum and glass kit typically runs around $22,000.

Four-season sunrooms are usually more expensive because they need finished walls, electrical wiring and HVAC service. They typically cost around $20,000 to $35,000.

A room addition, whether you're adding a mudroom, a bedroom or another living space, can cost over $100,000 depending on what you want to have done. Most custom-built additions cost at least $50,000. That makes a sunroom a more affordable way to get a little more indoor space.

Factors Affecting Sunroom Cost

The price range for sunrooms varies significantly, so you can stick within your budget based on what you choose. The square footage of the sunroom is a big determining factor in how much it costs. Larger sunrooms require more materials, and they might require more foundation work, which increases the cost. The materials you use can influence the price. Where you want to add the sunroom is also a factor. If you need to do a lot of prep work to the ground, it adds to the overall cost.

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Are Sunrooms Worth It?

Sunrooms are a great way to get the feeling of being outdoors while having protection from bugs and weather elements. They also give you extra indoor space at a lower cost than building an addition. If you want to enjoy a little more sun in a protected environment or want more useable square footage without a costly addition, the cost can be worth it.

What Should I Put in My Sunroom?

Most people use sunrooms as a sitting area, so a standard furniture set is a good option. Because the area receives a lot of direct sunlight, choosing indoor/outdoor furniture or patio furniture is a good idea. It's designed to withstand the UV rays, so it doesn't fade or degrade quickly. Plants often thrive in sunrooms because they get lots of sunlight. You can also choose other decor pieces that match your overall decorating theme.

Where Should I Put a Sunroom?

Consider how much space you have available on different sides of your house. Many people put the sunroom on the back or side of the home. Consider the direction, which affects how much sunlight the room gets and the time of day it gets it. A sunroom on the east side gives you lots of morning sunlight. A west-facing sunroom might get too much hot afternoon sun to be comfortable. Placement on the south side gives you the most sunlight, which can be too hot if you live in the South. On the north side of the house, a sunroom might not get enough sunlight, especially if you live in a Northern state.