To maximize your enjoyment and to lower your long-term investment (by improving your resale value) it is critical that you follow these guidelines. Follow these guidelines for “Design Tips” and you will enjoy a beautiful sunroom for years to come.

Obtaining long-term value

As with any addition or remodeling, it is important you make the addition blend into your house. Your home may be your greatest asset, and it is wise to protect it is value.

Use materials that match your home

Do not use building materials that are unnatural or that would look out of place on your home. A common mistake made by many people is the use of aluminum or vinyl-clad wall panels and roofs. Unless your home is a mobile home these products are unsuitable for most homes and most buyers considering the purchase of your home will be turned off by these kinds of products, especially when they become scratched and dented. All non-glass roofs and walls should be built with materials that match your house.

Use materials that will last

Many sunroom suppliers lower their cost by using less expensive products such as plastics, aluminum or foam panels, and vinyl gaskets. These products will show wear and tear quite quickly and your resale value will be decreased significantly. Here are some of the concerns with these products:

Plastic Glazing: Attracts dust and dirt, turns yellow, becomes brittle, scratches and is difficult to clean due to chemical reactions to cleaners and abrasives. Also, could show noticeable wear within 3 – 5 years and it will need to be replaced in 5 – 10 years depending on your area climate

Aluminum Covered Foam Panels: These are inexpensive and provide good insulation values; however, you buy a sunroom to see out and to enjoy the sun´s warmth. These panels dent easily and even a small hailstorm can turn the aluminum walls into quite an eyesore. These types of panels do not match many homes and their ability to retain long-term value is negligible. On a nice home they can actually decrease the home´s value.

Non-Stainless Steel and/or Exposed Fasteners: Will begin to rust and will leave “rust and or dirt trails” as the water runs down the roof and walls. Even painted exposed screws, rivets, bolts, etc. will leave water trails.

Vinyl Gaskets: Will shrink with heat and time. This will cause leaks and air infiltration.

Don´t lose sight of what you want

Many consumers start searching for a sunroom wanting a light-filled room in which they can see the sky, horizon, and earth. To obtain the true feeling of a sunroom your eyes need to see all these elements in the correct proportion, as if you were standing outside. A true sunroom gives you a panoramic view of all three elements. A room filled with windows will allow light in. However, it will not duplicate the feeling a solarium creates because you cannot see a significant portion of the sky or the horizon. Adding skylights will help but it appears that you are looking through square portholes of a ship and you still don´t have a good view of the horizon. If you want the feeling and atmosphere a solarium creates, you won´t be satisfied with a “sunroom wanna be” product . Most of these products have been created in an attempt to lower the initial investment of the sunroom or to increase the speed of installation. By using a solid roof type system, you may save some money at the expense of losing your dream of enjoying a sunroom.

Many competing sunroom companies will promote a solid roof over the glass roof using heat build up as a negative. That was a concern 10 years ago, but in today’s world of high performance glass you can have the sunlight and the view without the heat.

In a full view solarium, you can immediately see all three elements of the great outdoors sky, horizon and earth the way nature intended it to be seen.

A solarium made of windows and skylights cannot duplicate this emotional feeling. Compare the view from a cruise ship porthole to the view from the ship’s balcony.

Be prepared to spend a little extra time on your design and financing

Many people save money for several years to fulfill dreams of enjoying a sunroom. A sunroom should be designed to fulfill your desires and what you want to use the room for. Financial companies are excited to make loans for sunrooms because of their high resale value and because most sunroom buyers are very stable, creditworthy customers. Most financial companies offer very competitive rates for these types of projects. Many consumers find it beneficial to take out a consolidation loan or second mortgage which allows them the opportunity to pay off car loans, boat loans, credit cards, etc. Your new payment could be lower than the combined payments. This also allows you to claim the interest as a deduction on taxes. By doing it right the first time, you may spend a little extra time and money, but you will accomplish your goals. By doing this you protect and increase the value of your home and you will love your new sunroom.