Woodland Windows and Doors Blog

This is where we will post relevant articles, information, and how-to's related to all things windows and doors. Check back often for updates and new information!

Skylights in Sunrooms

Sunroom with Skylights

Skylights and sunrooms are the perfect pairing to achieve a passive solar design that uses the sun’s energy for heating and cooling your living space. When designing a sunroom that stays cooler in summer and warmer in winter, passive design principals’ matter. Skylights add unique features and benefits to the design and orientation of your sunroom windows to help capture solar energy and manage the room temperature.

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Traditional Sunroom Additions – Selecting Windows & Doors

The trend toward bringing the outdoors in to our homes makes the addition of a sunroom very popular. If your goal is to open your home to natural light, fresh air and natures views you’ll want to select a style that optimizes your window and door choices. Traditional sunroom additions give you the maximum flexibility to select the size, style and location for your sunroom windows and doors.

Traditional Sunroom Addition

Traditional Sunroom Addition

A ‘site built’ or sometimes called ‘stick built’ addition is built from scratch on-site. In this case, the wood, concrete, glass, siding, shingles, insulation, lighting and every other component is selected to closely match your existing home or to upgraded standards. A traditional sunroom addition is constructed by a contractor just as any regular addition or house would be. Permits are pulled, a foundation is laid, walls are framed, insulated and sheet rocked, roof trusses are built, and the room is wired for power.

Since the primary purpose of these rooms is to create a bright and airy space, particular attention needs to be given to the window and door selection in order to get the maximum benefit of the room. Here are some key considerations for your sunroom addition windows and doors.

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Styles of Sunrooms - Depend on Functionality

Woodland GrandView Sunroom

Adding a sunroom is not unlike deciding to build an addition to your home. In both cases, it’s a financial commitment, which promises a significant return by adding additional space that improves the quality of yours and your family’s life. With so much at stake, how do you choose the right style, the right products and the right installation company?

Style and function

Start by deciding what will be the function of your sunroom. Do you need more space? Are you trying to connect your indoor living to outdoor living? Or do you want access to more natural light in your home? Maybe you want the sunroom to match your home so closely that it looks like the original construction? Your goal begins the discussion about the type of sunroom you’ll need in both style and function. Woodland Exterior sunrooms integrate every product component to create the exact room that delivers the function you specified.

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5-Key Elements of a Great Sunroom

We all remember the first time we heard the idea, ‘form and function’ in an art class or maybe an introduction to landscaping. We learned that form and function together create something appealing and useful. One without the other and eventually the product lands in the trash heap. There are 5-key elements to design and build the form and function of a great sunroom.
 
Great sunroom design derives from the principle of form and function.
Source:sunboss.com
The previous blog, Sunrooms that Connect the Indoors to the Outdoors explained that the type of sunroom you choose derives from having clear goals about how you want to use it. This blog explains how the design, products and installation decisions come from an understanding of the elements that make a great sunroom.
If you create the right form by focusing on energy efficiency you will achieve the optimal sunroom function of comfort and savings.
Contrary to the ads and flyers, sunrooms are not just glass walls surrounding happy people. Use the methods below to create a well-designed sunroom that provides daylight and comfort all year. Homeowners and building professionals need to pay attention to five elements of the sunroom construction to avoid mistakes that you’ll realize when it’s too late.
Source: solarenergyfactsblog.com
Five elements of a great sunroom
 1. Orientation
 2. Glazing
 3. Thermal Mass
 4. Insulation
 5. Ventilation

Orientation. The ideal location for your sunroom is to face due south (30º E or W) which gives you the maximum potential for solar collection. The goal is at least four hours of sunlight at midday in midwinter. Sit in the spot at different times of the day to be sure the sun shines on the location with minimum obstruction from trees or structures. If you were building a new home with a sunroom, be build close to the north property line leaving more open space and sunlight behind the sunroom.
Source: Elliottwood.co.uk
Glazing.  Always use glass, rather than plastic alternatives because it’s more durable and traps more heat. We recommend vertical dual clear glass panes, rather than sloped glazing because it’s more practical and efficient. Slopped glazing collects more heat during the day and looses more heat at night making the temperature too hard to control. Low E or reflective glazing can prevent solar heat from entering the sunroom through the glass. Solid insulated walls are recommended on the east and west sides, however if an access glass door is needed, install it on the east side if there is an option. Solid walls reduce unwanted solar gain and nighttime heat loss.
Thermal Mass. Attention to the types of building materials further adds to your ability to control the sunroom temperature. For example, using concrete, stone or tile floors, which absorb and hold heat, rather than carpet or wood will improve the natural heating and cooling efficiency. Basically, these materials are natures time release capsules that allow buildings to store and release heat in step with daily heating and cooling needs. That’s why we wear dark clothes in the winter and light clothes in the summer for instance.
Source: Pinterest
Insulation. Structural insulated panels (SIPs) provide the best moisture barrier than any other choice in the market today. Add a fully fiberglass insulted roof with an R value of 20-50 and you’ve covered the primary sources of heat loss and temperature control. The wall between the sunroom and the house can be insulated with conductive materials to encourage heat transfer between the rooms if desirable.
Ventilation. Here’s the final element, which along with thermal mass can control the temperature swings in your sunroom. It’s said that depending on your climate, and we know that ours always swings to the extremes in both directions, sunroom temperatures can swing between 40º-100º. Installing operable vents at the top and bottom of the sunroom will facilitate airflow and eliminate extreme temperature swings. Other measures include cross breezes from windows and doors, skylights or sidewall vents.
Source: Andersenwindows.com
Understanding how a sunroom works before you add one to your home will allow you to avoid the mistakes most people make that cause the room to be either too hot or too cold, too bright for reading or too much humidity producing moisture stained windows.

Hear from customer’s who’ve bought sunrooms from Woodland Exteriors at www.woodlandexteriors.com or visit our showroom to see the products yourself. A Woodland Exteriors sunroom meets the National Sunroom Association codes.  Woodland Exteriors sunrooms are designed and installed to maximize daylight and comfort – form and function matter.
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Sunroom Addition Ideas - Connect the Indoors to the Outdoors

We dream of how we’d like things to be. The challenge is to bring our dreams to life. If you’re like most people, you’ve dreamed of a sunroom addition, especially one that seamlessly connect the indoors to the outdoors. Dream no more and put these three ideas to work to design the perfect sunroom addition that suits your lifestyle. 
 

Connecting the indoors to the outdoors

Source: memorabledecor.com
Illinois’ four-season climate puts on a show for the senses. Wintery white snow covered trees, spring sunshine yellow daffodils, summer sounds and smells, and fall picturesque orange foliage. This also means cold, wind, rain, bugs, heat and humidity.
 
Sunrooms can maximize the pleasures and minimize the harsh realities of Midwest living.
 
Categorized as three or all-season rooms based on whether the sunroom can be used in cold or very hot weather, sunrooms connect the indoors to the outdoors in three different ways.
 
1. Do you want a central room completely open to the sunroom?
2. Do you want the sunroom viewable using oversized glass doors?
3. Do you want the sunroom to be a separate room altogether?
 
Source: Pinterest.com

Open up the existing room

Use your imagination to design the space that will connect the indoors to the outdoors. Depending on the space, here are some suggestions to consider in your plan. If you open a wall to the main structure of the house obviously, heating and cooling considerations will be part of the design. This means that all openings, such as windows, doors, or skylights will need to comply with additional requirements for air infiltration and water penetration resistance, thermal performance (insulation) and structural requirements. Plan carefully to ensure that the sunroom addition doesn't significantly impact the temperature of the rest of your home and that you can keep the sunroom temperatures comfortable without overly relying on artificial heating, cooling or cause unnecessary transfer of heat or cold throughout the rest of the house.
 
Opening an entire exterior wall to connect an existing room to the sunroom is one of those projects that win awards in home magazines because it's transformative. Select a style, materials and finishes that make the room feel as if it was always a part of the original home. 
 

Oversized glass doors 

Source: foldingdoorszare.blogspot.com
Sunrooms that connect the indoors to the outdoors using oversized glass doors is one of the hottest trends today. This style allows the sunroom to be more self-contained than completely opening a wall to the sunroom because the room is thermally isolated from the rest of the house.
 
This design is heated or cooled by a separate temperature control. Energy performance, water filtration resistance and structural requirements still need to be carefully considered for your project.
Today’s selection of patio style doors from Marvin, Andersen and Pella come in expansive widths and heights, which can give you a seamless transition and expansive views between your home and the sunroom.
 

Door connects the sunroom 

Source: onekinddesign.com
Adding a sunroom with easy access from main living areas, which gets adequate sunlight can be difficult for some homes. In these instances the sunroom maybe a retreat off the master bedroom or a den at the end of the hall. This design can be finished as either a three-season room or all-season room like the aforementioned spaces. Three-season rooms may use screens in place of glass, may use less insulation, and may not have heating or cooling units. All-season rooms will give you the added choice of using the room all year. This design is isolated from the rest of the home with far less potential to affect the integrity of the other structure.
 
Let your imagination run wild with these three potential designs to connect the indoors with the outdoors. Which option best suits your dreams, needs, your home, and your budget?
 
Sunrooms have become a much sought after item by homeowners, so we’ll devote several blogs to ideas for sunroom additions and cover the important things you need to know.
 
• Location strategies
• Energy efficiency
• Structural requirements
• Optimizing sunrooms for less desirable locations
• Woodland Exteriors sunrooms
 
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