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!

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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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.

Visit our showroom to see the products yourself. A Woodland Exteriors sunroom meets the National Sunroom Association codes.  Woodland sunrooms are designed and installed to maximize daylight and comfort – form and function matter.
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