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3 Questions Everyone Asks About Sunrooms

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If you're preparing for a sunroom installation project, you probably have some questions about the process. These four concerns are among the most common ones folks buying sunrooms tend to have.

Are They Well-Insulated?

Especially if you live in a very cold part of the country or an area that gets pounded with sunlight, you're going to want some assurance that a new sunroom won't be a drain on your energy bills. The good news is that modern improvements in materials have dramatically increased the ability to control the climate in a sunroom.

The big trick is to pay close attention to the glass panes you're purchasing. In particular, pay attention to the R-value of the glass. Regional R values for insulation purposes can be found on the Department of Energy's website. Be aware that folks in southern zones who intend to air condition their sunrooms, though, may want to go for higher R values to keep climate-controlled air trapped in the space.

Should You Be Concerned About UV Radiation?

Yes, you absolutely should. This brings you to the next value you'll want to identify, the E-value. Generally, you want to purchase what's referred to in the industry as low-E glass. The "E" in this case refers to emissivity, a measure of an object's ability to act as a black body radiator that determines how close to a perfect reflector the material is.

It's wise to assess how much sunlight hits your home. If you have nearby trees, try to assess this amount based on the time of the year when you have the least protection from foliage and also from the time of the year when the sun is in the sky the longest. Some folks also just opt for very low-E products to ensure they don't get bombarded with UV.

What's the Cost?

Sunroom installation jobs are ones where the sky's the limit. Simple retrofits for porches can be fairly cheap, but high-end projects can cost north of $70,000. There are many considerations, such as possibly installing A/C, achieving greater energy-efficiency and even doing the decor.

Will You Need a Permit?

In most areas, a permit is only necessary if you're cutting a new hole into the side of the house or changing the building's footprint. Using an existing door as the entryway, you may be able to avoid getting a permit. Always contact your local code compliance office before starting a project.