A sunroom can bring sunlight and air into your home without sacrificing the comfort of being in your home. Sunrooms can be custom-designed or purchased as a kit. When planning, decide how you are going to use the room. For example, if you want to extend your living room or kitchen, you'll have different construction requirements than if you want to install a hot tub or create a solarium for your plants.
Design your sunroom so that the main windows face south. "Solar south" may have a different track than compass south, so watch how the sun moves across your house. After you find the best location for the sunroom, start your plans.
Roof and Sides
A typical sunroom or solarium has a glass roof and sides, but circumstances should dictate your choice. If your room is going to be in an area with a lot of exposure to the sun, you might want to consider partial overhead glass or making just the walls glass. Likewise, if you live in snow country and your sunroom will be located below another sloped roof, you might want partial overhead glass and roofing materials, instead of only glass.
If your sunroom is an extension of your house, consider using standard roofing materials like asphalt tile, wood shingles or corrugated steel.
Skylights are a popular choice because they bring additional light into a room. If you want a hot tub or plants, think about enclosing the entire space with glass.
If you want your sunroom to have more of a feeling of a real room, you might consider a knee wall. This is a short wall about knee height that is the lower part of the outside wall. (You can also run electric lines through a knee wall, something you can't do with glass.)
Operable windows with screens are an inexpensive way to ventilate your sunroom. Outside shade screens can be placed over the glass of the sunroom to reduce heat. As the amount of glass used in a house increases, the energy efficiency usually decreases.
A great deal of effort has been made in recent years to improve the efficiency of window and door glazing. Today, windows are generally dual glazed or insulated. Low-E glazing has an imperceptibly thin metallic film or coating between two glass panes, greatly reducing UV and heat transfer through the glass.
Sliding doors, which have one fixed panel and another that glides along top and bottom tracks, are popular for sunrooms. They allow plenty of light to come in, while sealing out the elements.
Many experts recommend installing vents or a ceiling fan in your sunroom to draw heat up and out of the house more efficiently.
Remember to include plenty of electrical switches and outlets.
-- Tips courtesy of HomeAdvisor.com