Today, we’re returning to the subject of sunroom designs, but we’re looking at a different option – instead of building a sunroom addition to your house, because this is not a realistic option for everybody (e.g. maybe your house is not facing the right way, maybe there isn’t space on the sunny side of the house), we’ll be focusing on free-standing sunrooms (i.e. they are completely detached from your house).
Sunrooms are especially useful for people who live in more northerly locations – they may get plenty of sun, in summer, but it can take all day for the air to warm up enough to sit out.
However, a sunroom will trap that warmth (it’s a bit like a greenhouse for humans, really) and let you enjoy summer the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
So, what type of sunroom would be best for you?
There are three main sunroom designs that you’ll find – rectangular, oval and octagonal, each of which has their pros and cons.
Let’s start with a more traditional-looking structure, the rectangular sunroom.
Now, one of the advantages of going for this shape is that you will have a few more options in terms of size. For example, this particular one can be more or less anywhere from 10 x 16 ft up to 14 x 28 ft, with over a dozen other sizes between these two extremes – so there’s plenty of room for your sunroom furniture.
However, you need to bear in mind that you may lose the sun slightly as it crosses the sky, as there are no windows in the corners, and the shape is certainly less interesting than the other models we’ll look at in a moment.
The model shown includes, as standard, a heavy-duty floor system, 4 inch Dutch lap vinyl siding, 40 x 60 vertical windows with screens, a six foot sliding glass door, and a cupola adorning the hip roof.
(In case you’re wondering what a hip, or hipped, roof is, then it’s a roof where all the sides slope downwards to the walls with a fairly gentle slope. This means that it has no gables or other vertical sides – it is self-bracing and therefore does not need the same amount of diagonal bracing or wind bracing that a gable roof requires. In fact, it holds up much better to high winds and heavy snow loads, which may be important to you, depending on where you live.)
Moving on to the octagonal sunroom, then one of the advantages here is that you’ll get more light (and therefore warmth) entering the room as the sun moves round during the course of the day, compared to the rectangular sunroom we discussed above.
On the downside, the range of sizes available, with this particular model, at least, is more limited – basically, you have the option of a 12, 14 or 16 foot sunroom.
Of course, smaller may be better for some people – the smaller the room, the sooner it will get toasty warm. On the other hand, it may not be right for a larger family.
In terms of the other features, then it comes with much the same as the rectangular sunroom, except that the door is a single door that opens outwards, rather than sliding.
This style combines the advantages of the rectangular room (e.g. more size options – anywhere from 10 x 16 ft to 12 x 24 ft, with half a dozen intermediate sizes), with the advantages of the octagonal sunroom (e.g. better light).
Other than that, the features are, once again, more or less identical to the rectangular room.
So, there you have it – three different styles, one of which we know will be right for you.
And in case you’re wondering, Rae prefers the rectangular sunrooms (she prefers the functionality and better utilisation of space afforded by these designs, not to mention the larger sizes), whereas Mark prefers the aesthetics of the octagonal sunrooms (as well as the more efficient positioning of the windows).
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