There are many different types of sunroom designs from a simple screened in porch with an old wooden swing, to a complete conservatory, an addition to your home that is encased with full glass walls and a glass ceiling, or something in between. In many cases your sunroom may have a solid, conventional roof with skylights to let the sunshine in. In any configuration, you will need plenty of windows to let the natural light shine through. The question is how to choose sunroom windows which best suits your needs?
You also need to think about the style of the structure itself. Will the sunroom be a simple lean-to, or will you have gabled roof, cathedral ceilings, a traditional sunroom, or a full-blown solarium. All of these will factor into the cost, functionality, and overall appearance of your new space.
Glass Options for Sunroom Windows
If you live in a cooler climate, and you want to extend the season which you can utilize your sunroom, you should install energy efficient windows such as one of these options:
Triple Paned Glass: Three pane windows which feature two layers of insulation to help prevent heat loss in the winter.
Argon Filled Windows: When the space between glass panes is filled with Argon, the gas creates a thermal barrier. The thermal conductivity of Argon is approximately one third as compared to air.
Low-E Glass: Modern, Low-E windows are covered with a coating that keeps the cold out and the heat in, or vice versa.
Safety Glass: Local building codes will dictate where you need safety glass. In general tempered glass would be required at all ground level window locations as well as the skylights overhead.
Skylight Options for Sunrooms
Fixed Skylights: If your budget is tight you may consider fixed skylights. They are generally the most economical. These are usually dome shaped to help shed water and debris.
Fixed Vented Skylights: These are pretty much the same design as a fixed skylight but have a small vent that can be manually slid open.
Vented Skylights: These can be opened using either a manual crank or a remote electrical control to allow for full ventilation. A fixed screen will keep pests out.
Structural Options for Sunroom Windows
There can be quite a range of cost among different types of sunroom windows based on their construction and the materials used:
Wood Windows: Usually the most expensive but also the most energy efficient. Wood windows will require periodic maintenance and a fresh coat of paint from time to time.
Vinyl Windows: Very energy efficient, moderate cost, and maintenance free.
Aluminum Windows: Less energy efficient but maintenance free.