Is it Worth it to Add a Sunroom to Your Home?

Don't Expect to Recoup the Full Expense

Chair in a sunroom
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Getty Images/John Keeble

 

While you might associate sitting in the sun with the warm-weather season, it’s during the dark cold winter months that you probably long to soak in the rays.

A sunroom, or an enclosed porch attached to your home, can allow you to bask in that daylight, no winter gear involved.

And a sunroom isn’t just useful in the winter. If you’ve ever tried to enjoy a sunset when the bugs are out in full force, you’ll understand the appeal of a screened-off area from which to enjoy the outdoors.

The costs of a sunroom vary widely, depending on the type of structure and materials you choose. Here’s a guide to your sunroom options, and how to decide what will add the most value to your home.

There are two main types of sunrooms, sometimes called conservatories or solariums.

  • Three-season: These are designed to be used in temperate weather, as they usually aren’t heated. Often, they’re built by adding an aluminum frame to an already-existing patio. The glass, which makes up about 75% to 90% of a typical sunroom, is generally standard single-pane.
  • Four-season: As the name suggests, this type of sunroom can be used all year, even in the winter. The frames are sturdier and better-insulated than three-season rooms, often made of reinforced aluminum or vinyl, and occasionally wood. They usually have heated floors, and may also have special energy-efficient windows. Not surprisingly, a four-season sunroom can cost up to twice as much as a three-season room.

Keep in mind that a four-season sunroom will also increase your heating bills, since you’ll be heating an additional room in your house.

What does a Sunroom Cost?

The cost of a sunroom depends on many factors, including how large it is, the type of roof you choose, the materials you use and what features you add, such as electrical wiring and heated floors. If you aren’t covering an existing patio, you’ll also need to pay for a building permit.

According to HomeAdvisor, most homeowners spend between $20,909 and $67,492 on sunrooms.

A solarium, or glass ceiling, will cost far more than asphalt shingles, and expanding your heating and cooling (HVAC) system to include the space will add at least $4,000 to the cost. On top of that, if you want to add electricity, you could end up adding up to $500 for the cost of hiring a certified electrician—on top of costs of up to more than $1,000 for various fixtures.

Energy-efficient windows can also be pricey, but you’ll partly recoup that expense by reducing your ongoing heating costs.

Because labor typically makes up $4,000 to $20,000 of the expense, if you’re willing and able to do most of the work yourself, you can save a lot of money on your sunroom addition. Additionally, if you build on an already-existing patio, you can save money since you won’t have to pay the $1,300 to $4,200 it costs to clear and prepare a site for your sunroom. 

You can also save money by choosing lower-cost materials. For example, asphalt shingles for a roof typically cost less than using a glass roof. A sliding glass door is likely to cost less than french doors leading to your sunroom. Finally, you can spend thousands of dollars adding decor and finishing touches.

If you want a simple way to install a DIY sunroom, it’s possible to buy a prefabricated kit, for as little as $5,000—or as much as $30,000. Look for a warranty on the kit, and check to see if the company provides an option to install it for you. While it might save you money to manage the installation on your own, there are some potential downsides.

When you do the work yourself, you run the risk that the outcome won’t be as good as the professional version. You could make mistakes that affect your home’s structure, and you might end up needing to make more frequent repairs. Plus, in some cases, DIY installation leads to the sunroom not lasting as long as it could. 

While there’s plenty to love about sunrooms, adding major value to your home isn’t one of them.

According to HomeAdvisor, you’re only likely to see an increase in value equal to about half of what you spend. In other words, if you spend $25,000 to add a sunroom to your home, you’re only likely going to increase the value of the house by about $12,500. 

To decide how much it’s worth investing, think about how you’ll use the sunroom. If you live in a milder climate, an unheated space may suffice. If you live in a climate that has harsh, long winters, a four-season sunroom might be a better choice.

Plus, if your sunroom is heated, you can grow a variety of plants in your sunroom year-round, further enhancing the space.

Regardless, while you might not be recoup your full monetary investment from a sunroom, keep in mind that the enjoyment it provides offers value as well.

Article Sources

  1. Patio Enclosures: Differences Between Three Season and Four Season Rooms

  2. DoItYourself:6 Sunroom Glass Types

  3. Patriot Sunrooms & Home Solutions: Four Season Sunroom Materials

  4. HomeAdvisor: Sunroom Addition Prices

  5. Gardening Know-How: Plants For Sunrooms: Enjoying Sunroom Plants Year Round